Live Below The Line: Day 4 breakfast, 14p

This breakfast is so simple it hardly needs a recipe, but in ‘normal life’ it’s one of my favourite quick breakfasts anyway, so as soon as I had the peaches in my basket and realised the breakfast potential, I started looking forward to this. Imagine if the grapefruit had been in stock, I would have denied myself the small pleasure of tucking into this this morning – funny how things work out.   I used 80g from my rapidly-diminishing 500g natural yoghurt, which came in at 9p (the yoghurt was 55p for 500g in the Monday shop) and 50g of peaches, which worked out at 5p (they were 40p for 411g). So all in, a 14p breakfast that wasn’t as big as I’d have liked it to be, but I’m rationing remaining ingredients now – if I’m careful I can have this again as a snack or dessert today or tomorrow!  So far, with the generosity of friends and readers, I’ve raised £3,768 for Street Child United by doing this challenge – nearly double my target, and quite overwhelmed at all of the support and kindness. If you haven’t donated or want to check the page out, head over to http://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/agirlcalledjack Jack Monroe. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @MsJackMonroe

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Live Below The Line Day 3 Dinner: Broccoli stalk and yoghurt soup, 29p

Day three, dinner three, sees me over the middle hump of this year’s Live Below The Line challenge. In previous years, I’ve found myself at the end of the week with the scraps and scrag-ends of my £5-for-5-days food shop, exhausted, cranky, and willing it to be over as I try to be inventive with whatever bits and pieces there are left. I’m trying not to let that happen too much this year; in the same way I gently encourage my 5 year old not to leave the ‘green veg’ on his plate until the end for a dragged-out, miserable dinner experience (if anyone finds the answer as to why small boys are totally happy to eat their own bright green bogies and lick their radioactive-looking snot from their noses but abhor anything green that might be good for them, please, I’m dying to know) – I decided to shoehorn some of the ‘scraps’ into the week, rather than drag my heels and pouty lower lip all the way to Friday. So here we are, Wednesday, and a broccoli stalk soup. Rather this than the mushy peas, anyhow, that are glaring at me passive-aggressively from the worktop and filling me with fear. I decided to dice and slightly char the broccoli stalk – there’s no real knowledge or science behind this decision, I just figured it needs all the help it can get to take it from ‘thing I would […]

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It’s Only Words: On trolls, free speech, and the last few days.

Before you read this I should clarify that I am not back on my Twitter account. My blog and Instagram accounts both automatically link to it and publish new posts, so this may publish on my account but I am not going to access it to delete it, because I have deleted the app and do not want to go into my account, and apologise for any confusion. Dear readers, I have always tried to strike a balance between keeping you all updated with any major twists and turns in my frankly unusual life, without bombarding you with so much extraneous detail that the recipes get buried beneath an amateur imitation of a weekly glossy magazine. So, while there may not be red screaming circles of shame around my dark baggy eyes or shock horror headlines at being caught without any makeup on, I do feel I owe it to the loyalty of my readers to keep you informed about events and affairs. Of the ‘day to day life’ type, not the kiss-and-tell type, to be clear. It gets me in a little trouble sometimes, like the casual uploading of my Green Party welcome letter to my Instagram account being picked up by the Telegraph and subsequently plastered across the media, but those are the growing pains of a life led largely in public. One of my old Labour Party friends, who is a local councillor and a man I […]

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PIZZA.

First up in celebrating our multi-cultural foodie society, is the great Italian classic, pizza. For those of you so deeply ingrained in patriotism that you have never had, enjoyed or endorsed a pizza, you are missing out. The act of covering a fermented bread with toppings and cheese in fact goes back as far as the Ancient Greeks, who favoured […]

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Ham, Pea & Mint Casserole, 30p.

This delicious ham casserole is adapted from a favourite old recipe of mine – where I would boil the ham joint whole to make a stock, before shredding it into the casserole. This faster version is no compromise, making a delicious hearty dinner in less than half the time. For an extra special twist, serve with crusty bread topped with […]

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The Joy Project: 2nd – 8th March 2015

As part of the ongoing Joy Project, here’s some of the things that have made me laugh, smile, and feel joyous this week… Starting with the rogue cheeky pigeon in the bathroom that kept a good few Twitter followers entertained!!                    Jack […]

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The Royal Marsden Cancer Cookbook

 I’m very honoured to have been a part of this book, along with many friends and other cooks, chefs, dieticians, and nutritionists. I have lost two good and important men in my life to Cancer recently, and know that if this book had been around before now I would have given it to them, their families, and many other […]

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The Joy Project

Yesterday, a very kind man asked me to name three things recently that have brought me joy. I was a bit down in the dumps (to put it very, very mildly), it wasn’t an out of the blue question. I paused. “My son. My kids. They bring me joy. They’re so funny, if you just listen to them and their […]

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Pappa al Pomodoro, 32p [VG/V/DF]

I love a good tomato soup, and quite often with the humble tomato, simplicity is key. So imagine my delight, yesterday evening, idly leafing through the iconic River Café Cookbook (Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers), and finding a recipe for Pappa al Pomodoro. I’d never heard of it, but fell in love instantly – garlic, salt, herbs, tomatoes and a […]

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Take 53 vegan recipes…

The eagle eyed among you may have noticed that the last few days have seen a veritable flurry of vegan recipes from yours truly. I don’t have any big announcements to make about changes to my diet, I just thought I’d give a lot of love to my vegan readers old and new (who graciously ignore the occasional sausages and […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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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The longer we argue, the longer the queues at the foodbank get…

My column in Society Guardian, Monday 8th December 2014. “Poor people don’t know how to cook”, Baroness Anne Jenkin said at the launch of the Feeding Britain report yesterday, and suddenly it was as though ten months of evidence gathering, and 160 pages of written report, hadn’t happened, cast aside to be summed up in seven words. Welcome to the new politics, where every character counts, and every statement met with an equal and polarising one. Instead of discussing and debating the 77 recommendations in the report on Monday evening, as a former food bank user who had given oral evidence to the committee myself in July, I found myself on regional and national radio and television, being asked about Baroness Jenkin instead. And herein one of the big problems with politics today lies: instead of discussing the issues at hand, the baying mobs on all sides are waiting in the wings for someone to say something imperfect, and they pounce, hurling insults and escalating debate into personal attacks and rudeness, and nobody is talking about hungry people or how to feed them any more. Instead it’s all ‘those big bad Tories’ fault, or ‘the Church shouldn’t be commenting at all because they have a bit of gold kicking about’, or it ‘started under Labour…’ The longer we all stand on opposing sides shouting over each other, the longer the queues around the foodbanks get, and the longer the benefit […]

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