Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


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Pieday Friday ~ Creamy asparagus pasta

I know I’ve gone a little mad over asparagus this month (see my ham and asparagus pie recipe!), but it’s in season and it tastes great so this week I’ve added it into one of my favourite dishes – pasta.

This is such a simple carbonara-based dish that only takes me about 20 minutes to cook - pasta, cheesy white sauce, chunks of bacon and steamed asparagus – what could be easier?

cassiefairy pieday friday seasonal creamy asparagus pasta carbonara recipe

Put the pasta on to boil and add a steamer pan on top with the asparagus in it to cook along with the pasta. Crisp up some bacon under the grill. To make the carbonara sauce add 2 tablespoons of butter into a saucepan and melt before adding 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix into the melted butter and stir quickly to cook off the flour. Pour in a little milk and mix to create a creamy sauce. Keep adding  more milk as it thickens until you get the smooth, thick sauce texture you like. Add grated cheese to taste and a little salt and pepper. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce, slice the asparagus and bacon and add into the pasta.


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Pieday Friday recipe – Thrifty spaghetti & meatballs

I think that pasta is one of the cheapest and most filling meals you can eat – especially spaghetti and penne, which are usually priced around 40p in the ‘basics’ supermarket range. You can funk up these carbs with a yummy tomato sauce – again you can normally get a basic Bolognese sauce for around 30p or you can easily make your own with a tin of own-brand chopped tomatoes at around 20p, a squirt of garlic paste and tomato puree (50p for a whole tube), a tablespoon of dried mixed herbs (20p or less for a tub) and salt ‘n’ pepper to taste. I know it might be a bit more fiddly than opening a jar, but at least you know what’s going into your sauce and you can adjust the flavours to your preference. If you have an onion lying around you can finely dice it and fry it off before adding and you can load up the sauce with any yummy veg you like; peppers, mushrooms and fresh tomatoes.

pieday friday recipe for spaghetti bolognese and meatballs cooking pasta main meal

  1. Fry off the onion or veg in a little oil or fry-light for a couple of minutes before adding a squirt of garlic and tomato puree. Frying this off for a little longer then add the chopped tomatoes, herbs and seasoning. Let your sauce bubble and reduce down, ready for your pasta and meatballs. This sauce will probably be enough for 4 people, or 2 greedy folk, like myself!
  2. Take the skins off 2 sausages per person and add a sprinkling of herbs (and even a grating of cheese if you like!), mix together and shape into meatballs. Fry in a little Fry-Light until golden on the outside then pop in the oven to cook through.
  3. Pile the meatballs onto the spaghetti and pour over a nice helping of your homemade tasty sauce.

pieday friday recipe for spaghetti bolognese and meatballs cooking main meal

steaming shepherds cottage pie recipe pieday friday cooking method


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Pieday Friday – Steaming Shepherds Pie

For this week’s Pieday Friday, I thought I’d share a simple, traditional shepherds pie recipe with you – perfect for a Friday evening meal or a Sunday lunch. This quantity serves 4, so me & hubby enjoyed it one night this week and froze the second half to pop in the oven one evening next week.

Ingedients: 500g lamb mince, 1 large chopped onion , 2-3 diced carrots, 1/2 swede diced, handful of peas, 2 tbsp tomato purée, large splash Worcestershire sauce, 500ml beef stock. For the mash topping: 900g peeled potatoes , 85g butter, 3 tbsp milk

Method: Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C. Boil potatoes for 15 mintues until tender. Meanwhile, add a little oil or Fry-Light in a medium saucepan and soften the onion, carrots and swede for a few mins. When soft, add the mince lamb and brown, tipping off any excess fat (I used extra lean steak mince, so there was hardly any fat). Add the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce, then fry for a few mins. Pour over the beef stock, then simmer for 20 mins before throwing in a handful of frozen peas. Drain and mash the potatoes with the butter and milk. Put the mince into an ovenproof dish, top with the mash and ruffle with a fork. Bake for 20-25 mins until the top is starting to colour and the mince is bubbling through at the edges.

The pie can be frozen for up to a month and to cook from frozen, bake at 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 for 1 hour until piping hot in the centre. I hope you enjoy this recipe and please let me know if you give it a go :)


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Classic Sunday Roast Beef – Yummy Yorkie Wraps Recipe

This is one of my favourite Sunday dinners inspired by a meal in our local student pub when we lived in Lancashire and I’m sure you’ll love it too! This meal is essentially thinly sliced roast beef wrapped in a massive flat yorkshire pud with chips (or roasties if you prefer) and peas with a big glug of meaty gravy.

Batter ingredients: 250ml semi-skimmed milk, 2 large eggs, 7 oz flour, salt and pepper seasoning

Whisk up the ingredients for the batter and fry a 2 pancakes per person using a decent amount of batter in a small non-stick frying pan (I use Fry Light so that the pancakes/wraps aren’t too oily). The batter recipe is basically the same as you’d make for pancakes but with a little extra flour to make a thicker, more yorkshire-puddingy pancake. Next warm through your ready-sliced beef in the oven and lay the slices on your pancakes and roll up to make 2 yorkie wraps per person. If you fancy a little horseradish or mustard, spread a thin layer onto the pancakes before adding your beef slices for a little extra zing!

Serve with yummy chips or roast potatoes, using Fry Light again for a low-calorie version, gravy and peas/veg of your choice. Delicious!

Sunday Roast


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Try out this yummy recipe – 5 Bean Chilli for all the family!

Last week my little sister needed to plan a recipe for her Food Technology GCSE (that’s Home-Ec to you & I!) practical - and this needed to be a high-fibre main course. I could think of plenty of fibre-filled puddings but was a bit stuck for a main course other than something pasta-y. Then I remembered a recipe for 5 bean chilli that I’d eaten before and we set about recreating the dish.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 175g Quorn Mince (or you can use 200g real mince if you prefer)
  • 400g Tin of mixed beans
  • 400g Tin of kidney beans
  • 400g Tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 200g Tomato juice or passata
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 tsp red chilli paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 beef oxo cube

Dice the red onions and gently sweat them off in a little olive oil before adding the garlic paste, tomato puree, chilli paste and cumin. Fry this off for a minute then add the quorn mince, cook this another minute or two and add the tin of chopped tomatoes if it starts to stick on the base of the pan. Drain and rinse the tinned mixed beans and kidney beans then add them to the pan. Add the tomato juice/passatta, a couple of bay leaves and crumble in the oxo cube. Allow to simmer whilst you prepare the rice and stir a few chopped chives into some sour cream or creme fraiche to serve.

This is the result of the practice run we had done the night before her practical lesson at school – which means 5 bean chilli for two nights on the trot; good thing it’s so yummy! We served it with brown rice for the higher-fibre option, but on the second day we had it with white rice and it was just as good!