Some of us are legendary and some of us are still figuring things out but when it comes to the kitchen there’s not a lot more comforting then a lovely homecooked meal. Whilst we may find ourselves under the best advice to stay inside at the moment, we thought it’d be a good time to share some amazing cheap recipes that you may find onto your plate if you give them a try! 

gemswork 5 recipes 5 chefs jack monroe
1. Introducing Jack Monroe 


Jack is a cash-strapped single mum living in Southend. When she found herself with a shopping budget of just £10 a week to feed herself and her young son, she addressed the situation with immense resourcefulness, creativity and by embracing her local supermarket’s ‘basics’ range. She created recipe after recipe of delicious, simple and upbeat meals that were outrageously cheap.

Twice-As-Nice Meatballs – Jack Monroe


Makes approximately 24

  • 1 x 400g tin of baked beans, 23p
  • 1 onion, 5p (54p/1kg)
  • A pinch of chilli powder, <1p (£1.15/100g)
  • 2 slices of bread, 4p (36p/loaf)
  • A handful of fresh parsley – optional
  • 1 tbsp flour, 1p (45p/1.5kg)
  • 500g turkey mince, £2.70
  • 2 tbsp oil, to cook them, 3p (£1.10/1l)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

First drain and thoroughly rinse the beans to remove the majority of the tomato sauce. Folks often wonder why I do this; value range baked beans are a third of the price of their plain equivalents, and underneath the saccharine sticky orange sauce, they’re just a humble haricot bean, and can be used in a variety of recipes. They do retain a slightly orange hue, because as any parent knows, that stuff stains! But they are just fine to use here.

Pop your newly nude beans into a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5-10 minutes, until very soft and tender. Drain them well and tip into a mixing bowl, and mash to a pulp.

Peel and very finely chop the onion, and toss into the bowl with the bean pulp. Grate in the bread, and finely chop the parsley and add that too. Spoon in the flour, and chilli, salt and pepper if using, and stir to combine. Add the mince and mix well with a wooden spoon, or if you don’t mind getting a little sticky, use your hands.

Flour or lightly oil your hands to stop the mixture from sticking to it, and then shape it into little balls. A tablespoon is enough to make a decent sized ball, and bear in mind the larger they are the longer they will take to cook through!

Fry in a frying pan in a little oil on a high-medium heat, turning occasionally to cook evenly, until cooked through, and then serve.

gemsatwork 5 recipes 5 chefs Mary berry
2. Mary Berry

Ever sat and watched The Great British Bake off and thought “I’ll have a slice of that!”. Well now you just might be able to with legend of the bake Mary Berry’s Lemon Drizzle Traybake. Baking is a great activity to involve others in and will be great for keeping children entertained and also develop a new skill! Hopefully, yours will get Mary’s seal of approval but give it a try and let us know how you get on.


Lemon Drizzle Traybake – Mary Berry


  • 225g (8 oz) butter , softened
  • 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
  • 275g (10 oz) self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • finely grated rind of 2 lemons
  • 175g (6 oz) granulated sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons

A traybake or roasting tin 30 x 23 x 4 cm (12 x 9 x 1 ½ inches)

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Cuts into approximately 30 squares


Cut a rectangle of non-stick baking parchment  to fit the base and sides of a traybake tin or roasting tin, 30 x 23 x 4 cm (12 x 9 x 1 ½ inches). Grease the tin and then line with the paper, pushing it neatly into the corners of the tin. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3.

Measure all the ingredients for the traybake into a large bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes until well blended, an electric mixer is best for this but of course you can also beat by hand with a wooden spoon. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula to remove all of the mixture. Level the top gently with the back of the spatula.

Bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the traybake springs back when pressed lightly with a finger in the centre and is beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.

Allow the traybake to cool in the tin for a few minutes then lift the traybake out of the tin still in the lining paper. Carefully remove the paper and put the traybake onto a wire rack placed over a tray (to catch drips of the topping).

To make the crunchy topping, mix the lemon juice and granulated sugar in a small bowl to give a runny consistency. Spoon this mixture evenly over the traybake whilst it is still just warm. Cut into about squares when cold.

gemswork 5 recipes 5 chefs Ella Mills
3. Ella Mills

For our meat-free friends and those curiously conscious about trying some meat-free alternatives, we’ve got the dish for you. Ella Mills aka Deliciously Ella, which started back in 2012 as her own venture to tackle some health issues and readjust her diet. Has since gone on to have five cookbooks, a recipe and yoga app, five lines of food products, a deli, a podcast. Making Ella a serious resource for those looking to expand on their cooking and try something new.


  • 400g green lentils, washed and drained
  • 2x 400g cans coconut milk
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes, optional



Place a pan over a medium heat.

Add the chopped garlic with olive oil and salt and let that cook for 1-2 minutes before adding all the spices, followed by the chopped tomatoes.

Stir well, letting the garlic and spices fry together for a few minutes before stirring through the lentils, followed by the coconut milk.

Bring the mix to the boil, before reducing to simmer over a low temperature.

Leave to cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour until thick and creamy – making sure to stir it every 10-15 minutes, ensuring it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and adding a splash of water if it feels like it’s drying out.

Once cooked, stir through a little more salt and serve. We love it with avocado, chilli flakes and coconut yoghurt.

We’d love to know what’s been helping you stay healthy. Let us know in the comment box below!

gemsatwork 5 recipes 5 chefs Miguel Barclay
4. Miguel Barclay

Miguel has become famed for his costly and effective one pound meals. What’s more than that, he’s even gone to the extent of creating an app called COMPARASURUS so you can compare prices of all potential ingredients.

Miguel’s meals are as easy to make as his instructions suggest, meaning anyone should be able to give it a go! If you have eggs in the morning, here is one way you may like them..

gemswork 5 recipes 5 chefs Miguel Instagram
gemswork 5 recipes 5 chef Jamie Oliver
5. Jamie Oliver

School may be out, but now is a better time than ever to harness the greatness in your young ones. Is there a future MasterChef living right before your very eyes!

By getting your children involved in cooking, not only relieves some of the work and pressure for yourself but it triples up as a great activity for you to share with your kids and further teaches them some great life skills. As it is very important to follow health and safety rules within a kitchen, it might be best to leave all the tricky cutting to yourself. However, you may have just recruited a superstar washer upper permitting you can trick them into it…


Jumbo fish fingers

Makes 10 Portions

Cooks In 25 Minutes Prep, Plus Cooking



  • 1 x 2 kg side of salmon, skin off, pin-boned , from sustainable sources
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 250 g wholemeal bread
  • 30 g Cheddar cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil


Something as humble and everyday as a fish finger can be made even more nutritious if you make your own, and even better, you can go jumbo in size! I like to use salmon but, of course, white fish works well, too.

Cut the fish into 10 x 120g portions. The nature of the shape of the salmon side means that they won’t be uniform in size, but that’s all part of their charm. I tend to cut the side lengthways about 3cm thick, then into chunks from that.

In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with the paprika and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

Tear the bread into a food processor, grate in the cheese, add 2 tablespoons of oil and whiz until you have breadcrumbs, then tip into a tray.

Coat each fish portion in the egg mixture, let any excess drip off, then turn in the breadcrumbs until well coated all over. Transfer to a tray lined with greaseproof paper, layering them up between sheets of paper until they’re all coated (this is probably more bread than you need, but it is easier to work with – simply discard whatever’s left).

Cook right away or freeze in the tray – once frozen, you can pop them into a tub or sandwich bags for easier storage.

To cook, place however many jumbo fish fingers you need on a roasting tray and cook in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for 15 minutes from fresh, or 20 minutes from frozen, or until golden and cooked through.


Sides of salmon are often on offer – it’s simply one of the realities of the fish farming industry that due to variations in supply and demand, there’ll be surpluses. So when you see salmon on offer – take action and take advantage of that great value!