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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Spicy Mini Falafels

Those who know me know that I really like a challenge. I have teamed up with Heinz to create a recipe in celebration of the launch of their new [Seriously Good] Mayonnaise,  The new mayo is superbly rich, smooth and creamy, made using simple, high quality ingredients, with absolutely no added colours, flavours or artificial thickeners. I was challenged to create a seriously good spoonful, a delicious recipe creation that would fit on a spoon. I decided to make falafels as our whole family enjoy them, you can make them as spicy as you like, and they make a delicious vegetarian canape on a spoon with lettuce and a little mayo.

Spicy Mini Falafels 

Makes around 24, depending on size

2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp mild chilli powder (optional)
1 free range egg
1 Tblsp mayo

Preheat your oven to 210C/410F/Gas Mark 7.

Put all the falafel ingredients into a food processor and blitz until a chunky puree forms.  scrape down the sides of the food processor and blitz again until a fine puree forms.  Line a baking tray with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.  Take heaped teaspoonfuls of the falafel mixture and gently form into balls. Place on to the prepared tray.

Put a frying pan over a moderate heat and add a couple of tablespoons of oil.  Cook the falafel in batches until golden on the outside.  Place back onto the prepared oven tray.  Bake the falafels in the oven for 10 minutes to ensure they are cooked all the way through.  

Check out some more #seriouslygoodspoonfuls from my food blogger friends:

Monday, 25 July 2016

Oven Baked Vegetable Crisps

It's the Summer school holidays here in the UK which means 6 or 7 weeks of entertaining and feeding children who seem to be so much more hungry over the holidays.  To help stick to our budget and not break the bank in the holidays we try to drink plenty of water and stick to 3 main meals and 2 snacks, perhaps a snack or two more if they we've had a really active day.  

Fresh fruit and yoghurt are a fairly standard snack in our house and for another snack option I like to have a homemade sweet or savoury treat.  Popcorn is very cheap to make, as are crispy chickpeas, rice pudding or soda bread/scones.  A family favourite at the moment are Vegetable Crisps, easy and cheap to make, as well as being deliciously moreish.  You can use your favourite root vegetables, and I've used courgettes in the past too.  The key to crispy crisps is to make sure the vegetable slices are as dry as you can get them before they hit the oven.

Vegetable Crisps

1 beetroot
1 sweet potato
1 parsnip
1 carrot

Preheat oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6. Line a large baking tray with oil and lightly spray with cooking spray.  Cut thin strips from the vegetables using a mandolin or vegetable peeler.  Put the vegetable strips onto kitchen towel and pat dry.  Lay the vegetable strips in a single layer on the prepared oven tray and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes then remove those that are crisp, turn over the slices that need more time to crisp up and return them to the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes.  Watch them carefully, there's only a short time between crisp and charcoal.