Extra-Wholesome Banana Bread (VEGAN)

This beautiful bounty of Sunday morning baking was based on the vegan banana bread in my first book, A Girl Called Jack, but uses some wholemeal flour and coconut oil for extra goodness. If you don’t have coconut oil, fear not, as the song almost went, Any Oil Will Do. Vegetable, sunflower, light or mild olive, groundnut, rapeseed, whatever you […]

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Smoky Dogs (VEGAN), 10p

On Thursday, I got a text message from my best friend asking if I wanted to meet for lunch and casually mentioning that it was National Hot Dog Day. Normally I side-eye those National Something Days but heck, National Hot Dog Day? There’s something I can get behind with aplomb. Gusto. Unfettered enthusiasm. And sausages. I’ve been making vegetarian sausages […]

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Thinking of applying for Britain’s Hardest Grafter? Read this first.

TwentyTwenty productions are looking for applicants for a new television show that has been described as ‘Benefits Street meets The Hunger Games’. Are you thinking of applying for the chance to win that staggering £15,000 sum? Here’s what you should know first – and I am probably doing myself out of ever getting another job in television by writing this article but you know what? Fuck it. Because I wish someone had told me. 1. Only one of you will win that £15,000. It’s also classed as ‘earnings’, so you will have to pay tax on it, and National Insurance contributions. 2. The rest of you will be ‘recompensed’ ‘not less than the National Minimum Wage’ for your time on the show. Bear in mind that the people you will be surrounded by, the presenters and camera crew and the ubiquitous ‘celeb’ they’ll roll out here and there, will be being paid hundreds, if not thousands, every day. You will be surrounded by people whose ‘wage’ will be worth dozens of yours, and some of them will treat you accordingly. 3. The media will trawl through your social networks and dig up and store any photographs they can find as evidence to fit the ‘character’ they will invent for you. Take my advice and remove completely any pictures of you with a beer in your hand, and DEFINITELY any champagne bottles or glasses. It doesn’t matter to the picture desk […]

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Post election post mortem.

It’s Sunday already. I’ve started writing a blog post about the election so many times since Thursday evening, and Friday morning, but they were stilted, words slowly forced onto a page as my shocked and scrambled head for once didn’t know what to say.  It started with a heavy, sinking feeling as the exit poll data was announced. Based on 22,000 people of the some 41million who voted, and putting the Conservatives in the lead, I prayed it was wrong. For a start, it was the data from 0.0005% of the total number of people who voted. The margin for error was enormous, I told myself, not in denial – as I have been a politics nerd for long enough now to know that nothing should come as a surprise and nothing should be taken for granted – but in hope. Hope that a couple of the digits were slightly here or there, hope for a slight shift of margins, hope for something other than the desolate prediction rolling across the bottom of my television screen. “It’s another bad result for Labour”, Andrew Neil said of one early announcement of a Labour-won seat. I furrowed my brow. Dimbleby was proclaiming from the off that the polls were right, as the Lab-Con scorecard read 7-2. Bit premature, I thought. The 12th result was deemed ‘the last Labour stronghold’. Strewth, I thought to myself, there’s 638 more results to come. Sports commentators […]

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Live Below The Line: The Whole Week

                                           Jack Monroe. You can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @MsJackMonroe This was my Live Below The Line challenge to raise money for Street Child United – I’ll blog all of the recipes I haven’t got around to over the next couple of days. In the meantime you can read about it (and sponsor me!) over on […]

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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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Pickling leftover veg.

Here’s something I do a lot, like my juicing-without-a-blender post last week, that I do so regularly and unthinkingly that I didn’t realise I’d never written about it on my blog! This is where all the soft or sad or straggly vegetables end up that aren’t juicing material. Like the Mooli I bought last week in a fit of curiosity […]

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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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Whoa F*ck Dressing, 7p

This came about as most of my favourite things do, with a musing to myself about something I’d eaten recently and a wonder if I could recreate something like it. The ‘something’ in this case was a jar of Tonkotsu’s ‘Eat The Bits’ chilli oil given to us by Emma Reynolds of Tonkotsu fame, but it was polished off weeks […]

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Three day beef stock, 12p

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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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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Cabbage griddle scones, 13p

Griddle scones can be a simple weekend breakfast to make those lazy weekend mornings feel special and luxurious. 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 almost midday. I […]

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Colcannon, 25p

Colcannon is a traditional Irish recipe made with kale, spring greens or cabbage – depending on what you have available. (I generally have kale kicking about, for those controversial kale pestos and the occasional grimacing penitence of a green juice on ‘the mornings after the nights before…’) Colcannon was a staple of my childhood but my mother, born and raised in Belfast, simply called it ‘champ’ – readers have been in touch in droves to explain the differences between the two, and Mum’s seemed to be a hybrid depending on what we had in the veg drawer. We used to eat it with a pile of sausages and gravy, and fought over seconds. Serve with sausages, chicken or eat as it is straight from the pot. The quantities are easily doubled, for larger families or appetites. Serves 2 as a side dish at 25p each 350g white potatoes (fresh or tinned – I use tinned as they’re FAR cheaper, AND already cooked), 20p a handful of kale (30g), 15p ½ an onion (100g), 6p a generous knob of butter (25g), or more to taste, 9p If using fresh potatoes, wash and dice them. If using tinned potatoes, drain and leave them whole. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, pop the potatoes in and simmer until super-tender – 20 minutes for fresh potatoes, 5 minutes for tinned ones. Finely chop the cabbage, greens or kale and peel and finely […]

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