Eat like a king on a budget

Well, yesterday’s vegetable soup might not have been up to Master Chef standards, but it was a definite success. My neighbour Nina & I were absolutely stuffed after digging our way through it all and the wholemeal bread, although four-year-old Ellie wasn’t quite as impressed by the soup and demanded ice cream instead. Weak from all the eating and worn down by her diva demands, we gave in (fortunately I had some ice cream in the freezer). This worked for all of five minutes after which we were forced to resort to letting the chickens out into the garden to distract her. Fortunately Thelma, Molly & Lexi are well versed in child minding. On the plus side, though, I have shamelessly saved Ellie’s portion of soup in a Tupperware container in the fridge for today’s lunch.

I’ve been wondering about meal planning and, interestingly, a friend of mine, James, sent me this budget weekly meal plan from celebrity chef Paul Merrett. Merrett created the plan to highlight the government’s now let’s talk money’ campaign, which is designed to help people access free financial advice and avoid door-step lenders (helpline number is 0800 012 1656 for anyone interested). He reckons the meal plan costs £67 and will feed a family of four. It certainly seems varied with plenty of good old English grub, such as shepherd’s pie, as well as the type of food that might appeal to young children – fish finger sandwiches etc.

Paul’s budget menu* for the week:
Sunday
Roasted shoulder of lamb, vegetables and potatoes (£9.44)
Toasted sandwich wrap (£4.07)
Monday
Fish finger sandwich (£2.93)
Shepherd’s pie, peas and carrots (using leftover lamb from Sunday – £2.69)
Tuesday
Pea soup with crusty bread (£2.51)
Spicy chicken with basmati rice and salad (£7.07)
Wednesday
Croque monsieur (£3.31)
Pasta with pesto mushrooms and tomato (£3.15)
Thursday
Sausage sandwich (£1.75)
Vegetable hot pot (£3.47)
Friday
Spanish omelette (£1.60)
Toad in the hole (£2.90)
Saturday
Full English brunch (£5.72)
Smoked haddock risotto (£9.58)
Desserts
Apple and blackberry crumble (£2.70)
Pear tart tatin (£2.01)
Creme brulee (£2.36)

TOTAL = £67.26 or £16.82 per person

Merrett recently got his family involved in an allotment growing veggies & fruit to try to become self-sufficient and experience what life was like for his grandparents who worked an allotment. He’s written a book on the experience called Using the Plot: Tale of an Allotment Chef which is out in May this year. So if you look at the following breakdown of costs you’ll see the blackberries listed for the apple & blackberry crumble are ‘from the allotment’ and free. Of course, this might not be possible for families without access to their own fresh blackberries and they can be expensive in the supermarket. I tried to go picking myself last year but left it too late and they’d all dried up.

Below is the breakdown he gives of the costs. Does anybody reckon they could do better? Personally I thought it sounds tasty, although meat is a major cost, at a total of £22.68, so a vegetarian diet would be far cheaper, although you’d have to ensure that everyone got enough iron. Parmesan cheese might be an extravagance in the pasta dish if you could just use a bit of cheddar instead – although not as authentic! As for the granule gravy in the toad-in-the-hole recipe, I’d make my own which is just as cheap. And I’ve just realised that Merrett made a mistake by forgetting to include eggs in his toad and including milk twice.  You won’t get very far with a toad without eggs! Just ask our chickens! Probably only a few pence difference though. This is great menu for a family, as it’s designed for, but not sure a pensioner would want to go to the trouble of all that cooking if they had arthritis or other physical disabilities. I might email & challenge him to come up with a pensioner’s menu.

I’ve been getting lots of interesting recipes from you for cheap wholesome dishes. Thanks so much – I’ll be posting them on the blog very soon. Have a great weekend. Xxx Piper

Paul’s shopping list** for the week:

Sunday

Roasted shoulder of lamb, vegetables and potatoes

Whole shoulder of lamb £7.96, 8 potatoes £0.62,  1 cabbage £0.50, 6 carrots £0.36

Meal total cost £9.44  Cost per person £2.36

Toasted sandwich wrap

8 wraps £1.19, Ham £1.24, 100g of cheddar cheese £0.57, 1 bottle of sweet chilli sauce £1.07

Meal total cost £4.07 Cost per person £1.02

Monday

Fish finger sandwich

12 fish fingers – haddock not cod £1.97, 8 slices of bread £0.24, Mayonnaise £0.72

Meal total cost £2.93 Cost per person £0.73

Shepherd’s pie, peas and carrots

Use up left over lamb for cottage pie £0.00, 4 carrots £0.24, 1 oxo cube £0.08, ½ swede £0.40, 1 onion  £0.30, 1 clove of garlic £0.34, 6 potatoes  £0.46, 200g peas £0.30, Little butter£0.00, 100g grated cheese £0.57

Meal total cost £2.69 Cost per person£0.67

Tuesday

Pea soup with crusty bread

800g peas £1.20, 1 potato £0.08, 1 onion £0.30, 1 chicken stock cube £0.08, ½ pint milk £0.20, 1 loaf of crusty bread £0.65

Meal total cost £2.51 Cost per person £0.63

Spicy chicken with basmati rice and salad

8 chicken thighs £3.60, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce £0.09, 1 clove of garlic £0.00, 1 dessert spoon of sweet chilli sauce £0.00, 1 teaspoon ground ginger £0.20, 1 dessert spoon of Demerara sugar £0.03, 1 red chilli £0.59, 300g of basmati rice £0.27, Lettuce £0.49, 2 tomatoes £0.22, 1/8 cucumber £0.38, 2 spring onions £0.30, 1 red pepper £0.68, 2 tablespoons of olive oil £0.12, 1 dessert spoon of balsamic vinegar £0.10

Meal total cost £7.07 Cost per person £1.77

Wednesday

Croque monsieur

8 slices of bread £0.24, About 150g of cheese £0.85, 4 generous slices of ham £1.73, 100g of butter £0.49

Meal total cost £3.31 Cost per person £0.83

Pasta with pesto mushrooms and tomato

¼ jar of pesto – could make your own £0.47, 6 plum tomatoes £1.09, 2 tablespoons of olive oil £0.12, 100g of grated parmesan £1.47

Meal total cost £3.15 Cost per person £0.79

Thursday

Sausage sandwich

8 sausages £0.97, 8 slices of bread £0.24, Tomato ketchup £0.54

Meal total cost £1.75 Cost per person £0.44

Vegetable hot pot

½ swede £0.40, 8 new potatoes £0.58, 2 carrots £0.12, ½ cabbage – savoy £0.39, 1 onion £0.30, 3 cloves garlic £0.00Sprig of thyme £0.35, 2 parsnips £0.30, 100g of peas £0.15, 50g of butter £0.25, 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube £0.08, 1 loaf of baguette £0.55

Meal total cost £3.47 Cost per person £0.87

Friday

Spanish omelette

3 eggs £0.56, 3 onions £0.88, 2 potatoes £0.16

Meal total cost £1.60 Cost per person £0.40

Toad in the hole

500ml of vegetable oil £0.39, 12 sausages £1.46, ½  pint of milk £0.20, 225g of flour £0.16, ½ pint milk £0.20, 1 pack of green beans £0.39, 1 pint of gravy – from granules £0.10

Meal total cost £2.90

Cost per person £0.73

Saturday

Full English brunch

4 eggs £0.75, 8 rashers bacon £2.49, 1 tin of beans £0.31, 8 flat mushrooms £1.74, 4 slices of bread £0.12, 8 frozen potato waffles £0.23, 100ml of vegetable oil £0.08

Meal total cost £5.72 Cost per person £1.43

Smoked haddock risotto

500g of smoked haddock £4.23, 8 spring onions £0.96, 300g risotto rice £0.44, ¼ pack of butter £0.31, 1 onion £0.30, 1 clove garlic £0.00, 2 corn on the cob £1.79, 100g grated parmesan cheese £1.47, 1 chicken stock cube £0.08

Meal total cost £9.58 Cost per person £2.40

Desserts

Apple and blackberry crumble

4 bramley apples £1.20, 500g of blackberries – we would pick and freeze these £0.00, 125g flour £0.09, 75g soft dark brown sugar £0.12, 100g oats £0.08, 175g of butter £0.61, Ice-cream £0.60

Meal total cost £2.70 Cost per person £0.68

Pear tart tatin

500g of puff pastry £0.72, 2 tins of pears £0.50, 100g butter £0.49, 100g sugar £0.06, 1 tub of custard £0.24

Meal total cost £2.01 Cost per person £0.50

Creme brulee

50 ml milk £0.04, 450 ml double cream £1.07, Vanilla essence £0.20, 5 yolks £0.94, 75g of caster sugar £0.05, An additional 100g of caster sugar £0.06

Meal total cost £2.36 Cost per person £0.59

Weekly cost £67.26  Weekly cost per person £16.82

*Week-day breakfasts have been excluded as Paul’s family would normally eat muesli
**All ingredients have been priced from major retailers

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Eat like a king on a budget

  1. snaggletooth says:

    "a vegetarian diet would be far cheaper, although you’d have to ensure that everyone got enough iron."
    You could maybe use spinach or something in there for the iron. Just a thought!

  2. Christine says:

    It might work for a family of 4 but remember that only cooking the same menu for 2 does not always mean that it is half the price. You\’d miss out some of the meals here to use up the left overs from others of course. I think that both the lamb and the haddock are extravagant personally and that the fish finger sarnies would be better replaced with your vegetable soup both for price and nutrient content. And the sausage sarnies would be better replaced with something like a stir fry which would cost no more. Just a thought. Iron is not a problem so long as you include plenty of greens and red veg in your diet.

  3. jason says:

    m&s soup is cheap,especially when on \’buy one, one 1/2 price\’ offer

  4. pookie says:

    is that just lunch and dinner or breakfast and lunch I know my children would be still hungry…….lol

  5. piper says:

    yep Pookie – just lunch and dinner as apparently Paul Merrett said they all eat muesli for breakfast, although this should have been included in the cost breakdown.  xxx

  6. shalexandra says:

    If 8 sausages cost only 97p then they must be nasty sausages!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s