Perfect Yorkshire Puddings

The trick to making perfect Yorkshire puddings is to get the fat really hot before you spoon in the batter. Then, once they’re in, resist the urge to open the oven door or you risk flaccid puds. Nobody loves a flaccid pud. Makes 6 in muffin tins or 1 large tin 2 tablespoons oil, sunflower or groundnut 125g flour a pinch of salt 1⁄2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (optional) 2 eggs 150ml milk Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Drop a little oil into the bottom of each muffin tin, or the whole lot into a large tin, and stick them straight into the oven to heat. Tip the flour into a mixing bowl or jug (I mix my batter in a jug to make pouring it into the muffin tins or single tin easier). Add the salt and herbs, if using, and stir briefly to distribute. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients – admittedly a bit more difficult in a jug than in a bowl but not insurmountable. Break in the eggs, pour in half of the milk and beat to form a smooth batter. Gradually beat in the rest of the milk. Check your muffin tins or the large tin: the fat should be smoking hot. Pour or spoon in the batter until each muffin tin is around a third full, or tip the whole lot into a large tin, then return to the […]

Read More →

Sneaky Sprouts

Brussels sprouts: you either love them or you hate them, but if your only experience of them is as an accompaniment to your Christmas dinner, you should definitely give these a go. Sliced and pan-fried with cabbage and butter: this is how I smuggle them into the toddlers . . . Serves 4 as a side dish 200g Brussels sprouts, fresh or frozen and defrosted 30g butter or a splash of oil 1 onion 4 fat cloves of garlic, or 6 smaller ones 1⁄2 savoy cabbage salt and pepper a grating of nutmeg (optional) 50ml cream (optional) Slice or quarter the sprouts, discarding any tough outer leaves. Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan, toss in the sprouts and cook over a low heat. Peel and finely slice the onion and garlic, then add to the pan and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes to soften the vegetables, stirring occasionally. Slice the cabbage, discarding any tough outer leaves and stalk, and add to the pan. Season well, and stir in. Turn up the heat and cook for a further few minutes until the edges of the sprouts are slightly golden. If you’ve opted for nutmeg and cream, add them now, and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Serve hot. From ‘A Year In 120 Recipes’ by Jack Monroe, available to order here from the Hive, a fab little website supporting independent book shops: http://www.hive.co.uk/search/Jack+Monroe/mediatype/all/ Follow me on […]

Read More →

The longer we argue, the longer the queues at the foodbank get…

My column in Society Guardian, Monday 8th December 2014. “Poor people don’t know how to cook”, Baroness Anne Jenkin said at the launch of the Feeding Britain report yesterday, and suddenly it was as though ten months of evidence gathering, and 160 pages of written report, hadn’t happened, cast aside to be summed up in seven words. Welcome to the new politics, where every character counts, and every statement met with an equal and polarising one. Instead of discussing and debating the 77 recommendations in the report on Monday evening, as a former food bank user who had given oral evidence to the committee myself in July, I found myself on regional and national radio and television, being asked about Baroness Jenkin instead. And herein one of the big problems with politics today lies: instead of discussing the issues at hand, the baying mobs on all sides are waiting in the wings for someone to say something imperfect, and they pounce, hurling insults and escalating debate into personal attacks and rudeness, and nobody is talking about hungry people or how to feed them any more. Instead it’s all ‘those big bad Tories’ fault, or ‘the Church shouldn’t be commenting at all because they have a bit of gold kicking about’, or it ‘started under Labour…’ The longer we all stand on opposing sides shouting over each other, the longer the queues around the foodbanks get, and the longer the benefit […]

Read More →

Leftover-Porridge Pancakes

image

I never seem to get the porridge quantities quite right in the mornings, and have recently embarked on a series of experiments with teacups and measuring cups, trying to work out the exact amount of oats and water and milk needed to make two small bowls of porridge for two small children – but no matter how carefully calculated, there’s […]

Read More →