Three Of Chef Andy Allen’s Go-To Cheap Eats For Pre-Payday Pandemonium

Unless you’re embodying your most Amish-self and rocking a seasonal rotation of fruit and veg grown in abundance from your terrace’s courtyard, odds are you’re still hitting up your preferred grocery chain to keep yourself fed. While Australia is hands-down the best place in the world to live, one wouldn’t necessarily deem its cost of living comfortable – food, in particular, can burn a FAT hole in your pocket. PEDESTRIAN.TV has partnered with NAB to help all y’all #SpendBetter. Together, we’re hoping to help you avoid that sinking realisation of, ‘crap, I don’t get paid until tomorrow and I’m STARVING’. A NAB Everyday Banking Account will give you errythang you need to better manage your cash-monay. Hook yo’self up with one of their killer accounts by visiting NAB’s website HERE

The ~journey of life~ is dotted with surprises. Most are welcomed and excellent, but others – like your $0 bank balance a week before pay-day – can piss right off. Knowing that some of y’all can get a bit trigger-happy with PayWave/your expenditure generally, we called upon celeb-chef and all-around top bloke Andy Allen for recipes to employ when you’re a tad broke. 

Before you begin to drool all over your keyboard/phone, Andy’s got some top-notch advice for spending better on food:
What are 3 base-ingredients to keep in the house to make sure you’re always able to make a meal?
1. DRIED HERBS AND SPICES – “Home cooking is all about flavour, and for $2 a pop you can get a bag or jar of your favourite dried herb or spice. The stuff last for ages and you can call on it anytime to turn your boring weeknight meal into something your housemates will foam over!”

2. PASTA – “I’m a pasta nut – on the days that I’m hung (or even when I’m not) and there’s next to nothing in the fridge, I can always whip up a delish pasta dish that’ll keep me eating well for another day. For all you gluten free cats out there, there’s plenty of GF varieties for you to use. And I confess – they’re actually pretty tasty.”

3. SRIRACHA – “Everything tastes better doused in Sriracha. PERIOD!”
What’s the best strategy to use when planning your meals for the week?
“Is this a thing? Do people actually do this?? I don’t – but if I did, I would take a look at what ingredients I had in the fridge from the week before and plan meals around them. This will lower your wastage, thereby lowering your weekly grocery bill. This, dear readers, will give you more cash to burn on the weekends. Great plan!”
Do you have any tips for stretching your money when buying groceries?
“It’s something that we’ve all heard 1,000 times but it’s true – buy seasonally. When you’re doing your little planning session, do some research into what fruit and veg is in season at that time. Not only is it going to be cheaper but it’s also going to be fresher and tastier.” 
In your opinion, do you think it’s possible to be extremely healthy on a shoestring budget?
“It’s totally possible. Most of the shit that we eat comes from fast food and sometimes restaurants. If you’re on a budget you have more of a reason to give that up and cook for yourself and your family most nights. Take a look at the three recipes I’ve created. They all feed 4 peeps for well under $20. That’s under $5 a person and they’re all good, homemade tucker – that’s healthy in itself. There’s also heaps more recipes like those on my website (which you can access HERE). Go and look, I need more traffic.”
Cheers for the solid advice, pal. Now prepare yourself, both physically and mentally, for Andy’s affordable eats – they TIGHT.
500g lamb mince – $5
1 egg, lightly whisked – $0.5
3 tbs dried breadcrumbs – $0.5
2 small garlic cloves, minced – $0.25
1/4 small red onion, finely diced – $0.3
1/2 bunch mint leaves, roughly chopped – $1.50 
3 tsp ground cumin – $0.2
1 tsp dried chilli – $0.2
Zest of 1 lemon – $1
Salt and pepper
1 can (400g) chick peas, drained and washed – $0.8 
1/4 small red onion, finely sliced – $0.3
2 zucchini, julienned – $1
1/2 bunch of fresh mint, leaves removed – $1.50 
Juice of 1 lemon – Free as we used the zest
1tbs extra virgin olive oil – $0.2
Salt and pepper
TOTAL: $13.25
Serve with natural yoghurt and pita bread.
Throw all of the ingredients for the kofta, minus the egg and the lamb mince, in a small mixing bowl. This might sound weird, but DO IT! Give the ingredients a good mix together. Then add the lamb mince and the egg to mixture and season well with salt and pepper. 
Gently fold the mix together with your hands until it’s just combined. You’re doing it this way so you don’t overwork your meat. Because if you overwork your meat, you get a tough kofta and NO ONE likes a tough kofta!!
Once the mix is combined, shape the mix into 4 identical sausage shapes – again, don’t overwork your sausage. Leave the koftas to rest for half an hour.
Pre-heat your BBQ or hot plate to a medium-low heat. Lubricate the koftas with a touch of oil and then place onto the BBQ for 8 minutes – turning every couple of minutes. Leave the koftas to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
For the salad – it’s super hard so listen up. Throw everything into a bowl, season it with salt and pepper, mix it, then serve it!
All up you just spent $13.25 on dinner for you and three friends!!
1.5 tbs peanut oil – $0.1
500g chicken thighs, finely sliced – $4.25
30g fresh ginger, finely chopped – $0.5
4 spring onions (white part only) finely sliced – $1.25 
2 garlic cloves, minced – $0.25
2 tsp dried chilli flakes – $0.2
3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped – $0.4
4 coriander stems and roots, finely chopped – $1.50 4 tbs kecup manis – $1.4
1/2 tsp sesame oil – $0.1
1 tbs fish sauce – $0.2
Juice of 2 limes – $1
SUBTOTAL: $11.15
1 iceberg lettuce – $2
100g cashews, crushed – $1
25g fried shallots – $1
4 spring onion tops, finely sliced, free as we used them up top 
4 stem of fresh coriander leaves – free as we used them up top 
1 fresh lime cut into 8 wedges – $0.5
TOTAL: $15.65
Heat a large frying pan to medium high and add the peanut oil. Once the oil just starts smoke, throw in half the chicken thighs. Leave the chicken to brown on one side for 1 minute. DO NOT TOUCH IT! Then toss/turn or do whatever you need to, to flip the chicken onto the other side and cook for another minute. We are trying to get colour on the chicken hence why we do it in two batches and why I don’t want you to touch it! Take the chicken out once it has a nice golden brown tinge to it. Don’t get your knickers in a knot if it’s not cooked through – we’re going to return it back to the pan. 
Next – do exactly what I told you to do above, but for the second batch of sliced chicken. Once the second batch is done, turn the heat down to medium and get the first batch of chicken back into the pan. 
Now we want to add the ginger, spring onions, garlic, coriander stems, kaffir lime leaves and chilli flakes to the pan also. Sauté this for 3 minutes – now’s your time to touch it and keep moving it around.
Next, add the ketchup manis, sesame oil, fish sauce and lime juice and toss the chicken in the goodness. Reduce this liquid until its nice and sticky and coats the chicken.
Once the chicken has cooled slightly, spoon the mixture into some of the iceberg cups and garnish with some of the peanuts, fried shallots, spring onions, coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime. Wrap it up and wrap your lips around it!
You’ve just fed you and 3 mates for $15.65. That’s less than 1 shitty schnitty.
4 small pork cutlets – $8 
Salt and pepper
100ml maple syrup – $1
20ml soy sauce – $0.2
1/2 tbs seeded mustard – $0.3 1tbs brown sugar – $0.1
1/8 purple cabbage, shredded – $1.25
1/8 white cabbage, shredded – $1.25
1 green chilli, finely sliced – $0.2
1 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped – $2 1 apple, finely sliced – $0.5
Juice of 2 limes – $1
3tbs extra virgin olive oil – $0.2
Salt and pepper
TOTAL: $16
Pour all the ingredients for the glaze into a small saucepan, put it on the stove and bring the mixture to the boil. Once the sugar has dissolved (it should only take 30 seconds), take the pan off the heat.
Heat your BBQ to medium heat. Season the cutlets with salt and pepper and generously lather the cutlets with the glaze. Whack the cutlets on the grill, put the lid down and cook for 2 minutes, then turn them and brush em with the glaze again. Every 2 minutes- you want to turn the cutlet, slap on some more glaze and put the lid back down. Do this until 10 minutes has gone by and you should have some unbelievable looking pork to stick on your fork. It sounds tough, but it’s not, so do it and you’ll thank me later.
Once the 10 minutes is up, take the pork off the bbq and leave to rest for 5 minutes. This gives you time to make the slaw.
Put everything into a large bowl, season it well with salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper. Mix it, then serve it, then eat it with your pork!
$16 or $4 a portion isn’t bad hey!
As Andy’s proven (^^^ GET IN MAH BELLEH), it’s v. possible to eat like a king for next to nothing. However, there’s no denying that money’s pretty darn awesome. 
For more info on how to #SpendBetter, or to apply for your own account, visit NAB’s website HERE.

Photos: Andy Allen / Supplied.