More family meals for a fiver from Island chefs

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THE Family Meals for a Fiver initiative continues with top Island chefs offering budget recipes for readers to try at home.

A collaboration between the JEP and the Co-op, the weekly feature is aimed at helping struggling families during the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, with easy-to-follow recipes created by local chefs, foodies, restaurateurs and café owners, all of which are made using ingredients bought from the Co-op for a combined total cost of £5 or less.

Christian Gott – writer, chef, former restaurant manager and creator of the popular An Island Chef blog – offers two original recipes: one-pan sausage pilau rice and carrot and potato soup, crispy potato croutons and bacon ‘dumplins’.

‘I think it’s important when considering this challenge to try to think about cooking skills, energy costs and nutrition as well as flavour, and so I’ve tried to keep the recipes as easy as I could,’ says Christian.

‘I have left the skins on the potatoes and carrots, which is where you find the most vitamins and minerals, and I’ve used as few pans and trays as possible. I’ve also kept the cooking methods very straightforward.

‘I have to say I am really happy with the finished results – and they taste pretty good, too.’

Carrot and potato soup, crispy potato ‘croutons’ and bacon ‘dumplings’ by Christian Gott

Carrot and potato soup, crispy potato ‘croutons’ and bacon ‘dumplings’


1kg carrots, washed and cut into chunks, 65p

800gr small potatoes, washed and cut into chunks, £1.05

1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced, 63p

6 slices of bacon, £1.64 of £5.97 packet

2 chicken stock cubes

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil


1) In a small pan, cover half the potatoes with cold water, then add a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil for two minutes. Remove from the heat and drain.

2) Heat two dessert spoons of oil in a medium sized heavy-bottomed pan and soften the onion. Add the carrots, the remaining potato, stock cubes and 1½ litres of water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Be sure not to over-cook as this will destroy any nutrients.

3) Allow to cool a little before puréeing with a stick blender or food processor. Set aside while you finish the potatoes and cook the bacon.

4) Chop the bacon as fine as you can with a sharp knife until it forms a sticky sort of lump. Rinse your hands in cold water and grab about a teaspoon-full and shape into a ball and place on a lightly oiled plate.

5) When you have shaped all of the bacon, bring 2cm of water to the boil in a frying pan and carefully add the bacon. Gently simmer the balls for five minutes then scoop out onto kitchen paper.

6) Fry the par-boiled potatoes in about ½cm of oil until crisp and golden brown then add the bacon balls to reheat and colour.

7) Heat your soup and check the seasoning and serve with the potato croutons and bacon dumplings sprinkled with some black pepper.

Christian Gott: ‘Starchy root vegetables make great soups or potages. When puréed with a blender, they have a thick, silky texture and you can make hundreds of varieties: carrot and coriander, spicy parsnip, curried sweet potato, French potage.

‘For this recipe, I made half of the potatoes into small roasties to look like croutons and poached the bacon in small balls to look like dumplings. You would add similar small balls of minced bacon to a proper minestrone.’

One-pan sausage pilau rice by Christian Gott

One-pan sausage pilau rice


1 pack of sausages, £2.69

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped, 63p

300gr long grain rice, 45p of £1.80 packet

3 cloves of garlic, crushed to a pulp, 69p

2 dessert spoons of mild curry powder, 50p of £2.05 packet

2 chicken stock cubes

Salt and pepper

Vegetable oil

Optional ingredients:

A cup of frozen garden peas


1) Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a medium sized frying pan and cook the sausages until brown. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

2) In the same oil, gently cook the onion without colouring until soft. Add the garlic, curry powder and rice and cook for a couple more minutes stirring constantly to coat all of the grains of rice.

3) At the same time boil a kettle of freshly drawn water and dissolve two stock cubes if available in 700ml of boiling water.

4) Add the water to the pan of rice and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to low. Simmer slowly for five minutes.

5) Carefully slice the sausages and add to the pan alongside the peas if available. Stir, replace the cover and cook for another six to eight minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is almost cooked.

6) Remove from the heat and leave to stand for five more minutes. Carefully remove the lid and fluff up the rice grains with a fork and check the seasoning. Serve in big bowls.

Christian Gott: ‘A pilau is a dish of fluffy rice or wheat, normally cooked in stock and spices. There are varieties found all around the world, particularly in Turkey and the Middle East, India and Central Asia.

‘This one-pan sausage pilau rice dish is really filling and tasty – we had leftovers for dinner the following night, topped with a fried egg.’

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