Saturday, 11 October 2014

Homemade Take Away

We never order take away food. Okay, I'll revise that...maybe 2 or 3 times a year we'll share a bag of chips on the way home from an evening out, and DS2 gets a free pizza now and then from the place where he used to have a part time job. Otherwise, no expensive take out foods for us. 

So what to do when I fancied a curry and trimmings for tonight's dinner but needed to stick to my 'Stoptober' resolution?  I shopped at home of course, looking in the cupboards and my recipe books to see what I could come up with.

Our menu selection ended being Chicken Tikka Masala, Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry, Onion Bhajis, Garlic and Coriander Naan Bread and plain boiled rice. I had everything I needed either in the cupboards or the freezer and even made my own naan for the first time instead of popping out to the shop for some.

The Chicken Tikka was made with FarmFoods frozen chicken breasts (3 x 1 kg bags for £10 at the time I bought them, so £3.33 a bag). I saved a couple of chicken breasts for a stir fry tomorrow so I'm counting it as two-thirds of a bag for the curry for £2.22. I added a couple of sliced onions (20p) and a jar of Tikka sauce from Approved Foods (2 for £1, so 50p) . Total = £2.92 for 4 servings

The Sweet Potato curry was from the freezer and was leftovers from a previous dinner so I'm counting that as free.

The onion Bhajis were made with a thinly sliced onion (10p) and a packet of Simon Rimmer Bhaji mix (Approved Foods - 5 packets for £1, so 20p for 1), plus a little oil for frying (approx 20p) = 50p for 9 small bhajis (approx 5p each)

The Naan bread was made from a WeightWatchers recipe book using plain flour (approx 10p), 1/2 teaspoon of bicarb of soda (2p), 2 teaspoons caster sugar (5p) a tablespoon of natural yogurt (2p), milk (10p) a free range egg from Aldi (15 for £2.25, so 15p each), garlic cloves (5p),some chopped fresh coriander that was wilted and needed using up (approx 25p) and some oil and butter for brushing (10p) = 84p for 6 medium sized naans or 14p each

The rice was also from Approved Foods and I can't recall exactly how much it cost so I'll allow 50p for that.

Total cost of the meal was approximately £4.74 or £1.18 each for 4 servings. A good deal cheaper than buying a take away for 4 of us. As there's a couple of naans, onion bhajis and a little curry leftover for someone's lunch tomorrow that brings down the cost per serving  even further. An added bonus is that, apart from the bhajis that were fried, it all contained less calories than a high fat take out.

I have also acquired another pair of jeans today and didn't spend a penny on them. DD2 had ordered them from the New Look website but they were a size too big for her. Instead of returning them she asked if I wanted them. I'm a size larger than her, they fit me very well and as I only have a couple of pairs of jeans I offered to pay her the £8 for them. Bless her, she said I could have them for all the cards and things I'd made for her lately. £8 would have been a bargain but a free unxepected gift was even better. I'm slowly replacing all my big clothes with better fitting ones, and the only item of clothing I could still really do with for the winter is a more sturdy pair of shoes, but I can manage without until I have next month's clothes allowance and even then I'll wait until I find a really good deal.

To finish with, in case anyone wants to make their own Naan bread, here's the Weight Watchers recipe I used.

Easy Naan (makes 6 at approx 215 calories per serving)

125ml (4 fl oz) semi skimmed milk
1 egg (beaten)
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon low fat plain yogurt
300g (10.5 ounces) Plain Flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1 teaspoon black onion seeds
2-3 garlic cloves (crushed)
12 g (1/2 ounce) finely chopped fresh coriander
1 tablespoon low fat margerine (melted for brushing)

Preheat the oven to Gas 7/220 C/fan oven 200. Spray a baking tray with low fat cooking spray or brush with a little oil and put in the oven to heat up. In a jug mix together the egg, milk, yogurt and sugar. Set aside. 

In a large bowl mix together the plain flour, salt, bicarb, onion seeds and garlic. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and stir quickly to combine the ingredients into a soft dough.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Press each piece of the dough into the chopped coriander and then roll out to approx 5mm (1/4 inch) thick. Remove the tray from the oven, transfer the dough to the tray, brush with the melted margerine and bake for 8-10 minutes until risen and golden. Serve warm.

I omitted the onion seeds because I didn't have any, and I incorporated the coriander directly into the dough. I also only put the greased tray into the oven a couple of minutes before baking instead of right at the beginning so that the oil wouldn't smoke or burn. They turned out really well, quite soft and not that different from shop bought.


  1. Just goes to show what ingenuity can achieve. I will certainly be trying the naan bread recipe.

    1. The whole meal was really tasty and the naan bread was surprisingly good. Don't bake it for too long, just until it's a light golden colour or it will be too crusty.

  2. I've been making mixed veg bhajis with leftover bits and bobs and freezer mixed veg, but i did get an awful lot of the bhaji mix from approved

    1. I've only ever made onion bhajis but I'll have to remember to make them with leftover veg. Like you I used to order masses of stuff from AF when they had a good deal, but then sometimes it wouldn't all get used. These days I try to just order a few packets knowing that it won't get left on the shelf and eventually have to be tossed out. I'm still working my way through the 48 sachets of vegetarian sausage mix dated 2013 that I ordered earlier this year.

  3. I am guilty of over stocking from AF but it has kept my spending under control since I moved. My cupboards were so full that I had to start working through it all.I have a pile of naan bread mix to use up and found that it makes a very good pizza base.

    1. I do still love AF but these days I'm much more picky about what and how much I order, especially as there are less of us to feed. I'll have to remember that about using naan for pizza bases. I generally make pizza dough in my bread maker, but the naan was much quicker to make.

  4. 48 packets of vegetarian sausage mix - that made me LOL,! I too have some of the onion Bahjis mix. It's nice. I don't know if you have it, but in the Hairy Dieters books there's some great Fakeaways recipes for fractions of the calories and costing too x

    1. I've gradually reduced the quantity of veg sausage mix to about 20 packets. I tend to use it for veg sausage meatballs, as a stuffing mixed with sage and onion, or added to minced beef to make a meatloaf. I don't have that Hairy Dieters book but I noticed in W H Smith's today that they have a 3rd book out that looks interesting so I might add it to my Xmas wishlist.