Nigel Slater's cheap and cheerful supper recipes | Food (2024)

Nigel Slater recipes

The cuts are coming, the recession's not gone – it's time for simple, tasty suppers that won't blow a huge hole in your budget

Nigel Slater

Sat 12 Mar 2011 19.03 EST

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email

No matter how much I enjoy a morning in the kitchen purely for the pleasure of cooking, the most useful recipes to me are the cheap and cheerful, everyday suppers I can knock up when I finish work. The sort of food that can be on the table not just quickly but without breaking the bank.

Sometimes this is as straightforward as a bowl of hot and spicy noodles, other times it is something that requires a little more of my time such as a stew of butternut squash or chicken wings that have been cooked with tomatoes and coconut.

Either way, this is the sort of cooking that makes the most of the ingredients I can grab on the way home – be it a packet of bulgur wheat and some rashers of bacon or some minced lamb and a packet of soft flatbreads. The main ingredients are used with mostly store cupboard seasonings that I have in the house.

These are recipes that I adapt to whatever I have around at the time and am happy to swap and substitute ingredients in whatever direction my mood and supplies take me. This is not finely honed cooking but just quick, easy meals made from reasonably priced, accessible ingredients.


I sometimes spoon a little seasoned yoghurt – salt, pepper, paprika – over this at the table, stirring it into the grains. But mostly, I leave the pilaf as it is, enjoying the warm, homely grains and juicy nuggets of mushroom.


smoked streaky bacon 200g
onions 2, medium
olive oil
garlic 2 cloves
small mushrooms 250g
bulgur wheat, medium fine 250g
boiling water from the kettle 400ml
sprigs of parsley 3 or 4
dill 6 sprigs
butter 60g

Cut the bacon rashers into short thick pieces. Peel the onions and slice them thinly. Warm a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large, shallow pan over a low heat, add the sliced bacon and stir occasionally till the fat has turned pale gold. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and leave till soft, golden and translucent, stirring from time to time.

Quarter the mushrooms and add them to the softening onions. Leave them to cook for 5 minutes or so with the occasional stir. Add the bulgur with a pinch of salt, then pour in the boiling water, cover tightly, switch off the heat, and leave for 15 minutes.

Roughly chop the parsley leaves and the dill. Lift the lid from the pan, stir in the butter, herbs and a little salt and pepper. Stir till the grains are glossy with butter, and serve.


Preparing the ingredients first is pretty much essential in this recipe. Once started, there is no time to chop as you cook.


spring onions 6
garlic 3 cloves
spring greens 175g
groundnut oil 2 tbsp
fresh egg noodles 150g
mild chilli sauce 1 tbsp
dark soy sauce 3 tsp
fresh coriander leaves from 4 or 5 sprigs

Chop the spring onions (white and the lower part of the green stalk) into thin rounds. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Snap off the leaves of the spring greens, pile them on top of one another, roll them up, then shred them into finger-width ribbons.

Heat a wok over a high heat. Pour in the oil, swirl it round the pan, then, as it shimmers and starts to smoke, add the chopped spring onions and garlic. Move them quickly round the pan for a minute or two till they start to soften and colour then add the noodles. As the noodles cook, drop in the shredded greens and stir or toss them around the pan as they cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in the chilli sauce and soy, add the coriander leaves and continue cooking for a minute or so till all is soft, glossy and sizzling.


At this time of year, the thick-skinned onion squash are still in good condition, as well as the large blue varieties such as Crown Prince. The ever-present butternut is good here, too.


pumpkin, butternut or winter squash 1 kg
groundnut oil 3 tbsp
onions 2
tomato purée 2 tsp
chopped tomatoes a 400g can
dried oregano a generous tsp
parsley a few sprigs
steamed brown rice to serve

Peel the squash, halve it and scoop out and set aside the seeds. You should have about 800g flesh. Cut into large dice, about 1-2cm square.

Warm the oil in a wide, deep pan, add the pieces of squash (you may have to cook it in two batches so as not to crowd the pan) and leave them to fry till golden brown on their edges. Move them round the pan as they cook, adding more oil if necessary, then remove them from the pan with a draining spoon. (If you wish, wash a handful of the discarded pumpkin seeds, dry them and toast in a non-stick pan till golden brown. Set aside. You can scatter them over the stew later.)

Peel and slice the onions, then add them to the empty pan over a low to moderate heat. Stirring occasionally, leave them for 10 minutes or until pale amber in colour and tender enough to crush between your thumb and finger.

Stir in the tomato purée, scraping away at the tasty, sticky residue in the pan with a wooden spoon. Fry briefly, then add the tomatoes, oregano and a little salt and ground black pepper. Fill the empty tomato can with water and pour into the pan, stirring thoroughly, and bring to the boil.

Return the squash to the pan and leave to simmer, with the occasional, gentle stir, for 25 minutes or until everything is soft when pressed gently with a fork.

Chop the parsley and stir in. Check the seasoning and serve with the brown rice.


Deliciously messy flatbreads to roll up or eat on a plate.


groundnut oil 3 tbsp
small mushrooms 100g
garlic 2 cloves
red chillies 2, small and hot
minced lamb 300g
mint leaves a small palmful
yoghurt 4 heaped tbsp
pine kernels 2 tbsp
flatbreads 2 large
salad leaves 2 handfuls
pomegranate seeds 2 tbsp
green olives, stoned 12

Warm the oil in a wide, shallow pan over a moderate heat. Cut the mushrooms in half and add them to the pan, occasionally stirring them till they colour. Peel and finely chop the garlic then stir it into the mushrooms, leaving it to brown nicely for a few minutes.

Halve each chilli lengthways, removing the seeds and finely chopping the flesh before adding to the pan and leaving to cook for a minute. Tip in the minced lamb, stir into the mushrooms and allow to colour for 5 minutes or so with only the occasional stir so that it browns nicely.

Chop the mint leaves and stir into the yoghurt with salt and pepper.

Chop the pine kernels and stir them into the lamb with a generous grinding of salt and pepper.

Warm the flatbreads and lay them on a chopping board or work surface. Divide the salad leaves between the warm flatbreads and tip over the hot lamb and mushrooms.

Scatter the pomegranate seeds and stoned olives over the lamb, then trickle over the yoghurt. Roll loosely and eat.


You could serve this with plenty of the brick red, coconut-scented sauce and some rice, but I prefer to reduce the sauce over a high heat, stirring almost continuously, till it is thick enough to coat the chicken wings.


groundnut oil 2 tbsp
chicken wings 16, or 12 large ones
ginger a 60g knob
garlic 2 large cloves
ground chilli ½ tsp
ground turmeric ½ tsp
ground coriander 1 tsp
small "new" potatoes 250g
chopped tomatoes a 400g can
coconut cream up to 320ml
coriander leaves a small handful

Warm the oil in a deep frying pan, add the chicken wings, seasoned with salt and pepper, and leave them to colour on both sides. Remove to a plate once they are golden brown on both sides.

Peel the ginger and garlic and blitz them to a rough pulp in a food processor. Blend in the ground chilli, turmeric and coriander. Cut the potatoes into thin "coins".

Return the empty chicken pan to a moderate heat and add the spice mix from the processor. Once it starts to sizzle and its fragrance rises add the potatoes and 200ml water, continue cooking, with the occasional stir, for 10 minutes or until they are approaching tenderness. Stir in the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Pour in the coconut cream (start with 160ml, then add more as you wish). Season with salt, stir well, return the chicken and any juices on the plate to the pan and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes, allowing time for the liquid to reduce a little.

Turn up the heat, and stirring almost continuously, let the sauce bubble till it has thickened considerably. Scrape away the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon as you go to stop the sauce sticking. The sauce should be thick and should easily coat the chicken. Stir in a little chopped coriander if you wish.

Serve in shallow bowls or deep plates and, as it's best eaten somewhat messily with the hands, provide something for everyone to wipe their fingers with.


  • Food
  • Nigel Slater recipes
  • Meat
  • Vegetarian food and drink
  • recipes
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
  • Share on LinkedIn
  • Share on WhatsApp
  • Share on Messenger

View on

Nigel Slater's cheap and cheerful supper recipes | Food (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Last Updated:

Views: 5495

Rating: 5 / 5 (70 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

Birthday: 2000-07-07

Address: 5050 Breitenberg Knoll, New Robert, MI 45409

Phone: +2556892639372

Job: Investor Mining Engineer

Hobby: Sketching, Cosplaying, Glassblowing, Genealogy, Crocheting, Archery, Skateboarding

Introduction: My name is The Hon. Margery Christiansen, I am a bright, adorable, precious, inexpensive, gorgeous, comfortable, happy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.