Food blogger and author Jane Ashley shares the easy £5 recipe that helped her to learn to cook on a budget

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Can you feed a family on £1 per person per day? That was the challenge food blogger Jane Ashley set herself a few years ago, documenting her progress on her Eat Not Spend blog. A busy working mum, Jane quickly learned to be savvy in the kitchen in order to save money and her new book Home Economics: How to eat like a king on a budget  (Short Books, £14.99) reveals some of her top tricks and recipes for feeding a family on a healthy diet without overspending. Here's one of our favourite recipes from the book...

"This is one of the first meals I made when I was learning to cook," says Jane. "It's so simple you really can't go wrong. Depending on the size of the potatoes, you can start them in the microwave to get them going, but should always finish them in the oven to make the skins nice and crispy. You could add a little cheese to the potatoes too."

Serves 4


2 tbsp olive oil

1 large white onion, finely sliced

4 large chicken thighs

4 salad tomatoes, quartered

Handful of cherry tomatoes

1 pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped

1/2 red chilli, thinly sliced

4-6 garlic cloves, crushed

Small bunch of basil


4 medium jacket potatoes

Knob of butter

Head of broccoli, broken into florets


Olives, added halfway through

Bacon or chorizo, fried with the onions


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Prick your potatoes with a fork a few times and pop them in the oven to bake for 40-60 minutes, depending on the size.

3. Pour half the oil in a deep-sided pan and fry the sliced onion on a low heat for about 10 minutes to soften it.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chicken, tomatoes, pepper, chilli and garlic.

5. Pick half the leaves from the basil and reserve them for later. Chop up the rest with the stalks and add them to the pan with some salt and pepper and the remaining oil. Mix well and pour the mixture into an ovenproof dish and place it with the lid on in the oven for 20 minutes.

6. Turn the chicken pieces over and return the dish to the oven, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the skin is crispy.

7. The jacket potatoes should also be ready now, so carefully cut them open and add a knob of butter and some salt and pepper.

8. Roughly tear the remaining basil leaves and scatter them over the chicken. Check the seasoning and serve it with the jacket potatoes and some boiled or steamed broccoli.

Recipe extracted from  Home Economics: How to eat like a king on a budget  (Short Books, £14.99) by Jane Ashley, available now