Kale, Barley and Cumin Soup, 37p

Pearl barley and kale soup photo by Groupon/Jack Monroe

Barley is one of the cheapest grains currently available in shops and supermarkets, and my mum made pearl barley soup for us when I was a child, loaded with tiny chopped spring vegetables, carrots, spring greens and nutty pearl barley. I’ve taken her Northern Irish heritage and added some of my favourite spices for a warming, wholesome soup. Soaking your […]

Read More →

Quick update re foot, crabbiness and recipes!

HELLO and welcome back, dear readers. It’s been a whole ten days since I foolishly skidded down the stairs at silly o clock in the morning and found my toes sticking out at odd angles and my sorry ass in the waiting room at Charing Cross A&E, and what a long and frustrating ten days it’s been. I haven’t strictly been taking life as easily as instructed, not being the type who can sit still for ten minutes let alone loaf around in bed with my foot in the air. I did a day of filming for a campaign that comes out tomorrow, wobbling around with a walking stick between takes, was kindly invited to the Telegraph’s ‘Out At Work Top 50 LGBT Executives’ thingy at the House Of Commons (and bailed after 20 minutes, unable to stand and smile simultaneously and sure nobody wanted me grimacing and whimpering in the corner all night like a proper party pooper) and did a much-longer-than-usual food shoot for the Guardian – thankyou Linda, who was kind and understanding and didn’t rush me as I shuffled around the kitchen grumbling to myself. And through all of that, my family have been kind and understanding and generous and very very caring, from the toddlers ‘finding’ my stick for me to help me walk around the house, to endless cups of tea in my bed-work-nest, to them all leaving me alone to wallow in frustration […]

Read More →

Dear boring pitiable trolls, stop telling me to ‘get a job’.

Over the last few days I’ve been inundated with tweets, comments and emails from anonymous accounts, all with the same thinly veiled message. Here’s a couple of the charmers… Bizarre that this should all start up again, I thought, especially on Twitter, where my profile clearly states: …So if someone has gone to the trouble of looking me up on Twitter (or Instagram or any other social media) to send targeted, deliberate and frankly unimaginative abuse, how could they fail to notice that I HAVE A JOB. So, once and for all I thought I’d scribble a brief but handy rebuttal to the anonymous abusers, to save me the bother of replying repeatedly to their piteous attempt at venom and spite: I have a job. I have a few, actually, which I a bonus, because for a long time I didn’t have one at all, and that was fairly crummy. Curious? I’m an AUTHOR – two books out there in the big wide world already for purchase, and two more in my head and in the creating stages. To shed a little light on the matter, books don’t write themselves, and neither do recipes. Recipes need to be dreamed up or researched, then cooked and tested a few times, rewritten, and put into a pile. That pile is eventually shuffled into chapters, any chapters that are a bit light on material need more recipes put in, so more dreaming, researching, […]

Read More →

Chilli hot chocolate, 16p, and a broken foot, priceless.

This morning I woke up, walked out of the bedroom, skidded down the stairs, and crashed my foot into the wall with the full force of my rapidly-descending body slamming behind it. I spent the rest of the morning in Charing Cross A&E, where despite looking extremely light on staff, I was seen relatively quickly, by a doctor who used to be a psychiatrist and before that lived in the Phillipines (we had a great food chat!) I had my wonky-looking foot X-Rayed by a very kind radiographer, the doctor set it and strapped it up, and I cleared a good deal of my work diary for the immediate future. Walking with a stick on bruises and fractures and sprains is not really conducive to prancing about in a kitchen testing recipes, well, not as early as Monday, anyway. BUT, I made a New Years resolution to cook or make something new every day – so apologies that today’s may be fairly low level, but I can’t stand unaided right now and I’ve sprained my right shoulder, so chopping and slicing and dicing is temporarily beyond me… However, it’s something I’ve been meaning to get to grips with for a while, so simple it may be, but it’s also delicious, and comforting. Ladies, gentlemen and non-binary readers, I bring to you an oh so simple chilli hot chocolate… Serves two (you’ll probably want both!) 500ml milk (can be made with […]

Read More →

Something-like-Diane Sauce (or ‘Sauce Diane’)

One of my New Years resolutions this year was to cook something new EVERY SINGLE DAY. For quite a few reasons, although I must confess I made a lot of my resolutions in the alcohol-soaked bliss of a New Years Eve in the Lake District with my lady love, some of them seem wiser than others now. But this one came about with the accidental receiving of no less than five diaries this year for Christmas, possibly a subtle hint from my nearest and dearest that I need to be ever so slightly more organised than I am… Stuck for a use for five, I decided to use one as a recipe diary over the year, and thus arrived at my ‘cooking something new every day’. And so, day nine, and I find myself dreaming of Diane. You know, that mustardy, tangy loveliness that sits on pub menus in the ‘sauce’ section? I, er, love it so much I have it with chips, and lovingly dunk every one in, catching a wafer-thin slice of sautéed mushroom on the end of my deep fried potato if I was lucky. Sitting in a pub in Penrith, I added it to my mental list of ‘things I must learn to cook this year’. And here we are. I adapted my recipe from the BBC Good Food website, altering it slightly due to a mild error on my part and a lack of lemons, […]

Read More →