I think of garlic (strictly, a member of the onion family) as an essential seasoning. I am often teased about my constant use of garlic, but remain unrepentant: you can, if you truly dislike it, always leave it out, but time and again I have heard from other cooks that garlic has often been added to dishes served to garlic-haters and they’ve been none the wiser!
If like me you happen to love it, did you know it’s very easy to grow? All you do is separate the cloves (individual sections) from the bulb, and plant them 2 inches (5 cm) deep and about 2 inches (5 cm) apart in early spring. Then in August you can harvest your own crop, which will be firm, juicy and tasting so much better than imported garlic bought from a shop.
One way to crush garlic – a question I’m asked all the time – is to place the clove on a board, set the flat side of a small knife on top and press with your thumb until you have squashed it to a pulp. You could invest in a proper garlic crusher, though these are tiresome things to clean. Probably the best way is with a pestle and mortar: add a little salt as this helps to reduce the garlic to a smooth paste.
And one tip for peeling garlic – place the unpeeled clove on a flat surface and simply press it with your thumb. This breaks the skin all over, and it peels away very easily.
To watch how to prepare garlic, click here.
Veggies will love this recipe – marinating mushrooms adds masses of flavour. Serve them with a sweet-spice pimenton mayonnaise for dipping.
No fiddly browning of the meat here: just throw it all into a casserole and three hours later you'll be swooning at the wonderful aromas that escape from this classic stew.
A simple and cheap vegetarian recipe for one that's certainly full of flavour! Adapt it to suit other vegetables if you prefer and serve it with filling and nutritious brown rice.
Classic fishcakes are wonderfully frugal food, as they allow you to 'stretch' 1lb of fish to serve 4-6 people. And who's complaining with recipes as good as this, pepped up with the addition of capers, parsley and cayenne?
Vegetarians will love these chickpea cutlets - a cheap and easy meal that's quick to make once you've soaked the chickpeas and a good way of upping your intake of nutritious puses. Curry powder and cayenne pepper add plenty of spice.
Another recipe that's cheap but full of flavour and good nutrition: chicken cooked with a mixture of lentils, tomatoes and spices for a warming and healthy supper dish.
Just add bread to this lovely beany salad - a cheap and easy meal for very little money and proof that you don't need to spend a lot to eat royally.
Lentils and other pulses are invaluable if you need to eat cheaply - not only do they fill you up but they are also an important source of pure protein and less expensive than chicken or meat. This spicy veggie curry is a good example…
Adding chick peas to this wintry chicken casserole allows you to feed four people very well for very little money without sacrificing flavour and nutritious value in the process.
All you need is crusty bread to mop up the juices in this superb summery salad that has more than a hint of Italy about it.