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I love to cook, and I can't stand eating processed food or pre-made meals. To me, the best way to look after your body is to eat a balanced diet of well-cooked food made from basic ingredients, and the best way to show people you care about them is to feed them with such food. This has put me in good stead with more than one former boyfriend, and has allowed me to show my friends and family what they mean to me on many an occasion.
I'm also terrible at following recipes - I own dozens of cookery books, but often will flick through them only for inspiration and references, to get a basic idea and then alter, tweak and generally be inspired from them. I own many books from the BBC Books Good Food Magazine range, having grown to love the associated website (www.bbcgoodfood.com) for its wide range of really healthy recipes starting with basic, healthy and nutritious ingredients and simple instructions. Later on in my life a lovely, sadly now ex-boyfriend, treated me to a subscription to the magazine itself, which I would say is executed in the same clean, simple yet inspirational format - further review on that in future!
BBC Books have released a wide range of '101...' recipe books now. These are fantastic as they are small, simple, light on preamble, easily arranged into sections and boast recipes that are both achievable, balanced and delicious. The books are lightweight, paperback and, if you're quick with the splashes, you can probably wipe any stains suffered during cooking experiments off at least fairly effectively! On top of this they are cheap - they retail at around £4.99 but I have frequently seen them on offer, whilst Amazon sell them for less more often than not.
Ever since I bought my first house I have become more and more conscious of what I'm spending and as such, when I saw the range had '101 Cheap Eats' available, it was a no-brainer - it was a must-buy. On my previous experience of the books I was confident that the recipe selectors would not compromise healthy food in the interests of saving money - they are not the types to say "save money - buy some rubbish processed sausages and stick them between two slices of odious additive-laden white stodge". So I was confident this was going to be a good purchase - and I got it at less than the RRP when my local supermarket were selling the whole range on discount. So, here's my review...
As I stated earlier, these books are small square paperbacks. For every double-page spread you have a recipe and a photo - the recipes are concise, simple and the list of required ingredients is always comprehensive, although you very rarely feel you'd have to travel to the moon to get some mystical-sounding rare component. The photography is clean, fresh and uncluttered, making the recipes look appetising but also achievable, and you also have a nutritional breakdown of the meals included with each recipe.
There is a short introduction from the editor-in-chief - in this case Orlando Murrin - and this book is described as a collection of recipes from Good Food Magazine that best suit the budget-cooking lifestyle. There is a page about conversions and amounts, and the following chapters:
- Salads, Snacks and Light Meals
- Pasta and Noodles
- One-pot dishes
There is also an index.
As the title suggests, there are 101 of them! So I'm not going to ruin the surprise by listing them all. Instead, I'll go through highlighting ones I have tried, ones I would like to try, and ones that have formed inspiration for meals based upon them.
First off, ones I have tried: Mustardy Toad - this is a variation on Toad-In-The-Hole that I cooked a couple of years back after first getting this book. In short, gorgeous, giving you the means to make this and the batter from scrach. Tuna and Broccoli Pasta Bake - a testament to the fact that cheap, store-cupboard food needn't resort to E-numbers and processed ingredients. Chilli Bean Tortillas - absolutely lovely and so easy to tweak to your taste! Chicken and Spinach Pasta - lean protein with carbs and the added iron and vitamins from spinach - brilliant.
I'm not much of a one for desserts so that is a section I have made little use of, but some of the recipes are tempting - Pecan Tart and Choc and Ginger Nut Slice being serious cases in point!
But there are a multitude of recipes in here I would still love to take the time to try; Iced Ginger Cream, Chunky Ham Pie, Ham and Pepper Tart and Chicken with Sweet Onions being a small list to get started with.
I really enjoy this book. It has been a source of inspiration when I have felt low about not being able to afford the best cooking ingredients, and reminds me that even when that is the case, you don't have to sacrifice healthiness or taste if you are prepared to keep a store cupboard that is well stocked.
I love the layout of all of these books and this one is no exception - the chapters are all well-sourced, with plenty of variety, and even if you made any of these dishes knowing you were on a budget I don't see any reason why you shouldn't hold your head up high and know that you are serving your guests with good food.
If I would have one note of warning, I would say that, as this book's primary aim is to provide affordable recipes, whilst they are all based on natural and healthy ingredients, this book does not prioritise calories over cost - so for those of you enjoying a dalliance with the Atkins diet, you may find that the prevalence of pasta-based dishes or pastry meals such as pies and tarts will not be to your diet's liking unless you're enjoying a special occasion. But rest assured, whilst these recipes may be more carb-heavy than your average dieter might prefer (and we all know how to make a stir fry instead if these are strictly on the no-go list!) then the recipes are still created with good, nutritious ingredients and no deplorable e-numbers or worse.
So I recommend this wholeheartedly. I would imagine if you had kids it would also be a helpful book as it would help you feed a family on a budget and still cover all nutritional requirements and hopefully also offer more than enough variety to keep everyone happy week after week. Happy cooking!
I bought the 101 Cheap Eats book around three years ago now. I was concerned about how much money I was spending on food at the time and so was looking at ways to cut back whilst still being able to indulge my passion for cooking. I already owned a few of the books from the 101 series, so when I spotted this one I snapped it up.
First published in 2003, the book opens with an introduction about how good food doesn't have to cost the earth and goes on to say that all of the recipes here have been tried and tested. It then goes straight into the recipes. The recipes are divided into sections, although as with the other books in this series they are not clearly marked and you can only tell which section you are in by looking at the bottom of the page.
Each recipe has two pages dedicated to it. The first shows the recipe with an ingredients list and step by step instructions which are clearly laid out. The second page shows a colour photograph of the finished dish. Nutritional information is displayed along the bottom of the page which is useful for those watching their weight. The recipes in this book serve four in most cases, but I often split them as there's only two of us, or sometimes I will even quarter it if cooking for myself and in most cases this is possible without causing too many problems.
==Salads, snacks and light meals==
This section is relatively large, containing twenty-four recipes. Of these, there are several that I have made numerous times, which is always a good sign for a recipe book. I make the warm potato and broccoli salad quite frequently as well as the bubble and squeak cakes, both of which are simple to make but taste gorgeous. I've also tried the tomato salsa salad, bacon kebabs on mushroom rice, chunky bacon and cheese frittata and the corn stuffed tomatoes from this section, so as you can see it's had a lot of use from me. I have to say, although I have found most of the recipes in this section to work well, the corn stuffed tomatoes were the exception as I found I had way too much filling for each one and the bread (which should be cut into cubes and browned in a pan) ended up soggy.
I do have a bit of a complaint about this section too, which is that some of the recipes are so basic I don't actually think of them as valid recipes, if that makes any sense ! An example would be the tomato pizza toasties, which are just cheese and tomatoes on toast. Another is the cheesy potato jackets which are simply jacket potatoes filled with cheese - this is too basic to put in anything but an absolute beginners cookbook if you ask me. It's ironic too, as the introductory section says 'Forget beans on toast and jacket potatoes with cheese, we've chosen a selection of stylish meals your friends and family will love...'
==Pasta and Noodles==
I do like pasta dishes and again this is a section I've used a fair bit. The roasted vegetable pasta is tasty and requires little effort aside from chopping and throwing everything in a roasting dish. The minted chicken rigatoni is lovely and filling and the herby pasta with peas and bacon is a dish I make regularly and also very tasty. I'd recommend the spicy sausage pasta from this section too. Also, if you like fish, there are a fair few dishes containing fish in this section, such as tuna and two cheese pasta, tagliatelle with smoked salmon and mushrooms and tuna spaghetti.
A lot of the recipes in this section are based around chicken, but there are a few pork recipes and some that use ham, sausages or bacon. I was quite surprised that only one of the chicken recipes uses chicken thighs, the rest use chicken breasts. Given that this book is called Cheap Eats, I would have expected recipes using cheaper cuts. I went to the supermarket yesterday and it was £4 for a pack of 3 chicken breasts or two packs for £7. I personally don't think that is cheap considering that each recipe requires four chicken breasts to serve four people, so that aspect of the book is rather disappointing.
Some of the recipes in this section are chicken and tarragon dauphinoise which is lovely, but I couldn't find any tarragon, so mine was just a chicken dauphinoise! I'd also recommend the griddled chicken salad which is lovely for summer. The egg and bacon tart is great for those who like baking and perfect picnic food. I tried making this with onions instead of leeks and it came out quite tasty, so you can play around with the recipes if you want to. There is also a ham and pepper tart in this section which is similar, but again tasty and can be sliced up for packed lunches too.
I do not eat fish so haven't made any of the recipes in this section. Just to give you an example of what's included though, there is a tuna rosti, potato and salmon grill, prawn and tomato pasta bake and salmon and dill fishcakes.
==One Pot Dishes==
This section is dedicated to dishes that can be made in one pot - so things like bakes and stews. The only one I've tried from this section is the mustardy toad which is basically toad in the hole with mustard mixed into the batter. I do like mustard, but let's just say I've never made this once and never since! Other recipes in this section are chicken and red pepper pie, sausage and corn hash and bacon and tomato cobbler.
Again, like the meat section of the book, I have to question how some of the ingredients can be classed as cheap. There is a recipe in this section which uses 650g of boneless lamb shoulder or boneless lamb leg. Just quickly hopping onto the ASDA website I can see that boneless lamb shoulder costs £8 per kg for a joint or £13.47 per kg for fillets. Lamb leg is £11.98 per kg for a boneless joint. I personally do not think that's cheap at all and it makes me wonder what planet the people who wrote this book we're living on, since they seem to have so little grasp of what 'cheap' is. Maybe it was written by MP's.....? Just a thought!
I've said this a few times now in recipe book reviews, but although I have a sweet tooth I prefer a cake or chocolate to a full on dessert. I've never made any of the recipes in this section, but they include pancake struedels, baked pineapple pudding and steamed rhubarb pudding. I'd personally like to see a few more chocolate based recipes in this section!
==Price and Availability==
The RRP for this book is £4.99, but it is currently £3.79 on Amazon and second hand copies are available for as little as 1p plus postage and packing.
As discussed in my review, I feel that the authors have gone off track a bit and the further through the book I get, the more it seems they have forgotten that this is supposed to be a collection of budget meals, since the ingredients seem to get costlier as the book goes on.
If I put aside the fact that some of the meals use fairly expensive cuts of meat, then I do have to say this is actually a really good little recipe book. I use this fairly regularly and a few of the recipes in this book have become regular meals in my household. I'd say I'm an experienced cook and have never had a problem with any of the recipes and many are very easy to follow, so even if you're a beginner I think you will be OK with this book and I'd recommend it.
This was given to me as a leaving present by my work collegues when I went off to university.
I am not a bad cook, and can make most basic things (pasta sauces from scratch, a roast chicken, a steak), but I like to eat quite healthy and I am always looking for new things to do with the ingredients I have.
This book is divided into 6 main chapters:
- salads, snacks and light meals
- pasta and noodles
- one pot dished
This means if you know roughly what sort of a meal you want to make, you can narrow your search
There is also quite a comprehensive index, which you can browse either by type of meal (pasta, casserole etc) or by ingredient (chicken, eggs, peas, salmon, sausage). This makes it really easy to identify what recipies are suitable for you, say if you have a chicken breast.
At the top of every recipie is a sort of "handy hint" that gives you a little something extra you could do. At for the layout of the pages, you have a picture of the meal on the left page, and then on the right hand page you have the list of ingredients and the recipie. All the recipies serve four people, so if cooking for yourself, you can either quarter the amounts, or make the whole amount and freeze the left overs for later.
All the recipies are quite simple to make, and require very little skill. The only thing I will say, is that some of the ingredients required are not really things found in the typical student cupboard (fresh parsley, turmeric, creme fraiche, muscavado sugar, red wine vinegar, root ginger). Some of these ingredients are quite cheap and easy to buy, but others are unlikely to be used again until you next make the dish.
Despite this, there are still many recipies that can be made from pretty much whatever you can find in your cupboard, and if you don't have exactly the righ ingredient, you can substitute others in.
This book is well organised, well indexed with many simple but tasty recipies. At £4.99 it is a steal!
Good Food books are found in every bookshop usually on their own shelf with their massive extensive range. From 'One-Pot Dishes' to 'Best Ever Chicken Recipes' to this '101 Cheap Eats edition. All books are priced up at £4.99 but WH Smith often have special buy one, get one half price deals if your lucky enough to find them.
The intro to the book by the editor of good food books states its not how expensive your ingredients are, its how you use them and this book follows that principle to the letter with a exhaustive list of different meals that can be cooked on a budget.
The book is laid out in a simple way; Ingredients and cooking instructions on the left hand side page, with a colour picture on the right. The left hand side is where all the info is and the right hand side is your guide to place your effort up against when you have finished - a sort of, "if it looks like this then you have done good!"
On the left page lies the cooking instructions. A list of ingredients with amounts next to them also gives the summary of how many this will serve and how long it will take. Next to it there are numbered instructions to make it as easy as possible to follow. Down below the instructions is another summary; this time of calories, protein and all the stuff that as a male I neglect to be bothered to read.
**RANGE OF DISHES
The book excels with the mass of different dishes there are six main chapters; salads/snacks, pasta and noodles, meat, fish, one pot and desserts; something for everyone and not just one selected type of food.
I really like a great deal of these recipes and have tried a fair amount of the book. My successes have varied though this may be to do with my cooking skills as opposed to the actual recipes. The 'warm potatio and broccoli salad' was quick, easy and relatively edible. The tuna rosti was more of a disaster than peter and jordans marriage but the potatio gratin recipe is one I cook over and over again.
The book is very clear and easy to use The pictures are a good accompaniment and I think all good cook books should show you what you are aiming for. The left hand page also has some summary comments at the top such as alternative ideas if you dont like a certain ingredient - its like the writers have paid attention to every detail.
I must admit I am hard pressed to come up with ideas of what I dislike I guess it may be the amount of ingredients on some of the dishes as its supposed to be 'cheap eats' and yet you can have a basket full of £8 or something for one dish which isnt exactly saving you loads.
Very highly recommended, simple to use, lots of variety in the dishes and more easy to follow than someone like Jamie Oliver's equivilent recipes. All at a cost of £5 is an absolute bargain and such a small size you can buy a number of books in the range without feeling it takes up massive space in the kitchen!
Cooking is a science I always say, and one that before I moved into my own houe, I didn't really understand. This cheap eats book by Good Food Magazine was one of the first cookery books my Mom got me when I moved house and I have to say this initial one inspired me to get the whole series of them. Here is why.
They are quite small books and cost around £5 each but you can usually get a deal on some at Amazon where they cost £3 each. This book is called 101 Cheap eats and it does have delicious recipes for starters, mains and desserts. It has a picture of some tuna, broccolli pasta on the front and because of its size is a very compact little book which looks very smart in my kitchen.
Enough about how the book looks how about the recipes?
Every recipe here is in a very easy to read format. For every one they put a picture of the food you are making on the right and side and the recipe on the left. The recipe is a list of ingredients and then very simple instructions which are numbered.
When I say they are easy to follow it is literally step by step. As there are only four or five steps for each recipe you can follow it easily. Out of every recipe we have tried from the book so far (fingers crossed) has turned out. Even the one we did that turned out nothing like the picture still tasted gorgeous.
My favourite recipes from the book are the tuna pasta on the front which is delicious. My absolute favourite though is the Mediterranean Shepherds pie which is now a family favourite and I have passed the recipe on. In fact everybody loves this book so much that a few of my friends have now got it and are collecting the series.
Out of the 101 recipes we have tried about 40 of them but we always like to try the new things, From this book I have discovered new ingredients such as pollenta that I would never have even thought of picking up and cooking before.
I would say this book could be used by anybody. I have used it to help me get introduced to cooking but I think it really provides you with eating inspiration whatever mood you are in.
In conclusion I think this book is superb. I especially likes the way it is so small that it takes up practically no room in your kitchen which in my small house is fabulous. I genuinely think anybody could follow the recipes in here and it has a good selection of meat and vegetarian recipes (although there are different books in the series for these). It gives you a taster for everything and will hopefully help anybody get into cooking.
It also lives up to its name as everything in here is relatively cheap to cook and is very easily doubled up to feed more people.
5 stars from me.
Thanks for reading.
I'm not really a big fan of cooking. I'm not very good at it, and I don't really have the patience for it. So when it comes to recipes I like simple foods with easy to follow instructions, and preferably a nice picture to show me how it's supposed to look, so I know if it's turned out more or less right or not. The Good Food 101 books are perfect for me.
The 101 Cheap Eats book is a collection of recipes which are, obviously, fairly cheap to make. The way the book is set out is very simple. At the front you have the contents page which tells you what types of recipes are where in the book. then you have a quick introduction, only a page long (and the pages are small). Next comes a 2-page spread of conversions tables, and then straight into the recipes.
Each recipe has 2 pages dedicated to it, the left hand page is the recipe, and the right hand page is a photo. The photos are in glorious full colour, and they all make the food look really lovely. Some of the photos are that good that it's made me want to cook foods that I don't even like, just because it looks delicious in the picture!
The recipes are explained really simply, with a quick tip at the top of the page, a list of ingredients to the left of the page, and the cooking instructions to the right. The thing I love about this book is the way the instructions are written; straight to the point with no waffle, just simple, easy to follow instructions, and no more.
A really handy feature also is at the bottom of each recipe they have the nutritional values per serving. This is great is you're trying to watch what you eat, as it can be a nightmare trying to work out the nutritional values of things you cook from scratch, but here it's all set out for you.
The book covers Salad, Snacks and Light meals, Pasta and noodles, Meat, Fish, One-Pot dishes, and Desserts. Each section has a good selection of interesting recipes to choose from, and there is a lot of variety, not all samey and different versions of the same thing like some recipe books can be.
The only slight downside to the book is that when you look at the list of ingredients you have to buy for some of the recipes, they do not work out as cheap meals at all. I think their version of cheap and mine must be 2 very different things! However, if by cheap they mean cheaper than the crazy expensive recipes in some of the top chef's recipe books, then yes they are cheap.
I do love this little book, and I also love the fact that it's small and doesn't take up loads of space. I've cooked many a recipe from this book, and they've all turned out beautifully. A bargain for as little as £3.39 on Amazon
It's quite rare to find a cookery book where you like more than or two things, according to the chief cook in our household. When you find one that is good all the way through, then it's like gold dust.
101 CHEAP EATS, which is published by BBC Good Food magazine is one of those golden books. It's a small book, which you could just about fit into a jacket pocket. It's good value at £4.99, especially when you compare it with the output of celebrity chefs.
So what do you get inside?
The book gets straight to the point with a brief introduction to explain the philosophy behind writing it. Costs are kept down by careful choice of ingredients, particularly using foods that are in season - hooray for that! - and which are likely to be in the store cupboard anyway. Haute cuisine this is not, but neither is it beans on toast.
The next 202 pages are taken up with the 101 recipes - doing what it says on the tin. The layout for each recipe is the same, so it's very easy to find you way around and get straight to how it works:
The left hand pages
The title of each recipe is in the largest font.
Above the title is a sentence of useful advice about the recipe.
Below, there are two columns: one lists the ingredients in bold, the other tells you what to do, usually in about five steps.
The right hand pages
For every recipe there is a full colour picture of the food. No margins.
There is a four page index at the back of the book, and that's it, apart from picture credits and introductory pages.
Before the recipes start, the contents are displayed as chapters -
Salads, snacks and light meals
Pasta and noodles
Our very favourite recipe is on page 118. This is the one for Pork, Ginger and Apricot skewers, which you would be best to serve with rice, with salad to follow. This is simply delicious, including lemon, garlic, yogurt, onion, turmeric and parsley. Cost is typical - for about £5, you're serving four people.
Another good one is on page 64 - Tagliatelli with Smoked Salmon. They recommend you buy salmon trimmings, easily available from big supermarkets, to save cash.
There's a good tip on page 52 (Pepperoni Pizza Tart) advising you to rinse anchovies in milk to reduce saltiness.
The salads are all lovely, and many would make a great lunch on their own. Tomato Salsa Salad includes bacon, eggs and potatoes!
Puddings (OK, they call them desserts, but I don't) come in with such goodies as Apple and Blackberry Sauce for ice cream; Iced Ginger Cream (another winner, this), Lemon Curd Brulée(just three ingredients) and Coffee Ricotta Creams.
You could certainly entertain friends to lunch or dinner with many of these recipes. We have tested quite a few. The Good Food experts have tested every recipe to make sure that it works. The pictures reflect accurately what the food does look like when prepared, and they make you hungry too! If you get too hungry, then each recipe comes with nutritional information, including the amounts of calories, carbohydrate, protein, salt, fats, and added sugar, so you know what you are getting.
101 Cheap Eats is a handy sized recipe book (ISBN 0-563-48841-7) that was first published by the BBC's Good Food Magazine, in June 2003, that I highly recommend. Whether you are a meat eater or vegetarian, looking for a snack or a main meal or cooking for yourself or a group of friends there is something in this book that will satisfy all but the most finicky eaters.
The back cover boasts this book contains "..... a collection of inexpensive dishes.....", hence the Cheap Eats title, but given that some of the dishes require chicken, lamb or pork, all of which are quite expensive unless you buy the almost out of date, fatty and nasty cuts (and who really wants to buy these?) I would not consider many of the recipes to be cheap. That said, there are many other dishes that do require cheaper ingredients such as tinned tuna, sausage and bacon.
Many cookery books contain a section at the front that describes the origins of many of the recipes, specific details about ingredients contained in the recipes (such as where they come from, how they are grown, when to cultivate them etc.) and other back ground information. Whether this information is really useful in cooking the dish or not (after all most people just buy the ingredients and follow the recipe and the origin of the food doesn't affect the taste in any way) will depend on who you ask since everyone will have their own opinion. Personally, I find some of the background information interesting but not really that useful. 101 Cheap Eats does not contain lavish background information. There is a short introduction, consisting of four small paragraphs, and then it is straight in to the useful stuff.
This book contains conversion tables to ensure you get the correct measures. Like many people in the UK I find that I use both metric and imperial measures (miles for distance and cm or metres in length for example) so I find this conversion table very, very useful. Why the UK cannot either adopt metric or imperial measures is beyond me and this 'mixing and matching' approach is so confusing.
The recipes contained within this book include main meals, snacks/ light bites and deserts. The variety of main meals and snacks/light bites is large and includes different types of salad (such as chick pea and tomato salsa), pasta dishes (such as sausage, mushroom and tuna and two cheese), pork dishes (such as pork and ginger noodles), chicken dishes (such as chicken and red pepper pie), lamb dishes (such as lamb and haricot hotpot), fish dishes (such as orange crumb salmon) and the usual pies, bakes and burger ideas.
The amount of deserts is quite limited and consists of 13 different recipes (such as pecan tart, flap jacks and banana fritters). I have never been one for deserts so the limited choice does not bother me in the slightest, in fact I wouldn't mind if this book didn't have any deserts in it, but if you are the sort of person who likes deserts I can see this will have limitations for you.
Every recipe gives the list and quantity of ingredients required (to serve four people so you have to scale up or down accordingly), the time it takes to prepare and cook the meal, and step-by-step instructions. The text, on the left hand pages, is clearly spaced out, easy to read and follow and uses easily understandable terms. There is no technical jargon here. On the right hand pages there is a photograph of the finished dish.
All finished products are photographed close up and the results are fantastic. The pictures are very clear and every detail can be seen. I have never managed to get my finished dishes looking like they do in the book, although this applies to all meals I have cooked, and I do suspect there is some airbrushing, but at the end of the day does it matter? In my opinion the pictures are there to add to the attractiveness of the book and encourage consumers to buy it. Pictures do not alter or affect the recipes in any way.
According to the back cover the recommended retail price for this book is £4.99. At the time of writing it can be bought new from Amazon for £4.49 or used for as little as £1.10. This is a bargain price for a book that will last ages (there are so many nice recipes to try) and whilst I would recommend shopping around to get it at the right price I think it offers great value for money even if you have to pay the full recommended retail price.
Overall this is a good book and one I would definitely recommend. There is a great variety of meals, that would suit meat eaters and vegetarians alike, however I would not recommend it for vegans since virtually every recipe contains an animal or fish product of some description. All recipes are laid out in an easy to understand and follow format making it a doodle to use. The photographs make the book look nice but I don't think they add any real value.
Whilst some of meals may cost a bit to make, which kind of goes against what this book stands for, there are many other meals that use genuinely cheap ingredients, and at a cost of £4.99 (if you are paying the full recommended retail price) it represents great value for money.
I bought this book as my friend has it and when i went round to dinner at hers recently I made the Pecan Tart from it, while at her house. It was so easy and delicious that i had to buy the book for myself!
I got the book for £3.99 from Amazon rather than the £4.99 RRP. It is well worth it. The book itself is chunky and square and has a nice feel to it when flicking through the recipies.
I like the fact that as you open up each page there is the recipe on the left hand page and a big picture of what you are making on the right hand page. I can't stand recipie books that do not show you a picture of what you are making! I am not the greatest cook in the world so at least a picture of what I am making gives me something to aim for (even if it doesn't always look identical when i'm finished!).
The premise of the book is that it is cheap eats - creating meals and snacks on a budget. I agree that you won't find steak or expensive items that you have to buy and only need a little of, it uses a lot of staples or things that you may not have but are more everyday items. However i can't say that the recipes are entirely cheap to make - the Pecan tart that I made, although utterly delicious - the Pecan's weren't particularly cheap, and it required 2 table spoons of double cream for the filling. Fine if you are going to then have the pie with the rest of the cream but a bit annoying otherwise to have to buy a carton of double cream just for 2 table spoons.
The book contains recipies for starters, main courses, deserts and also some more snacky type food.
I haven't had the book long but of the recipes i have made all have turned out well and i have enjoyed cooking different things. Though the meals are not particularly fancy as the idea is budget meals - there are some recipes that i would defiantely serve up at a dinner party of my friends. The chicken with sweet onions in particular was a great success and the lemon and honey chicken was also very nice.
I think i prefer the deserts in this book on the whole but there are definately a few more of the starter and main courses that I intend to make.
The recipes are short and as well as not using very expensive ingredients are therefore also easy to cook and usually quite quick.
I'd definately recommend this book to just keep in the kitchen for when you fancy something different and definatley to try the Pecan Tart!!
After having a good look at this in Waterstones, I saw some good recipes that I fancied trying and for £4.99 rrp decided to give it a try. This book is very small at around 15cmx15cm which makes it easy to carry round, as well as store in a small kitchen.
There are blatantly 101 recipes, and on each double spread page is a lovely photo of the cooked dish on one side and the recipe on the other. The recipe is really well set out with the details, cooking time, how many the recipe serves (usually 4), nutritional information including calories and a tip to alter and add a different twist.
Around half of the recipes I wouldn't make, but that's the same with every recipe book. As the recipes are cheap eats, many of them are based around cheaper items- sausages, pasta, rice, potatoes, tuna, chicken, ham. However, they are very creative uses, using different tasty sounding combinations. Also I didn't feel there are any really silly recipes in here like I've found in other books- no wasted pages on citrus salads, asparagus wrapped in parma ham or chilled soups. These are all proper meals which means something to me!
The cheesy jackets, leeks wrapped in ham, pork chops with gorgonzola and spicy spaghetti and meatballs are all things I have made and enjoyed. There are lots and lots of recipes I would still like to try and given these times of credit crunching, recipes for cheaper meals are surely welcome. Around 10 of the recipes are puddings, but the savouries look and sound far nicer to me.
Some things I intend to make soon are:
Mediterranean Shepherds Pie
Tuna Pizza Squares
Mustardy Toad in the Hole
Pork and Apricot Burgers
One Pot Lamb with Rice
Give it a try
In the recent economic climate that we've found ourselves in, I have tried various things in an attempt to save money, and short of selling the kids, I think I've done most things to snip my monthly budget in order to become debt-free.
When I saw a copy of BBC Food Magazine 101 Cheap Eats, I thought I'd be onto a winner, because their cakes and bakes book is just fantastic. So, I was tremendously excited when my book arrived from Amazon - I couldn't wait to start trying these cheap and cheerful, but no doubt delicious recipes out.
I thumbed through the book, eyeing the attractive and totally tempting glossy pics with fervour and I have to admit I was salivating after a few minutes (must have been a full moon or too close to lunch time). These recipes looked simply spiffing and I wanted to try them out immediately, so I gathered my pen and paper to prepare a shopping list for the Lamb and Date Casserole on page 166 which had immediately taken my fancy.
I had some stuff on my shelves, but I needed the main ingredients. And here's the rub:
For the 1lb 4oz of lamb, 1 tbsp cranberry sauce (I found a jar lurking in the back of the fridge but it looked decidedly dodgy), ready to eat dates and couscous it was going to cost me in the region of £8-10 depending where I shopped.
And of course, I would still have to replace the carrots, onions, garlic cloves, parsley, tomato puree, flour, olive oil and stock that are usually in my cupboards. Counting all those in on top, I was reckoning about £10-12 for something to serve four. But there are five of us at home so I would have to add another ration and cost that in too. Oh dear. It wasn't looking such a cheap eat after all
Unfortunately, the same can be said for a lot of the recipes in the book. As it was written before our current financial crisis, I think the cheap perhaps no longer applies. Still there are some good features of the book.
A welcoming introduction by the editor-in-chief of Good Food Magazine draws you into a whole new world of cheap eats and not a beans on toast recipe in sight, kind of thing, but he also guarantees you'll "never be short of low-cost recipes for every season ever again". A big claim I think.
There follows five well labelled categories of recipes: Salads, Snacks and Light Meals, Pasta and Noodles, Meat, Fish, One-Pot Dishes and Desserts. Amongst each of the categories there are some options for vegetarians such as Herbed cheese Puff and Cheesy Potato Jackets but I have to say, the recipes that you think might be veggie somehow manage to sneak bacon into them. A bit disappointing on that score then, better to stick to the 101 Veggie Dishes, published in the same series I think.
Other useful information given includes several conversion tables, appetising pictures of how it could be (oh I wish!) Persuasive one-liners to tempt you into that recipe - you know "Kids will love these and they're brilliant for barbecues" type stuff - ingredients, step by step instructions (which, when followed, do actually work), the time needed and how many servings this recipe will make.
The biggest let down for me in this book is the nutritional information. Not that it's poor or anything. On the contrary, it gives info about calories, protein, carbs, fat, saturated fat, fibre, salt and sugar.
My biggest gripe is that the cooks who came up with these 'cheap' eats also came up with portions of food that are ludicrously high in calories! And I hate to think that those people in society with the least means would end up eating the most calories. It's wrong!
The calories range - per portion- from 210 for a 'Chicken with Red Pepper Crust' which doesn't seem bad, and something you could have for your main meal with a few veg. But the highest calorific value is 1023 per portion, yes, per portion, for 'Bacon Kebabs on Mushroom Rice'. The average calorific value is around 4-500 calories, which on my diet is the whole of my main meal plus a 100 calorie treat (Based on 1250 cals a day)
One dessert- Steamed Rhubarb Pudding - has 35g of sugar per portion and a Bacon and Tomato Cobbler contains 4.74g of salt per portion. The recommended daily allowance of salt is only about 4g I'm sure. I suppose it's up to the consumer whether they make the recipe that's in the book that they've paid for but I could taste the salt just looking at the picture so didn't bother.
So, rant over, this is a useful little book, if you don't mind not so cheap and not so low in calorie eats. It's handy in size (about 6" x 5") to take with you to the supermarket for your shopping and also a nice weight to slug a pickpocket round the head with.
For the £2.99 I paid for it, I think I've had enough value out of it. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone going away to Uni looking for cheap food, I'd look elsewhere to be honest as cheap eats it isn't.
Before leaving for my year abroad in France, I figured I would need a small handy cookbook which would not only fit perfectly in my hand luggage but also would inspire me in the kitchen with simple and cheap meals. This book comes from the same people who publish GoodFood magazine and it is a part of BBC Books so you are safe in the knowledge that the people who wrote out the recipes actually know what they are talking about.
Bought in my local bookshop at a sale for just £2 (the normal retail price being £4.99) I found the book to be excellent value considering every second page is adorned with the colour image of the meal you can cook. Not only that but for all you calorie counters out there, there is a special little section stating exactly how many calories in each serving and the usual nutritional information regarding carbs,protein, sugar, salt and fat.
There are (as stated on the front of the book) 101 meals to try and these range from simple salads, pasta & noodles as well as meaty dishes and those oh-so yummy desserts!
The book is separated into 5 sections plus the Index at the end where you can actively search for meals by ingredients or type of meal (dessert, salad etc). Each recipe has a clear ingredients list which include both metric and imperial measurements, the recipe is then given out in a step by step procedure with absolutely no food jargon so you can't put a foot wrong!
I have used this book on countless occasions to entertain friends, family (who have been surprised at the dishes on offer) as well as feeding myself during those study breaks and after a night out. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to make the most of the ingredients in their pantry as well as students who are looking for fantastic tasting food without dipping into their alcohol budget.
101 Cheap Eats is available in all good bookshops and retails at £4.99 although you might be able to get it cheaper online! I suggest you give it a go, and see what you can make
The 101 recipes in this volume are all short and simple with easy-to-follow steps, using readily available ingredients and are accompanied by a full-colour photograph of the finished dish. Whether you choose sausage and potato bake, pork and tarragon meatloaf or Canadian pecan tart, every recipe has been tried and tested by the Good Food team to ensure fantastic results, every time you cook.