One of my Twitter followers has challenged me, me of the bread-and-pasta staples, to try to make gluten free recipes on my budget. The results will be here as I experiment – although she is also a vegetarian and hates kidney beans, but I think I have enough left to work with despite wiping all of my staples out! The first thing I noticed when walking around the supermarket was the price difference in gluten free or wheat free products. Where my usual value range plain flour is 65p, the spelt flour is £1.99. Eek. Still, onwards and upwards, clutching my tenner, here’s what Small Boy and I had for (gluten free!) lunch:
Courgette ‘Pasta’ Ribbons With Honey, Chilli & Tomato Sauce. £1.06 for 2 portions, 53p each.
2 courgette, 60p (£1.80 for 1kg, 6 in my bag)
1/2 carton chopped tomatoes, 17p (35p per carton)
½ an onion, 3p (Part of a 1.25kg vegetable pack. £1)
1 chilli (free, grows on my window ledge)
Handful each of basil and parsley (free, grows on my window ledge)
Teapoon of clear honey, 3p at a guess (99p for a jar)
20g Italian Style Hard Cheese, 23p (£2.30 for 200g)
Chicken stock cube, 1p (10p for 10)
1. Pour half the carton of chopped tomatoes into a saucepan. Dice the onion and add it to the tomatoes, with the basil, parsley, chilli, and honey. Crumble the chicken stock cube in and cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, cut the top and bottom off each courgette. Cut lengthways, to make four ‘halved’ courgettes, and then lengthways again so you have eight long thin pieces of courgette.
3. Using a vegetable peeler, peel ribbons of courgette away and add to a saucepan of cold water. Continue until you cannot peel any more. Put the skins and leftover pieces of courgette to one side to make Kids Courgette Fries with. (I don’t like to waste things and as I was making this I had a Small Boy nagging at me for a snack. Double bonus.)
4. Bring the water to the boil and simmer for a couple of minutes – these just need warming through.
5. Drain the courgette ribbons and shake thoroughly to get rid of any excess water. Separate with a fork as you serve into two dishes.
6. Spoon the tomato sauce over the top, and add shavings of hard cheese to finish.
Make it posh variations:
1. Add a generous sprinkle of pine nuts to the courgette when draining to add a crunchy texture and delicious nutty taste. Alternatively add them to the top with the cheese shavings.
2. Serve with home made garlic bread at 9p per portion.
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe
*(Prices calculated at Sainsburys, using the Basics range where available. Costs checked on date of publication against ASDA SmartPrice, Tesco Value, Morrisons Value and Waitrose Essentials. Some variation between major supermarkets but most items widely available at similar price.)