By Rebecca Chitolie


THIS THRIFTY mum shared the secret of how she created a budget breakfast recipe under £1 per portion to feed her family of four.

Mum of 2, Jo Drinkwater (32) based in Folkestone, England makes a quick, cheap and easy “Cook Up Breakfast brunch” recipe for a cost of living crisis-busting £3.91.

The ingredients include ten partly-cooked Hash browns, which have been air fried and flattened with a potato masher, as well as six rashers of smoked ham layered on top, with 150 grams Grated Cheddar sprinkled evenly across the dish. Four fried eggs are placed on top of each serving. It takes 30-35 minutes to make this recipe in total, and is approximately 476 calories per portion.

Jo described how she first came up with this Cook Up Breakfast.

Jo’s Instagram showing her accounts reached and other recipes.

“I had a few glasses of wine, and thought what can I chuck in the airfryer, so I chucked in hash browns with ham, eggs and the cheese, and I realised how delicious it was,” she said.

“Normally, when I make a recipe I write down what I just made in my notepad, and plan for up to a month in advance how can I make something cheaper.

“In comparison to my other recipes which I plan in deep detail, this was technically a wine fluke, a brain fart essentially.

“People on the comments ask why didn’t you add bacon, and the truth is because in the original recipe, I had a few glasses of wine and I wasn’t cooking bacon.

“One person suggested adding slices of tomato before the cheese, which is a great idea and a way of getting one of your five-a-day in.

“I think it’s so relatable to people because you don’t have to cook anything to make it, you don’t even need to cook bacon, you can use ham.”

Jo has been creating recipes since she was old enough to get into the kitchen. During the Covid-19 lockdown, after seeing the “awful” food parcels provided to children on free school meals, followed by Marcus Rashford’s campaign that led to a replacement free school meals during lockdown.

Jo’s budget and recipe notebook.

“It was around the time Marcus Rashford was doing the campaign to help the children during lockdown, when the school meals had stopped and there was a company that was sending out awful food parcels to children,” she said.

“Everyone was moaning about it on Facebook, and I thought you’re all moaning about it but what are you doing about it.

“So I made up some packed lunches and offered them out to families anonymously over the course of a week. After this many families started contacting her, which escalated from a few people dropping some food items at her house until within a few weeks her house was a full shop.

“Then I contacted some local schools and donated them, and the next day loads of people started contacting me asking if I needed anything.

Jo realised that she couldn’t continue giving out food parcels, since she knew they wouldn’t be enough.

“I knew the cost of living crisis was coming before it hit,” she said. “So, I thought I can’t keep physically giving people meals, but instead I can show them how to make it, how to shop for it and budget it.

The first recipe she created, she wrote on her kitchen board, which hasn’t changed since.  “That’s why my Instagram account is called @jos_kitchen_menu, because it all started on this board and I haven’t updated it because it’s a nice reminder to see how far my Instagram has come, she said.

She loves making recipes because she wants others to benefit from them.  “I love making recipes now and the comments I receive, mostly the ones where people are tagging their other half and saying that they’re eating it for brunch on Saturday,” she said.

“The reason why I create these recipes is because I’m thinking about how others can benefit from these recipes. “If it gets one person in the kitchen and feeling confident to do something then I feel like I’ve won.

Her advice to others who are interested in creating their own recipes is to buy reduced items, and then to give yourself the challenge of making a meal with it.

“I come up with recipes in a few different ways, I either think of what would be a popular dish, then I break that dish down into what it would cost to do it the normal way, how could you reinvent the dish to make it cheaper, what ingredients could you use,” Jo said.

“When I go to Aldi, I have a shopping list but aside from that I keep an eye out for if there’s anything in their essentials range that I could turn into a meal for four.

“Up until now I was doing meals for four, for under £4, but with the price of everything going up, it’s becoming harder to do, but I still try my best to do recipes as cheaply as possible.”


Ten Hash browns (air fried) (94p)

Six rashers smoked ham (£1.59)

150g Grated Cheddar (84p)

Four eggs (54p).

Total = £3.91

For more information on Jo’s recipes, follow @jos_kitchen_menu on Instagram.