Jack Monroe is a Tory cabinet’s nightmare – a coherent single mother who lived in abject poverty with her small son, and found an enthusiastic following for her blog about the indignities of rent hikes, food banks and pawning her possessions to feed her child. She then won a book contract for a collection of recipes compiled while on a food budget of £10 a week. Most will be familiar to anyone whose parents grew up during the war – leftovers prevail – but there are surprises such as Spanish chicken, baba ghanoush, chickpea falafels and ‘not meatballs’, which makes full use of an aubergine.

Not Meatballs:

Serves 2

1 aubergine, diced into chunks
1 onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp finely chopped black olives
3 tbsp oil
The zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 slice of bread
A handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
One tin tomatoes (optional)

Put a tablespoon of the oil in a pan and cook the aubergine, onion, garlic, chilli and olives on a medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add the lemon zest and juice and, once the aubergines are soft, tip into a bowl.

Grate in the bread, add the basil and mix well.

Shape the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls and fry in the remaining oil until browned all over.

Heat the tomatoes to serve as a sauce.

*A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe Michael Joseph, £12.99

By Carolyn Hart. Published in The Telegraph, 13 March 2014.

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