Feeling stretched? Getting food on the table is harder than ever for many, and that’s before Christmas even kicks in.

Cooking like Miguel Barclay could provide a slice of help, though. The food writer is back with the latest cookbook in his One Pound Meal series.

Cheap, cheerful and full of good ideas, here’s what we think of it…

The book: Storecupboard One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay.

Who will love it? Anyone on a budget; anyone with an interest in cutting food waste and being thrifty; anyone who doesn’t always have time to grab fresh produce.

What is it trying to get us cooking? Meals for just a quid, that rely handily on what you’re likely to already have stashed away at home. Barclay says many of the recipes, and this style of cooking, was shaped by the impact of the pandemic and the way we shop being affected. That said, the recipes aren’t just tinned things on toast. Barclay’s been inventive (try the Blackened Cod, East End Pie and Liquor, Filo Baked Camembert), considers dietary requirements (Sweet and Sour Tofu, Cauliflower Katsu Curry) and takes lots of inspiration from global cuisines (see Aloo Masala Cones, Tuscan Bread Stew, BBQ Pork and Beans).

How easy is it to use? Barclay includes a list of what he considers his personal store cupboard essentials e.g. pesto, frozen pastry, bacon, coconut milk etc, so once you’ve stocked up on those, you’re pretty much good to go – and the recipes themselves couldn’t be simpler. Many are just assembly jobs, while the majority only involve a couple of method steps. You don’t need any fancy kit or knife skills – and you certainly won’t be stuck at the stove for hours on end.

The best recipe is… Creamy Cheesy Leek Orzo – it’s the definition of a ‘hug in a bowl’.

The recipe we’re most likely to post on Instagram is… Shanghai Drumsticks – glossy chicken drumsticks topped with curls of spring onion and chilli? It’s a feast.

The dish we’re least likely to try is… Extra-Crispy ‘Battered’ Saveloy and Chips – because some things are best left to the chip shop professionals.

Overall rating: 7/10 – a solid, practical, budget-friendly guide to swift family cooking.

How to make Miguel Barclay’s red onion tarte tatin…


(Serves 4)

8 red onions, cut into wedges

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted

Squeeze of balsamic glaze

A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked and stalks discarded (or 1 tsp dried thyme)

1 egg, beaten (optional)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper


1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Set out a circular ovenproof dish about 15cm in diameter (or four small dishes).

2. Chuck the red onion wedges into the baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then roast for about 25 minutes until softened and cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

3. Meanwhile, lay out your sheet of puff pastry and cut out a circle 30cm in diameter. If you want to make four individual portions, cut out four smaller circles that will line the dishes with a 5cm overhang.

4. Add a squeeze of balsamic glaze to the onions, along with some thyme, then place the pastry on top and tuck in the sides. Brush with beaten egg if you want a professional finish and then bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown. To serve, invert the tart onto a plate or serving board.

Storecupboard One Pound Meals: 85 Delicious and Affordable Recipes by Miguel Barclay is published by Headline Home, priced £16.99. Photography Dan Jones. Available now.