Soffritto, 19p


For the last few months, I have been spying little jars of soffritto paste in the specialty foods aisles of various supermarkets. Snuggled next to such exoticisms as ancho chillies, dried porcini mushrooms, and other things that it is ‘nice to have but not essential’ (although Waitrose now feature artichoke hearts in their Essentials range, for the love of God!). […]

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Ramen-ish, 77p


   Over the last few months I have been introduced to the wonders of London’s ramen bars by my lovely foodie friend Chriss, often when I’m in need of a pick me up, on of those days that can best be summed up like this:     And the first time we went, I forget where now and have trawled my […]

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Penne Pappa al Pomodoro (VEGAN), 21p

Penne pappa al pomodoro. Soaked bread crusts in tinned tomatoes are having their moment in my kitchen this week.

After yesterday’s culinary adventure with old bread crusts and tinned tomatoes (which turned out to be one of the nicest, bowl-lickingly-good things ever), I spooned the leftover portion of soup into a jar and stored it in the fridge, intending to make a soupy lunch out of it today. I opened the fridge about 12 o clock to find the […]

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Minestrone Soup, 19p

I often receive letters and emails from friends, family and readers asking for ideas for cheap lunches. Aside from the ubiquitous cheese sandwich or home made scone-muffin-type-thing and an apple, banana or pear, one of my favourite staple lunches for this time of year is A Good Hearty Soup. And nothing says hearty soup quite like one packed with pasta and beans and chunky vegetables! I’ve been making minestrone soup for so long, I’m amazed it didn’t make it into either of my books – but I guess I’d never taken the time to write the recipe down and think about it too much. It’s one of my staples for a leftover half can of beans or chopped tomatoes, a scraggy little carrot or half an onion in the bottom of the veg drawer, tired greens, and those little broken bits of pasta in the bottom of the bag, or odds and sods of pasta that aren’t quite enough to do anything with. I keep all the last few bits of pasta, and the broken bits, in a large jar, smashed to smithereens – perfect for tossing into soups like this one. Why buy specialty tiny pasta, when you can make your own?! Makes six mug-sized portions or four generous bowlfuls: 1 onion, 6p 2 fat cloves of garlic, 4p 1 carrot, 6p 1 tbsp oil (sunflower or vegetable), 3p 400g tin or carton of chopped tomatoes, 40p 600ml chicken […]

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Pumpkin and bacon carbonara, for Rob (and everyone else)


“My pumpkin dream always has smoked streaky bacon and Swiss cheese in it…” my friend Rob mused aloud as he carved our family pumpkin at the kitchen table on Friday morning. “Like, in a sandwich… Or pasta…” “Or carbonara?” I offered. “Oh carbonara… Pumpkin carbonara…” We sat there silently, grinning, two food-obsessives salivating at the thought of rich egg yolks, […]

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Radish tops pesto

You know me, I love a pesto as a useful receptacle for all things green – and the peppery tops of my radishes are no exception. Radish tops don’t stay fresh for very long, so once separated from the little pink or purple radishes, bag them up or wrap them in slightly damp paper, store in the fridge, and eat within a day or two. The taste is something like nettles, but milder, and can be tossed into salads or wilted into curries. The larger leaves can be rough and stingy to touch, so not recommended for salads, but can be made into great pesto instead… Fistful of radish leaves 50g cashew nuts or pine nuts 2 fat cloves of garlic 50ml oil – sunflower or groundnut work well 50g hard strong cheese Zest and juice of half a lemon Finely chop the garlic and leaves, and grate the cheese. Add to a blender with the oil, lemon juice and nuts, and pulse until combined. Loosen with a little extra oil, or water, if needed. Store in a clean jar in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Radish tops pesto recipe from . Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook:

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My take on spaghetti alla puttanesca is a little different – I prefer tinned sardines to the more traditional anchovies, and I like to add some of the preserved oil for a distinctive flavour. This dish is a hot, fast joyride for your tastebuds with its fiery chilli, soft chunks of fish, vinegary capers and salty aftertaste. (Serves 2) 4 […]

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Yesterday, we had a large black bunch of mint in the fridge, some sticky soggy parsley and a clump of basil that had seen better days. Add to that a hard rind of cheese and you can see why everyone wants to come to lunch here… I decided to whack it all in the blender and see if I could […]

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Faced with a leftover hunk of beef last night to stretch between two grown women with fairly healthy appetites, I started making bolognese, changed my mind and wanted bourgignon, and changed it back again halfway through. This is my first dinner cooked for Someone Very Special (who doesn’t like white chocolate, so Headrush Spaghetti was out, and who cooked for […]

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Traditionally, on Valentines Days gone by, I would knock up a pan of tagliatelle with a slow-cooked chilli and tomato sauce, hand torn basil and parsley, a few finely chopped olives and two lobsters from Leigh Fishermans Co-op nestled on top… I’d carry my big, faithful copper-bottomed sauté pan into the dining room, hand over a fork, and begin, following […]

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This was my lunch for today – so simple that it’s barely a recipe but here we go! Basically, I cooked 100g of pasta, mixed it with half a portion of spiced split pea and lentil soup ( left over from Tuesdays lunch, grated a smudge of cheese over the top and shoved it under the grill for five minutes […]

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Slummy Mummy Recipe: Pasta, Peas-N-Cheese, 22p


“Hey Sprout, do you want tomato and cheese with your pasta, or peas and cheese?” “Cheese!” “Yes, but do you want tomatoes, or peas?” “Peas!” “Peas and cheese?” “PEAS AND CHEESE!” That’s how that conversation went with SB today, having spent all day painting and cleaning and coming home to a rather limited cupboard (and equally limited levels of energy […]

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Oh My God Dinner, 28p


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. Ingredients:* 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 […]

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Pasta Alla Genovese, 19p.

Pasta Alla Genovese by Jack Monroe

Pasta Alla Genovese: Serves 2 adults at 19p per portion (or in my case, 1 adult, 1 small boy, and 1 next day lunchtime snack portion!) <; Ingredients:* 100g spaghetti (8p: 40p for 500g) 50g fine green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1cm pieces (7p: £1.40/kg, frozen) 200g potatoes, cut into 2cm chunks (8p: 15p for 540g can) Handful of […]

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Use-Me-For-Anything Tomato Sauce

Photography by Susan Bell

This tomato sauce is exactly what its name says – a wonderfully versatile sauce for all occasions. It was inspired by a basic tomato sauce in Economy Gastronomy by Allegra McEvedy and Paul Merrett – which is a brilliant guide to cooking fantastic food on a budget. With mine, I make a batch, eat some, fridge some, and freeze some […]

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