The cost of living is climbing higher, and the end of the month is drawing nearer. What's a Saffa to do? Well, you could learn about the best budgeting apps to help you manage your moolah here. Alternatively, keep reading for a budget-busting recipe that will fill your belly and satisfy your bank account to boot.
The end of the month tends to put everything in a squeeze. Bank accounts look hungrier, pantries look sparser, and the inside of the fridge resembles a tundra wasteland. But this recipe uses ingredients that you've probably had stuck at the back of your larder for months already. The only thing you might have to pop to the shops for is a bit of sausage.
Here's what you'll need to feed a family of four:
3 X tinned tomatoes
2 X tinned beans in brine - I like using cannellini, red, or white beans
A packet of pasta or your choice. Let's be honest, it's probably a sleeve of cheapie spaghetti. We won't tell anyone if you don't!
A pack of pork bangers
Some lovely fresh herbs, if the budget allows it! Budget-busting tip: curly parsley holds up really well in a herb garden, no matter the season. It also grows well when you cut it back often and, best of all, you'll have free herbs year-round!
How to make your beans and bangers pasta and beat the month-end blues
Step one: prep your kak. Chop your onions until you're crying over the cost of fresh produce. Mince some garlic, if you can afford it. Tip: cut up your parsley with a pair of kitchen scissors. Nobody has time for a chiffonade in this economy.
Heat up a nice frying pan or pot on medium-high heat with some butter or oil. Pop your sausages in. If you've been reading the recipe blogs for a while, you'll know that we're diehard fans of a cast-iron pan here. Anything with a nice, heavy bottom will do!
Cook your saussies until they're getting a lovely brown colour and they're spitting in the pan. We want to cook them down until they release their lovely pork fat into the pan. You don't need to use a lot of butter and oil - we just want to cook 'em up a little until we render that fat out.
When you're satisfied with your bangers, set them aside and turn the heat down low. Tip your chopped onion into the pan. Tip: garlic cooks faster than onion, so add it in later to avoid burning.
Once your onion and garlic have turned a beautiful golden colour and your kitchen smells like carnivore heaven, toss in your tomatoes. I normally buy whole tinned tomatoes and crush them with a spatula or a spoon in the pan. Whole tomatoes tend to be cheaper, so that's a win.
You want to reduce your tomato sauce into a loragrant sauce flavoured with pork fat. If you're really serious about tomato sauce, you can put your sauce under the broiler in the oven (180-200 degrees Celcius should do it) for 30ish minutes once the liquid has reduced by about half on the stovetop. The slower you cook your sauce, the more umami flavour you're going to yield. Really, though, the trick is to cook and taste the sauce until you're happy with it. Season with salt, soy sauce, or Bovril. Trust me!
While your sauce is reducing on the stovetop or in the oven, cook your pasta according to packet instructions. You can also slice up your sausages. I like to slice them on a bias, which just means slicing them diagonally to produce really sharp oval shapes. It makes me feel fancy, even when my pockets are empty.
When your pasta is cooked and you're happy with your sauce, toss to combine them in the bigger pan. This is when you'll want to add in your beans. You can add the liquid from the bean can into your sauce to thicken it, if you like. Reheat over the stove, add in your parsley garnish, and serve!
This recipe produces a lovely smokey, salty, protein-rich dish that won't break the bank. Pork bangers are the real star of the show - they're cheap, flavourful, and full of protein. If you want to level up this dish when there's more cash in the kitty, then replace the pork bangers with chorizo. We love Cape Town local Richard Bosman for his quality cured meats. Shop his sliced salami and chorizo selection here.
You can also play around with the smokey flavour and bring some heat to the dish with some paprika or fresh chilli. The world is your oyster! Even when your budget suggests otherwise.