Cheap recipe: egg on toast

two slices of toasted white bread
One essential ingredient

I was just rattling this off to @driahades on Twitter and thought I might as well pop it on here to show exactly how lazy a “cook” I am. It’s cheap and very customisable depending on taste and ingredient availability.

You will need:

  • 3 large eggs
  • two slices of bread and a means of toasting them
  • microwave
  • small microwaveable square bowl, preferably just smaller than a slice of toast
  • salt
  • pepper, ketchup, HP sauce, sliced ham, cheese… anything else you’d like to mix with the egg

Prepare the extra ingredients first – chop up ham into small pieces, grate cheese finely, hack away at a green pepper until it’s in tiny chunks… whatever you plan to add, get it done now.

Crack the eggs into a mixing jug. Sprinkle some salt in and then whisk like hell. You want to get a lot of air mixed in there.

Pop the toast on. Ideally you want to have the toast popping up just before the eggs finish in the next step. Adjust timing to your toasty preferences and the equipment you have.

Add the extra ingredients to the egg and whisk like mad again. Pour the resultant goo into the microwaveable bowl. Shove it in the microwave on “high” for about 3 mins. As it cooks it’ll rise up like some kind of yellowy sponge monster. It’s done when there’s little or no liquid egg left at the bottom, but don’t overcook.

Hopefully your toast will eject before the egg’s done. Spread some sauce (your choice) on each slice to taste. I go for HP.

When the egg’s done, whip it out and run a knife under it to separate it from the dish. Drop it onto one slice of toast, put the other on the top (sauce sides “inside” – duh) and squish. Hold it for a few seconds and the egg will grip the toast and hold the sandwich together as it cools.

Eat and enjoy. Note how, if it’s done right, the scrambled egg doesn’t fall out of the toast the way it would do it you made the sandwich up off a plate. Neater and tidier! And less washing.

As ever, please feel free to comment with any ideas you have for extra ingredients of anything.

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Cheap recipe: stew

Beef Stew
Unmashed - mine's easier on the teeth

Another one of my dodgy recipes following on from the fairly popular “best chicken burgers ever“. This is another based around four simple provisos:

  1. Cheap
  2. Fairly healthy
  3. Little effort involved in preparation
  4. Hardly any washing up involved

So it’s ideal for students, skinflints and blokes.

First up, ingredients:

  • Stewing steak (“real” or tinned)
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • HP Sauce
  • Salt
  • Other veg, spices, sauces to taste – your preference

The recipe is pretty simple. Heat everything up. If you’re using “real” stewing steak you’ll need to get it going quite some time beforehand – one reason I tend to use the tinned stuff. So have this to hand, whichever version you’ve chosen.

Get a huge pot. Something about 6″-8″ deep. Fill it about half or so with hot water, and drop in a palmful of salt. This adds flavour and gets the water boiling faster. Chop the potatoes into thick slices or chips (don’t peel them, but do wash the dirt off if necessary) and drop them in. Do the same with the carrots.

Those vegetables go in first as they take some time to boil to the point where they soften. Keep checking them until they’ve gone past “crunchy” and start entering “firm”. Drop the meat in at this point.

After a minute or so, you’ll be able to skim any excess fat off the top of the boiling water. Remove it and ditch it – told you this was healthy.

Finally, add the peas. These cook quite quickly. If you’ve got them in a tin, just throw the juice in as well. It lowers the temperature of the water, but adds flavour.

We’re getting to the fun bit. I hope you have a potato masher handy (the one you use for cooking, not the old German stick grenade), because once everything’s nice and soft, you’re going to pour off a little of the water (or filter it out using a sieve)  then pummel the hell out of the contents of the pan. Squish everything. All of it. Mashy-mashy.

Make sure you’ve got all the water out by pouring what’s left through a sieve if you’ve not already done this. Get a large plate and plop the resulting mush onto it.

Cover it in HP Sauce. I usually use about a third to a half of a bottle. Mush it all up.

Eat.

Looks awful, tastes awesome.

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Best chicken burgers… ever

Best chicken burgers ever!
Wrap your gob round this, love!

I’m not often one to blow my own trumpet (after all, I know how fucking great I am), but I’ve been told quite a few times that I make simply awesome chicken burgers. Yeah, I know it’s not the peak of haute cuisine, but you know what? I don’t care. They taste great, they’re cheap and they’re filling.

And now I’m going to tell you how to make them.

There are two recipes, both with the same basis. I used to simply make the first of the two, but due to the lovely Leah encouraging me to tinker (and a lack of ingredients available at Tesco one time) I ended up discovering how good the chicken & bacon version could be. All the better for you mere mortals.

At a rough estimate, you can expect to pay between £3 and £8 for enough ingredients to make at least 4 burgers – and that’s assuming you buy the salad cream / HP sauce at the same time and don’t have a bottle to hand. Aldi do some decent frozen chicken burgers that are pretty cheap and come in boxes of 8 or 10. Morrison’s own-brand salad cream is tops and cheaper than Heinz. Bear in mind that potato waffled and hash browns come in large packets so you’ll have a load left over for the next batch of burgers.

You will need:

  • frozen chicken burgers coated in breadcrumbs (Bird Eye are good, but shop around – some cheaper ones are pretty decent as well)
  • bread rolls (again, to taste – people prefer different types of bun and you’re making these for yourself after all)
  • fresh tomato (beef tomatoes are best as they can be as wide as the bread roll)
  • fresh lettuce (bagged stuff is fine, but a crisp iceberg is tops and usually cheaper)
  • frozen potato waffles or hash browns
  • mayo or salad cream for the “classic” recipe, BBQ sauce or HP Sauce for the chicken & bacon burger
  • rashers of bacon for the chicken & bacon burger – one or two per burger, as per your own preference

Preparation isn’t exactly rocket science. First thing is to slice the rolls (if you’ve not been a lazy bastard and bought pre-sliced ones) and toast them face up under a grill until they’re just going brown.

Now pop one chicken burger and one waffle (or two hash browns) under the grill for each bun you’re making. Bang the grill on pretty high. You’ll need to keep an eye on these. As they start to turn brown, flip them all over. Repeat as necessary until they’re cooked to your preference. If you’re making the chicken & bacon burger, pop the bacon on now, too. How you cook it is up to you – I think those George Formby uquelele-and-grill combo things rock.

While they’re getting hot, prepare the rest. Put a generous dollop of whatever sauce you’re using onto the inner surfaces of the bread roll – mayo or salad cream for the standard chicken burger, BBQ or HP Sauce for the C&B. Spread it a bit.

Shred the lettuce if required. I find the best way with a fresh iceberg is to just cut it as if you were cutting a loaf of bread – don’t separate the leaves first. “Slice” it in this manner, then cut the “slices” into strips. This should be fine. Get a decent fistful and pop this on the bottom part of the bun. Squish it down and the sauce should help hold it in place.

Slice the tomato. You want to pop a nice large slice (diameter-wise) on top of the lettuce, and a slightly smaller one onto the sauce you’ve placed on the inside of the bread “lid”. Put some more sauce on each slice of tomato once it’s in place.

Now wait till the hot stuff’s ready. If you’re making a regular chicken burger, the potato waffle or hash browns go next onto the lower bread part on top of the tomato. Then the burger on top, then flip the “lid” into place and *squish* so that everything is bound together and the burger doesn’t fall apart when you try to carry it to the table.

For the C&B burger, it’s potato waffle/hash brown, then chicken burger and then crowned with the bacon. You may want to smear a little more sauce on the top of the chicken before adding the bacon to increase stickiness. And flavour.

Serve with salted oven chips – the thin “French fry” style ones are good.

Sit down, enjoy and just let the thought “fuck you, Jamie Oliver” float through your head.

NOTE: you can add cheese as well, but if you do then go for the bland slices. Anything stronger really just steals all the taste from the rest of the burger.

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