Sophie Wright presents a book covering mostly main meals, but also a few desserts and sauces/marinades, that can be made on a budget by maximising flavour and minimising cost. There are plenty of hints on what to do with leftovers from each meal and a list of kitchen staples to have on hand.

Cook on a Shoestring: Easy, Inspiring Recipes on a Budget is a large (nearly A4 size) softcover book, 170 pp.

I’m liking

The photography is beautiful (a full page photo for each recipe) and there is clear information on how long each recipe takes to make. I really like the links between recipes showing what you can use eg leftover meat for, and the page listing ingredients she expects you to have in the cupboard.

There are some yummy simple recipes, like sausage and bean cobbler, pineapple fried rice, and Tuscan bean soup.

Things that made me go hmmmm

This book was a disappointment to me in that my idea and Sophie Wright’s idea of ‘a shoestring’ are clearly different. I don’t routinely have things like turkey mince, filo pastry, glass noodles, and fresh salmon in my kitchen, and wouldn’t be likely to buy them except for a special occasion.

The meat recipes are mostly for large pieces of meat cooked in the oven for a long time, carved and served. Leftovers to be used in another dish etc. I think these could do with instructions for cooking in a slow cooker, and also a bit more variation in the recipes and how to make two meals out of them.

It may be the fact that it’s a UK cookbook, but I also didn’t recognise many of the meat cuts or types of fish. Onglet steak, anyone?

The conclusion

As a cookbook, it’s interesting, colourful and certainly worth a look as long as you don’t mind trying some different things and buying some extra ingredients.


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