Energy Saving recipes

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18 Nov 2022 |

With the cost of living crisis, we know a lot of people are looking for meals that are adaptable, energy efficient and delicious. We're sharing our top picks for cookbooks that will help with making the most of your pantry provisions, low energy meals and takeaway alternatives.


Garlic Mushroom Lentils and Fried Eggs with Parmesan and Rosemary, from Tin Can Magic by Jessica Elliott Dennison 

Garlic mushroom lentils

The key to frying mushrooms is allowing your pan to get smoking hot so that they catch at the edges and take on an almost meaty, charred flavour. Keep an eye out for more unusual wild varieties to mix in with more common button and chestnut mushrooms – they’re increasingly available and offer a deeper flavour and more interesting textures.




4 tablespoons rapeseed (canola), vegetable or light olive oil

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced

200 g (7 oz) mushrooms, dirt brushed off, roughly torn (ideally a mix of wild, chestnut and button)

2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves only, roughly chopped

1 x 390 g (13¾ oz) tin of green lentils in water, drained and rinsed

½ lemon, zest and juice

1 teaspoon salt

100 g (3½ oz) spinach, washed and drained

2 eggs

4 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan



Rosemary - sage, tarragon, thyme

Green lentils - cooked puy lentils, cooked pearl barley, cooked spelt, cooked brown rice

Parmesan - pecorino, feta, goat’s cheese, mature Cheddar, halloumi

Walnuts - almonds, hazelnuts, pecans



If you can’t find more interesting varieties of mushrooms, add a splash of soy sauce when you stir in the spinach, as this will give them a deeper, earthier flavour.



First, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Add the garlic and, stirring regularly, fry for 1–2 minutes until golden and fragrant. Take care not to burn the garlic or it will become overly bitter. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl and set aside.


Next, increase the heat to high and add 1 tablespoon more oil. Add the mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes, or until browning and catching at the edges. Stir in the rosemary, fry for 1–2 minutes until crisp and fragrant. Stir in the lentils, lemon juice, salt and spinach until wilted. Add a few splashes of water if the pan contents look a bit dry.


Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in another non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Crack in the eggs and fry for 1–2 minutes until crisp on the base but still with a runny yolk, or to your liking.


To assemble

Divide the mushroomy-lentils between two plates. Top with a fried egg and the reserved crispy garlic. Sprinkle over the Parmesan and the zest of the remaining lemon half.


Tin Can Magic is available at all good bookshops, Waterstones and Amazon


Fettuccine Bolognese, from Vegan One Pot Wonders by Jessica Prescott

Fettuccine bolognese

This recipe is more about technique than anything, as how it tastes will ultimately depend on which specific brand of vegan mince meat, type of wine and selection of herbs you use. With that in mind, taste, taste, taste as you go and adjust seasonings as necessary. As with traditional Bolognese, I would not recommend serving without some kind of ‘cheese’. I prefer to go the creamy route, with dollops of vegan cream cheese or chevre melted on top and then stirred in before eating.





a very generous glug of olive oil

1 brown onion, very finely chopped

2 celery stalks, very finely chopped

2 carrots, very finely chopped

400 g (14 oz) vegan mince meat

60 g (2 oz/ ¼ cup) tomato purée (paste)

3–4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

120 ml (4 fl oz/ ½ cup) red wine

690 g (1 lb 9 oz) jar passata (sieved tomatoes)

1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) veggie stock or vegan ‘chicken’ or ‘beef’ stock

1 generous teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) dried fettuccine

generous amount of herbs (fresh or dried)

salt and freshly ground black pepper


To serve:

good-quality vegan feta or other soft cheese (optional)

fresh herbs such as basil, parsley or oregano (optional)

nutritional yeast (optional), to taste

dried chilli (hot pepper) flakes, to taste


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat, add the onion, celery and carrots and cook for a good 5–10 minutes until the veggies are soft and starting to turn ever so slightly brown. Add the mince meat and use a wooden spoon to break it up into smaller pieces, add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the tomato purée and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring it into the mince. Add the wine and let it cook for a few minutes (until it no longer smells pungent), then add the passata, stock, salt and sugar. Bring to the boil and add the fettuccine and dried herbs (if using). Gently coerce the fettuccine into the sauce, and cook according to the pasta packet instructions, stirring every now and again to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.


When the pasta is cooked, remove the pan from the heat, give everything a good stir and cover the pan with a lid. It should still be a little soupy at this stage, but have faith! Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then remove the lid to reveal a delicious, silky, perfect Bolognese. Taste, season with salt and pepper if necessary, and serve, topped with something creamy, fresh herbs, nutritional yeast (if using) and chilli flakes.


Leftover Bolognese will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.



Vegan One Pot Wonders is available at all good bookshops, Waterstones and Amazon


Beef and Black Bean Sauce, from Simply Chinese by Suzie Lee

Beef with black bean

Black beans are a great addition to any dish – they add a good umami kick, and can be made into a rich sauce with just a few extra ingredients. Please do not mistake Chinese black beans for Mexican black beans: they are completely different! Chinese black beans are actually soy beans which have been fermented.


Serves: 4




3 tablespoons dried fermented black beans (or use tinned pre-soaked black beans )

a little vegetable oil (if need)

1 large onion, cut into large cubes 

½ thumb-sized piece (about 20 g/ 3/4 oz) grated fresh ginger root 

2 large garlic cloves, grated 

1/2 chicken stock cube, crumbled

1 large red (bell) pepper, deseeded

and cut into large cubes

 ½  teaspoon caster (superfine) sugar (optional)

1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch) paste 

2 spring onions (scallions), sliced diagonally 

sea salt and white pepper



about 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) beef rump steak, thinly sliced against the grain (or sirloin or fillet) 

1 ½ tablespoons light soy sauce 

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 

2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch) 

1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or mirin, white wine or water) 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 



Put the dried fermented black beans in a small heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 15 minutes.


Put the sliced beef in a bowl with the soy sauce, sesame oil, cornflour and Shaoxing wine, stir to coat and marinate for at least 15 minutes (or in the fridge overnight).


Heat the vegetable oil for the beef in a wok or large frying pan (skillet) over a high heat, add the marinated beef and fry for a couple of minutes until it is slightly coloured but still pink – do not cook it through. Transfer to a bowl or plate.


Heat a little vegetable oil in the same pan you used for the beef, over a high heat. Add the onion cubes and a large splash of water to help them soften a little bit and cook for 2–3 minutes (the water also helps to deglaze the pan). Add the ginger and garlic, fry for about a minute until you can smell their aromas, then add the black beans (drained) and the crumbled stock cube. Fry for another minute or so, then add the pepper and the beef and 200–250 ml (7–81/2 fl oz/scant 1 cup–1 cup) of water and let everything bubble away for a couple of minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning (it should be

salty enough). If it is too salty, add the sugar or more water to adjust the taste, then some cornflour paste, a teaspoon at a time, until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. Toss in the spring onions and serve with basmati rice or noodles.



Fermented black beans can be bought in your local Chinese supermarket or online and are very inexpensive.

Any leftover dried or rehydrated black beans will keep in the freezer for six months.


Simply Chinese is available at all good bookshops, Waterstones and Amazon