A cluster of vegetables from Sven Brandsma

Kent Giving Week 2023: The Thrifty Cook

As part of Kent Giving Week, we are creating a cookbook jam-packed with recipes, all for under £5 per serving. We have had some fantastic contributions from the likes of Joe Wicks, local chefs, staff and students.

Priced at £5, pre-orders for The Thrifty Cook are starting soon, you will also be available to buy during Kent Giving Week. There’s also the option to donate one to our students. All proceeds will help to provide nutritious meals to students facing financial hardship at this time.

To get a taster for what’s to come, check out Philip Pothen’s Easy Cauliflower and Spinach Dal with Coconut recipe:

Number of Servings: 4
Cost per serving: £3.50


250g red lentils
2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2cms ginger, grated
2-3 green chillies, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp salt
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
250ml coconut milk
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
200g baby spinach leaves
Coriander leaves, chopped (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for ten minutes or so until the onion starts to soften. Add the garlic, ginger and chillies stirring for two minutes.
  2. Add the cumin, coriander, tumeric and a teaspoon of salt, stirring continuously for one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, and then add the red lentils stirring until all lentils have been coated in the spiced mixture.
  3. Add 500ml of water and the coconut milk and bring to the boil. When boiling, turn down the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the lentils begin to become a soft mush. This should take about 25 minutes. Season with salt, to taste.
  4. Add the cauliflower florets and stir occasionally.
  5. After eight minutes or so, add the spinach leaves. After two more minutes, take the saucepan off the heat. if using coriander leaves, add them and stir.
  6. Serve with a portion of rice or naan bread.