...a review of Delia Smiths's Frugal Foods.
Frugal Foods was republished in 2008, with all royalties being donated to CAFOD. It was first published in 1976, and reading it is in some ways a nostalgic journey through food history. The recipes themselves seem a little dated, as you would expect, but they also seem reliable, straight forward, clearly explained and tasty, which is also what you would expect from Delia.
The artwork in the 2008 publication is lovely. Simple, clean line drawings, and beautiful photographs of simple, frugal ingredients like eggs or carrots, which complement the tone of the book; that food can be simple, tasty, nutritious and interesting, at the same time as being frugal.
There are no photographs of finished dishes, but as the recipes are clearly explained this does not seem like much of a draw back.
Cost cutting advice is given throughout, and is fairly simple and basic - but no less valid for that! I tend to read cookbooks more for inspiration than to follow recipes to the letter, and there was plenty of inspiration here. I was reminded of many 'old faithful' dishes which had been pushed aside in favour of newer flavours.
One of the recipes which I tried out was egg with cheese and spinach sauce. This brought back memories. Delia, of course, gave concise, thorough instructions. Here's my garbled version!
Make a bechemel sauce, with 40g butter, 25g flour and 275g milk (or in my case, a dollop, a couple of spoons full, and 'enough'.)
Meanwhile, boil 4 eggs.
Stir 50g cheese into the sauce.
Cook and drain thoroughly a bag of spinach. Stir into the cheese sauce. Give it all a good mix. Delia suggested whiz zing it all up in the food processor. I expect that would make a lovely jade colou, but frankly I didn't want the extra washing up.
Put a bit of sauce into the bottom of a dish. She'll the eggs and cut them in half. Put them into dish, cut side down. Top with rest of sauce, then sprinkle over a handful more cheese.
Delia suggests putting under the grill, but I had my oven on for something else, so popped it in there for ten minutes.
I love cheese, I love spinach, I love egg.....this dish was great!
I served it with some new potatoes and some carrots, but it would be nice with salad too.