All posts filed under: Lunch

Oh My God Dinner, 28p [A Girl Called Jack]

Oh My God Dinner (or, ‘I Was Going To Make Pasta Alla Genovese And Then I Remembered That Sodding Courgette Rolling Around In My Fridge…’) 55p for 2 portions, or just under 28p 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.) 70g bacon, 11p (£1.09/670g) 1 chilli (free, grows on my window ledge) 80g spaghetti, 6p (39p/500g) Fistful each parsley, mint, basil (free, grows on my window ledge) 10ml lemon juice, 2p (60p/250ml) 50g green beans, 7p (£1.40/kg, frozen) 20g Brie, 11p (£1.09/200g) 1 garlic clove, 3p (46p for 2 bulbs with average 8 cloves each) 1/2 courgette, 15p (£1.80/kg, 6 in my bag) Chop the bacon into small pieces and add to the sauté pan with the lemon juice (10ml is 2 teaspoons), diced courgette and chopped chilli. Cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally to turn. In the meantime, break …

Brie & Bacon Risotto, 26p [A Girl Called Jack]

While testing recipes for my book this week, it was inevitable that I would start to put leftover ingredients together to come up with accidental dishes. This speedy and satisfying late lunch was born of some scraps of cooking bacon left over from Spring Piggy, and some sad looking Brie from the Courgette and Brie gratin. I have been criticised in the past by online commenters for using ‘posh cheese’ on a limited budget, but at £1.09 for 200g, a rich flavour, and creamy versatility, I find a hunk of Brie far more satisfying for my stomach and my wallet than plain old cheddar any day. Besides – I can’t get £1.09 of cheddar from my local supermarket anyway… (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.) (Serves 2 at 26p/portion. Prices Sainsburys Basics, July 2013) 100g cooking bacon, 16p (£1.09/670g) 1/2 an …

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 …

Ultimate Lasagne, 35p [from ‘Veganish’]

This beautiful lasagne barely needs an introduction, as when I posted it on my Instagram, it received rapturous demands for the recipe. Good things come to those who wait, and here it is. Making lasagne from scratch is always a bit of a fanny, so I have deliberately made this recipe enormous so you can freeze it in portions for a quick ready meal, to make all of the work involved worthwhile by rewarding yourself with days where you won’t have to cook. Simply portion it into foil containers with those cardboard lids (around 8 for £1 from most supermarkets and factory outlet type stores, and reusable dozens of times if you wash them carefully) and pop into the freezer for a lazy day. For those of you who don’t have wine kicking about the place or don’t want to slosh it into your dinner, simply add stock or extra tomatoes in place of it. I have opted not to put cheese on mine, but you can if you want – for my vegan readers, …

Bootstrap Chilli, 25p

This chilli is adapted from a beef chilli recipe by Gordon Ramsay. I simply left out the beef and halved the wine to make it cheaper – plus, of course, Mr Ramsay doesn’t use a tin of cheap baked beans in his version! I’ve tweaked and fiddled with it so much over the years that now it’s not Gordon’s chilli, it’s mine. It first appeared in A Girl Called Jack, and has since been stripped back to this even simpler recipe, where it is handed out on recipe cards at Trussell Trust food banks – minus the red wine, because it isn’t strictly essential. (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.) Serves 4 from 25p each 1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, 30p  1 x 400g tin of baked beans, 23p 1 onion, 5p (54p/1.5kg) powdered chilli, to taste, <1p …

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 …

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 …

Beef, Black Bean & Mandarin Stew, 66p [Tin Can Cook]

This is a brand new recipe from Tin Can Cook – 75 store cupboard recipes by Jack Monroe – which is available here, and there is a fundraiser to donate it to foodbanks here. I based this recipe very, very loosely on a Brazilian feijoada. Very loosely. More a nod to it than any attempt at an authentic rendition. Feijoada is traditionally made with pork, beef and black beans. Some versions are served with caramelised orange slices on top and stirred through, so I have used mandarins here; their bright citrus flavour helps to lift the heady, heavy black beans and beef. This may sound an odd combination but it is truly delicious. My apologies to my Brazilian friends – if you do get the chance to make an authentic feijoada, seize it, it knocks absolute spots off this one, but I’ve done the best I could with what I had! This improves with a day’s rest, as do most of us, so keep leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge and enjoy them …

Cheeky Corn Fritters, 20p [Tin Can Cook]

This is a brand new recipe from Tin Can Cook – 75 store cupboard recipes by Jack Monroe – which is available here, and there is a fundraiser to donate it to foodbanks here. A good corn fritter recipe is an excellent thing to have up your sleeve, for breakfast, brunch, or making a meal out of a tin of corn. This is as good a recipe as any, and once you know how to do it, you’ll never be short of a speedy, filling brunch recipe. Serves 2–4, depending on appetite, from 20p 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.) 1 small onion, finely chopped, 9p 75g self-raising flour, 2p ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper or ¼ tsp chilli powder, 1p a little salt and pepper 300g tinned sweetcorn, drained, 35p 2 eggs, 28p 2 tbsp milk or water 2 tbsp cooking …

Three Tin Tender, 94p [Tin Can Cook]

This is a brand new recipe from Tin Can Cook – 75 store cupboard recipes by Jack Monroe – which is available here, and there is a fundraiser to donate it to foodbanks here. I originally titled this recipe ‘sticky barbecue beef’, but describing this as barbecue-anything feels wildly disingenuous, not least because it hasn’t been anywhere near one! The quantities given here will serve one or two people, depending on appetite, and can be easily scaled up to serve more, though it will need a longer cooking time. To make it go further, pack the sauce out with onions (100g per person) or kidney beans (1 tin per same-sized tin of steak). You can make this fancy by adding paprika or mustard for heat, or a dash of vinegar to offset the sweetness, but it works perfectly well just as it is. A large pot of this makes an excellent dinner, served atop a pile of mash. I use cheap full-sugar cola in mine, because I care not for preachery, but the diet version …

Bean Goulash, 26p [A Girl Called Jack]

This recipe first appeared in my cookbook, A Girl Called Jack. I originally adapted this from a beef goulash recipe in the Abel and Cole cookbook, but tweaked it and tampered with it in the way that all recipes are. Beans are cheaper than beef, financially and environmentally, and this dish is simply fine without it. I use cheap baked beans in place of haricot beans, as they are usually a third of the price of a tin of the plain ones! Eat warm on toast, with rice or stuffed in a pitta bread with lashings of crunchy lettuce for lunch. Eat from a bowl, water it down with a little more stock or tomato and enjoy as a soup, or nosh it straight from the pan in the name of ‘testing’. For a slightly Mexican twist, have it with tortillas, some grated cheese, sliced red onion and iceberg lettuce, with lime to squeeze all over. Serves 4 at 26p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use …

Pina Colada Bread, 15p [Tin Can Cook]

This is a brand new recipe from Tin Can Cook – 75 store cupboard recipes by Jack Monroe – which is available here, and there is a fundraiser to donate it to foodbanks here. I first made this on a dismal October morning after a long, uncharacteristically hot summer that had beamed in from mid-May until that particular drizzly day. My normally bright home was grey and miserable, and I yearned for the weather of the weeks and months before. Looking to inject some sunshine into my mood, I surveyed my tin collection and plucked out pineapples and coconut milk, and the Pina Colada bread was born. This recipe makes a rather large loaf; leftovers make for a phenomenal bread and butter pudding.   Makes 1 enormous loaf or 2 smaller ones, to serve approx 10 from 15p 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 …

Cannelini Beurre Blanc, 38p [Tin Can Cook]

I have very little time for the notion that some foods are ‘not for poorer people’ – it is a criticism I have come up against time and again, whether it is kale pesto irritating the commentariat at the Daily Mail, or a slosh of £2.50 table wine in a risotto, there is a frankly hideous misconception that good food is for the ‘deserving’, with the parameters of who deserves exactly what seemingly set by those who have never had a tenner in their pocket to last a week. Sometimes, when testing new recipes, I have a moment of hesitation, wondering how to frame it to reduce the petty background chatter around what I consider to be ‘food for everyone’. And then I carry on. This was one such recipe. An unctuous and subtly powerful sauce reduced to a thick, provocative shroud for slow-cooked cannellini beans and a scant handful of pasta. It would sit proudly on any hifalutin restaurant menu, but its main ingredient is a tin of beans and a slug of vinegar. …

Ratatouille, 69p

For the last two years of our courtship, Mrs J has been asking me very nicely to make her a ratatouille. Some childhood memory of a baked potato hot from a food van, piled high with soft, veg-laden ratatouille, stirs within her a bone-deep blissful comfort. Oblivious to the emotional sentiment, I would simply mutter something about ‘not being a frigging cafe’, and make something else. The truth is, I had never made a ratatouille before. My knowledge of it stemmed entirely from a Pixar movie starring a small excitable animated rat, and an indeterminable can of mush I was given at the food bank once that was so inexorably unappetising, I never wanted to see it or its ilk again. And then one day a few weeks ago, with the holy triumvirate of courgette, aubergine and pepper in the fridge, I decided to surprise her. I dug out my French cookery books – French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David, The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo, and Elisabeth Luard’s Classic French Cooking, all liberated …

Chickpea and Aubergine Curry, 66p

I love a rendang curry – the first time I ever made it, it was with slow roasted pork belly, finely sliced and slowly cooked in the sweet, sour, spicy sauce. It was so rich, so flavoursome, so fulsome and delightful, that I dared not attempt to recreate it again for many years. And then, moving my office (sounds fancy, it is also my dining room and general crap storage area), I came across a pile of old recipe notebooks, and started to pore through them in that classic way of procrastinating my any means possible. I found my pork belly rendang recipe, and scribbled down the component ingredients for the paste and sauce. I contemplated making it with jackfruit instead, but I decided to save that can for another day, and opted for slow-cooked creamy chickpeas and thinly sliced, meaty aubergine instead. Mrs J declared it one of the finest meals I had ever cooked – she says that a lot, so either my cookery improves on a daily basis, or she knows how …