Soffritto, 19p

soffritto

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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Self-Love Stew (V)

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I cooked for myself last night. This is pretty good news, considering how blue I have been the last few days… Black dog came home, and cooking is the self-love I need but often the first thing it takes in its jaws. So I hereby christen this Self-Love Stew. I’ll reformat it into a proper recipe later on, with costings, […]

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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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Ramen-ish, 77p

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   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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Three day beef stock, 12p

Three day stock... A friend on Instagram commented it looked good enough to drink, to which I sheepishly confessed I had been doing just that... Patience is a virtue, good stock is your reward...

First, a disclaimer about the perceived profligacy of a three day stock: this was accidental, as I am a busy and unorganised soul. On Tuesday when I decided to make beef stock from the forerib bones and scraps of beef left from Sunday’s lunch, I didn’t imagine it would be a half-week affair. I started making stock, turned it off […]

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Ham, Pea & Mint Casserole, 30p.

Photo by Susan Bell, for A Girl Called Jack.

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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Kale, Barley and Cumin Soup, 37p

Pearl barley and kale soup photo by Groupon/Jack Monroe

Barley is one of the cheapest grains currently available in shops and supermarkets, and my mum made pearl barley soup for us when I was a child, loaded with tiny chopped spring vegetables, carrots, spring greens and nutty pearl barley. I’ve taken her Northern Irish heritage and added some of my favourite spices for a warming, wholesome soup. Soaking your […]

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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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CAULI, FENNEL & GARLIC SOUP

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This wholesome, earthy soup is packed with flavour from the sweet roasted onions and unmistakable taste of fennel. (Serves 2) 49p a portion 400g cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen, 60p 1 potato, diced, 9p 1 onion, quartered, 9p 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled 6p Scant teaspoon of fennel seeds, 5p 2 tbsp oil, 6p 500ml vegetable stock, 2p Preheat the […]

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CHOCOLATE, CHILLI & BLACK BEAN SOUP

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It’s just a matter of days until my book launch on the 27th, so I’ve decided to blog one of my favourites from the book, featured in last weekend’s edition of the Observer Food Monthly magazine… First up, Chocolate, Chilli And Black Bean Soup. Photography by Susan Bell. I knocked up this soup last winter. It combines onions and garlic for detoxifying goodness […]

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SISTER MARTHA’S CHICKEN SOUP

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While in Tanzania, I visited last years winner of Oxfam’s Female Food Heroes competition: an Africa-wide search to celebrate female farmers and food producers who were making a difference to their lives and communities. (I’ll write more about Sister Martha separately). While we were at her house, I are very little, having spent the night before being horrendously ill. She […]

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Reader recipes: Andrew’s spicy lentil and tomato soup

I had this lovely email yesterday, with a delicious soup recipe that sounds perfect for winter lunches or light suppers… If I was making it with what was in the cupboard, i’d use a veg stock cube instead of bouillon and trusty chopped tomatoes, but only because I usually have them kicking around! Thanks Andrew for sharing, I hope you all enjoy this one. Love your website and what you do for budget cooking and food poverty awareness. I made this the other day and it was lovely (and cheap): Spicy Tomato and Lentil Soup One small onion One leek One small carrot Tsp olive/sunflower oil 6 medium fresh tomatoes 1 tsp dried organo Tablespoon tomato puree Half tsp cayenne pepper Tablespoon veg bouillon powder (low salt) 200g Red lentils Method Put tomatoes in boiling water. Gently fry finely chopped onion, leek and grated carrot until soft but not brown. Use water from tomatoes to make up veg stock, skin and chop toms. Add toms, oregano, cayenne pepper and puree to pan and fry the mix until soft but not sticking to the pan (about 5 mins). Mash down and bit with potato masher (you can blend if you like smooth soup, I don’t). Add veg stock and bring to the boil. Wash lentils until water is clear and then add to soup. Cook gently until lentils are soft but still intact, add more water, seasoning as necessary. Great with […]

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Reader Recipes: Charlotte’s Borscht

I was sent this recipe by a lovely reader, Charlotte, so thought I would share it here. If you have a recipe you would like to share, email it to me on jackmonroe@live.co.uk I am trying to be really thrifty at the moment as I’m on a postgraduate student living allowance which is being squeezed from every direction. I was making dinner last night and needed to use up some beetroot so I made a vague approximation of borscht, I don’t know if it’s the sort of thing you or your readers might like. Ingredients: Pack of four cooked (not pickled) beetroot, in small cubes 1 tbsp sunflower oil Diced small onion Vegetable stock cube in about 700mL water Pinch of paprika Tablespoon plain yogurt Black pepper Mixed herbs I browned the onion and then added the beetroot and the juice from the packet. In next was the stock, the pepper and the herbs. I simmered this for about 10 minutes and then mashed the bits of beetroot with a potato masher. Normally I’d use a stick blender to get it really smooth but mine gave up a couple of months back. I then added the yogurt, followed by a pinch of paprika. I served this with cous cous but it would also go well with bread. This served four adults so I think this works out at about 50p a portion (I shop at Aldi). All the very best, […]

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Ultimate Feisty Soup

Based on my original Feisty Soup recipe, I’ve made myself a batch of this this afternoon to try to combat a very heavy cold. It normally works very well; the chilli blasts the sinuses, the lemon and ginger eases that accompanying stomach ache, the onion and garlic are packed with antioxidants and the carrots and tomatoes deliver a hefty dose of vitamin C… I’d rather have this than Lemsip any day. Ingredients (Makes 4-6 portions) 1 onion 2 cloves of garlic 1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1cm fresh 1 tbsp lemon juice 200g sliced carrots 800g chopped tomatoes with juice 300ml chicken or vegetable stock Pinch of dried chilli or 1 fresh chilli Peel and chop the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger and add to a large saucepan with the lemon juice. Cook together on a low heat, stirring frequently to disturb and stop them from sticking. When the onion has started to soften, add the tomatoes and drained carrots, and pour the stock over the top. Simmer for 10 minutes to combine the flavours and heat through. Remove from heat, and blend using a hand blender or jug blender. Serve hot! Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack

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Simple Spiced Potato Soup

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This is one of my go-to recipes, a whatever-happens-to-be-in-the-cupboard special. I sometimes add a chopped chilli to the onion, and some coriander from my window ledge herb box, but I have given the basic recipe below – feel free to customize it as you wish. when it comes to my lunch, I can be an impatient oik so I tend […]

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Red Wine And Mushroom Soup

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Mushrooms are one of my staple products, being both cheaply available at supermarkets and greengrocers, and simple enough to grow at home. I’m a tactile cook, so I like to break them up with my hands instead of slicing them, but it doesn’t make a difference to the end result of the recipe. If you like this and you have […]

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Reader’s Recipes: Patricia’s Dried Broad Bean Soup (Bessara)

I must say I use more and more pulses in my cooking now, as I am also trying to balance my budget, but I have to say that I really enjoy this kind of food. If you have a chance do try this recipe. It is absolutely delicious. Beyssara, or Beyssar, depending on who you speak to, is a street food staple, somewhere between a thick soup and a thin puree. In Marrakesh it is cooked in large, round earthenware jars which are balanced over charcoal fires in a tilted position. The narrow opening of the jar faces the cool and he ladles the soup out into bowls using a long handled spoon. Ingredients (Serves 4-6.) 250 g/ 9 ounces dried split broad beans, soaked overnight with 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda added to the water 2 unpeeled garlic cloves 1 ½ teaspoons each ground cumin and paprika scant ½ teaspoon dried chillies crushed to a coarse powder, or taste (or use chilli powder) salt to taste extra virgin olive oil Directions: Rinse the broad beans, which will have swelled to twice original size, and put them in a large saucepan. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves and the spices and cover with water (about 2 litres / 3 ½ pints). Bring to the boil over a medium high heat, then cover the pan and leave to boil for 30 minutes or until the broad beans have turned into a mush. […]

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Feisty Soup

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I make this for myself whenever I feel as though I am coming down with a cold. you know – when you’ve got that shaky, exhausted feeling and general self-pity. Instead of spending a fortune on various over-the-counter paracetamol and lemon drinks, I drag myself into the kitchen and cook myself a cure. This is called feisty soup for a […]

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Carrot And Coriander Soup

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Carrot and coriander soup is a classic fresh soup that crops up everywhere – from inside cardboard cartons in the supermarket to on smart restaurant menus. here’s my simple recipe for making your own. I often substitute the fresh potato and carrot for their tinned sisters, for an even easier version. Serves 2 1 onion 4 carrots 1 potato 1 […]

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LOVE SOUP

Photography by Susan Bell.

There are many different recipes entitled Love Soup – I’ve seen some rich chicken soup recipes, some with heady garlic and some deep red tomato ones. By chance, the ingredients for this were what I had kicking around in the fridge last Valentines Day, so this warming carrot, ginger and onion soup is mine. Nothing says ‘I love you’ quite […]

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Spiced Lentil Soup

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This spiced lentil soup is comforting winter food – I keep tinned carrots, tomatoes and a bag of lentils on standby for those evenings when the Small Boy is already tucked up in bed and snoozing and there’s not much else in the fridge or kitchen cupboard. I’ve used red lentils here, but brown lentils or green ones are just […]

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