Your local outdoor market is a great place to get food bargains in the Summer.

Usually the fruit and veg has been bought from a wholesaler for a low price as it’s approaching the end of its usable life. And sitting in the hot weather lowers its shelf life even more.

So as the stallholders don’t want to take away boxes of produce that will be rotten the next day, they usually sell it off for ridiculously low prices as they sort it out through the day.

Yesterday was a hot English day, so I picked up some wonderful bargains from the veg stall at the local car boot sale.

I bought a tray of 36 cucumbers for £3, a piled-up tray of mixed peppers for 50p, a big bag of cherry tomatoes for 50p, a big bag of mushrooms for £1.50, and two white cabbages for 50p.

The trouble with bargains, of course, is that they have to be sorted out as soon as you get home as they will deteriorate overnight. So I’ve been very busy cooking. But the delicious smells wafting through the house have made all the work worthwhile, and I haven’t got much cooking to do for at least a week!


These are used for traditional cucumber sandwiches, and they’re also delicious in salads.

Peel the cucumber. (I used 8.)

Save the peel for the next recipe.

Slice the cucumber as thinly as you can and place in a plastic container.

Shake some olive oil over them, then add seasoning, and vinegar and herbs of your choice.

Try and add enough to cover the slices.

Gently mix it.

Surprisingly, the cucumber slices keep for several weeks in the fridge and they stay crunchy.



I boiled up the cucumber peel for around half an hour.

Drain the peel and allow the liquid to cool. Add a chopped onion and a finely chopped cucumber.

Mix in 1 tblspoon cornflour and simmer gently, stirring until slightly thickened.

Season the soup and blend it if you want to.

Add some chopped mint and cream. (I used sour cream.)

Allow to cool, and then place it in the fridge until needed.



Roast some whole peppers in the oven until they start to blacken and blister.

Take them out of the oven, cover with clingfilm, and leave to get cold. This makes them easy to peel.

Peel them with your fingers and pull them into smaller pieces.

Place in a clean glass jar or a plastic box and cover with lemon juice and a couple of cloves of chopped garlic. Leave to marinate, then add olive oil, seasoning, capers if you have any, and herbs of your choice.

They will keep for up to two months.


This is the well-known cold Spanish soup. There is also another gazpacho recipe for a hot casserole.

There are no set rules. You’ll get to know how you like it. But the ingredients are always the same.

First, soak about half a French loaf or any leftover bread in cold water until it goes soft.

Whizz it  up in a liquidiser with garlic, tomatoes, a pepper, cucumber, vinegar, lemon juice, and seasoning. Taste it and add whatever you like to give a stronger flavour.

And that’s it!

Some restaurants sieve it, but I like the rustic lumpy bits.


I make it in my food processor as I like it fine.

Again, the combination of ingredients is up to you.

1 onion,

About ¼ of a white cabbage

A couple of carrots.

Whizz it up, then place in a bowl and add salad cream or mayonnaise (I add both)

A drop of oil and vinegar


Mix together & refrigerate.


Make a Bolognese Sauce. Mine had all the cheap veg in it; mushrooms, peppers, fresh tomatoes, carrots, plus mince, olive oil, onions and garlic. Simmer for as long as possible; 3-4 hours, or simmer for a couple of hours, then re-heat when needed.

Stuff peppers, beef tomatoes and large mushrooms.

Top them with some grated cheese, pour some oil in the baking tin and roast for around half an hour.

Serve with saute potatoes, cut small, which should take the same length of time to cook as the veg. Or make a salad with some of the recipes above.


Bolognese Sauce


Save the rest of the Bolognese sauce for another meal.

I ended up with a week’s supply of food for less than a fiver!