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LOVE SOUP

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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Spring Piggy, 33p

Spring Piggy, serves 4 for £1.34, or 34p each. This is an adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe for spring chicken, which was adapted in turn from a traditional rabbit recipe. That’s the thing about food, we all fiddle with it and tweak and make it posher or make it cheaper and add our own twists as we see fit. […]

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Beer & Sultana Bread

This recipe uses only part of a can or bottle of bitter, but don’t worry – pour the rest into a glass and pop it in the fridge to go flat, because you can make a Beery Berry Crumble out of that later. Waste not, want not! I use a cake tin to make this loaf in because I haven’t […]

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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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COURGETTE & MINT FRITTERS

The humble courgette – you either love it or you hate it! However, courgettes are cheap and abundant in the summer months, and extremely versatile. These fritters are great as a standalone snack with a home made raita dip, or served with sausages and ketchup. Makes 4 chunky or 6 thin fritters: 1 large courgette a fistful of fresh mint […]

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Garlic, Herb & Lemon Bread

If you want to be really traditional and a little bit messy, you can get stuck in and use your hands to mix together the ingredients and form the dough. you need a good swirling motion, but I’ve made a lot of bread and never quite got this right. It’s good for the homespun warm feeling, not so great for […]

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Spiced Lentil Soup

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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Warm Spicy Daal

There are many different recipes for daal, made with different types of split peas, lentils and even chickpeas, so here is a simple basic one to get you started. From here, feel free to customize to your own taste by adding plain yoghurt, coconut yoghurt or different herbs and spices. I like to eat mine from a deep bowl with […]

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MY CAKEYS

  This definitely doesn’t class as a recipe. More something cheap, fun and edible to do with the kids. Cornflakes and peanut butter were staple ingredients of my original £10 a week shop, and these treats were the product of a rainy day at home with a toddler and a desire for something sweet and delicious. Small Boy called them […]

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MUSHROOM CHASSEUR

  This simple, delicious mushroom casserole is perfect easy comfort for cold evenings. Serve with a heap of fluffy mashed potatoes, or atop some plain rice, for a delicious dinner. Serves 2: 1 onion 2 fat cloves of garlic 400g mushrooms 2 tablespoons oil a fistful of fresh thyme or a shake of mixed dried herbs 100ml red wine 1 […]

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Chickpea & Tomato Best Brunch Loaf

This loaf is a favourite weekend recipe of mine, which is easily adapted to personal tastes and what you have in the cupboard. Sometimes I like to thoroughly mash the chickpeas for a smoother bread, and sometimes I chuck them in whole for a knobbly, crunchy texture. Delicious toasted or grilled with butter, or bacon, or an egg, or all […]

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Pasta Alla Genovese, 19p.

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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Moroccan Not-A-Tagine

This tagine uses my three staple spices – turmeric, cumin and paprika – to deliver a gorgeous sweet and spicy dinner. I made it for Xanthe Clay from the Daily Telegraph when she visited for an article called ‘My 49p Lunch With A Girl Called Jack’. In her words: ‘the food is very fine, and it’s also healthy’ – so […]

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For John Hadjicostas, In Memoriam.

For John S. Hadjicostas, in memoriam. John Hadjicostas – or as I called him, Grandad – passed away this morning at Southend Hospital. The man that we thought was invincible, who survived strokes, heart attacks, and cancers, has gone. I spent summers down at his guest houses on the seafront, folding bed linen and washing up and eventually cooking breakfasts, listening to his stories of growing up as a boy in Cyprus, and drinking Aldi lemonade. It was at the dining table of 12 Hartington Road that I had brawn for the first time, ox tongue, squid (he told me that it was an onion ring) and various other culinary delights. He taught me to fry an egg, to use an old fashioned laundry press, and how to spectacularly lose my temper. He taught me how to raise my middle finger, at Boxing Day dinner in a party hat, telling me he’d give me a pound if I stuck it up at my mother across the table. I did, and he clipped me round the head for swearing at my mother. We both laughed then, but I still got my pound. The last time I saw him, he was hunched in a chair in the Castle Point Ward at Southend Hospital. He sat there quietly, not the Grandad I knew, but soon found his voice to grumble and growl when the lad in the adjacent bed started chatting up his […]

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Hunger Hurts. (July 2012)

Today has seen fourteen job applications go in, painstakingly typed on this Jurassic mobile phone, for care work, shop work, factory work, minimum wage work, any kind of work, because quite simply, this doesn’t work. For reasons unbeknownst to me, this month my Housing Benefit was over £100 short. I didn’t get a letter that I know of, but I can assume that it’s still the fallout from the cockups made by the various benefit agencies when I briefly went back to work from March to May. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to work out that £670 of rent can’t be paid of £438 of Housing Benefit. So I’m a week in arrears, almost two, as by the time Thursday comes and the next £167.31 is due, there’ll still be nothing coming in. The Income Support went on keeping me afloat, briefly, as did the Child Tax Credit. Now I’m not only in arrears, but last night when I opened my fridge to find some leftover tomato pasta, an onion, and a knob of stem ginger, I gave the pasta to my boy and went to bed hungry with a pot of home made ginger tea to ease the stomach pains. This morning, small boy had one of the last Weetabix, mashed with water, with a glass of tap water to wash it down with. ‘Where’s Mummys breakfast?’ he asks, big blue eyes and two year old concern. I tell […]

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In Memoriam: Helen Constantine

When I was a child, I spent my summers at a large and sprawling house in Plymouth, and these are some of my earliest memories. Playing hide and seek in three gardens, watching baby chicks bathe in a sink of water, sitting in the smallest ‘secret’ garden with a book all afternoon; these are some of the earliest childhood memories that I have. Travelling all day in my Mum’s Land Rover Discovery, sitting in the back seats and pausing on a motorway to eat sandwiches and apples. Pulling up at the house to be greeted by a pair of enormous geese, Charlie and Geraldine, who would chase me around the garden shrieking in a green summer dress. ‘Aunty Helen’, as she was known to us, was a small, smiling woman, always with outstretched arms, a plate full of food and a gentle word of wisdom. She once told me to help her to prepare food in the kitchen, I must have been eight years old or so, and a few hours later, watching many people gather around the table to eat vegetables that I had chopped up (and made a terrible job of it, I might add!) the first seeds of enthusiasm for cooking and entertaining may have been sown. Aunty Helen was a tireless giver; always there with a lap, a cuddle, a handbag she had painstakingly crotcheted or a potato sandwich. The memories I have of her from […]

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Use-Me-For-Anything Tomato Sauce

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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Carrot, Cumin & Kidney Bean Soup

This recipe came about after seeing the tins of soup in the supermarket and thinking, ‘I can do better than that.’ So rather than stocking up on thin tomato soup (with suspiciously few tomatoes) I thought I’d treat myself to some cheap, versatile, protein-packed spicy goodness instead. The quantities here make four generous portions. Serves 4: 1 onion 2 tbsp […]

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Don’t Blame Single Mums For High Streets Problems

Letter in the Echo newspaper, Thursday 1st March. In response to the following article: ‘Anna Waite: Druggies, Drunks and Single Mums Driving Upmarket Shops Out Of Southend.’ http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/9557798.Druggies__drunks_and_single_mums____driving_upmarket_shops_out_of_Southend___/ “Anna Waite thinks druggies and single mothers are killing trade in Southend High Street. It would be great to be married with two incomes and a nice family business, but I’m not. […]

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Sleep Rough To Raise Awareness Of Youth Homelessness: with Southend YMCA

To donate, click here: http://www.justgiving.com/jackmonroesleepeasy This Saturday night, Southend YMCA are challenging people to ‘sleep rough’ to raise sponsorship money, and awareness of youth homelessness and the issues that young people face when forced to sleep on the streets. The ‘sleep out’ is being held outdoors on Saturday 2nd March, overnight in a car park in central Southend. It costs […]

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