All posts filed under: Baking

Ginger and Chestnut Pudding, 64p [Jack Monroe’s Advent Recipes]

My household is going to be very busy over Christmas this year – with various family and extended family members coming to stay, and dozens more popping in over the season, which I am hugely looking forward to, because feeding people is one of the things I love to do the most. But Christmas Pudding is a divisive dessert; and when I asked my guests how they feel about it, reactions ranged from mildly unenthusiastic, to downright disgust. ‘You’ve never had my Christmas pudding’, I attempted to say, but nobody wanted to hear it. It was Stir-Up Sunday, and I was puddingless. And as much as I fancy my chances at eating an entire basin of dense, treacley pudding myself, it’s probably not the best idea. So I took my standard, trusty Christmas pudding recipe, and I tweaked it and fiddled with it until I ended up with this. Mrs J is allergic to almonds, so I used chestnuts instead. I didn’t want the heady boozy tang of the usual brandy, so I replaced it …

Spiced Vegan Banana Bread, 11p

I almost had the audacity to call this recipe ‘Christmas-spiced Banana Bread’ as I am currently testing some new recipes for a December project (more on that below) but I didn’t think I could cope with the outrage of the Internet if I dared use the C-word halfway through September. So instead, euphemistically, this is an Autumn-spiced banana bread, warming, comforting, and pull-your-jumper-around-you warming delicious bliss. Based on the vegan banana bread recipe from A Girl Called Jack, but better. For best results you will need a small powerful blender to grind the spices into the sugar; I have used this one for years and absolutely swear by it as a blender, smoothie maker, curry paste machine and spice grinder, so it’s worth a look. And a third of the price of it’s hifalutin equivalent… Serves 6 very generously at 11p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you …

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies, 3p

Last night I found myself with an urge for chocolate chip cookies. I was a bit miserable, the gas meter was running out (and even more so by the time I type this…), my tiny flat was cold and I was generally feeling a little bit grouchy and blue. Usual distractions don’t apply – I don’t own a television and nor do I have broadband to distract myself from the occasional bout of gloom (I run this blog from the internet on my mobile phone!) These are choices I have made for myself, because I am still fearful of long term financial contracts, especially as a freelance writer, especially in insecure rented accommodation in the first few months of my contract. So when it comes to mood-boosters, my options are somewhat limited. So, cookies. I put a rallying cry on Twitter, as the wonderful people who follow me are often so very generous at sharing their favourite recipes and ideas when I feel in need of inspiration – most recently inundated with over 100 recipes …

Mushroom, Lentil & Ale Pie, 37p [Tin Can Cook]

This pie came about because firstly, I adore pie. It was my pregnancy craving, steak pie followed by cherry or apple pie. I would buy packets of Mr Kipling and polish them off by the half dozen. Something about the crumbling, yielding collapse of the pastry, the hot-or-cold, sweet-or-savoury, the lingering lubrication, satiation, of a layer of fat and gravy disappearing down my greedy gullet. I make a pie most weeks, more so since cooking vegan food than ever before. This particular pie came from a longing for something ‘meaty’, but not meat, of course. A hearty, wholesome, dark and brooding pie that would fool even the hardiest of carnivores. And so I rolled up my sleeves, and I got to work. (For the record, my friend Phil, the only ‘man’ I call when I need heavy stuff hulking about and my erstwhile recipe guinea pig, sat in my kitchen and scoffed half of it in one sitting. Phil is absolutely, definitely not a vegan, but I’m working on him.) Serves 6 comfortably, or 8 …

Lemon Curd Sponge Puddings, 24p [A Girl Called Jack]

Luckily for me, as I shop very carefully, I have most of the ingredients for this in the cupboard at all times. Unluckily for my jeans, that means I’m never more than thirty-two minutes away from a cake… This is a simple, classic, sticky treat, that Small Boy and myself enjoy every now and again. They also freeze well, so I make four – we have one each, and pop the remaining two in the freezer. If you don’t have pudding tins, then a deep muffin tray will do the job just as well, but may make six smaller desserts instead. 95p for 4 or 24p each (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) 100g self raising flour, 4p (65p/1.5kg) 70g butter, 34p (£1.20/250g) 2 eggs, 44p (£2.65/12 free range) 50g sugar, 5p (89p/kg) Splash of lemon juice, 2p (60p/250ml) 8 heaped …

Peanut Butter Granola, 8p

I first made this for myself as I love peanut butter in the mornings, but not having a toaster, popping bread under the grill inevitably goes wrong when you have a child to get washed and socked and shoed in the mornings – so I cobbled this together and bunged it in a big jar. Perfect with hot milk, or cold, or even pop it in the microwave for a minute for a warm, soft, stodgy, comforting start to your day. There are endless variations to this too, just add a good oil, like coconut, in place of the peanut butter to hold your oats together (oo-er) and the possibilities are endless. I recommend dark chocolate with toasted or ground almonds if the purse stretches. Dark chocolate and marmalade is similar to a famous round chocolate orange in a bright blue box, and for breakfast, such fun! Golden syrup can be replaced with treacle, sugar, or any sweetening agent of your choice. If you feel like erring on the side of virtuous, chop a banana …

White Chocolate Tea Bread, 9p [A Girl Called Jack]

This came about because I LOVE chocolate-chip brioche – so I decided to try to make some chocolate-chip bread as a replacement. Unfortunately, though, the chocolate chips all melted into the dough as I added warm water and I ended up with this Chocolate Tea Bread instead – but it was still delicious! Then I experimented with tea and white chocolate and stumbled on something heavenly. Bliss! Makes 1 small loaf to serve 6 people from 9p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 275g self-raising flour, plus extra to knead the dough, 8p (45p/1.5kg) 7g fast-acting dried yeast, 7p (£1/100g) 50g sugar, 3p (69p/kg) 100g white chocolate, 30p 25g butter or baking block, plus extra to grease the loaf tin, 6p 150ml boiling water with a tea …

Perfect Yorkshire Puddings, 8p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

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 ending up with flaccid puds, and that’s just a tragedy.   Makes 6 in muffin tins or 1 large tin to divide between you! From 8p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 2 tablespoons oil, 3p (£1.10/1l) 125g flour, 4p (45p/1.5kg) a pinch of salt (27p/750g) 1⁄2 teaspoon dried mixed herbs (optional), 2p 2 eggs, 30p (89p/6 free range) 150ml milk, 8p (55p/1l)   First preheat your 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 …

Soda Bread, 38p [A Girl Called Jack]

You have a natural, free breadmaker in your palms and your knuckles – and this easy recipe with no proving or rising time is a great place to start. A lot of soda bread recipes use wholemeal flour, salt and buttermilk or yoghurt – but true to my usual style, I’ve pared it back to the basics (although you can add 1 teaspoon of salt to the flour if you like). However, basic doesn’t mean disappointing. This is gorgeous served warm with red fruit jam or butter, or dunked into hearty soups and stews. It goes without saying that it’s one of my favourite and most tried-and-tested recipes. Makes 1 small loaf for 38p. (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a purchase.) juice of ½ a lemon or 2 teaspoons bottled lemon juice, 5p (£1/500ml) 300ml semi-skimmed milk, 17p (55p/1l) 400g self-raising flour, plus …

Cabbage Griddle Scones, 14p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

Although these are extraordinarily easy to make, when I taste the sweet crunch of fried greens with melted butter or see a mixing bowl and spoon in the washing-up pile I feel like I’ve achieved something, even if it’s as simple as this. I like to eat my griddle scones warm straight from the pan with butter, cheese or a squeeze of lemon juice. You can use any greens in place of cabbage, if you have them in, don’t rush out and buy it specially. Also great with grated cheese mixed into the dough, if you really fancy a treat! Makes 4 large scones from 14p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 100g finely shredded cabbage or other leafy greens, 8p 200g self-raising flour, plus extra to …

Marmite, Peanut Butter & Honey Popcorn, 11p [Good Food For Bad Days]

This came about by accident; I couldn’t decide between peanut butter and marmite popcorn, or peanut butter and honey, so on a whim I decided to amalgamate all three. And good lord, I have no regrets about it at all. The tang of marmite, earthiness of the peanut butter and the sweet stickiness of the honey are a triumvirate of absolute bliss – Caroline and I polished off the bowl faster than I could say ‘How many should this serve? Four? Oh. Us.’ To make this vegan, replace the honey with golden syrup, or other thick liquid sweetener of your choice. Serves four. Allegedly. From 11p per portion. (I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients.) 80g corn kernels, 16p (£1/500g) 2 tbsp/32g peanut butter, 7p (70p/340g) 2 tbsp/42g honey, 12p (£1.24/425g) 1 tbsp butter or light cooking oil, 2p (£1.09/1l) 1 tsp/5g marmite, 5p (£2.70/250g) – cheaper …

Apple, Pear and Sultana Baked Oats, 29p

I love to start the week for my little family with slightly luxurious breakfasts when time permits, but I’m currently on a book deadline and have been at my desk since 0630 this morning. However, this pudding-for-breakfast takes mere seconds to assemble, and tastes like love, and goodness, and a comforting blast of warmth on a slightly chilly morning. Mrs J and Small Boy were delighted, and I took the remains of the tin back to my desk to nibble on as I worked. Although decadent tasting, these oats contain three of your five a day (two if sharing between three, because, maths) – not bad for the work of a moment!  To make it vegan, or dairy free, simply replace the milk with a plant-based milk of your choice. I can highly recommend Alpro Soya Vanilla for this – my son’s favourite! To make it gluten-free, swap the oats for gluten-free oats. Serves two or three, from 29p each. (I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate …

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake, 5p

Ice cream is my catch-all cheer-up indulgence, eaten by the pint in front of light comedic television, or crime scene dramas, depending on my mood. One Saturday evening, alone, on the turn of Autumn, I found myself partway down a tub of chocolate ice cream, wondering if I could use it as a substitute for the majority of ingredients in a traditional cake recipe. Ice cream is, after all, made from eggs, fat (the milk and/or cream) and sugar, all key building blocks in a standard sponge. I pottered to the kitchen with it in hand, and set it on the worktop to melt – an act of extraordinary willpower, if I may congratulate myself briefly for it, as I have been known to eat two tubs back to back and make generous inroads into a third. A little maths and some crossed fingers later, and I was tucking into an atrociously light chocolate loaf cake, made with just two ingredients and a dash of incredulity. I later learned that I was not the first …

Chestnut, Apple & Stilton Roast, 36p

I buy vacuum packed chestnuts in December and January, when supermarkets mark them down to get rid of their Christmas stock. They have a long shelf life, so last well into the year. The cheapest I have found them was 20p a bag, in Asda last year, and my friend Caroline, a fellow yellow-sticker aficionado, has given me several packets of chestnut puree over the years. If chestnuts are outside of your price bracket, any nuts will do; search the snack aisle in the supermarket for cheap bags of redskin peanuts, or salted peanuts and cashews. Simply soak them in cold water overnight and rinse thoroughly to get rid of as much of the salt as possible. If you can bear it, a change of water and second soak strips away most of the lingering salinity, but it is a bit of a fanny to do. To make this vegan, simply swap the stilton for a vegan cheese – Asda again have a good vegan ‘garlic and chive alternative’, and Violife ‘Blu’ would also work …

Bruised Eton Mess, 76p

As the wife-to-be of a news commissioner, my small household is often saturated with the goings on of the day. Radio 4 in the bedroom and bathroom, BBC news and Channel 4 and Sky flicked through all evening, half a dozen newspapers on the mat at any given moment and a veritable hoard of them stuffed beside the toilet and under the sofa. As much as I try to shut it out for my own mental health and encroaching book deadlines, I couldn’t fail to notice that it’s all going rather awry at the moment. A few years ago I attended a General Strike anti-austerity protest in London, and made, for the occasion, a placard daubed in Jackson-Pollock-esque splatters of magenta, lilac and cream, scrawled with ‘THIS IS AN ETON MESS’ across the front. My food has always been steeped in the political, given that my blog was born from food bank boxes and the sheer hopelessness of poverty in a time of austerity, and tonight was no exception. As overpromoted mop-headed weasels and 18th …