Let the cookbook cooking commence…


Today begins the first of ten days straight cooking, (hahaha – maybe ‘straight’ isn’t the right word!) as I road test every single recipe that’s going in my forthcoming cookbook.

After a quick brainstorm last night, when I realised that I’d be cooking 200+ dishes over the next two weeks, I put a Facebook plea out for the local food bank and homeless services to get in touch for anything that they would want for free, as well as friends and family for a small donation, which will go to charity.

The response on my Facebook page was overwhelming and planted a small, bonkers, but powerful idea about a ‘free’ or ‘give what you can afford’ pop up cafe in Southend – a group of us are planning to meet this week to discuss it and see if we can make it work.

In the meantime, I’m kicking off today with lavender and lemon scones, inspired by a gorgeous cake I was treated to by a friend in Leigh On Sea last weekend, the lavender plant on my window sill blossoming nicely, and a lonely little lemon kicking around the bottom of the fridge…

Happy days. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some serious cooking to do…

Jack Monroe. Follow me on Twitter @MsJackMonroe

Categories: Recipes & Food


  1. Good luck with all that cooking, Jack! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. Lemon and lavender scones sound good. Apparently you can flavour cakes with leaves from scented geraniums. I have lots of them on my windowsill but I’ve never been quite brave enough to try them out …

  2. Wow, that’s a lot of cooking Jack. Hope it all goes well and that the rest of your week is good.

  3. Can hardly wait to buy your book!
    The idea of a “pay what you can” cafe is really great! Have you considered having customers being able to pay for a meal or a soup for someone who can’t pay? I’ve once read that Jon Bon Jovi openned a smiliar restaurant, and it is such a wonderful idea!
    Hope you go through with it.

  4. I really love the idea of the ‘give what you can afford’ cafe, and hope you will write further on how that idea unfolds.

  5. Hi,
    The cafe idea is exciting. You may find ideas from a similar restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, called ‘Lentil As Anything’. Hope this info is useful. Good luck with the venture.

  6. Dear Jack, I love your idea of the cafe! I have been a few times to one in Kuala Lumpur where I come from. An organisation called Annalakshmi runs a very beautiful cafe that serves vegetarian indian food. When you ask for the bill, they still bring you one of those visa card leather folders, and leave it at your table to give you some privacy. When you open it, there is no bill, but a message to explain their philosophy, and to give only as much as you think they deserve, but reminding you to ‘think of the poor’ and that all your money will be given to charity… most of the time, people who can afford it will happily give more than what it should cost – after all, you cannot put a price on kindness and love…

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