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The Canny Cook: Tomato and crispy chickpea salad 

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With the weather a bit warmer, salads are back on the menu – and I can’t help but make this recipe more indulgent

300g loose tomatoes, £0.53

400g tinned chickpeas, £0.60

300g bulk tomatoes, £0.53; 400g tinned chickpeas, £0.60

Rising food prices – along with all our other bills – have been hard to digest. But with smart product swaps and creative cooking, you can still eat well and cut costs. That’s where I aim to help in this new weekly column. Over the past year, I’ve made changes to my eating habits that have been so positive that I can’t wait to pass them on.

I’m eating less meat by bolstering dishes with more legumes (Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Cannellini Beans was a winter saviour) and using deli meats like chorizo ​​as a seasoning rather than a main ingredient.

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I no longer buy quinoa or bulgur in ready-to-eat packets. The dried varieties are much better value for money and I think are superior in taste and texture. I avoid being sucked in by bulk buy offers; instead, I cook in batches to fill my freezer with delicious meals.

“Eat seasonally” is the motto of every food publisher, but things really taste better that way. Plus, they cost less and you appreciate them more for not having them all year round. This month is the most glorious for local produce: overflowing with fava beans, asparagus, peas and new potatoes.

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I hope I can pass on even a fraction of the pleasure I found in my sleek new kitchen.

Do you have a good recipe for eating well and reducing your food bills? Email [email protected] If we print it here we will send you a bottle of champagne

125g soft goat cheese, £1.95

10g fresh basil, £0.47

125g soft goat cheese, £1.95; 10g fresh basil, £0.47

FOODS 2

TOTAL £3.55*

METHOD

Drain a can of chickpeas and mix with

2 tablespoons of olive oil + 1 crushed clove of garlic + 150 g of bread torn into pieces

(I always freeze the ends of the loaves to make croutons later.)

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SEASON AND ROAST IN THE OVEN FOR 10 MINUTES AT 200C/180C FAN/GAS 6.

Then sprinkle ½ tsp zaatar (or dried thyme or oregano, or nothing if you don’t have any) and stir.

ROAST FOR FINAL 5 MINUTES.

Put everything in a bowl with the tomatoes (cut into wedges) and a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar and a pinch of honey.

TO SERVE sprinkled with a little soft goat cheese and fresh basil leaves.

REMARK This cost assumes that you already have some basic ingredients from your cabinet.

*Prices taken from Sainsbury’s and correct at time of printing.

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