Thrifty eats: tasty pea and bean burgers

As well as being in utter chaos after three weeks of working on my dissertation the cupboards are bare, but I’m continuing my mission to try to eat well for less and so the last meal before the big shop to get stocked up again was these pea and bean burgers.


I took a tip from Jack Monroe about rinsing cheap baked beans to get rid of the sugar and sauce and have nice plain white beans to work with, in the absence of cannellini beans these did just as well!


1 400g tin baked beans rinsed well

1 400g tin kidney beans rinsed well

A handful of mange tout chopped finely

A teaspoon of cumin

A teaspoon of paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Teaspoon of plain flour to make shaping easier


Cooking Instructions

Not really cooking instructions at all these are SOOOOO easy!

Bring the baked beans and kidney beans to the boil in a mug of water then turn down and simmer for five minutes.

Add the mange tout a minute before the end.

Drain and allow to cool for five minutes.

Stir the spices through well and then either use a potato masher or blender to mash the beans until you have something close to the texture of mash potato (I prefer the masher as I like to leave some beans whole for more bite).

I get ten small burgers from this mix, with floured hands shape ten rough balls of mixture and flatten each slightly to form a burger shape, I tend to freeze half to cook later from frozen and the portion we’re eating goes on a lightly greased baking tray for 12-15 minutes until golden and crisp outside and soft inside

Serve in rolls, with wedges or salad, or take to work cold for a quick nutritious lunch on the go!



Tasty Tuesdays on

Baking together

A big first this week, Joss and I baked together for the first time. Whenever we go to town we pop to a popular coffee shop I won’t name and Joss gets an oatmeal apple and raisin cookie. We decided to have a bash at our own minus the apple (it was a just using what we had in the house kinda day!)

Lots of weighing and mixing followed, a bit too much cinnamon was tipped in but we love it so that worked out ok, and in fact the end result was as good as the cafe version if not better!

Here’s Joss doing some mixing


And the finished product


What do you think? Good enough to eat?

24/365 A big bowl of porridge

New job = busy start to the day this week, what better to get the day started than grabbing a bowl of porridge at my desk?

Instead of buying overpriced ‘quick oats’ I followed the brilliant Jack Monroe’s advice and made her Super Express Portable Porridge

With a sliced banana and a little honey this budget brekky is a hit for busy parents.


A first foray into slow cooking

Anything that saves me time and prevents dinner time meltdowns is a good thing in my book! This week’s meal planning is being designed around my new kitchen helper, a slooooow cooker. I picked up this beauty fairly cheaply after parents on a budget meals Facebook group raved about pulled pork, stews and slow cooked chicken thighs.

I started today with a huge portion of bolognese sauce with two cans of cannellini beans added to bulk it out for three meals.


I’m not great at knowing which cuts of meat are cheapest so I’ll be taking a trip to the butchers to gen up on this, but any advice is greatly appreciated!

So here’s how the week ahead is shaping up:

Monday: Bolognese and pasta with brocolli

Tuesday: Sausage casserole in the slow cooker, sprouts are sure to feature as Jossy seems to enjoy them!

Wednesday: Bolognese and jacket pots

Thursday: Work day, not brave enough to leave the slow cooker on all day so a quick n easy but loved beans on toast with sausages

Friday: Falafels in wraps with veggies

Saturday: Homemade pizza

Sunday: Chicken thighs in slow cooker

Potato week? Try a cheese and potato pie!

It’s potato week, and I prefer the simple potato dishes, so here’s my cheese and potato pie! I know others make it with layered pots and cream but that’s a bit too rich for me! This is perfect as a side dish for a bigger meal, or we have this as comfort food, with a side of green veg.

To serve four

8 medium potatoes, diced into inch pieces
1 medium sized onion, peeled and diced (I like it diced finely)
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter
150g of grated mature Cheddar cheese

Boil the onions and potatoes together until soft, then drain and mash with butter and milk
Add about 2/3 of your cheese at this point and spoon into a baking dish
Top with the remaining cheese and bake at 180 C until the cheese has totally melted and is starting to bubble and turn golden

And finally, as it’s potato week, here’s our favourite potato, ready to be stitched into a page of Joss’ busy book that I’m working on for Christmas, Mrs Potatohead with Velcro hat, bag and feet!


Making a start with meal planning on a budget

Mr B and I really want to put our shoulders under making some savings, we decided to start an MSE style storecupboard challenge, using what we have in for a good three to four meals a week. These meals are mainly vegetarian, with the addition of plenty of cheese and good healthy oils for Jossy. I set a monthly target for £s and number of purely store cupboard meals we want to make each week with a rough meal plan to keep us on track .

This month I’m going for £120 as I need to do some stocking up and Mr B has started taking lunches in to work so this feels reasonable.

I’ll be doing four purely store cupboard meals this week plus cheese and veg etc.

This week we’re having:

A Girl Called Jack’s lentil bolognese to do two days
Homemade pizza with the lentil bol as a topper, a few slices of chorizo, a little homemade onion chutney and loads of fresh veg
Jack’s spicy bean burgers with slimming world chips
Vegetable stirfry


For our non store meat days I’m roasting a chicken and stockpiling soups

As a bit of an aside we’ve also started a £1 a day jar for Christmas, not that we get into the spirit early, we just like to plan ahead!


When life hands you over ripe bananas make banana bread!

When life hands you over ripe bananas make banana bread!

I love GBBO, my baking always takes off when it’s on and I remember how therapeutic it is, and how impatient I am!

I spotted bags of bananas reduced to 10p outside the local greengrocer so knocked up a quick banana and walnut bread. Joss was delighted to have ‘cakey’ for breakfast and we’re going to have ours later with custard for supper as it’s been one of those days. I had a shocking day today, I somehow fell off a chair at work – “I’m ok , I’m ok” (I wanted to die of embarrassment), Joss sustained her first fat lip and didn’t want me to go to work today, and I turned up at the local Uni library to sign up as a distance learner but forgot it is freshers week so made a wasted journey.

So this is the recipe for my restorative banana bread:

100g softened butter, plus a little smidge extra for greasing
140g caster sugar
1 egg
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 over ripe bananas mashed
60ml milk
85g chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 160C (fan) and grease a 2lb loaf tin with butter

Mix the butter, egg and sugar, then fold in your flour and baking powder

Add the bananas and walnuts

Mix well

Pour into the tin and bake for one hour or until skewer comes out clean. Enjoy! (or freeze half as we have, it will keep well for a good month)

From over ripe bananas to things of beauty


Its GBBO again, I’m no Mary Berry but I’m fond of practical family baking and they don’t come much more practical than these banana breakfast muffins! Bake Off worthy? No. Toddler worthy? Oh yes!


2 large eggs
3oz butter melted gently
3 overripe bananas mashed
Half teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
9oz self raising flour
1/2 tspn each of baking powder and bicarb
4oz caster sugar
4 fl oz milk

Preheat oven to 190 degrees

Sieve all your dry ingredients together and melt your butter.

Add mashed bananas, milk, beaten eggs and vanilla extract to the butter. Mix well, tip into a well in the centre of the dry mix and gently fold in.

Portion into cupcake/muffin cases and bake for about 20 mins until golden, my mix made 12 large muffins, yum!