Budget bites: Take an affordable trip to Greece from your kitchen

·7 min read
Halloumi plus tzatziki? Salads don’t get more Greek than this  (Sorted Food)
Halloumi plus tzatziki? Salads don’t get more Greek than this (Sorted Food)

Petrol prices are higher than ever. Mass strikes over pay have caused domestic and international travel chaos. Retail is bracing for a slowdown as shoppers spend less.

The effects of the cost of living crisis are being felt everywhere, including in food. Recent statistics show that almost half of adults in the UK are cutting back on the amount of food they buy and more than 2 million have skipped meals for a whole day in the past month because they cannot afford to eat. Surges in the prices of everyday supermarket items will force some of the poorest families to turn to food banks to survive, charities have warned.

It’s a worrying time for many people. That’s why we’ve teamed up with the minds behind Sorted Food, a YouTube channel and food community founded by university friends Ben Ebbrell, Mike Huttlestone, Jamie Spafford and Barry Taylor, to deliver a new monthly column focused on reducing food waste and cutting costs.

Every month, we’ll share exclusive recipes from their new Sidekick app, which aims to help home cooks make amazing meals created by professional chefs while saving at least 30 per cent on their food bills and cutting down on food waste. These dishes aren’t just budget friendly at around £2 per portion, they’re also perfect for time poor cooks who need dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.

We’ll also provide a handy shopping list for the ingredients, which are used across all the recipes to ensure minimal food waste. You can decide where to shop, whether it’s locally or online.

In our first instalment, we’re off to Greece with three twists on classic, light dishes that are perfect for midweek summer dinners.

Shopping list

  • 2 aubergines

  • 100g black olives

  • 200g cherry tomatoes

  • 1 cucumber

  • Dried oregano

  • 280g extra firm tofu

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • Ground cinnamon

  • Ground cumin

  • 225g halloumi

  • 2 lemons

  • 2 heads little gem lettuce

  • 250g microwaveable puy lentils

  • 200g natural yoghurt

  • 105ml olive oil

  • 150g quinoa

  • 2 red bell peppers

  • 2 red onions

  • Smoked paprika

Grilled halloumi with tzatziki lentil salad

Serves: 2 people

Ingredients:

1 cucumber

1 red onion

225 g halloumi

2 tbsp olive oil

100 g natural yoghurt

1 tsp ground cumin

1 clove garlic

250 g microwave puy lentils

1 lemon

Method:

1. Salt your cucumber and onions.

Coarsely grate 1 cucumber into a colander set over a large mixing bowl. Halve, peel, and finely dice 1 onion and chuck ¾ of it in. Season generously with salt, mix and set aside ready for later. Get on with the halloumi in the next step.

2.Cook the halloumi. Cut 1 225g block of halloumi into 6 slices crossways. Tip 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large frying pan and place it over a high heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer and loosen, lay in the halloumi slices. Fry for 3-4 minutes on one side before flipping and repeating on the next. Get on with the salad while you wait.

Timer instruction: The timer for the halloumi - it should be golden on both sides.

3. Assemble and mix. Squeeze any excess moisture from the cucumber and onion, then tip the water out of the mixing bowl and chuck them back in. Dollop in 100g of yoghurt, tip in 1 tsp of cumin, then peel and finely grate in 1 clove of garlic. Tip in 1, 250g pouch of cooked puy lentils, then finely grate in the zest from 1 lemon and squeeze in its juice. Mix everything together and season with salt if necessary.

4. Serve. Divide the salad between bowls and lay on the halloumi slices. Scatter over the remaining onion and serve.

Roast aubergine with tomato and olive quinoa

Aubergines, tomatoes and olives are essential vegetables in Greek cuisine (Sorted Food)
Aubergines, tomatoes and olives are essential vegetables in Greek cuisine (Sorted Food)

Serves: 2 people

Ingredients:

150 g quinoa

1 clove garlic

2 aubergine

1½ tsp dried oregano

3 tbsp olive oil

200 g cherry tomatoes

50 g black olives

1 lemon

Method:

1. Get the quinoa on. Preheat the oven to 200C. Tip 150g of quinoa into a small saucepan and add 300ml of water. Season with a generous pinch of salt. Peel, then finely grate in 1 clove of garlic. Place the pan over a high heat, bring everything to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until the grains are soft and all the moisture has been absorbed. Once ready, set the pan aside ready for mixing later. Get on with the rest of the dish while you wait.

Timer instruction: The timer for the quinoa. The grains should be soft and any moisture should have been absorbed.

2. Prep the aubergine. Cut 2 aubergines into bite-sized chunks and tip them onto a medium baking tray. Sprinkle over 1 tsp of oregano. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of olive oil and season with a generous pinch of salt. Rub the oregano, oil and salt over the aubergine.

3. Roast it off. Put the aubergine into the oven to roast for 10-12 minutes, until it is golden and soft throughout. Prep the vegetables while you wait.

Timer Instruction: The timer for the aubergines. They should be golden all over and soft throughout.

4. Prep the vegetables. Halve 200g of cherry tomatoes and finely chop 50g of olives.

5. Mix it up. Once the quinoa is ready, toss in the tomatoes and olives. Finely grate over the zest from 1 lemon, squeeze in its juice and fold everything together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you are still waiting for the aubergine, now would be a great time to get on with a bit of washing up.

6. Serve. Divide the quinoa between plates and top with the aubergine. Sprinkle over ½ tsp of oregano and serve.

Tofu and red pepper souvlaki with smoky yoghurt

Make this Greek classic vegetarian with marinated tofu (Sorted Food)
Make this Greek classic vegetarian with marinated tofu (Sorted Food)

Serves: 2 people

Ingredients:

2 red bell pepper

1 red onion

280 g extra firm tofu

1½ tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp olive oil

100 g natural yoghurt

50 g black olives

1 clove garlic

2 heads little gem lettuce

Method:

1. Prep it up. Chuck 4 kebab skewers into a shallow tray and cover with water if they are wooden - this will prevent them from burning later. Preheat the grill to its highest temperature and line a small tray with tin foil. Deseed 2 peppers and cut them into 8 chunks each. Peel and cut 1 onion into 8 wedges. Cut 1, 280g of tofu into 8 even-sized chunks.

2. Thread ‘em! Thread the tofu and vegetables onto the soaked skewers and place them on the lined tray. Scatter over 1 tbsp of the paprika, 1 tsp of oregano, 1 tsp of cinnamon and a generous pinch of salt. Drizzle over 2 tbsp of olive oil, then rub the seasonings over the tofu and vegetables to coat them fully on the skewers.

3. Grill. Put the whole tray under the grill for 10-12 minutes, turning the skewers every 2-3 minutes, until golden all over. Get on with the yoghurt in the next step while you wait.

Timer Instruction: The timer for the souvlaki. They should be golden all over.

4. Make the yoghurt mix. Tip 100g of yoghurt into a small mixing bowl and add the remaining ½ tbsp of paprika. Finely chop 50g of olives, then peel and finely grate 1 clove of garlic and chuck those in, too. Give everything a good mix, season to taste with salt, then crack on with the rest of the dish.

5. Prep the gem. Thinly shred 2 heads of baby gem lettuce crossways. If you are still waiting for the souvlaki skewers, now would be a great time to crack on with some washing up.

6. Serve. Spread the yoghurt onto plates and load on the shredded gem. Lay 2 skewers on each portion and tuck in!

Recipes from Sidekick, which publishes a wide choice of ‘Smarter Recipe PAcks’, each containing three awesome recipes that work together to make sure nothing is wasted. The app then provides a full shopping list of ingredients to buy – you choose where, so you can shop local or online. These are used multiple times across the dishes, meaning users are left with zero food waste at the end of the week. Subscriptions start at £4.99 per month. Head to sortedfood.com/sidekick find out more.