Ricky Murray

Cooking good food on a budget and full flavours


August 2015

Chicken and vegetable stir-fry

chicken stir

1x 410g bag of egg noodles

1/2 yellow pepper, sliced

1/2 red pepper, sliced

1 small onion, sliced

1/4 cabbage, sliced

1 tin of bamboo shoots and water chestnuts, drained

handful of beansprouts

handful of mangetout

4tbsp vegetable oil

1 chicken breast, cooked, sliced

1 beef stock cube

1 packet of sweet and sour cooking sauce (easy to make but this is cooking on a budget)

zest of half an orange

2floz boiling water

Add the water to a frying pan over a medium heat, crumble in the stock cube, stir well then add the noodles, fry these for 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally.

While that’s going on add the oil to a wok over a high heat, when the wok is smoking a little (in china they call this, breath of the wok. Add all the ingredients and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

Next add the chicken, sweet and sour sauce and the orange zest, stir-fry for a further minute.

This will stop any take-away cravings!

Chinese stir-fry should take no longer than 10 minutes to cook to maintain that crunch we all recognise.


Slow cooker sticky toffee apple pudding

toffee apple pic

1tbsp vegetable oil

7oz soft light brown sugar

7oz butter (or margarine) softened

3 medium eggs

7oz self-raising flour

1tsp vanilla extract

1tsp cinnamon powder

2 apples (eating apples – peeled cored and chopped into bite size pieces)

for the sauce.

1/2 pint of apple juice

3 1/2oz golden syrup

3 1/2oz soft light brown sugar

Grease the slow cooker bowl with the oil.

In a Large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter or margarine.

Whisk the eggs and add them to the mixture along with the flour, vanilla and cinnamon powder.

Next fold in the apple pieces, then spoon the cake mixture into the slow cooker bowl, make sure the bottom of the bowl is covered.

In a saucepan, heat the sugar, golden syrup and apple juice over a medium heat. stir until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil and remove from the heat.

Pour this over the cake mixture.

place a towel over the slow cooker and then put the lid on top of that, fold the four corners back over the lid.

The towel under the lid method stops any condensation forming and folding the corners back on top of the lid is so the slow cooker doesn’t over heat.

Cook on high for 3 hours, or when the sponge is nice and springy.

Enjoy with some vanilla ice cream.

Cinnamon & raisin puff pastry swirls

C&R swirl

1 packet of ready to use puff pastry

1 1/2tbsp cinnamon powder

handful of raisins, chopped (or the dried fruit of your choice)

Pre-heat oven to 220c (gas 7).

Unroll the pastry and evenly rub the cinnamon powder on both sides.

Spread the raisins out on the pastry & roll up tight into a sausage shape & seal with a little milk.

Chop into equal size pieces then place ends up on a baking tray and push down on them a little.

Bake on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy with some cream or ice cream.

Total cost £1.96

Creamy mushroom gnocchi

Creamy mushroom gnocchi

9oz button mushrooms, thickly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

300ml full fat double cream (full fat is less likely to split)

1 medium onion, sliced

1tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

17oz packet of gnocchi

salt and pepper

4tbsp vegetable oil

To start over a medium heat, add the oil to a large high sided pan or wok,

when hot add the garlic and sweat for 2-3 minutes stirring all the time.

Now add the onions and mushrooms then turn the heat to high and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes or until softened.

While that’s happening add the gnocchi to salted boiling water, leave to boil.

Pour the cream into the mushrooms and onions then stir and leave to boil hard and reduce a little.

The gnocchi will be done after about 2-3 minutes and will float, when this happens and your cream has thickened, drain the gnocchi and transfer into the creamy mushroom sauce, add the thyme and stir everything well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.


Total cost for 2 was £2.36

Cherry and vanilla fudge

Cherry van fudge

2x 220g blocks of milk chocolate (Supermarket’s own value brand)

1x 397g  tin of condensed milk

1 small tub of glazed cherries, chopped

1tsp vanilla essence

Put the slow cooker on high.

Place the chocolate into the slow cooker (broken up) with the condensed milk.

Cook for an hour, stirring every ten minutes.

After an hour turn the slow cooker off, add the cherries and mix well.

Pour the fudge into a square cake tin, place in the fridge for 2 hours until set.

Chocoholics beware!!!

This is a really delicious & cheap treat

Total cost for 20 pieces £3.20

Chick pea and feta vegetable burgers with mustard dressing

burger1 burger2

2tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4oz spinach, finely chopped
4oz feta cheese, crumbled
400g tin chick peas, drained and rinsed
4oz breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1tbsp white vinegar
1tsp Dijon mustard

Pre-heat oven to 220 (gas7)
Add the oil to frying pan over a medium heat, fry the onions for 10 minutes until they have softened, put these into a large mixing bowl to cool.
Meanwhile add the chick peas to a food processer and blitz a few time but not to a mush, keep it chunky, add these to the onions, along with all the other ingredients, season well with pepper and salt.
Mix well to make sure that everything is incorporated, shape into patties then into the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Serve on a bread cake, bap or oven bottom muffin (or what ever they are called where you are from).
To make the dressing just add everything to a bowl, stir and season

This made 5 burgers so if they don’t get eaten just freeze them.

Total cost was £4

Lamb koftas with mint yoghurt dip and homemade tortillas


mint yoghurt:
7oz natural yoghurt
bunch of fresh mint, chopped
1tbsp sugar
1/2tsp salt
14oz self raising flour
1/2tsp salt
1/2 pint warm water
3tbsp oil plus extra for frying
(Make the tortillas first so they can cool)

14oz lamb mince
1tsp cumin seeds
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp turmeric powder
1tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
pinch of cinnamon powder

Set the oven to 220c (gas 7).
Add the flour and salt to a large bowl, then add the oil and water.
bring together to make a soft dough.
turn out onto a floured working surface and knead for 2-3 minutes, divide into eight equal pieces.
Roll out to the size of a dinner plate and about 2mm thick,
heat 1tbsp of oil in a large frying pan, when hot add the rolled out tortillas and cook for 1-2 minutes on either side.
Repeat until you have cooked them all and set aside to cool.
Next for the mint yoghurt, add all the ingredients to a serving bowl and mix well, put this in the fridge to rest and let the mint flavour the yoghurt.
Now the koftas, toast the seeds in a clean dry pan until they release a lovely aroma, tip into a pestle and mortar and grind to a powder or you can use a cup and the end of a rolling pin.
Place all the ingredients and spices in a large mixing bowl and combine everything really well, take some of the lamb mixture (about the size of a golf ball) and roll into a sausage shapes (should make about six).
place on a grill rack, then into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
this serves 2 people, if you want to make more just add more of the spices, to every pack of mince add 1tsp cumin seeds, coriander, turmeric.
this cost £1 mint
£6 for 3x400g pack of mince (look out for deals)
£1 yoghurt
I only used one pack of mince so cost was £4

Sausage and ricotta pasta bake

IMG_1753 IMG_1756

4tsp vegetable oil

half of a medium courgette, thinly sliced

4oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1lb sausages, cooked, cut into bite size chunks

12oz penne pasta, cooked

8oz ricotta

4oz cherry tomatoes, halved

1tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

8oz cheddar cheese, grated

Pre-heat oven to 220c (gas 7)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium to high heat, add the courgette and fry until they char a little and have softened.

Add the mushrooms, and fry these until soft, add the cooked sausage, pasta, ricotta, thyme and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper (beware ricotta is salty) stir well to combine everything.

Transfer to a oven-proof dish then top with the cheese, bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

You can portion this off and freeze for another day.

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