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 […]

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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 over the edges. Pour the ice cream in, smooth the top […]

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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 […]

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MACKEREL PATE

In an effort to make an almost-traditional Christmas dinner for an episode of The One Show, here’s a seafood starter. Have more, if you want bigger portions – but save some room for dinner and dessert! Ingredients: serves 8 as a starter 220g Mackerel 100g cream cheese 100g butter 1 tbsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp black pepper 200g fresh spinach 1 small loaf fresh baked bread – I used the ‘giraffe’ bread for a change, and it was delicious! First remove the skin from the mackerel, it should peel off easily with your fingers, and discard. Put the fish into a large mixing bowl, and break up into flakes with a fork or wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Pick out any bones you can see – but small pin-bones are usually fine. Melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds in a heatproof dish, and pour on top of the flaked mackerel. Add cream cheese, pepper and lemon juice and beat well to combine. I added a handful of chopped parsley from my window ledge for colour, it’s not essential. Press into a lightly greased tin (I find an old butter tub a good size for making pâté!) and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. To serve, cut up the bread (some like it toasted but I like mine soft and fresh) and pop in a bowl in the centre for people to help themselves. […]

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What they really said at the #foodbankdebate: Spot the difference between MPs speeches.

What they said at the food bank debate, excerpts from Hansard: Maria Eagle (Lab): Britain can do better than this. We need a long-term plan to tackle the cost of living crisis and reduce dependency on food banks, including a freeze on energy prices while we reset the market, a water affordability scheme and tough new powers for Ofwat to cut bills, measures to end the abuses of zero-hours contracts, Make Work Pay contracts that reduce company’s tax bills to incentivise Natascha Engel (Lab): The food bank in Chesterfield that opened six months ago has reported that 50% of people presenting to the food bank are there because of benefit changes and benefit sanctions and because the DWP has really messed up. In what way is that not the responsibility of the DWP and the Government, who are actively forcing people into food banks? Sir Gerald Kaufman (Lab): “It is disgraceful that the junior Minister, having made one of the nastiest Front-Bench speeches I have heard in my 43 years in this House, has now sloped off and not bothered to listen to the views of the House. Last Sunday I attended a carol service at New Covenant church in my constituency, where a leaflet of activities distributed to the congregation read, “Food bank to alleviate poverty among the unemployed and low income earners.” In my constituency we have widespread poverty and deprivation. Today’s unemployment figures show that we are […]

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The 296 MPs who voted AGAINST investigating food banks use and UK hunger: THE LIST

Taken from Hansard, 18th December 2013. Adams, Nigel Afriyie, Adam Aldous, Peter Amess, Mr David Andrew, Stuart Bacon, Mr Richard Baker, Steve Baldry, rh Sir Tony Baldwin, Harriett Barker, rh Gregory Baron, Mr John Barwell, Gavin Bebb, Guto Beith, rh Sir Alan Benyon, Richard Beresford, Sir Paul Bingham, Andrew Blackman, Bob Blackwood, Nicola Blunt, Mr Crispin Bone, Mr Peter Bradley, Karen Brady, Mr Graham Brake, rh Tom Bray, Angie Brazier, Mr Julian Bridgen, Andrew Brine, Steve Brooke, Annette Browne, Mr Jeremy Bruce, Fiona Bruce, rh Sir Malcolm Buckland, Mr Robert Burley, Mr Aidan Burns, Conor Burns, rh Mr Simon Burstow, rh Paul Burt, Lorely Byles, Dan Cable, rh Vince Cairns, Alun Carmichael, rh Mr Alistair Carmichael, Neil Carswell, Mr Douglas Cash, Mr William Chishti, Rehman Chope, Mr Christopher Clappison, Mr James Clark, rh Greg Clarke, rh Mr Kenneth Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Coffey, Dr Thérèse Collins, Damian Colvile, Oliver Cox, Mr Geoffrey Crabb, Stephen Crockart, Mike Crouch, Tracey Davies, David T. C. (Monmouth) Davies, Glyn Davies, Philip Davis, rh Mr David de Bois, Nick Djanogly, Mr Jonathan Dorrell, rh Mr Stephen Doyle-Price, Jackie Drax, Richard Duddridge, James Duncan, rh Mr Alan Duncan Smith, rh Mr Iain Dunne, Mr Philip Ellis, Michael Ellison, Jane Ellwood, Mr Tobias Elphicke, Charlie Eustice, George Evans, Graham Evans, Jonathan Evans, Mr Nigel Evennett, Mr David Fabricant, Michael Fallon, rh Michael Farron, Tim Featherstone, Lynne Foster, rh Mr Don Fox, rh Dr Liam Freeman, George Freer, Mike Fuller, […]

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Let’s debate our need for food banks; it’s a national disgrace. My Guardian column, 18th December.

Jack Monroe The Guardian, Wednesday 18 December 2013 Jump to comments (…) ‘Food banks are not a negative thing – they are evidence of communities getting together to try to help their neighbours, but they should not be needed in one of the richest countries in the world.’ Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian Two weeks ago, along with the […]

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Brief letter to the Daily Mail re Chickengate.

I sent the following to editorial@dailymailonline.co.uk, news@dailymail.co.uk, letters@dailymail.co.uk, news@mailonsunday.co.uk and letters@mailonsunday.co.uk. I’m not holding my breath for it being printed, nor any retractions, corrections or clarifications, but I can ask. Dear Editor, In response to the article by your columnist Liz Jones in this weeks Mail On Sunday: Leaving aside the false implications that I use and endorse battery meat – illustrated and exaggerated with the photos of £1.99 chicken and the pigs in cages – I notice she failed to include in the article her own endorsements of ‘buttery soft leather’ goods, nor did she mention the Marks and Spencer prawns she claims to buy for her 17 cats. In the tiny world of Liz Jones, killing animals for arm candy or cat food is something to gleefully boast about, but choosing to eat a little free range meat here and there is apparently akin to apartheid. For the record, and for the umpteenth time, I only use free range meat and eggs, and not very often come to that. I don’t think that’s worth a half page hatchet job in a national newspaper, and definitely not worth the vulgar comparison to racial segregation, and thousands of deaths under the brutal apartheid regime. Perhaps Ms Jones should stick to her sperm-stealing confessionals and buttery soft leather handbags, and leave the commentary about real issues to people with an ounce of comprehension and the ability to communicate without drivelling nonsense. […]

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Dear Daily Mail, please stop printing bullshit lies about me, because I have other things to do than correct them. Cheers.

Another poorly-researched Daily Mail article I find myself defending – tonight it was Liz Jones claiming that I use ‘cheap chicken with a side order of misery’. She referenced my latest Guardian recipe, a chicken casserole, where I used 4 chicken drums and thighs for £2. I (erroneously) didn’t add to the ingredients list that the chicken was free range […]

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Have yourself a cheaper little Christmas: My Finnish-inspired budget Christmas dinner for The Guardian.

I’ve blogged each of the recipes individually – click the links below! Simple sprat starter: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/12/10/have-yourself-a-cheaper-little-christmas-simple-sprat-starter-37p/ Honey roasted ham with vegetables: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/12/10/have-yourself-a-cheaper-little-christmas-honey-roasted-ham-with-veg-1-53/ Liver and sultana casserole: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/12/10/have-yourself-a-cheaper-little-christmas-liver-and-sultana-casserole-30p/ Christmas pinwheels: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/12/10/have-yourself-a-cheaper-little-christmas-pinwheel-biscuits-8p/ First published in the Guardian and G2 magazine: Jack Monroe’s budget Christmas. As always, all prices based on Sainsburys and Sainsburys Basics range where available. Similar products available at most […]

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