Lardy Buns, 16p.

Photograph by Graham Turner for The Guardian.

I had my first lardy cake this summer, picked up from a surprisingly baked-goods-laden petrol station on the way home from Kent, and subsequently slept all the way home in the passenger seat off the back of a few mouthfuls of fat-laden, soft sweet carbohydrates. I set about researching how to make my own; half a block of lard still […]

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Britain Isn’t Eating.


A few weeks ago, I was asked to collaborate on a film project with the Guardian, Royal Court theatre, playwright Laura Wade (who wrote ‘Posh’, recently released as the film ‘The Riot Club’, about the notorious Bullingdon Club) and director Carrie Cracknell, on a microplay film project based around current affairs. I was asked to be part of the food […]

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My shopping essentials (and how I calculate recipe costs)

I’m often asked how I cost my recipes – so thought that it would make sense to list the products I buy in one place, as a handy storecupboard or shopping guide. Obviously this os tailored to my household, our budget, what we buy and use – we are two adults and two children after all! But I hope it helps as a rough idea as to where those 6p carrots and individual cloves of garlic come from… I also thought it would help to track prices – as when I started writing this blog, stock cubes were 10p for 10, and this morning as I type this, they are 25p for 10 – so the prices on my recipes date quickly, but are correct at the time of going to print. All prices are Sainsburys own brand or Basic range where available, unless otherwise stated, and this list will be updated with every new budget, costed recipe I add. I’ll go back through the archives and compile it from older recipes too, and update their prices where necessary, but that is weeks of work – over 200 recipes to edit and recalculate – so bear with me! Here’s what I buy and in what quantities, to try to get the most out of my shopping: Fruit and vegetables: Onions, 1.5kg bag (average 15 onions): 95p (Nov 14) Garlic, 2 bulbs (average 10 cloves per bulb): 35p (Nov 14) Carrots, […]

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Minestrone Soup, 19p

I often receive letters and emails from friends, family and readers asking for ideas for cheap lunches. Aside from the ubiquitous cheese sandwich or home made scone-muffin-type-thing and an apple, banana or pear, one of my favourite staple lunches for this time of year is A Good Hearty Soup. And nothing says hearty soup quite like one packed with pasta and beans and chunky vegetables! I’ve been making minestrone soup for so long, I’m amazed it didn’t make it into either of my books – but I guess I’d never taken the time to write the recipe down and think about it too much. It’s one of my staples for a leftover half can of beans or chopped tomatoes, a scraggy little carrot or half an onion in the bottom of the veg drawer, tired greens, and those little broken bits of pasta in the bottom of the bag, or odds and sods of pasta that aren’t quite enough to do anything with. I keep all the last few bits of pasta, and the broken bits, in a large jar, smashed to smithereens – perfect for tossing into soups like this one. Why buy specialty tiny pasta, when you can make your own?! Makes six mug-sized portions or four generous bowlfuls: 1 onion, 6p 2 fat cloves of garlic, 4p 1 carrot, 6p 1 tbsp oil (sunflower or vegetable), 3p 400g tin or carton of chopped tomatoes, 40p 600ml chicken […]

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Pumpkin and bacon carbonara, for Rob (and everyone else)


“My pumpkin dream always has smoked streaky bacon and Swiss cheese in it…” my friend Rob mused aloud as he carved our family pumpkin at the kitchen table on Friday morning. “Like, in a sandwich… Or pasta…” “Or carbonara?” I offered. “Oh carbonara… Pumpkin carbonara…” We sat there silently, grinning, two food-obsessives salivating at the thought of rich egg yolks, […]

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Punkin’ Aioli


Last week at the restaurant, I spent what felt like most of a shift rescuing split things – joking on Twitter that I felt like a Relate counsellor for aioli and custard… And to be honest, I was very excited by the whole thing, because although I’ve made a hundred custards in my little life so far, I’d never ever […]

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