The idea for this came after midnight on a very cold November evening. In my current home, I sleep on a sofa bed in a bay beneath a set of single-glazed louvre windows – you know, the kind with the slats that overlap but don’t quite meet. Which means when the temperature drops, my goodness I know about it. I’m not complaining, though, as I love my small, beautiful, idiosyncratic home; it just means that one of the last things I do of an evening is curl into bed with the hottest drink imaginable and burrow under my duvet. And so, with no milk in the house of any kind, but half a block of coconut cream in the cupboard, this was born. I made a big batch, seeing the weather was only going to get colder, it’s good to be prepared for this sort of thing. Makes around 8-10 portions: at 9p each 100g dark chocolate , 35p (Sainsburys Basics) 100g coconut cream , 45p (Sainsburys, 200g/90p) First take the smallest saucepan you have, and fill with barely two inches of water. Pop a mixing bowl over the top, and bring it to the boil. Break up your chocolate and add to the bowl, and reduce the heat to medium. Stir as the chocolate melts. If it starts to split (usually because water has touched the bottom...Read More
Month: November 2015
One afternoon in the all-hours flail-and-flurry that was this-glorious-top-secret-for-now-project, I emerged from my writing corner (apologies to Virginia Woolf for not managing an entire ‘room of my own in which to write’ but, recession, gentrification and a dislike of cleaning mean I basically live in a nook. Anyway, when there is a small child around all rooms are rightfully theirs and filled with plastic horror and there is no fighting it). I digress. I emerged from my corner (hungry) and hulked to my fridge (empty). Rummaged in the cupboard. So many of my favourite recipes begin this way. To...Read More
I’ve been meaning to write about my ‘mushroom mince’ for months now – I use it instead of soya mince or Quorn as a cheaper alternative that isn’t full of unpronounceable ingredients or a gazillion processes. It’s simple, quick, and actually tastes like food, and can be dried out and stored in a jar for months, or frozen to use as required. Basically, finely slice your mushrooms, then chop them up like billy-o until they’re finely diced. They’ll shrink a bit in the pan as they lose moisture anyway. Then either use them straight away, or freeze, or spread thinly on a baking tray (or any tray) on a layer of kitchen paper and leave to dry for a day or two somewhere safe and not moist (not the bathroom, for example). Now for the fun part – a bolognese packed full of veg, costing pennies, suitable for your vegan friends but convincing enough for the carnivores – enjoy! This is my new favourite winter comforting bowl-food. Serves 2 adults and 2 children at 38p each – or 3 adults, or 2 seriously hungry adults who don’t want to move for the rest of the evening. All prices based on my most recent Sainsburys shop, Basics range where available, most supermarkets have similar products at similar prices. 200-250g spaghetti or pasta, depending on above scenario, from 14p (500g/35p) 1...Read More
These are the handy hints in the front of my first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack and are as useful now as they were then – it’s advice I give readers all the time, old and new, so I thought it would be handy to pop it here too: WRITE A LIST AND STICK TO IT. It sounds obvious, but I only generally have two kinds of shopping experiences. Those where I walk into the store, list in hand, doggedly stick to it and come out with everything I need and no money wasted. And those where I run in...Read More
I try to shop with the rules of a healthy balanced diet in mind, although it isn’t always easy if you’re working to a limited budget. I make my shopping list in four sections: PROTEIN first, as it’s generally one of the more expensive food groups. CARBS next, as they’re cheap and filling. FRUIT AND VEG from the tinned fruit aisle, the baking department for dried fruit, the freezer department and the fresh produce section. STORECUPBOARD for herbs and spices, flavours, and things to generally make your simple ingredients a little more exciting and a lot more versatile....Read More
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