RECIPE: Easy Peasy Shepherd’s Pie | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 4
How much does it cost? This recipe cost me less than 75p per person.
What are the benefits? The ingredients in this shepherd’s pie allow for at least one of your five a day along with being low in sugar and loaded with antioxidants.

Why haven’t I knocked up a shepherd’s pie recipe before?! I’ve been eating it my entire life and it’s one of the very, very few recipes that my whole household will happily wolf down to this day.

It’s just brilliant comfort food, isn’t it? Piles of creamy mash, rich mince and earthy vegetables; it’s the epitome of British cuisine, hideously underrated (in my opinion) and something this little island should be very proud of – which is a rarity when it comes to us Brits and our food!


I first learnt how to make shepherd’s pie from an old uni cookbook. I’ve changed things up since then, but still tried to stick with the original recipe’s same simplicity; minimal ingredients, minimal costs.

This dish cost me just shy of 75p per person; however, this can vary. If you want to reduce fat you can opt for the low-fat mince but, be warned, it’ll set you back around £1.10 per person. For a cheaper way to keep prices low, try using meat-free mince – most supermarkets do their own brand versions now and it could bring this recipe down to just 65p per person, so it’s worth considering.

At this point you might be thinking, okay, sure, shepherd’s pie is great and everything, but what are the nutritional benefits? Well, there are some in there, hidden away between layers of mash and mince. Did you know, for example, that potatoes are bursting with antioxidants which help keep our bodies fit and healthy? Also, shepherd’s pie is low in sugar, goes towards your five a day, and is a great balance of carbohydrates that leave you feeling full.

Oh, one more thing – I know shepherd’s pie is meant to be made with lamb and cottage pie with beef, but I only ever knew of shepherd’s pie growing up and honestly can’t be bothered to faff about with the difference now!

4 Large Jacket Potatoes, Peeled & Cubed
500g Mince (low fat if possible, or meat-free alternative)
2 Small Onions, Chopped
2 Carrots, Chopped
1 tbsp (heaped) Gravy Granules
1 Beef Stock Cube
1 Mug of Water

As always, you want to throw in a few dried garlic flakes (fresh if you’ve got it) with the onions, and then season the meat with mixed herbs, salt and pepper. For the mashed potatoes, again, you’ll want a good dose of salt and pepper, along with some dried parsley.

So, this is how I did it…

1. In a large pan of salted water, add the peeled potatoes. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft.

2. Meanwhile, add the garlic, onion and carrot to a large frying pan and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the mince and fry until browned.

3. Add to the frying pan one mug of water, then the gravy granules, stock cube and mixed herbs. Simmer for around 15 minutes, until the mince has cooked through and most of the liquid has gone – but make sure it doesn’t dry out.

4. Drain the potatoes, season with salt, pepper and parsley, and mash with your choice of butter, spread or milk. I usually start mashing with a tablespoon of spread and top it up with small splashes of milk as I go.

5. Pour the mince filling into a large ovenproof dish, top with the mashed potatoes and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. Split into four, serve and enjoy!

Tips & Tricks 

  • It’s really easy to make this suitable for vegetarians; simply swap the mince for a meat-free alternative, use onion or vegetable gravy granules instead of beef and change the meat stock cube for a vegetable one. Done!


  • Sprinkling a little cheddar cheese in with the mashed potato (and then a little more on top of the mash just before it goes in the oven if you fancy it) is a delicious addition. A small teaspoon of English mustard in the mash also adds great flavour.


  • If you can’t spare any butter, spread or milk for the potatoes, just add splashes of water at small intervals while you mash instead. It probably won’t be as creamy, but it is a great money-saving tip.




RECIPE: Mini Toad in the Hole with Mixed Mash and Veggies | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 2
How much does it cost? This recipe cost me less than 75p per person.
What are the benefits? This meal is guaranteed to provide at least three of your five a day, is high in antioxidants and low in sugar.

With winter just around the corner, I’m all about those cosy comfort meals; the “hug-on-a-plate” meals, I like to call them. We’ve all got our own – mine include my nan’s mountainous roast dinners, huge bowls of carrot and coriander soup and mugfuls of hot chocolate. Mmm… ☕

I love food from different cuisines, like Italian pasta dishes or Indian curry houses (I’m sure dishes from the heart of Naples or New Delhi are much more inspiring than our versions, but there ya go),  but I often ignore British food. I hardly ever make a Sunday roast at home and I’d much rather cheesy pasta or creamy curries than a traditional shepherd’s pie. I was brought up on what you’d call “classic British food”, so I’ve tried to be more adventurous in my own kitchen.

But now the nights are drawing in, I’m actually starting to look rather fondly on home-cooked comfort food and feel a sense of familiar warmth from it. This recipe for miniature toad in the hole with mixed mashed potatoes and vegetables is a homage to the food I remember from childhood – meat and two veg, mostly from the freezer, not quite perfect, but healthy and hearty and kind.

The sausages, broccoli, Yorkshire puddings and gravy granules are all ASDA Smartprice (my local supermarket, prices are based on their products), with the first three also being straight from the freezer. It makes this recipe low-cost and pretty easy; it looks complicated but, I promise you, it’s not! It’s a perfect Sunday dinner, and I really enjoyed tucking into this one! British food, I’m coming back to you.


4 Pork (or vegetarian) Sausages
4 Frozen Yorkshire Puddings
1 Medium Potato, Peeled and Cubed
1 Medium Sweet Potato, Peeled and Cubed
4 Carrots
1 Mug of Frozen Broccoli
1 Medium Onion, Sliced
4 tsp Gravy Granules

Make sure you salt the boiling water used for the potatoes and broccoli because… Well, it’s just the done thing, isn’t it? Also, with the mashed potatoes, I like to add a pinch of salt, pepper, parsley and a small teaspoon of English mustard for a lovely flavour – but that’s just me!

So, this is how I did it…

1. Peel the carrots, season and roast whole in the oven on 200°C for 45 minutes 🥕

2. Cook the sausages in the oven according to packet instructions (in my oven they usually take around 30 minutes because it’s piddly and pathetic, so adjust the timings to suit your kitchen).

3. Meanwhile, peel both the potatoes, cut into cubes and boil in a large saucepan of salted water for 20 minutes, until soft enough to mash 🥔

4. Add the onions to a small frying pan and cook on a medium-low heat for 10 minutes to soften.

5. Throw the frozen broccoli into a small saucepan of boiling water for about 5 minutes (these only take minutes to cook, if you like your vegetables al dente then you probably won’t even need the full 5 minutes) 🥦

6. Add the Yorkshire puddings to the oven for the final 5 minutes of cooking (the ASDA puds only take 5 minutes to cook in the oven, if you’re using another brand double check the cooking times).

7. Drain the potatoes, add a touch of butter, milk or water and season, then mash with a potato masher or fork until you get a smooth, creamy mashed potato.

8. Make the gravy according to packet instructions – usually a case of just boiling water in the kettle, pouring in with granules and stirring until smooth.

9. Assemble! Remove the Yorkshire puddings from the oven, spoon the mash into the middle and top with a sausage. Throw the vegetables onto the plate, pour over some gravy and BOSH. Done!

Tips & Tricks

  • Swap the pork sausages for veggie sausages and the meat gravy for onion gravy to make a vegetarian-friendly version.


  • Drizzle a small drop of runny honey on the carrots before they go in the oven to make deliciously sweet honey roasted carrots.


  • Using frozen sausages, broccoli and Yorkshire puddings made this recipe very cheap and very easy for me, but you don’t have to – if you fancy a higher quality meal, or you’re just a dab hand at homemade Yorkshire puds, you can avoid the freezer food.


8 Reasons to Love Winter This Year! | #ThisGirlEats

It’s colder, it’s gloomier, the days are shorter and the weather is harsher. I’m afraid the days of summer are behind us for another year and winter is truly starting to settle in for us Brits. It’s pretty easy to get down about that.

You might not feel like it right now but, trust me, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about winter coming around again! From comfort food to comfy clothes, cinema dates to TV binges, winter definitely has its own unique upsides.

If you’re feeling a little glum about the approaching months, I’ve got a few reasons to look forward to winter this year!

1. At this time of year, TV is like a cuddly comfort blanket. There are some staples of British wintertime telly that just remind us of the season, year in, year out, and it’s like greeting an old, familiar friend every time they come around. Family favourites like Strictly Come Dancing, The X Factor and all the soaps building up to their Christmas storylines might not be BAFTA-worthy watching but they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside each year and I love watching them!

2. Grab some popcorn and your 2 for 1 cinema tickets, because there are some fantastic movies coming out in the next few months! There’s something for everyone – the latest Marvel character is being introduced with ‘Venom’; the life of Freddie Mercury is explored in Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’; Lady Gaga takes a turn in her first starring movie role with Bradley Cooper’s ‘A Star is Born’; we’re on the next train to the wonderful wizarding world with ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’; another addition to our Disney collection is on its way with ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’; and we’re going back to our childhood with the sequel to one of my all-time favourites, ‘Mary Poppins Returns’. I’m excited, are you?!

popcorn gif

3. Now that festival season is over, loads of bands and artists are going out on their own headline tours in the winter, and this year sees some cracking tours making their way up and down the country. Personally, I’ve got some awesome gigs coming up which I’m super excited about – Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish, Dashboard Confessional, You Me At Six and Enter Shikari are just a few! Are any of you heading out to any tours this winter? I’m open to recommendations!

4. Possibly my favourite thing about the cold weather is digging out my winter wardrobe! Summer clothes are beautiful but for me – someone who’d wear black in a heatwave and prefers to hide her wobbly bits than parade them on the beach for all to see – winter clothes are my preferred choice. Cosy knitted jumpers and killer boots accessorised with stylish scarves and funky jackets… I just can’t wait! Many high street stores are already advertising their latest range for the new season.

winter coat

5. Christmas markets are on the way and, as far as I can tell, that can only be a good thing! My favourite Christmas festival is London’s Winter Wonderland, which has been announced as returning for yet another year to the gorgeous Hyde Park. It’s an amazing free festival and I’d recommend it to anyone in the area, but there are plenty of local Christmas markets up and down the country that will be opening up in the next couple of months and they’re always worth checking out for gift ideas and yummy festive food and drink.

6. Let’s face it, from Sunday roasts to midweek stews, comfort food reaches its peak in winter. There’s nothing better than a plate of hearty to food to warm you up on a cold day – check out these recipes for slow cooked pulled pork, veggie chilli with baked potato and carrot and coriander soup for some great winter recipe ideas.


7. It’s the festive season, and that means it’s also the party season. An excuse to dress up and drink up, whether it be the office Christmas party or getting together for New Year’s Eve, is definitely on its way. Winter invites parties and if you love socialising, dancing, getting dolled up and painting the town red, this is your time to shine…

8. … and if parties aren’t your cup of tea, that’s fine too because winter is absolutely perfect for staying in! Cosy nights indoors, with the heating whacked up and the glow of the telly lighting up the dark nights, nursing a mug of hot chocolate and filling your belly with warm food to protect you from the wind and rain outside… Honestly, is there anything better?!

Make It At Home! My Favourite Alternative Takeaway Recipes | #ThisGirlEats

As far as I’m concerned, ordering in is one of the modern world’s greatest luxuries. Okay, so opening that cardboard box and seeing your order slopping all over the place from the dodgy ride in the delivery driver’s car, looking NOTHING like the ad that pinged into your inbox an hour ago, might not look like luxury. But the fact that we can get delicious comfort food without even changing out of our PJs is a marvel.

But takeaway costs a dollar, right? It’s expensive. And it’s unhealthy. And it’s super lazy, let’s be honest.

Making your own “takeaway” sounds like effort, but if you’re willing to put in just a little time you can make something fresh, tasty and satisfying that saves some pennies and doesn’t drown your insides in grease.

I’ve rounded up some of my favourite make-at-home takeaway alternatives, from pizza to a full blown Chinese takeaway. Give them a try and see the savings for yourself!

Tortilla Pizza

Average takeaway cost: £17.99 (based on Medium Pepperoni Passion pizza from Dominos UK)
Average make-at-home cost: £5

Average takeaway calories: 226 calories per slice (based on Large Pepperoni Passion pizza from Dominos UK)
Average make-at-home calories: 470 calories per whole pizza!

This recipe takes barely 15 minutes from start to finish, and it’s honestly such minimal effort. A whole pizza will appear before your eyes before you know it! Check out my tortilla pizza recipe here.

Vegetable Curry

Average takeaway cost: £10 (based on local takeaway prices for a classic vegetable curry, boiled rice and plain naan bread)
Average make-at-home cost: £8.85

Average takeaway calories: 1,020 calories (based on nutritional information from
Average make-at-home calories: 650 calories


Curries are all about the flavour and, sure, you could order a veggie curry with some plain-ass side dishes for a tenner, orrrr you could make it at home, spice it up to your heart’s content, and save some dollar on the side! Check out my recipe for vegetable curry with rice and tortilla naans here.


Average takeaway cost: £11.45 per person (based on standard cheeseburger and small fries from Five Guys UK)
Average make-at-home cost: £8.35

Average takeaway calories: 1,126 calories per person (based on standard cheeseburger with grilled onions, grilled mushroom, lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard and small fries from Five Guys UK)
Average make-at-home calories: 742 calories per person – includes everything in the Five Guys burger, plus avocado and a roasted vegetable side salad.


Five Guys is the God of fast food. It’s what places like McDonald’s and Burger King should aspire to be. But you can slash the price and calories by almost half if you make a piled-high burger and chunky veg side salad at home. Check out my recipe for home made beef burgers with roasted vegetable salad here.