Saturday, 28 September 2013

Gluten Free for 99p

Well, £1 or less per portion, actually!

That was my challenge to a bunch of gluten free bloggers a few weeks ago, and the reaction was, "let's do it!" Eating gluten free on a budget isn't easy, free from food is far from cheap, so it seemed like an appropriate challenge to come up with some thrifty recipes to share. The task was simple (in theory); come up with a recipe that's gluten free, but costs less than £1 each. In reality, it turned out to be a much trickier thing to do than the initial enthusiasm suggested! Two brave souls finally joined me in creating cheap-but-delicious dishes, and here they are.

Carly: over on Gluten Free B, is annoyed that most budget recipes are a bit insubstantial, dull and take forever to make. To deal with this, she has a brilliant frugal frittata that's perfect for using up any vegetables you've got in the fridge. She rather cunningly uses leftover rice in her frittata, something I had never thought of before! This is the sort of recipe that you can make time and again, varying the ingredients so you'll never get bored.

Alex: has come up with a great leek and tomato quinoa dish that's both filling and nutritious, over on Food Allergy and Intolerance Ink. It's good to know that even those gluten free grains that we perceive to be a bit pricier can actually be used in budget dishes. Let's stop discounting ingredients because we think they're too expensive (or too posh)!

Me: I wanted to come up with a dish that you could serve for Sunday lunch, or as a dinner party meal with friends. Just because cash is tight, it doesn't mean you can't still be sociable. Get your friends to bring the booze, or a dessert and you can entertain with change from a fiver! This dish was inspired by a recipe on Domestic Sluttery last year. The rolled herby lamb breast, by Hazel (my food guru), made me give lamb breast another go after a disastrous first try. It also showed me that tasty stuffing needn't be full of breadcrumbs.

Cheap cuts of meat are often regarded with suspicion, but they're often some of the tastiest cuts, if you know how to cook them. Oxtail makes the most unctuous stews, pork shoulder is perfect for barbecue-style pulled pork and chicken wings make the greatest stock ever! If you can, chat to your butcher, they have so much knowledge to share and will tell you the very best ways to cook your meat, and how to get the most from each cut. (Same goes for your greengrocer, they'll know what seasonal fruit and vegetables are best, cheapest and tastiest.)

Lamb Breast with Boulangerie Potatoes
(Inspired by Hazel Paterson's Rolled Herby Lamb Breast)
You can buy boned lamb breast from most supermarkets, but if you chat to your butcher you'll be able to get him to prepare it and even throw in the ribs for you. Use the bones as a trivet to roast the lamb, then simmer it with some vegetables to make a fantastic stock for soup. This recipe serves four for just under £4.

a large lamb breast (£2.99)
1/2 pack of mint, chopped (35p)
3 cloves garlic, chopped (10p-ish)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vinegar (red wine vinegar if you've got it, otherwise white wine or cider vinegar works too)
400g-ish white potatoes, thinly sliced (the supermarket value/smart price/economy ranges of potatoes are great in this dish) (34p)
1 onion, finely sliced (21p)
salt and pepper
  • Preheat your oven to 230°C (or as hot as it'll go).
  • Spread your lamb breast on a chopping board and trim any bits of sinew and thick pieces of fat. If you ask your butcher, he'll do that for you.
  • Mix the chopped mint, garlic, vegetable oil and vinegar in a bowl. Season well with salt and pepper - it's seaoning the meat too.
  • Spread the mint stuffing over one side of the lamb and roll it up. Tie securely with string. If you don't have string, I've used cocktail sticks with some sucsess before!
  • Put the lamb in a roasting tin and pop in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, layer the potatoes and onion slices in an ovenproof dish, seasoning as you go. Pour water over the potatoes until it just reaches the top layer.
  • After 30 minutes are up, turn the oven down to 160°C and put the potatoes in too. Cook for a further 2 hours.
  • When the 2 hours are up, remove the lamb from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing. If the potaoes need to crisp up a little, leave them in the oven for a bit longer.
You can vary the herbs in the stuffing to suit whatever herbs you happen to have, parsley and rosemary work well too. Likewise, if you'd rather use leeks instead of onions in the boulangerie potatoes, they'd be great!

What are your go-to thrifty foods? Share your hints and tips below.


  1. I don't eat lamb, so can't try your dish - but the presentation is impressive! Shows a just-plonk-it-on-the-plate-r like me precisely how it should be done ...

    1. You can do something similar with pork shoulder, if you eat that?

    2. Nope! Tofu? And, er, gluten ... ;-)