Meat, Student Meals, Vegetarian

How to make a Three Course Meal for under £5

Inspired by the Twitter chat I hosted on “Food Pricing”, I set up a challenge to create a 3 course meal for under £5 (or US $7.50). The challenge ended this week and I had 3 amazing entries, but before I get to that, I completed this challenge myself and here are the results:

Starter: Baked Vegetable Samosas

Baked Vegetable Samosas

These little savoury parcels are a perfect small bite to tantalise the palate. A spicy vegetable filling is made incredibly simple by using tinned vegetables, shop-bought mild curry powder and spring roll pastry (filo pastry would also work). Baking is a much healthier and safer way to make these samosas and the hardest bit is filling them. You can make these even smaller and they would make great canapés or nibbles.

Makes 12 medium samosas

  • 1 red onion, diced – £0.14
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained – £0.55
  • 1 x 300g tin of sliced carrots, drained and chopped into bitesize pieces – £0.19
  • 1 x 600g tin of sliced new potatoes, drained and diced – £0.60
  • 100g frozen sweetcorn – £0.11
  • 100g frozen peas – £0.10
  • 1 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 6 sheets of spring roll pastry – £0.33
  • Salt and pepper

Total Cost: £2.02, cost for Two: £0.34

Prepare the filling by cooking all the vegetables in a medium frying pan with the curry powder and some water. Season to taste and pour out to cool. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the pastry into 2 rectangles. By imagining the bottom half of the rectangle is a square, fold in half along the diagonal so that the bottom edge of the rectangle meets the left hand edge. Fold the pastry upwards, keeping that same bottom edge on the left. Dampen the top face with water slightly and fold into the samosa shape. Fill well with the cooled filling and bake for 18 minutes, turning halfway through.

Main: Spiced Pork Burger with Red Cabbage Coleslaw and Sweet Potato Fries


Burgers are becoming something much grander than just fast food and from a van. Some restaurants in the heart of cities now celebrate the burger and it’s quickly becoming an artisan product. The bun, the choice of meat, the method of cooking, the accompaniments all make the burger what it is. Pork is rarely used in burgers and because of the price limit, I bumped up the flavour with spice and I finish it in the oven to keep it juicy.

Serves 2

  • 280g pork mince – £1
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into fries – £0.67
  • ¼ red cabbage, shredded finely – £0.13
  • ¼ white cabbage, shredded finely – £0.18
  • ½ carrot, cut into thin strips -£0.04
  • 3 radishes, cut into matchstick slices – £0.20
  • 1 egg yolk – £0.04
  • 100ml olive oil – £0.35
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard – £0.05
  • ½ red onion – £0.07
  • 1 tomato, sliced into 6 rounds – £0.13
  • 2 lettuce leaves – £0.06
  • 2 wholemeal buns – £0.33
  • Salt and pepper

Cost for Two: £3.25

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Drizzle the chopped sweet potato with oil and season well. Bake until softened and browned. For the mustard mayonnaise, whisk the egg yolk with a pinch of salt and the wholegrain mustard. Gradually drizzle in the oil, whisking constantly. When it thickens and has a spreading consistency, toss about two-thirds of it with the prepared vegetables, except the onion, tomato and lettuce. Set aside.


Mix the pork mince with the paprika and form into two equal sized patties. Season one side well and place seasoned-side down into the pan. Season the other side and turn only when the burger moves freely from the base. Once both sides are browned, place the burgers onto a baking tray and bake until the juices run clear. Slice the buns in half and place into the pan the burgers were cooked in to warm up. Spread the base with some of the mayonnaise, top with some lettuce, tomato, onion slices, the burger, the other half of the bun and skewer together. Serve with some of the coleslaw and sweet potato fries.

Dessert: Deconstructed Lemon Meringue Pie


Deconstructed desserts were once the height of fashion in the restaurant world. Take the elements of a classic dessert, cook them individually and amalgamate into a new dessert. The best deconstructions will think about new ways to convey flavour, the presentation and the texture, something which I tried to consider in my facsimile of a lemon meringue pie. I’ll admit that it wasn’t a substantial dessert however it was light and a nice way to end the meal.

Makes 4 servings

  • 150ml whole milk – £0.06
  • 1 egg – £0.08
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar – £0.02
  • 2 tbsp plain flour – £0.01
  • 50g lemon curd – £0.07
  • 50g plain flour – £0.02
  • 30g margarine – £0.06
  • 20g granulated sugar – £0.02
  • 50g porridge oats – £0.06
  • 1 egg white – £0.04
  • 50g granulated sugar – £0.05

Total Cost: £0.49, cost for Two: £0.24

Start with the pastry cream by warming up the milk. Whisk the egg, sugar and flour together and gradually add the milk, stirring continuously. Return to the heat, whisking until it thickens. Then fold through the lemon curd and place a sheet of clingfilm on the surface and allow to cool. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Rub together the flour, margarine and sugar together until it resembles a crumble topping. Stir through the porridge oats and start to press together on the baking tray. Bake for around 15 minutes until browned. Once cool, break up into smaller chunks and set aside. Over a pan of simmering water, in a heatproof bowl, whisk the egg white with the granulated sugar until the meringue is thick and glossy. Construct your deconstruction however you want.

Total Cost for Two: £3.83


My winner of this challenge was Philippa Alison from Pippa and Food. Whilst Becky from Becksbake and Dee from Jay and Dee both entered superb dishes, with the sweet potato chips making another appearance from Becky and an Egyptian theme running through Dee’s meal, Philippa took a vegan spin on the challenge and that tipped the balance in my favour.

 Becky Main Dee Main

Here is her 3 course meal and the link to the post:

Starter: Butternut and Squash Soup

Main: Tomato and Basil Pasta

Dessert: Stuffed Apples

I loved seeing the creativity of all 3 entries and I would love to see more entries for my ‘Food to Love’ challenge. This challenge is all about the food you love to eat. The challenge is to make a sweet or savoury dish that contains your most favourite ingredient. Here are the rules:

  • Enter via Twitter and must include #TSCSmartCookie
  • A picture of your dish must be included, stating the ingredient you love
  • You must follow me on Twitter – @CakeBoy626
  • Challenge ends on Friday 10th April at 23:59

3 thoughts on “How to make a Three Course Meal for under £5”

  1. That winning menu looks fab. I’m a fan if Pippa and Food and love her blog. I’m going to try this and the other menus. I’ll let you know how I get on. Well done guys. Great idea for a challenge


    1. I love that it’s also vegan, a twist on the challenge I didn’t expect. Thank you, and you can take part in the ‘Food to Love’ challenge as well!


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