All posts filed under: Blog

Come-To-Bed Parmigiana, 74p [from ‘Veganish’]

Almost three years ago now, I turned up to work late, sleepless, an incoherent babbling wreck chewed up by an 18 month landmark court trial and with bright copper dye fading from my wiry, tousled mania of hair. I left my walking stick in the lobby, and limped in to work…to find a hand thrust towards me in a polite gesture of welcome, a smile, a curt hello. She introduced herself. I apologised seven times for my lateness and my pulled-from-a-car-wreck appearance. She was firm and professional, and she smiled at me again. And I felt that self-same car wreck collide with my solar plexus and toss me down a rabbit hole of giddy head spinning highs and that soaring, almost nauseatingly disorienting feeling of time stopping and slowing and turning on its head. I stumbled away, a new crush ablaze across my cheeks and in every tip of my fingers, burning coiled springs in the soles of my feet, a song whispering in the cold, grey, slumbering chamber of my strange little heart. And …

Stand By Me.

Bear with me please, for what I am about to do. Some of my longtime readers may know that when I was a single mum, living on delayed, suspended and cancelled benefits in this hellscape of a smashed-up welfare system that we have in the UK, I held an ‘open house sale’, like a yard sale without the yard, and I sold everything I owned. Everything. My sons bed. My own shoes. Almost all of my books, clothes, crockery, the light fittings, everything. And my beautiful, wooden, upright piano. I stopped singing that day. Poverty literally took my voice away, like Ursula with her manic grin, strangled it out of me. I have since learned that it is a relatively common response to trauma, but, eight years on, that brings me very little comfort.   I used to write my own songs – the last few I ever wrote were about living in that scenario – ‘Whistlestop Tour’, ‘Girl On The Radio’, ‘All Out’ and others. I don’t know where they are these days; probably …

Lemon-Drop Tuppence Cookies, 2p

My son, who is nine years old, absolutely adores lemon curd, and we often have half a jar of it knocking around the house. I had had a particularly awful few days with my badly-wired head and poor mental health; an adrenaline crash from coming back off my Veganish book tour, plus a piece of horrible news that sent me into a spiral. I won’t go into it, but it’s been a grim few days round here. So I spent a couple of piteous days eating my way through all of the leftover Christmas junk in the house; four mince pies in one sitting, all of the selection box chocolate I had hidden on top of the fridge, five bags of crisps, a whole packet of grissini – and still craved a swift sugar hit at the end of the day. I know it isn’t sensible, but sometimes you just have to give in to the gremlin and start again tomorrow. Failing to turn up any more crunchy junk no matter how hard I looked, …

JACKANOSHY, The Recipe Reading Corner by Jack Monroe. Episode 1: Cannelini Beurre Blanc, from Tin Can Cook

Dear readers – it’s been a busy week for me! And I have a few things to share with you all – so buckle up, because there’s a lot to take in. Last week I was invited onto ITV’s This Morning programme to cook three family dinners for four people for a fiver – and viewers at home LOVED it! And what’s more, I really, really enjoyed myself. I’ve been very awkward and nervous about cooking on television or in front of any kind of camera for the last six years, but it was like something snapped very gently inside me that day, and I came home and threw my self doubts and gremlins in the bin. I knew that I had to seize this good feeling and run with it, but, television being fickle and schedules being unpredictable, I didn’t have any idea if I was ever going to be asked back again. (I was, but that’s another story!) So I came home, and decided to record my first ever proper video for YouTube. …

Courgette Chocolate Cake, 16p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

Courgettes in cake came into fashion a few years ago, but I only really bothered with them when I had a glut of the green blighters one autumn. Desperate to get rid of them, I made them into wholesome soups, pestos, pasta sauces and smuggled a few into this big chocolate cake. The courgettes are virtually indetectable – a novel way of smuggling vegetables into your children or fussier members of your household – but the moisture gives a pleasurable density and a little heft to an otherwise light snack. Eat your greens, go on! Serves 6 rather generously at 16p 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.) 2 courgettes, 40p (£1.60/1kg courgettes, Sainsburys Basics) 50g dark chocolate or 25g cocoa powder, 21p (84p/100g, Sainsburys own cocoa powder) zest and juice of 1 lime or 1 tbsp bottled lime or lemon juice, …

Diet-Coke Chicken, 54p [A Girl Called Jack]

You don’t have to use Diet Coke to make the barbecue sauce for this recipe; if you don’t mind the sugar, ordinary full-fat will do instead. And of course, I have priced mine as supermarket own brand saccharine sticky cola, because that’s my jam. Serve with rice, chips, a buttered bun, or slaw – however you like. (For vegan and vegetarian readers, this recipe was first published in A Girl Called Jack in 2014. The same sauce works brilliantly with a large flat mushroom, and when I have got around to uploading my back catalogue, I will do that recipe too! For now, just scroll past and mutter rude things about me, if you must.) Serves 2 from 54p 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.) 2 tbsp oil, 3p (97p/1l, Asda) 4 chicken thighs or drums, 73p (£2.20/12 drumsticks, Asda) …

Biscoff Ice Cream, 42p [from ‘Veganish’]

Of all of the hundreds, if not thousands, of dishes I have made for Small Boy and Mrs J, both of them instantly declared this to be ‘the best’ of all of them. And that’s quite some compliment indeed. Mrs J despises coconut, detects it in absolutely anything I try to smuggle it in, but the Biscoff was a sufficient disguise for it here, so if you aren’t a huge coconut fan, bear that in mind and perhaps give it a go. I have piled this into a KnickerBiscoff Glory, sandwiched it between Biscoff biscuits for the ultimate warm weather snack on the fly, and eaten it straight from the blender. I hope you love it as much as we do. Other, inferior, biscuits are also available. Also, for the sake of precision, I weighed a Biscoff biscuit and it’s 6.5g, which means this recipe uses 23 of them. Happy to help!  Serves 6 from 42p each (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see …

Make-Me-Better Mug, 15p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

Scratchy throat, simultaneous blocked and runny nose, muggy head, general air of malaise? Yeah, that happens a lot round here, courtesy of having a rubbish immune system, awful working hours and an 8 year old. In a bid to banish the heavy-cold feeling, I knock up a large jug of this stuff – and, by golly, it works a treat every time. If you have an office job, take it to work in a Thermos flask or similar, and sip it at your desk to banish the blues. Or take the day off, curl up with a book and snooze, sip, snooze, sip … Makes a 1 litre jug from 15p. 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. 1 litre water 1 lemon or 2 tbsp lemon juice, 6p …

Chickpea, Carrot & Coriander Falafels [A Girl Called Jack]

This recipe uses tinned chickpeas, but can also use dried chickpeas if you have them available. Dried chickpeas work out cheaper but will need to be soaked in cold water for at least 8 hours before starting the recipe, and then need to be cooked (put in a pan, cover with water and boil vigorously for at least 10 minutes before draining and using). If you have dried chickpeas, use half the quantity of tinned, i.e. 200g. I like to serve the falafels accompanied by couscous made up with vegetable or chicken stock, lemon juice and coriander, and with green beans or another green vegetable. Makes 12ish falafels (4–6 per person) (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.) 1 onion 1 carrot a generous shake of ground cumin 1 tablespoon oil, plus 2 tablespoons to fry the falafel 1 x 400g tin …

Carrot, Ginger and Cannelini Soup, 23p [VG]

I’m in a real soup phase at the moment, throwing whatever veg I have to hand in the fridge into my slow cooker and adding some flavours and pulses to thicken it up and give it some oomph – handy t keep it sitting on the side throughout the day to feed myself, Caroline, Small Boy when he comes home from school, Mrs J after work, and anyone else who strolls through the door. This was a Monday afternoon delight, a use-up for the stray carrots that were lolling around in the vegetable drawer to kickstart the week with a hefty dollop of vitamin C and some fire in our bellies. SUBSTITUTIONS: CANNELINI BEANS: You can swap the beans for any beans, pulses or lentils that you prefer or have to hand; butter beans can go a little floury when cooked for any considerable length of time, but any others should be fine. LEMONGRASS: If you don’t have lemongrass paste to hand – and I only do because it was substituted for garlic paste in …

How To Talk To Your Children About Climate Change [In Partnership With OCTOPUS ENERGY]

ARE YOU A BUDDING ARTIST KEEN TO SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE? Octopus Energy are running a competition that could see your work displayed on billboards throughout the UK – and you could even win an eco-holiday! Read on to find out more. Being a parent in this modern world doesn’t come with a handbook – and there are many occasions when I wish that it did. From backchat to school bullying, to explaining away glimpses of the news in an age-appropriate setting, it seems not a day goes by at the moment where my Mary Poppins toolbag of parenting skills is required to magic up yet something else to tackle each new situation. I’m the mother of a very curious and chatty nine-year-old, and a few months ago he started to take a real interest in the news. My partner is a news commissioner, and so the news is inescapable in our house. I often find the pair of them sitting on the sofa together, glued to the box, which is sweet but …