In the first of a weekly series aimed at helping cash-strapped Islanders at this difficult time of year, Bohemia head chef Callum Graham offers three original recipes that will feed four people for a total cost of less than £5. Tom Ogg reports….
IT may be a new year but, sadly, the same cost-of-living crisis that plagued 2022 looks set to continue long into 2023.
And, let’s face it, the ongoing rise in prices is particularly difficult for low-income earners living in Jersey.
The Island may well be an undeniably beautiful place to live, but it is also an expensive place to live, and it has become even more so in recent months, not least for those with multiple mouths to feed.
It is with this in mind that the JEP has now teamed up with the Co-op for a new weekly feature aimed at helping families at this difficult time.
Launched today, Family Meals for a Fiver will be running in the JEP Weekend supplement over the next few months and, each week, will feature a selection of easy-to-follow recipes created by local chefs, foodies, restaurateurs and café owners.
There is one proviso, however, and that is that each recipe must be made with ingredients bought from the Co-op for a cost of £5 or less.
Participants are allowed to spend slightly more than £5 provided that, when the ingredients are costed, the combined total doesn’t exceed £5 (for instance, if five sausages are used from a ten-pack of sausages priced at £4, this equates to £2 of the total cost of the dish).
In addition, participants don’t have to factor everyday household essentials – such as salt and pepper, vegetable oil, herbs and butter – into the cost.
Among those who will be taking part in Family Meals for a Fiver over the coming weeks will be writer, chef, former restaurant manager and An Island Chef founder Christian Gott, Beresford Street Kitchen fundraising manager Georgie Dodd and her team, and Little Meaw’s Thai Kitchen owner Meaw Sriwirote.
To begin, award-winning Bohemia head chef Callum Graham has created three original £5-or-less recipes, each of which has been made using ingredients bought from the Co-op.
The only Michelin-starred restaurant in Jersey, Bohemia Bar & Restaurant was recently awarded four AA Rosettes at the annual AA Hospitality Awards, with 31-year-old Callum attending the ceremony at the five-star JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel in London and collecting the award on behalf of himself and his hard-working team.
‘When Covid happened, myself and the members of the Bohemia team started looking at what we had on our doorstep that we could use rather than importing from the UK and abroad,’ said Scotland-born Callum. ‘And I think this is something that is becoming more and more important given the way in which the world is developing. If you can get a fantastic product locally then why wouldn’t you try and incorporate it into your menu?’
Discussing his involvement in Family Meals for a Fiver, Callum added: ‘I would say the experience as a whole has been a bit of an eye-opener in that you can make delicious homemade meals within a strict budget. However, you do have to be organised while shopping. As long as you make a list and have a plan then family meals can still be tasty and exciting, even on a budget.’
INGREDIENTS – serves four
- 220g basmati rice, 96p (from the refill section)
- 8 chicken thighs, £2.78
- Bag of frozen mixed vegetables, £1.05
- 30g organic peanuts, 13p (from self-service section)
- 440ml water
- Vegetable oil
1. Turn your oven on and set the temperature to 200ºC fan setting.
2. Pour the rice into a bowl and rinse with cold water, then repeat the rinsing process until the water becomes clear.
3. Tip the rice into a pan over a low heat and add the water. Bring your pan to a boil, then, once boiling, turn the heat down to low, place a lid on the pan and simmer for ten minutes. After ten minutes, turn the heat off and leave for another ten minutes to rest – be sure to leave the lid off the pan to let the rice steam dry. By letting the rice rest and air dry, you will get a better fried rice later on.
4. While your rice is cooking, get started on the chicken. Take a small bowl and mix 2g of cracked or ground black pepper with 2g of table salt, then grab another bowl, add three tablespoons of vegetable oil and toss the chicken thighs in the oil.
5. Now dust the chicken in the pepper and salt and mix, being sure to fully coat the chicken. Put the coated chicken pieces onto a tray and place in the oven for 25 minutes until nice, golden and crispy. (Make sure to always check your chicken is fully cooked.)
6. Once the chicken is in the oven and the rice is cooking, place a large frying pan or wok on the stove and get the pan really hot.
7. Take your peanuts and toss in the pan with no oil, until golden brown in colour, then remove, crush the peanuts and set aside for later.
8. Using the same pan or wok, add 75ml of vegetable oil, carefully add the bag of frozen vegetables and toss well – you will want to get a little bit of caramelisation on the mixed vegetables. Next, add the cooked rice and cook with the vegetables, mixing well for 4-5 minutes. As you do this, season with salt little by little and keep trying the rice until it is seasoned to your taste.
9. Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest for a couple of minutes (check it is cooked with a probe or by cutting in half and checking it has cooked fully).
10. Turn off the heat and then serve the rice by placing it into a small bowl, pushing the rice down, before turning it out onto your plate. Place two chicken thighs next to the rice and finish by sprinkling the toasted peanuts over your rice and chicken.
INGREDIENTS – serves four
- 400g risotto rice, £1.65
- 500g frozen peas, £1.39 (for purée)
- 100g diced onion, 17p
- 200g sliced ham, £1.77
- 100g butter
- 75ml vegetable oil
- 1ltr water
- 1 stock cube
1. Put a pan of salted water on to boil. Once boiling, add the 500g of frozen peas and cook for two minutes.
2. Drain the peas off well and then blend in a blender until smooth. Remove from the blender and set aside.
3. Place one litre of water into another pan, bring to the boil with a stock cube and stir well.
4. Place a large pan on the stove with the vegetable oil and then, once hot, add the onions and sauté (cook with no colour). After a minute or two, add the risotto rice and cook for 1-2 minutes on a medium heat, stirring all the time so it doesn’t stick.
5. Add the stock 100ml at a time and turn the heat down to a low-to-medium heat, stirring all the time to make sure it doesn’t stick. It will take around 20-25 minutes to cook the rice following the process of adding stock bit by bit.
6. Once all the stock has been added, add the pea purée to your risotto and mix well.
7. Add the frozen peas and cook out for 1-2 minutes.
8. Turn the heat off the stove now, add the butter and ham and mix very well, then place a lid on your pan and leave the risotto to rest for 3-4 minutes before serving. This is so that the grains will absorb all the liquid, and also so that they can rest and make your risotto nice and creamy.
WIN £50 worth of shopping from the Co-op
IT isn’t only professional chefs who we’re inviting to showcase low-cost family-friendly recipes – we also want to hear from JEP readers.
Do YOU have a favourite homemade meal which can be made on a budget and which could realistically feed a family of four?
If so, why not send in details, including ingredients, cooking method and, if possible, a photo.
We will then ask one of our featured chefs to select his or her favourite dish from the entries provided each week and the winner will receive £50 to spend on shopping at the Co-op.
To enter, send your recipe information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to mark your email ‘budget recipe’.