Month: December 2013

A PRETTY GOOD YEAR

I started this year living – existing – on a £10 a week food budget topped up with five items of food from the Storehouse food bank once a week. I ended it with a recipe book deal, baking biscuits on Woman’s Hour, with a Guardian column, a debate in the House of Commons and regular political and campaign pieces in the Daily Mirror. As I started to write this article, I thought there was no better way to do this than in photographs. At the end of January, Xanthe Clay came over for the lunch that changed everything… …and in February I was offered the position of Trainee Journalist at the Southend Echo, my tiptoe into a career in journalism. I say career with my fingers crossed, here’s hoping! I’ve since had my work published in Observer Food Monthly, Independent, Daily Mirror, Red Magazine and The Guardian – not bad for an untrained journalist with four and a half GCSEs to her name and a three month stint at her local paper. I made new friends… …and said goodbye to one of the most inspiring women I have ever had the good fortune to meet, Hetty Bower. I joined Child Poverty Action Group as an ambassador, and Oxfam, and worked alongside the Trussell Trust to raise awareness of food bank use in Britain. I’ve been in the news...

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Have yourself a cheaper little Christmas: My £2.25 Christmas dinner on the One Show!

I haven’t had a minute to blog every single one of the recipes, but I knew people would be curious about the individual costings for the Christmas dinner that I cooked for The One Show (Friday 19th December) so I’ve given them below. I cooked a roast chicken in place of the turkey, as it fits in the oven and I won’t be eating it for a week afterwards! Mine was a free range one, and I used half of it to serve the four taste testers, so I’ve said it serves 8. It was a pretty big chicken! Portions are based on what I cooked on the day – and all diners went home ‘stuffed’ in their own words! I cooked for 4 that you’ll see on camera, and plated up dinner for me and the boy to have when all the fuss died down and everyone went home… As usual, all prices based on Sainsburys and Sainsburys Basics, all meat is free range, and all correct at time of going to blog/film/telly/etc… The Christmas dinner main course was chicken roasted in mandarin juice and cranberry, with roast potatoes, sweet glazed parsnips, roasted carrots, sprouts with bacon, BIG pigs in blankets, and home made gravy… I’ve blogged the recipes for the starters and desserts that I cooked – and I’ll do this one in full when I’ve dispensed...

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BRANDY BUTTER ICE CREAM

Brandy butter ice cream with white chocolate chunks. This is a delicious use for any leftover brandy butter (or swipe it from the reduced fridge!) and a perfect accompaniment to a warm mince pie crumble 🙂 I have given a method for those with and without an ice cream maker. I have an accidental one, but not for much longer! Ingredients, serves 6: 300ml double cream 200ml milk 100g white chocolate 50g sugar 50g brandy butter First pop the brandy butter into a heatproof dish in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt. Remove and allow it to cool. Chop the white chocolate into small pieces, either with a sharp knife, or pop it in a freezer bag, tie it up, and bash it with a rolling pin or mallet. Then pour the cream into a large mixing bowl, and add the milk, sugar and chocolate. Stir through. Add a little of the brandy butter and stir in quickly to stop the cream from splitting. Add it little by little until combined. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes clockwise, then 30 minutes anti clockwise. Repeat if necessary – it should be thick enough to not fall off a spoon but still soft enough to spoon into a tub. Line a loaf tin or other container with two layers of clingfilm, folding it...

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MINCE PIE CRUMBLE

And the dessert from the One Show! Here’s my twist on a festive dessert – because everybody loves a crumble, don’t they? I served mine with brandy butter and white chocolate ice cream, recipe for THAT to follow… ‘Mince pie’ crumble, serves 6: Ingredients: 100g flour 100g oats 100g butter 100g sugar 400g apples 200g mixed fruit and peel 200g tinned mandarins 2 tsp cinnamon First dice the apples and add to a saucepan with the mixed peel and mandarins. Cover with water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes to soften slightly. While the fruit is stewing, make the crumble topping! Mix flour, oats and sugar in a mixing bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave in a small heatproof dish for 30 seconds and stir into the dry mixture until well combined. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fruit to a baking dish, pressing down slightly to firm. Pour a little of the cooking water on top to half-fill the tray and keep the fruit moist without spoiling the topping. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Top with the crumble topping, starting at the edges and working your way in to prevent a leaky crumble! Bake in the centre of the oven at 180C for 20 minutes or until piping hot and golden… Enjoy! Jack Monroe. Twitter:...

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