by author of Comfort Food, Julia Bettelheim
The whole meaning behind my recipe book is exactly this to whip up a meal on a budget!
There are many examples I could give but I shall select a few varieties for different occasions:-
The Courgette Slice or Vegetable Slice both of which are in the light meal section only take a few ingredients and in the courgette slice bacon which is the most expensive ingredient can be left out and replaced by mushrooms. The slice takes just a few minutes to prepare, all the ingredients go into a bowl then into a slice tray before being baked. Then all that the slice needs is maybe some mash potato and steamed vegetables or a garden salad. This meal would be ideal for small children or adults for a light meal that would take about an hour from start to finish. Only for adults only it could be accompanied by a glass of crisp white wine.
The savoury pastries may take more effort initially (depending on the pastry) but once the filling mixture is made then one is ready to go. Just bake then serve with vegetables or eat on the run. The savoury pastries all have the added advantage in that they freeze easily so they can be used as a freezer meal that can be batch cooked in advance then pulled out and microwave when ready to serve/eat.
The Creamed Corn Chowder is a meal in itself and is nothing more than a few diced vegetables and a couple of cans. This recipe takes about 15 minutes to cook from start to finish and if you use pre diced vegetables then there is no work you just pour into the pot and stir. However while the soup is simmering and you are just stirring occasionally then in the meantime you could be making a Chicken Caesar Wrap to accompany the soup. The chicken schnitzels can be pre purchased in a batch of 6 and kept frozen and the wraps can also be kept frozen and both can be used as and when needed. If one fancies a little decadence with the soup and sandwich then the Ice Cube Chocolates could be the dessert with a cup of tea after the soup and sandwich.
All my meat was locally sourced from a supermarket and I tended to go for the cheaper cuts of meat but still quality. For my stews and casseroles which are best cooked in a slow cooker and prepared in the morning and then you just leave it on a low heat all day and by the evening all you need to do is to cook an accompaniment to the stew such as mashed potato to go with Somerset Lamb (or mashed potato already made from a supermarket), some garden peas that can be microwaved in two minutes and some steamed vegetables and dinner is ready in ten minutes and it was all prepared quickly in the morning. As a casserole is a good comfort food why not finish the meal with a one bowl Humming Bird Cake. This would need to be in the oven before you start making the casserole. Then the icing can be made and the jam spread in the middle while the vegetables are cooking.
These examples of meals are all easy to make, quick to prepare and economical for all budgets. Any leftovers can be kept in a fridge for two to three days and can also be frozen (except for the sandwich) then pulled out for a one person wonder emergency and this is where one has ³Comfort Food to the rescue.
About the author: Growing up in Wellington, New Zealand, British born Julia Bettelheim enjoyed an early start in the catering industry and as a teenager took lessons from a private chef. Her family then moved to Melbourne, Australia where she lived for the next twenty-two years and worked as a tupperware sales representative travelling the city providing cookery demonstrations and sharing recipes that were suitable for storing. After her divorce in 2008, Julia moved back to England where she now lives in Chatham, Kent and works as a chef in the kitchen of the cafe at UCL in London. Comfort Food by Julia Chen (published 13th February 2018 RRP £9.99 paperback and RRP £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores.