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I’m a savvy food blogger

WITH the cost of living rising daily, it’s no wonder so many of us struggle.

But if food is one of the areas where you struggle to stick to a budget, savvy blogger Thrifty Lesley has shared her top five recipes to cook for your family for less than 20p per serving.


Lesley Negus, aka Thrifty Lesley, has a blog dedicated to frugal recipes1 credit

First, Lesley’s Stuffed Potato Cakes.



For 4 people


  • 650g potatoes
  • 40g plain flour
  • 115g frozen peas
  • 115g carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp curry powder/paste
  • 1.5 tbsp oil


  • Peel and cook the potatoes, mash them carefully, season and leave to cool. Do not add butter to your mash.
  • Once the potatoes are not too hot, add the flour and mix.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling.
  • Sauté the onion in a tablespoon of oil
  • Add the peeled and diced carrot and curry powder and simmer for a minute or two
  • Taste and season if necessary. The filling should have a strong taste.
  • Now prepare your potato pancakes. Divide the dough into 8. Take one piece and divide into 2.
  • Flour the work surface and roll out a piece into a rough circle.
  • Repeat with the other half.
  • Place an eighth of the filling on one piece, place the second piece on top. Pinch the edges together and roll into a ball, flattening slightly.
  • Repeat for the other seven pieces of dough and filling.
  • Place the potato pancakes in an oiled frying pan. Fry gently until golden, flip and brown the other side. Serve crispy.

Many families like to follow a routine and eat certain dishes on certain nights of the week.

So why not try a soup night?

The soup can be incredibly cheap to make, but it’s also hearty and nutritious – perfect for adults and growing children.

Lesley’s favorite is split pea soup.

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For 4 people


  • 200g split peas
  • an onion
  • a stock cube (Lesley suggests turkey stock for an extra delicious kick)
  • 1.5 liters of water


  • Simmer everything in a saucepan until the split peas are tender
  • Assemble and season if necessary

To note:

You can also discard leftover meat that needs to be eaten. Lesley had turkey to use, so she used it in the soup and said it was delicious.

Burgers are a favorite of many people, but can be expensive if prepared at home due to the cost of the meat.

So, to cut costs, Lesley came up with a brilliant recipe using beans – baked beans in this case.

“I really like this bean burger recipe,” she said.

“I have tried a few burger recipes and this is the best I think.”



Makes 8 burgers


  • 30g red lentils
  • 158ml water
  • 355g baked beans, rinsed
  • 50g onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 40g of breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 lemon – zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder


  • Put the lentils in a saucepan with the water
  • Simmer gently for about 10 minutes until the lentils are tender and there is almost no water left. Keep an eye on them, we don’t want them sticking.
  • Open the cans of beans and pour them into a colander. Now go under the tap to rinse all the sauce. If you want to save the sauce for use in your next soup or casserole, drain them first in a bowl before rinsing them under the tap.
  • Pour the rinsed beans into a bowl and mash them with a fork
  • Chop the onion quite finely
  • If you don’t have breadcrumbs in the freezer, prepare them now from slices of bread. Grate the slices, or chop, chop, chop until very fine. Or use an immersion blender, etc.
  • Add everything to the bowl of beans and mix everything well. If the mixture is a little wet to keep its shape, add a little more breadcrumbs. If it seems dry, add a tablespoon of water
  • Now divide your mixture into 8 equal amounts and form burgers
  • Rest the burgers in a cool place until done. Or wrap them up and freeze them.
  • When you are ready to eat, put a little oil in a frying pan, place your burgers in it and sauté gently for a few minutes until golden brown. Flip, add a little more oil, just a teaspoon, and cook the other side. Serve immediately

To note:

Serve these burgers with 200g of home fries and a dollop of value ketchup to keep the cost below 20p per serving.

Many parents struggle to get their children to eat enough vegetables.

But Lesley has a brilliant recipe for it – her ever-popular vegetable crumble.

“Vegetable crumble is a family favorite in our house,” she said.

“My daughters loved it when they were still living at home, and my husband loves it, he will always appreciate it whenever it comes up.”



For 6 persons


  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 100g of flour
  • 75g oats
  • 50g cheddar cheese
  • 50g salted peanuts
  • 340g potatoes
  • 340g carrots
  • 100g onion
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons parsley (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)


  • Mix all the filling ingredients together and set aside
  • Fry all the root vegetables in a little oil until tender. You really have to, once you add the tomatoes, the potato and carrot don’t seem to go soft anymore, and the boiled onion isn’t the flavor we’re looking for here.
  • Put the base in a baking dish and pour the filling over it.
  • Bake at 190° for about half an hour.

To note:

If you have it, Lesley recommends serving this crumble with a crunchy green vegetable.

Frozen vegetables are often a good choice when it comes to being frugal because they cost so little and last a long time.

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Lesley is a big fan of using frozen vegetables in her recipes, and her pea fritters and fries are a fabulous dinner option.

As a bonus, they are vegan – so perfect for all vegan families.

Fried peas and fries


For 2


  • 175g frozen peas, thawed
  • 350g frozen fries
  • 50g self-rising flour
  • 15ml vegetable oil


  • Cook fries according to package instructions.
  • When the fries are almost done, stir the defrosted peas and flour together.
  • Add a pinch of salt and a little finely chopped mint if using. Dried mint would also work here.
  • Add a little water to make a stiff paste. Looks like it’s too little flour compared to the amount of peas, but when cooked, it’s the ratio that tastes good.
  • Put the oil in a frying pan and heat it. Add the pea mixture in 4 spoonfuls and cook gently until firm. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown.
  • Serve immediately with fries.

To note:

You can swap the peas for frozen sweetcorn if you prefer, and it would still only cost 20p per serving.