Looking for cheap recipes that are easy to put together and will keep the whole family happy? We tell you what’s in season, with 10 great ideas for cheap recipes made with seasonal food to help you make the most of what’s on offer this spring.
1. New potatoes
Delicious cooked in their skins and served as a simple side to grilled salmon or lamb. Mix with spring onions or chives and dress with a vinaigrette or mayo dressing, or satisfy kids’ carb cravings with a Pasta alla Genovese. Just mix with pasta, pesto and green beans then top with grated Parmesan.
Ok, so it’s not bargain basement, but it can still be great value so why not treat yourself while the season lasts? Blend with peas into a creamy soup, wrap in Parma ham and roast, dip into boiled eggs or blanch and bake into a tart with feta, mint and tomatoes.
Packed with vitamins, iron and anti-oxidants, spinach is cheap and plentiful at this time of year. Keep it simple and wilt with a touch of nutmeg, or pair with ricotta in a fritatta, quiche or cannelloni. Or blitz it into a pasta sauce for kids – they’ll never know it’s there.
4. Broad beans
Tasty, versatile and abundant for a few short weeks. Blanche briefly then refresh in cold water and dress with olive oil, lemon juice, mint and parsley. Or make broad bean hummus by whizzing up cooked beans with garlic and lemon to serve as a dip.
5. Spring lamb
British lamb is at its best right now, and a leg or shoulder makes the perfect family roast. However, you don’t have to use expensive cuts. Make a stew using neck fillet and fresh spring vegetables, or use mince in minted burgers or Moroccan spiced meatballs.
The perfect brain food for kids, salmon is low-fat and packed with protein and essential fatty acids. Make it go even further with fish cakes – cook a fillet then mash into potato with a little parsley. Shape into cakes, cool in the fridge then dip in beaten egg, coat in breadcrumbs and fry on each side until golden.
Reasonably priced and available year-round, pork needn’t be an unhealthy option. Stir-fry strips of loin with garlic, ginger and spring onions or serve grilled chops with salad for a simple mid-week supper. And for a weekend treat try slow roast five spice pork belly with rice and greens on the side.
This rich oily fish comes with bags of health benefits. Try slashing the skin diagonally and rubbing with Thai curry paste and coconut milk or cumin and cayenne pepper. Then grill or barbecue till charred and crisp. If the kids prefer a little less spice, cut into fingers and roll in flour, egg and breadcrumbs for healthy home-made fish-fingers.
Rhubarb is actually a vegetable, but does a pretty good job of acting like a fruit. Chop into chunks, sprinkle with sugar then cook with stem ginger and orange in a moderate oven for 15 minutes. Cover with a crumble topping, bake until golden and serve with custard.
Thanks to modern production techniques British strawberries are now available –and affordable – from April through to October. Pile on top of vanilla cheesecake, whiz up a breakfast smoothie, cram into a Victoria sponge, bake into muffins or just enjoy with a big bowl of ice-cream.