Vegetable Curry - On a budget

A question that we frequently get asked is how to be healthy on a budget. Your shopping bill wracks up when you are buying organic grass fed beef, heritage tomatoes and the finest French corn fed chickens. There is no getting around pricy meats but you can go for a cheaper cut or buy a whole chicken rather than just breasts (so many meals in one, you have the breasts, thighs and wings, then the carcus to make stock with to keep you going for risottos and soups). Keep meat for a treat if finding it too pricey and get your protein else where – eggs for breakfast is a good start. The next is where you are buying your produce, it really does help going to a local grocer or farmers market and buy what is in season – stock up for the week (you will find great deals if you go to the farmers market at the end of the day). Buy herb plants and make sure you water them – means they will last and keep growing rather than going limp in your fridge in the mater of days (if buying cut herbs then chop the ends of the stalks and put in water). Keeping a store cupboard of spices is also a good tip – means you can jazz up the plainest of veggies in a second. Not all alternatives are expensive – swap pasta for a gluten free version – rice, sugar for honey, fizzy drinks for lemon and ginger, crisps for rice cakes and so on. Salad is something else that doesn’t really go that far and weirdly can be quite expensive – veggies that do go far and that you can make exciting and filling are butternut squash, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, leeks and the good old potato (leek and potato soup.. bam in one). Another good way is to make one pot wonders – we are huge fans of a good old one pot! Currys, ragus, dahls, soups, laksas are all pretty easy, cheap and you can make them last. Either make extra for the week or freeze in small portions so they are easy to defrost. We love this recipe – its easy and cheap, and good for making for numbers if entertaining). If you are having it for supper for the next few days then jazz it up by adding peas one day, or green beans the other (something green and crunchy always helps). This really sums up the way we like to cook – something that tastes delicious, looks pretty and is fun to share. We would serve this in the middle of the table, with a pile of warm flat breads or brown rice, a riata (yoghurt dip) and a variety of chutneys. When cooking supper for friends its nice to keep colour and texture in mind – so even if you are cooking the simplest of currys, it still looks like a multicolored feast fit for kings.


    Vegetable curry- serves 4

    ½ medium Aubergine, cut into 3 cm cubs
    ¼ medium cauliflower, cut into small florets 
    4 Shallots, sliced 
    Ginger, 4cm grated
    8 Garlic cloves finely chopped
    3 red chillies, deseeded and minced
    8-10 curry leaves
    Fresh coriander, handful, stalks finely chopped and leaves for garnish
    1 tbsp garamasala 
    Turmeric, 2 tsp
    Coconut milk, 1 tin
    lime, juice
    400g tinned chopped tomatoes
    maple syrup
    vegetable or chicken stock, either stock cube into a cup of hot water or fresh stock
    1 sweet potato, cut into 2 cm cubes
    okra, small handful with bottoms chopped off (you can use beans or even peas instead)
    toasted flaked almonds


Heat oil in a frying pan, crisp up your aubergine and then set aside on kitchen paper, then crisp your cauliflower Sautee your onions, chili, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, garam masala, turmeric and coriander stalks in a pot on a medium heat, we like using coconut oil but groundnut oil is good too. Cook until the onions are soft then add your chopped tomatoes, lime juice, stock, squirt maple syrup, coconut milk and sweet potatoes. Cook for 15 mins then add your aubergine, cauliflower and okra and cook for a further 10 mins, making sure the potato is cooked through. Served with toasted flaked almonds and a delicious limey yoghurt.