Irish Stew

15 minutes preparation, plus 1 hour cooking time. For other options see Top Tips below

You will need:

600g minced lamb, £3.50/600g

100g frozen chopped onion £1.00/500g

500g potatoes, chopped into chunks 69p/kg

100g frozen mixed vegetables 75p/1kg

3 heaped dessertspoons onion gravy powder £1.50/200g

2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs 19p/18g

cube frozen crushed garlic £1.27/80g


water to cover

88p per serving

1. Put the onions and mince into a stockpot and heat over a low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the mince from clumping.

2. Once the mince has browned, add the potatoes, vegetables, onion gravy powder, dried mixed herbs, garlic and a sprinkling of pepper, to taste.

3. Cover with water until the ingredients are submerged by about 2cm.

4. Stir and bring to the boil*

5. Simmer gently for one hour.


*To save energy, you can transfer the mixture to a slow cooker instead of bringing to the boil. Cook for 6 to 8 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high. 

*Alternatively, leave the gas ring or electric ring on its lowest setting and gradually let it come to the boil. This uses less energy than bringing it to the boil over a high heat, but will take longer. Once simmering (bubbling gently) the pot can be left to cook for one hour.


Ground Rice Pudding

This easy peasy low-fat pudding is so simple to make and is ready in about 10 minutes.


You will need

100g ground rice £1/500g

1.2l skimmed milk (I use soya milk which works equally well) 53p/litre

25g unrefined caster sugar £1.60/kg

1 tablespoon maple syrup £2.98/250g

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg £1.12/42g

23p per serving


1 Heat the milk in a saucepan for a few minutes.

2 Sprinkle the ground rice over the top.

3 Bring to the boil, stirring slowly with a wooden spoon so that it doesn’t stick to the pan or form lumps.

4 Turn down the heat and add the sugar, syrup and nutmeg.

5 Simmer (bubble gently but not vigorously) for four to five minutes, or until thickened.

6 Serve.

Delish Fish Dish

15 minutes, plus 3 hours cooking time


This recipe is a variation of fish stew, but fish stew sounds boring. My son refuses to eat anything called ‘stew’, but he ate this with relish! This can be prepared first thing in the morning and then left in the slow cooker on low until you get home, at which point you will have a tasty, healthy meal ready and waiting.

You will need

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil* £2.50/750ml

100g frozen chopped onion or 1 chopped onion* £1/500g

1 cube frozen garlic/1 teaspoon garlic salt/1 garlic clove, crushed* £1.27/80g

2 tins chopped tomatoes* 31p/400g

1 tablespoon tomato purée 48p/200g

4 white fish fillets, frozen £2/500g

100g frozen chopped vegetables 75p/1kg

1.5l water

1 kallo organic free range chicken stock cube* £1.08/66g

2 teaspoons dried dill £1.66/10g

2 teaspoons dried basil 61p/14g

pinch of chilli powder 80p/44g

ground black pepper

63p per serving

1 Heat the oil in a large stockpot over a low heat. Add the onion and garlic. Do not let them brown, as this makes them bitter, just keep an eye on them until they have become soft and shiny.

2 Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée, followed by the frozen chopped vegetables. Stir to combine.

3 Add stock cube, dill, basil and chilli powder. Grind some black pepper over the top, to taste, and stir to combine.

4 Add the fish fillets and enough water to cover.

5 Slowly bring to the boil over a low heat and let the stew simmer* over a very low heat for two hours, stirring occasionally. Top up with water if necessary.

6 Serve with mashed potato, crusty bread, rice or dumplings.


*Extra virgin olive oil tastes the nicest in this dish, but vegetable oil will do

* I buy frozen crushed garlic. It is ready and waiting when you need it, with zero wastage. 

* I use organic free range chicken stock cubes by Kallo, but ordinary chicken stock cubes will do. Kallo stock cubes have a lovely taste but ordinary chicken stock cubes are cheaper.

* Simmering means bubbling gently – not so much that it is vigorous bubbling, but just enough so that the bubbling is continuous

* Children like to sprinkle grated cheese on the top. I personally love a sprinkling of some very tasty herbamare.

* Tomatoes are one of few foods whose nutritional value improves with processing. Tinned tomatoes contain more vitamin E and more lycopene (which may help prevent cancer) than fresh tomatoes. They are also available year round.

* If tinned peeled plum tomatoes are cheaper than tinned chopped tomatoes, get a small kitchen knife and chop them inside the tin. Because they’re already soft, you can do this quite easily by moving the knife from one edge of the tin to the other and then moving the tin round to make sure they all get chopped. Do it over a plate or chopping board as the juice can spill.