Search for a recipe or ingredient here!


A few weeks ago, I spent a morning going through the seventy-plus recipes on my blog, ‘tagging’ each with the individual ingredients, to make the site easier to use, and your weekly shop easier to reduce!

Then, I changed the layout, and the Search bar disappeared. I tried finding a widget, a plug-in, spent a day and a half on forums looking for the answer, and I’m very glad to be able to announce that it’s back!! But instead of being on the top right hand corner where it used to be, there’s one at the bottom of the page, and one on the right hand side of every post too, see?! ————->>>>

I started this blog with a handful of ingredients, and made what I could out of what was in the fridge, the back of the cupboard, and a handful of ingredients a week. Hence July is a myriad of fish recipes, and in February it was courgettes with everything…

So, to plan a weekly shop well, and to spend less, first have a look at what’s in the cupboard/fridge/freezer, type it into the search bar (now located at the bottom of the page on each recipe), and plan your meals around what comes up.

For example, I have a pile of carrots in the bottom of the fridge at the moment…..and a quick search brings up two types of falafel, burgers, sunshine bread and four soups (that could easily be thickened to make a sauce for pasta!)

I also use this technique when I find a large bag of veg in the reduced chiller at the supermarket – courgettes seem to always be on offer at my local, and luckily, I have 12 recipes so far for them – and always adding more!

Happy searching! Especially now there’s a search bar again! I know it’s not as obvious as the old one, I’m going to see if I can move it, but at least it’s back!

Jack. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

Categories: Blog, Recipes & Food


  1. Use carrots in place of pasta – slice thinly and simmer in *just* enough water to cook them (i.e. just enough to cover them, don’t drown them!), until they’re as soft as you like, then add pasta sauce as usual.

  2. Thank you, this is really helpful, especially as I have some courgettes I got reduced that need using up! I made the courgette bread last time I had some and that was delicious, there is a loaf in the freezer waiting to be eaten 🙂

    I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful recipes, they have been so useful to me and my young family and have given me the inspiration to try more of my own ideas too, so thank you!

    I’ve worked out the cost of my recipes to the penny for ages, which makes some of my friends laugh, it’s so nice to find other people do the same.

    • I’ve begun to do this Caroline and it has made such a difference. It’s a faff sometimes, and difficult when I am using up leftovers, but it’s helped me to modify recipes to fit in with my budget

  3. Brilliant idea – I could do with some menu plans and an example shopping list/store cupboard essentials/recommendations! I love your recipes!

      • Thanks for the shoutout Rita. And I’m very glad you are finding something useful. Working on a third meal plan, and am doing a post on a meatless Sunday Lunch for 57p today.

        My favourite recipes here are the loaves – yum, and my new favourite vegetable is roasted courgette, only trouble is my courgettes in the garden are finished now

  4. Hey Jack, have you ever considered setting up a website or adding a function on here that has a recipe generator based on your recipes? I’ve used some online before and they’re really useful.

  5. That’s such a good idea Jack, I wish there were more websites where you could type in what ingredient(s) you want to use up! I tend to go to the supermarket and buy what’s on offer/reduced and then decide what I want to make with it, rather than finding recipes and buying the ingredients, because more often than not, the ingredients aren’t on offer and cost more than I want to spend.

    • Congratulations 2 all of u on yr creative brilliance (to employ a Brit term) and especially 2 Jack as our inspiration. As a senior on a fixed/limited income, I identify with your gotta-use-’em-soon-or I’ll-lose-’em ID 4 a website.
      My tip: when trimming/peeling onions, carrots + other vegs, save/stuff in2 a plastic bag then cumulatively freeze ’til u have enuff for soup stock. Toss tater peels tho. Now I must look up what courgettes are…
      Rick Fitzgerald, YVR Canada

  6. This made me smile. your blog had made me really think about what we consume. I am lucky enough to afford the luxury of having my shopping delivered but we are not having a delivery today as I checked the cupboard yesterday and decided we could easily make it through a week on what I have there. Now I have a tool to use too. Thank you.

  7. <3 u Jack! And this blog! I had a go on a variant of pasta alla mint and peas and my other half practically inhaled it. I am very conscious now of portion sizes and cost, and now I am not making too much so I don't waste any.
    Well done for making it easier for us all!


  8. Never seem to have anything worth buying in the reduced section at my local. Went half an hour before closing a couple of days ago and there was nothing but rock hard fancy bread
    We have soup most days for lunch when it is the cold part of the year, so I shall be doing those again soon

    • It’s those yellow labels that help us eat well for very little. Yesterday made a beef casserole with a piece of stewing beef reduced from 2.42. to 42p !! There’s two meat meals and a pot of lovely stock.
      It’s very much pot luck – sometimes there’s nothing, other times there’s masses of it. I think half an hour before closing is possibly a bit too late – all the bargains will be grabbed by then. OH brought home punnets of English plums and large peaches for 31p each. He said there were loads, and went back an hour later to pick some up for freezing and/or jam, but they were all gone.

    • A lot depends on the time of day. When i go shopping on my way home after the morning school run, i find my nearest grocery in the midst of marking things down, but if i go in the afternoon, there isnt much. If your store has a lot of bargain hunters, the competition may mean you dont find much.

    • Hard fancy bread (eg. walnut, pistachio, cranberry) discounted by at least half, can be utilized:
      □ in a bread pudding, soaked in milk overnight then → your recipe: 🙂
      □ in soups to thicken, becoming stoup!
      □ revive by placing several thin slices with ~15ml (1T) of water in microwave for 20-30 seconds then immediately spreaded and munched
      Rick, YVR Canada

    • Have you tried making spaghetti from courgettes? Really nice with a simple tomato sauce…

      And courgette fritters?

      Grate one or two courgettes, squeeze the liquid out with both hands, add a tablespoon of flour and one egg.
      Fry and drain excess fat on paper towel.
      Kids love them!

  9. Aaaahhh soup! I am officially the world’s greatest soupmeister! (Well, I am according to Himself).

    Anything and everything makes soup chez Katie! It’s the greatest user-upper known to (wo)mankind.

    Butternut squash, apple and End of Brie anyone? Nom Nom!

  10. Somehow I don’t think it is the lack of cooking skills that plagues a lot of people. I also believe that having a limited palette stifles cooking creativity. How many times have any of us trying a previously unknown fruit, veggie, or spice, and since then could not imagine how we lived without it?

    When you eat fast food and microwaved crap regularly, your senses of taste and smell are definitely dulled. There are a lot of weird looking/doubling/smelling things that are pretty cheap and easy to cook. Kohlrabi and fennel come to mind. Tripe is another. Hearts of palm. You get the picture. Heck, even different types of beans (black beans, rosadas

    • Damned touch screen…

      Anywho, just putting it out there, but maybe in the future you can highlight an “unsung hero” of the produce department prepared in a way that is quick, easy, and cheap enough to convince people to give that weird looking thing a try. I would offer up yams, but I have no idea if you have those in the UK, but in the US they are dirt cheap, filling, and immensely nutritious and easily digestible for lil kids, elderly, and tolerated well by people with food allergies…unless hey have a yam/sweet potato allergy, I suppose, and can be boiled, baked, fried.

      • Yams and sweet potatoes are different things (although I know sweet potatoes get called yams in some parts of the US). Sweet potatoes are easily available in UK supermarkets although are relatively expensive, but yams less so – only tend to be common in African or Caribbean communities (yams are like cassava).

  11. Hello Jack,
    Thaks for your effort.
    It’s 5′ celsius here in the swiss mountains where we found an apartement to rent. We are still in the moving process, and I am painting the walls. The water takes minutes to get warm when I want to shover or wash the dishes and I already turned the heating on, for the paint to dry, and for me not to freeze by night. All I can think of is you and your turning the heating off IN WINTER, taking cold showers..I tried. I can’t!! I’m so sorry you had to live that. Apparently it’s Good for the immune sistem, but I think that’s potentially bullshit, I started sneezing after the first night without heating. I already miss our fireplace. This will be the first time we have none. You see? Me complainig. But not forgetting there are people out There that are living what you lived then.

  12. Thanks, that’s very helpful. Just read your article in DIVA magazine, what a great article – and good to see the recipes in there too!

  13. Overall i like the design change Jack – but i feel the article title would be better at the top. Cos when it gets to long titles like this post, it looks a bit crammed in and messy/hard to read. I’m no expert, i just feel a bit cramped..

  14. Hey Jack, I remember reading about you and your blog months ago and was really amazed and glad that someone was taking action and helping others out too! I mentally filed it incase disaster struck, which it has, I’ve spent one year of my life out of poverty and it has been wonderful. Me and my fiancé have been trying to stay involved with building awareness about this coalition governments attack on the poor, unemployed, sick and disabled. There were a few homeless people that we got to help along the way too. But I have a degenerative condition which has now left me unable to work and we are now struggling with barely any money for food. So I was on a search for your blog and am so glad I found you on WordPress because I blog on here too. Thank you Jack for what you’ve done! I’m so glad that you may now be reaping the rewards.

  15. I’m so glad the search bar is back! I was contemplating emailing you about it because I found it so helpful! My boyfriend and I are pretty much eating solely your recipes and they have completely transformed the way we eat and think about food. As recent graduates we have really struggled with money and thanks to you we have been eating better than we ever ate before (at uni it was all convenience food, shop bought sauces in jars etc). You have genuinely made such a difference in our lives and I can’t wait for the book!

      • Loving your recipes! Heard about you on radio 2 yesterday. I can’t seem to find the search box at all! Does it not work on the ipad? Thank you.

  16. on the subject of fish pie,I make a cheats one using boil in the bag fish in butter sauce.I add sweetcorn or peas when it`s cooked and if I have any,prawns,then top with little boyloves can get cheap own brand packs of the fish and it`s handy as a freezer standby.I usually put them in individual pie dishes and finish in the oven. I love your blog Jack, and think you`re an inspiration to many.

  17. I have no idea what the back of your head looks like, but that really does look like you on the DM website with Ruby Tandoh! :-O

  18. Just wanted to say that I really love your blog and if you need any help with moving the search bar or any other web stuff, I’m pretty handy on WordPress and am happy to talk you through something or give you a hand.

    I’m just a stranger on the web but we’re all learning so much from your blog, it’s the least I can do 🙂

  19. I sympathise! I’ve created pushing 600 recipes for my blog and every time I tinker with the format I end up re-tagging things. I set out to tag my recipes by ingredient from the start but about 300 recipes in I went back to categorise the vegan/vegetarian ones, then later added types like pasta, soup, salad and now am considering adding if they’re gluten free, low-fat or how long they take to cook. My blog’s a pretty eclectic mix so for people who want a 15 minute meal versus those who fancy spending 2 days making lavender almond croissants from scratch there’s no distinction yet!
    I found you via the RLJ furore and just wanted to say congratulations. As a lifetime loather of the DM I am always thrilled when his poisonous outpourings are proven to be bollocks. xXx

  20. Thanks for this Jack. I love using up carrots with a simple salad that goes with anything and is really delicious, Just stick all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well:
    500g carrots, grated, a good handful of chives or chopped spring onions, 3 tbsp oil, 1 tbs vinegar (cider is nicest), half tsp Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.


  21. I just found your blog after so many of my friends were talking about it, the amazing recipes and your campaigning work. I am so glad I found it. You are a total star. Good luck to you and yr boy and don’t let the haters get to you — you are so, so much better than them.

  22. Just prepared your Aubergine & Chickpea Curry – 4th time in 2 weeks. So tasty and quick. We LOVE it!!! Thanks Jack, for your inspirational foodie blog 🙂

  23. Hi Jack!

    One thought that has struck me when reading some of your recipes is – how many calories do they have? I read a weekly meal plan of yours that was published by the Guardian in the summer (How to eat on £10 a week) and some of the meals struck me as being very very low calorie, certainly below the level where one could safely live on it for longer periods of time. For instance your mushroom soup from the above Guardian article cannot be much more than 2-300 calories a day. That’s simply too little, even for a small child, and even taking into consideration it’s one of three small meals.

    • I eat a lot more now than I used to – the point I was making with the guardian article was that £10 a week is very difficult, I was getting stuff from the food bank and missing meals. I calculated my calorie intake for a week a while ago and I get 1800 – 2000 in an average day.

  24. I stumbled across your article by accident and can’t wait to read through some of the receipes (when I’ve got more time). As a single mother of two I’m always looking to economise especially on our food bill which seems to be getter bigger each week.
    Trux I agree that 2-300 calories a day is not enough to live on safely for long periods of time but that’s what we single mothers with children to feed and bills to pay have to do. I know many mothers who go without meals on a regular basis.

  25. Hi, Just a late comment about the attacks you’re getting from the Mail. Three in a few weeks – congratulations – you’ve obviously got them rattled. A likeable human face in the poverty debate… a single mum who didn’t choose her situation as a cushy lifestyle option.. a working mum who puts her child first.. their readers’ heads are gonna explode! Quick, damage limitation now, smear her before people read her blog! Get her back in her place (which is chainsmoking in front of a huge flatscreen TV of course…)

    I guess that the more successful you are, the more of this ballcocks you’ll get from them.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    And thanks for the recipes, very nice.

  26. Hi, I have just discovered you via the January issue of Waitrose kitchen and spent the evening googling you and reading all the comments about you. I have picked up some useful tips. Wouldn’t it be a turn up for the books if you replaced a cook in Waitrose kitchen because I’m sure your recipe ingredients are more within my housekeeping budget than theirs. I may even write to Waitrose! I eagerly look forward to your new book. Having brought up three boys on a tight budget I could usually be found purchasing reduced bread or following the man with the pricing gun around! Thank you Jack! Good luck for the future.

  27. I have just read your letter to the delightful Edwina! What a great piece of writing that expressed how you and many others feel. I was left alone with three children to care for on nothing with very little choice in the matter. How naive these politicians are they never live in the “real world” and have certainly never walked in our shoes. My life has eventually turned the corner due to my perseverence. I hv work and a home. Keep up the good work and enjoy every minute with your boy the years soon roll on. Kind regards. Elaine Phillips

  28. I was very discusted about the way you was dished ive worked since 7 in my chinese uncles kitchen had a gd education become a high chef but at 33 was diegnosed with schitzophinia which is hiredertery dowm both of my parents side this illness recked my working life so i work with ths voice cooking for the homless which i enjoy but the dwp told me that i havent to put on my job that i havent got mental health problems and no gd eduvation ive worked hard but i do get dla and esa i do vol work cos im board the rich are getting rich

  29. Thank you, this is really helpful, especially as I have some courgettes I got reduced that need using up! I made the courgette bread last time I had some and that was delicious., there is a loaf in the freezer waiting to be eaten 🙂

    I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful recipes, they have been so useful to me and my young family and have given me the inspiration to try more of my own ideas too., so thank you!

    I’ve worked out the cost of my recipes to the penny for ages, which makes some of my friends laugh., it’s so nice to find other people do the same.

  30. dear edwina currie,if you are having another peep in this blog as i have been told you do there is another thing i have to say to you as i have heard you are very unhappy about comments on your twitter feed made about you just lately in this blog since your disaster of a appearance on channel 5 last monday.most working class or non working class people cannot afford a portion of fish and chips these days because it is so expensive,caviar and champagne is your favorite as you told stephen nolan on radio 5 live,here is the thing edwina,where i live in weoley castle in birmingham my fish and chip shop the jolly fryer is serving mini fish and chips at £1 10p a portion,buy 2 and that is a good as forking out £8 for the normal price of fish and chips,these fish and chips shop owners know where i live know there is alot of poor people on low incomes or not working that cant afford a decent treat of fish and chips as a meal,these people are decent human beings who care about there fellow citixens,blaming the poor for being poor is not good enough edwina the same way you blaming the flooding victims in somerset for there misfortune as you did on radio 5 live last night just because in you warped selfish thinking they chose to live in rural england,i am going to church today edwina as i do every sunday, i will say a prayer for you today in hope one day you will rid yourself of all your bitterness and nastyness that consumes you on a daily basis,i pray you change your ways edwina,i really do.this will be my last comment in your blog jack,thank you.

  31. Dear Jack, I am new to your wonderful blog and want to work my way through all of your posts from the beginning – is there any way to do this (ie do you have a list of posts by date?), or do i just keep scrolling down? Thanks in advance. Em x

  32. Hi
    Up until the end of December 2013 I ran a café with my lovely partner in our small seaside town. It was popular and just about holding its own despite the time of year etc. He died suddenly of a heart attack. The business, the lease and everything were all in his name and I worked for him. So I lost my partner and my livelihood and as we lived above the café – my home too. I was not in a position financially or mentally to carry on.
    I am now living in a flat on benefits with my little boy we’re settled in and I’m lucky that I have lovely friends and loving family.
    Life can change so much in an instant. For anyone to sit back and look at someone’s situation and pass judgement is wrong. It can be a catalogue of events or mistakes or just pure bad luck and it can happen to anyone at all.
    I watched Jack on the wright stuff and felt she spoke for an awful lot of people. Ive worked so hard over the past couple of years. I am on benefits at the moment living in a flat paid for by the state but that doesn’t make me a bad person or workshy or a scrounger.

  33. Oh and hey jack I come from a uniform services background too!! 17 years in the police, but the job was just made too difficult to continue with so had to leave a couple of years ago

  34. Hi there, I heard you on Jeremy Vine today talking about a recipe for Tragedy Mash. I’m probably being completely thick but I can’t seem to get your search facility to work. It takes me to a page with a large magnifying glass but where do you enter text to search on? Really like the blog. Good luck with your book and with everything else you are doing to raise awareness of the issue of poverty in the UK and to help people feed their families on a restricted budget.

  35. Hi Jack,
    I saw you on the Wright stuff and heard you on Jeremy vine recently, and I had to contact you to say how brilliant you are. I wont bore you with my story of past misfortunes,woes and poverty, but will echo every single nice thing people have posted about your campaigning and ethos. Its so refreshing to hear a young person (ie under 40) who 8actuallythinks independantly and is so articulate

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