Sprout Scones, 15p (V*)

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  Sniff not, leftovers fans, for this is a delicious and delightful way to use up any leftover greenery hanging around from recent festive dinners. Spring greens work just as well, and spinach, or a combination of anything green and leafy, really. Knobbly, straggly ends and rinds of cheese can be incorporated into these too, for a baked brunch or lunchtime treat […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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BRANDY BUTTER ICE CREAM

Brandy butter ice cream with white chocolate chunks. This is a delicious use for any leftover brandy butter (or swipe it from the reduced fridge!) and a perfect accompaniment to a warm mince pie crumble 🙂 I have given a method for those with and without an ice cream maker. I have an accidental one, but not for much longer! Ingredients, serves 6: 300ml double cream 200ml milk 100g white chocolate 50g sugar 50g brandy butter First pop the brandy butter into a heatproof dish in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt. Remove and allow it to cool. Chop the white chocolate into small pieces, either with a sharp knife, or pop it in a freezer bag, tie it up, and bash it with a rolling pin or mallet. Then pour the cream into a large mixing bowl, and add the milk, sugar and chocolate. Stir through. Add a little of the brandy butter and stir in quickly to stop the cream from splitting. Add it little by little until combined. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes clockwise, then 30 minutes anti clockwise. Repeat if necessary – it should be thick enough to not fall off a spoon but still soft enough to spoon into a tub. Line a loaf tin or other container with two layers of clingfilm, folding it over the edges. Pour the ice cream in, smooth the top […]

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MACKEREL PATE

In an effort to make an almost-traditional Christmas dinner for an episode of The One Show, here’s a seafood starter. Have more, if you want bigger portions – but save some room for dinner and dessert! Ingredients: serves 8 as a starter 220g Mackerel 100g cream cheese 100g butter 1 tbsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp black pepper 200g fresh spinach 1 small loaf fresh baked bread – I used the ‘giraffe’ bread for a change, and it was delicious! First remove the skin from the mackerel, it should peel off easily with your fingers, and discard. Put the fish into a large mixing bowl, and break up into flakes with a fork or wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Pick out any bones you can see – but small pin-bones are usually fine. Melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds in a heatproof dish, and pour on top of the flaked mackerel. Add cream cheese, pepper and lemon juice and beat well to combine. I added a handful of chopped parsley from my window ledge for colour, it’s not essential. Press into a lightly greased tin (I find an old butter tub a good size for making pâté!) and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. To serve, cut up the bread (some like it toasted but I like mine soft and fresh) and pop in a bowl in the centre for people to help themselves. […]

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Have yourself a cheaper little Christmas: My Finnish-inspired budget Christmas dinner for The Guardian.

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I’ve blogged each of the recipes individually – click the links below! Simple sprat starter: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/12/10/have-yourself-a-cheaper-little-christmas-simple-sprat-starter-37p/ Honey roasted ham with vegetables: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/12/10/have-yourself-a-cheaper-little-christmas-honey-roasted-ham-with-veg-1-53/ Liver and sultana casserole: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/12/10/have-yourself-a-cheaper-little-christmas-liver-and-sultana-casserole-30p/ Christmas pinwheels: http://agirlcalledjack.com/2013/12/10/have-yourself-a-cheaper-little-christmas-pinwheel-biscuits-8p/ First published in the Guardian and G2 magazine: Jack Monroe’s budget Christmas. As always, all prices based on Sainsburys and Sainsburys Basics range where available. Similar products available at most […]

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