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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: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack

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Summer odds and ends cooler

This hardly qualifies as a recipe, falling more into the ‘ideas’ camp, but it’s so yummy I just want to share it with you. Basically this morning I was rooting around in the fridge and came across some straggly old mint, a withered half a lemon and a quarter of a cucumber that had gone soggy and soft. Rather than […]

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Radish, broad bean and mint risotto

The broad beans in this recipe can be replaced with little green peas, green beans, or mangetout or sugar snaps if you’re a bit of a fancypants – just something crisp and green and fresh to complement the crunchy tangy radishes and the soft, buttery rice… Bliss. And it looks pretty gorgeous too. Serves 4 1 large onion 25g butter […]

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BABA GHANOUSH

  Baba ghanoush is a popular Middle Eastern dish, often served as a dip with pitta breads. I sometimes add cooked chickpeas to mine for a simple, flavoursome curry, or toss it through pasta with fresh mint for an easy lunch. I highly recommend cooking the aubergines over an open flame for a deep, smoky intensity – I hold mine […]

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I LOVE… AUBERGINES.

Aubergine season is upon us from now until early October, and these dark purple, glossy beauties lend themselves to all kinds of cooking – from low and slow curries to quickly battered and fried fritters, whipped up into a melintzasolata, or roasted for a spicy baba ghanoush. Aubergines don’t have much of a distinctive flavour of their own – unless […]

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OVEN ROASTED SARDINES ON SOURDOUGH TOAST

Behold the humble sardine, one of the staples in my store cupboard for a quick lunch or light snack. I love sourdough for this recipe, although a nice brown or wholemeal bread will work nicely. Serves 2: 3 sardines or pilchards 400g tinned tomatoes 1 onion, cut into rings Salt and pepper Fat clove of garlic 3 slices sourdough bread, […]

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GLAMOUR MAGAZINE: ON QUESTION TIME

“Someone tell Jack Monroe she has something in her hair!” someone tweeted me at 11pm last night. That would be sick then, or sicked-up shrimp, to be precise. A combination of television nerves and a not-quite-right pub lunch, but according to my Twitter feed, only three people noticed the glob of something indeterminate and pink looking in my fringe as […]

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KERALAN AUBERGINE CURRY

One of my favourite restaurants in Southend specialises in Keralan cuisine – and when I couldn’t afford it but really wanted a rich, spicy curry, I decided to make my own version. Aubergines are comparitively expensive to buy individually, so look out for the bags of three or four, and eat them all week! Serves 2: 2 aubergines a pinch […]

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MY LITTLE KITCHEN GARDEN

It’s that fabulous time of year when Spring seems to be dancing into Summer, when I can wander around with my tattoos out (the ones on my arms, anyway) and I can scatter some seeds into buckets and bags and pop back a few weeks later to some home grown goodness. Regular readers will know that I’ve grown herbs and […]

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BBC QUESTION TIME

It’s one thing being asked to go on BBC Question Time as the token ‘non politician’ that they like to throw in to mix things up again – it’s another thing entirely making your QT debut on election night, and being seated between the deputy chair of UKIP and a senior Conservative MP. Anyway, I won’t spoil the surprises: you […]

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SUMMER BROAD BEAN SALAD

  Broad beans can be bought frozen for around £1.50 for a 750g bag – much cheaper than their fresh counterparts, and no prising them from fiddly little pods either – although I do love thumbing the velvety lining of fresh pods to pop them out… Whether you choose fresh or frozen beans, this salad uses a lot of storecupboard […]

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NOT-MEATBALLS

These ‘Not Meatballs’ are adapted from a recipe in The Abel & Cole Veg Box Companion cookbook. They are a great veggie alternative to meatballs, and a favourite in my household. Delicious served with spaghetti and tomato sauce – a simple can of chopped tomatoes heated through at the end with a pinch of salt would be a perfect accompaniment. […]

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MIXED BEAN GOULASH

  I never tire of this quick, simple meal. Originally adapted from a beef goulash recipe, but tweaked and tampered with in the way that all recipes are, it has become a sweet and spicy staple in my household and doesn’t disappoint. I use cheap baked beans in place of haricot beans, as they are simply haricot or borlotti beans […]

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DOES ‘BEAUTY’ MATTER?

I’m never knowingly overdressed, or underdressed, or really give that sort of thing much thought. I just get up and get mostly dressed, for perching at my kitchen table to write, dash out to nursery or for a pint of milk, and pop my one suit jacket on if I’m going to a meeting. If it’s not screwed up in […]

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SPAGHETTI ALLA PUTTANESCA

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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PRAWN ETOUFFEE

Etoufee is traditionally made with shrimp, but I’m more likely to have a bag of prawns in my freezer, so this is my version. The trick to a good etoufee is not to rush the sauce, which should be the consistency of a good gravy – not too thick, not too thin. Be generous with the salt and pepper, too. […]

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JAM TARTS

Jam tarts are one of those simple, delicious things that I remember consuming in droves in my childhood, but not so much as an adult. I always have flour in the cupboard and jam in the fridge, and this makes for a lovely rainy-day activity for small children to help with. Of course, you can cheat with jam tarts and […]

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BEERY BERRY CRUMBLE

This pudding came about a bit by accident, when I had the remains of a can of cheap bitter kicking about in the fridge door from a Beer and Sultana Bread, and some frozen berries defrosted in a dish in the fridge that needed using up. Rather than drink half a flat beer and pick at squishy berries, I decided […]

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RHUBARB & GINGER SODA BREAD

    Here’s the Rhubarb and Ginger Soda Bread recipe I made for my first ever FoodTube video… Ingredients: 300g flour 1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda 200ml milk (semi skimmed, soya, UHT, any milk will do) Juice of half a lemon, or 2 tbsp bottled lemon juice 100g fresh rhubarb 1 tbsp sugar Small piece of fresh ginger First, […]

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MY FIRST FOODTUBE VIDEO

    Hello! So excitingly, my first video for Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube went online last night, a rhubarb and ginger soda bread recipe. I was supposed to be making an ordinary soda bread, but on the morning of the shoot I came downstairs to find my dearest had left some sad-looking rhubarb in the sink with instructions to ‘use this […]

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ABOUT JACK

  Here’s some general facts about me. I was born in Southend on Sea, Essex, in 1988. I attended Westcliff High School for Girls,  gaining 4 and a half A*-C GCSEs. I’m often asked about the ‘half’ – it was a short course in Religious Studies. I left at 16 and worked full time in ‘odd jobs’, retail and coffee […]

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LIVE BELOW THE LINE 2014

This week, I’ve been taking part in the annual Live Below the Line challenge, living on £1 a day or less to raise money for Oxfam (you can sponsor me here). People say I should find it easy, considering my history of living on a tight budget for myself and my son. But I survived those periods by growing herbs […]

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HOW MANY CALORIES FOR A FIVER?

Last night I decided to work out the nutritional value of my Live Below The Line challenge. In previous years, I have felt in turn tired, lethargic, bloated, hungry and had carb spikes followed by huge crashes. My blood sugar is a bit bonkers at the best of times – I avoid lactose and too many unprocessed white carbs – […]

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SHOPPING AND PREP: LBL 2014

Well, the Smalls went back to nursery this morning, so I dashed to the shops afterwards on an empty stomach, clutching my fiver for this year’s Live Below The Line challenge. I no longer live in Southend on Sea next to the big orange supermarket that was my lifeline when I was living on an excruciatingly tight (and often non […]

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MACKEREL WITH HOT & FAST RHUBARB

Healthy, tasty and inexpensive, mackerel is one of my favourite fish. It’s sublime if you can get it really fresh, but it is, of course, widely available smoked, and pairs brilliantly with acidic fruit such as rhubarb (technically it’s a vegetable, but in the eyes of the US legal system, it’s also considered a fruit), which is happily coming into […]

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BOOK TWO!

Just a quick post to share some super exciting news that I’ve been hugging to my ample chest for the past couple of weeks: THERE’S DEFINITELY GOING TO BE A BOOK TWO!! Whoop woo! I signed the contract yesterday, so figure I can release the cat from the bag (I’m not very good at secrets, as you all know!) – […]

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BUSKING WITH BILLY BRAGG

I’ve sung in bands on and off over the years, but performing in public has always been a nervous, shaky and awkward affair for me. I had a piano and two guitars until I sold all my stuff a couple of years ago to try to catch up with rent arrears and get back on my feet – and I […]

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PORK & PRUNE BURGERS

These little beauties started off as meatballs when I had friends over for dinner and only had some sausage meat and sad little prunes with which to make a miracle meal. I liked them so much, I made them again as burgers. (Makes 6) 87p each 6 dried prunes, sliced, 30p 1 onion, diced, 9p 400g free-range pork mince, £4.50 […]

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