Nigella Lawson rustles up peanut butter pasta and other money-saving meals for €1.50 a portion

Budget dishes created by the celebrity cook also include feta, black bean and clementine couscous, a stir-fry and a speedy steamed syrup sponge

Money-saving meals: Nigella Lawson’s Ocado recipes include one for a speedy steamed syrup sponge. Photograph: Liz Seabrook/Ocado

A “dreamy creamy” peanut butter, dried thyme and garlic pasta dish — apparently a family favourite in her household — is one of a batch of money-saving recipes Nigella Lawson has created in response to the cost-of-living crisis. The celebrity chef says they can all be made for no more than £1.25, or about €1.50, a portion.

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Lawson, who is probably best known for her indulgent recipes, from emergency brownies to Basque burnt cheesecake, has more recently gained attention with cheaper shortcuts such as fish-finger bhorta and spaghetti with Marmite. The four new cost-saving recipes, which also include feta, black bean and clementine couscous, a “cosy supper stir-fry” and a “speedy steamed syrup sponge”, are part of a sponsorship deal with Ocado, an upmarket British online supermarket partly owned by Marks & Spencer.

Money-saving meal: Nigella Lawson’s peanut butter pasta. Photograph: Liz Seabrook/Ocado

The budget recipes come as households look for ways to save money on rapidly rising food bills. Many groceries, including milk, eggs, bread and cereals, are already 20 to 25 per cent more expensive in Ireland than the European average.

Those prices have climbed sharply this year, with food costs climbing by just over 10 per cent in the past 12 months. The picture is even bleaker for many staples, according to the CSO. Pasta is up by almost 22 per cent, milk is up by just under 24 per cent, butter is up by more than 20 per cent, and beef, pork and chicken are all up by well over 10 per cent.


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The most recent grocery-price figures from the retail analyst Kantar suggest the average annual cost of grocery shopping will cost an additional €868, assuming shoppers buy the same products, with the average annual grocery bill now close to €8,000 as grocery price inflation hit 12.4 per cent in the 12 weeks to October 3rd, the highest rise on record.

Britain has seen the sharpest annual rise in food prices for more than 40 years. The cost of budget food items in its supermarkets soared by 17 per cent on average in the year to the end of September, according to data released on Tuesday by the UK Office for National Statistics, while the cost of vegetable oil shot up 65 per cent and pasta 60 per cent.

Money-saving meals: this is Nigella Lawson’s first sponsorship deal with a retailer. Photograph: Liz Seabrook/Ocado

This is Lawson’s first sponsorship deal with a retailer. Unlike fellow British celebrity cooks, such as Jamie Oliver, Heston Blumenthal and even Delia Smith, who have all worked with big supermarkets, Lawson has largely stuck to TV programmes and cookery books rather than big-name sponsorship deals. Her only previous brand collaboration was on a TV ad for Typhoo Tea in 2016 and 2017.

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Her Living Kitchen cookware range, created with Conran and Partners and made by BlissHome, launched in the early 2000s but has since been discontinued. — Guardian, with additional reporting