I’m an accomplished food blogger – Advice Eating

With the cost of living rising seemingly every day, it’s no wonder so many of us are struggling.

But if food is one of those areas where sticking to a budget is difficult, savvy blogger Thrifty Lesley has shared her top five recipes you can cook for your family for under 20p a portion .


Lesley Negus, also known as Thrifty Lesley, has a blog dedicated to frugal recipesCredit: Lesley Negus

First, Lesley’s Stuffed Potato Cakes.



Served 4


  • 650g potatoes
  • 40 grams of regular flour
  • 115 g peas, frozen
  • 115 grams of carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tbsp curry powder/paste
  • 1.5 tbsp oil


  • Peel and boil the potatoes, mash thoroughly, season and leave to cool. Don’t add butter to your porridge.
  • Once the potatoes are not too hot, add the flour and work through.
  • 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 must have a strong taste.
  • Now make your potato pies. Divide the dough into 8 parts. Take a piece and divide it into 2 parts.
  • Flour the work surface and pat out a piece into a rough circle.
  • Repeat with the other half.
  • Place an eighth of the filling on one piece and place the second piece on top. Pinch the edges and roll into a ball, flattening slightly.
  • Repeat for the other seven pieces of dough and the filling.
  • Put the potato pancakes in an oiled pan. Fry gently until browned, flipping and browning the other side. Serve crispy.

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

So why not try a soup night?

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

Lesley’s favorite is the pea soup.



Served 4


  • 200 grams of peas
  • an onion
  • 1 bouillon cube (Lesley recommends turkey broth for an extra tasty twist)
  • 1.5 liters of water


  • Simmer everything in a pan until the peas are soft
  • Beat and season if necessary


You can also toss in any leftover meat that needs to be used up. Lesley had some turkey that needed to be used so he used it in the soup and said it was delicious.

Burgers are popular with many people but can be expensive when made at home due to the cost of meat.

To keep her costs down, Lesley came up with a brilliant recipe using beans – in this case, baked beans.

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

“I’ve tried a few burger recipes and this one is the best in my opinion.”



Makes 8 burgers


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


  • Place the lentils in a saucepan with the water
  • Simmer gently for about 10 minutes, until the lentils are tender and most of the water has disappeared. Keep an eye on them, we don’t want them to stick.
  • Open cans of beans and pour into a sieve. Now run under the faucet to wash away all the sauce. If you want to save the sauce for your next soup or casserole, drain it into a bowl first before rinsing it under the tap.
  • Place the washed beans in a bowl and mash with a fork
  • Chop the onion very finely
  • If you don’t have breadcrumbs in the freezer, make them from slices of bread now. Grate or chop, chop, chop the slices until very fine. Or a stick blender etc
  • Pour everything into the bean bowl and mix well. When the mixture is a little wet to keep its shape, add a few more breadcrumbs. If it seems too dry, add a tablespoon of water
  • Now divide your mixture into 8 equal portions and shape into burgers
  • Let the burgers rest in a cool place until ready. Or wrap and freeze.
  • When you’re ready to eat, put a little oil in a skillet, place your burgers in, and gently fry for a few minutes until golden brown. Flip, add a little more oil, just a teaspoon, and fry the other side. Serve immediately


Serve these burgers with 200g of homemade fries and a dollop of ketchup to keep the cost under 20p a portion.

One thing that many parents struggle with is feeding their kids enough vegetables.

But Lesley has a brilliant recipe for that – her ever-popular Vegetable Crumble.

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

“My girls liked it when they lived at home and my husband loves it, he will always enjoy it when it’s on offer.”



Served 6


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


  • Mix all the ingredients for the topping together and set aside
  • Sauté all the root vegetables in a little oil until tender. You really need to do this, once you add the tomatoes the potatoes and carrots don’t seem to get soft anymore and cooked onions aren’t the flavor we’re looking for here.
  • Pour the base into an ovenproof dish and layer the topping on top.
  • Bake at 190° for about half an hour.


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

Frozen vegetables are often a good choice when it comes to frugality since they cost so little and last forever.

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Lesley is a big fan of using frozen veggies in her recipes, and her pea donuts and chips are a fabulous dinner option.

As an added bonus, they’re vegan – so perfect for all the vegan families out there.



2 serves


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


  • Prepare the fries according to package directions.
  • When the fries are almost done, mix together the thawed peas and flour.
  • Add a pinch of salt and some finely chopped mint if using. Dried mint would also work here.
  • Add a little water to make a stiff dough. It looks like it’s too little flour for the amount of peas, but once cooked, that’s the ratio that tastes good.
  • Put the oil in a frying pan and heat. Add the pea mixture in 4 dollops and cook gently until firm. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown.
  • Serve immediately with the chips.


You can swap out the peas for frozen sweetcorn if you like and it would still only cost 20p a portion.

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