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Aubergine and Kale Satay, 30p [VG/V/DF/GF]

 For Veganuary 2018, I have been trying to recreate near-replicas of popular non-vegan dishes, simply and inexpensively, in order to make the transition easier for people who are trying to reduce their intake of animal products while keeping in some recognisable dishes. I chose aubergine for this because it retains a ‘meaty’ texture when cooked, is succulent and juicy when […]

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Ultimate Lasagne, 40p [VG]

  This beautiful lasagne barely needs an introduction, as when I posted it on my Instagram last month, it received rapturous demands for the recipe. Good things come to those who wait, and here it is. Making lasagne from scratch is always a bit of a fanny, so I have deliberately made this recipe enormous so you can freeze it […]

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Black Bean and Peanut Stew, 26p [VG]

 The original version of this dish contained chicken, so I have substituted it with black beans here. It makes for a more filling meal, and a cheaper one, too, as beans and pulses are generally far cheaper than meat and pulses. Dried beans work out even cheaper, but they require a degree of organisation to remember to soak them the […]

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Post-Party Panzanella (VG)

I knocked this together from some scrappy bits left kicking about on Boxing Day – the kind of thing that is usually found at any kind of gathering, extended to feed a few more for an extra day. A bit of bread, some tomatoes, some greenery, a dash of oil and lemon and you have yourself a perfectly delicious side […]

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Heating or Eating?

Imagine having to choose between having a warm home, or having a meal. Regular readers will know that it is a choice I made almost constantly in 2012 and 2013, unemployed and with benefits frequently suspended and delayed, freefalling into debts from bank charges and rent arrears, and unable to feed myself and my young son, and warm my home. […]

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Katie Hopkins losing her job is nothing to celebrate (unedited version)

Unless you have been on a series of long-haul flights recently, or don’t use social media, you will have heard by now that erstwhile darling of the alleged unheard underdog, purveyer of perversions of truth and justice, and dogwhistle dogmatic, Katie Hopkins, has been unceremoniously given the heave-ho from that bastion of truth and fairness, the Daily Mail. Following a series of carefully manufactured outrage-generating (and ostensibly damaging) ‘articles’, it seems Hopkins has been deemed too much for even a publication whose print sibling has been accused of hounding a transgender teacher to her death, has metaphorically dug up Ed Milibands dead father, and dedicated a whole page of fury to same-sex traffic lights in Oxford Circus (after they had been up for several months, I might add, but months behind is pretty good going for a newspaper still mentally circulating in the 1930s). ‘What would Nelson say?’ the headline exclaimed, clutching its black and white pearls. ‘Kiss me Hardy, I presume’, I mumbled as I turned the page. For the past three days, since the news broke, my timeline, text messages and email inbox have been flooded with messages of congratulations, celebration, and asking me how I feel about it. I steadfastly ignored every one, unwilling to add my voice to the public mix of jubilation. I started to type a ‘hoorah’, but deleted it; it felt hollow, and I didn’t mean it. Having famously taken her to court […]

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5 minute bread, 4p (VEGAN)

On Thursday morning, off school and recovering from surgery, my Small Boy announced he wanted ‘dippy bread’ for breakfast. Bread with something to dip it into, I surmised. Seems fair enough; who doesn’t enjoy dunking warm bread into something soft and viscous, and ramming it in their gob? I made a yoghurt dip and whipped the last nights leftover roasted […]

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Unicorn Slaw, 18p (VEGAN)

This particular recipe doesn’t strictly fall within the ‘bootstrap’ range, owing to its use of ludicrously beautiful blue petals as a finishing touch, but if you’re willing to abandon them, then it’s a different – and simpler – prospect entirely. I try to keep the recipes on this blog to easily accessible ingredients for as many people as possible, but when I posted a photograph of this on Twitter and Instagram, I was inundated with requests for the recipe. Cornflower petals are admittedly a little specialist (once you’ve been cooking for a living for a few years, your shelves do acquire all sorts of oddments…) the more humble kitchen could replace them with chopped parsley or mint for a similar eye-popping colour contrast, without the hit to your wallets. Serves 4 as a side dish at 18p each – including the stupid and entirely unnecessary bright blue flowers A generous handful (100g) of cabbage, kale or spring greens, 14p+ (Sweetheart cabbage 70p/500g, Spring greens 85p/200g and kale £1.20/250g – take your pick!) 1 carrot, 5p (75p/1.5kg, Basics carrots) 1 onion, 9p (80p/1.5kg, Basics onions) 1 beetroot, fresh or pickled, 20p (Vac-packed 80p/250g, fresh £1.65/200g) 1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar, 3p (at a push, malt vin will do if you don’t keep the fancy stuff kicking about…), (£1.15/500ml, Sainsburys own) A few pinches of salt, <1p (40p/750g table salt) 1 tsp/4g sugar,<1p  (80p/1kg Fairtrade granulated white sugar) 4 tbsp […]

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Tw*tbreads, 4p

I joke that ninety-seven percent of the spontaneous conversations that my friends start with me – especially mid afternoon or early in the evening – are panicked cookery conundrums, photographs of burned pans, musings about what to have for dinner based on photographs of their kitchen cupboards, or emergency cake queries. This afternoon was no exception.  It started off innocently […]

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Tomatoey baba ghanoush, 30p (VEGAN)

Baba ghanoush is a popular Middle Eastern dish, often served as a dip with flatbreads or pitta. I sometimes add cooked chickpeas to mine for a simple, flavoursome supper, or toss it through pasta with fresh mint for an easy lunch. I highly recommend cooking the aubergines over an open flame for a deep, smoky intensity – I hold mine […]

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Brown bread ice cream, 24p

I first discovered brown bread ice-cream in an old copy of Mrs Beeton’s Everyday Cookery, and as an avid maker of simple ice-cream and brown bread, decided to combine my two recipes. You don’t need an ice-cream maker for this one, I don’t own one. If you have an electric whisk or cake mixer, it will come in handy, but you can make this without – you just need a little patience and a firm hand.  Makes around 8 portions at 24p each. Prices based on Sainsburys, Basics where available, and correct at time of writing.  100g wholemeal or brown bread, 5p (40p/800g loaf, Basics) 200ml milk, 9p (44p/litre) 3 egg yolks, 56p (£2.30/12 eggs, free range) 100g sugar, 8p (80p/kg, Fairtrade) 300ml double cream, £1 (£1/300ml) A fistful of sultanas, 10p (£1/400g, Basics) For the topping: 2 tsp breadcrumbs  1 tsp sugar, <1p (80p/1kg, Fairtrade) Few pinches ground cinnamon, <1p (80p/100g, Natco) Soak your bread in a little milk and stand to one side for an hour or so. Separate your eggs – I pour my whites into a jar and use them for meringues, egg-white omelettes and egg-fried rice – and beat the yolks in a large mixing bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat well. Pour in the cream and whisk until the mixture has almost doubled in size. Run a finger through: it should feel airy, light and fluffy, and not fall off […]

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Whirlybuns, 11p

These little weighty wistful whirls of whimsy came about entirely by accident. I was going to stay with friends in Manchester for the weekend, to all fling our small boys at one another for a raucous time, and I never like to accept hospitality empty handed. So, I set about making a hulking great fruit bread big enough to energise […]

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Tofu Shashlik, 51p (VEGAN)

I ordered a rare takeaway last week, having spent 2 days gutting and cleaning my school-holidays-ravaged house from top to bottom, exhausted, and unwilling to mess up my kitchen having spent 17 hours in a pair of marigolds and mostly on my knees. They had a fairly decent range for us herbivores, but I found myself hankering after a shashlik. […]

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Moonshine Mash, 17p

This recipe came around completely by accident, as so many of the best of them do. I was recovering from a throat infection and hankering for something soft and soothing, so started to make myself a pile of mashed potatoes. And then, one of my readers sent me a recipe from the New York Times for a buttery polenta topped […]

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