We are just over halfway through Health Month at The Irish Times at this stage, and pay day may still be a distant date on the horizon. Thankfully, it is possible to eat well, and healthily, on a tight budget.
Braises, stews and casseroles are your friends this week, stretching budgets effectively as well as being tasty and satisfying. If you are a meat-eater, cheaper cuts come into their own when cooked long and slow in this way. Vegetarian and vegan options can make the most of the glut of seasonal root vegetables, as well as relying on lentils, chickpeas and beans for added protein.
Curries can be a great choice when budgets are tight, as well as when calories are being counted. This is the vegetable curry Irish Times food columnist Paul Flynn and his wife, Máire, make when they’re watching what they’re eating. They named it themselves.
A DETERMINED WOMAN’S CURRY
Cooking time: 40 minutes
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 large (3cm) knob ginger, peeled and grated
2 tsp curry powder
1 onion, finely chopped
½ a small red chilli, finely diced
200g red lentils
1 carrot, chopped into slices
1 cauliflower, broken into florets
1 veg stock cube
700 mls water
1 x 400g can low-fat coconut milk (or half a tin of full-fat coconut milk and the same volume of water)
Bunch coriander, chopped
1 Put the oil, grated ginger and garlic into a casserole dish and fry gently for one minute.
2 Add the onion, chilli, lentils and curry powder and mix together and cook over a low heat for three minutes.
3 Add the carrot and cauliflower, stock cube and water.
4 Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are cooked.
5 Turn off the heat, add the coconut milk and stir it through.
6 Season and serve with plenty of chopped coriander.