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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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TELEGRAPH COOKBOOK OF THE WEEK

Jack Monroe is a Tory cabinet’s nightmare – a coherent single mother who lived in abject poverty with her small son, and found an enthusiastic following for her blog about the indignities of rent hikes, food banks and pawning her possessions to feed her child. She then won a book contract for a collection of recipes compiled while on a […]

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LAZARUS PESTO

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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MAKE-ME-BETTER MORNING MUG

Scratchy throat, simultaneous blocked and runny nose, muggy head, general air of malaise? Yeah, that was me this morning… So in a bid to banish the heavy cold feeling, I knocked up a large jug of this stuff – and by golly, it worked a treat. If you have an office job, take it to work in a Thermos flask […]

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BOOK LAUNCH PARTY

Here’s some of the photos from my book launch party on the 3rd March – there are literally hundreds of photos so here are a few of my favourites! Top to bottom: 1. Signing a book for Mora Mclagan at Oxfam. 2. Genevieve Willis, me and Mora Mclagan. 3. Lindsey Evans, my editor at Penguin, and me, saying a few […]

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DAGAA

On a recent trip to Tanzania, I came across dagaa in almost every household I visited. We’d often eat tiny fish with stewed greens, home-ground peanut butter and ugali (soft maize), served in small bowls, with our fingers. Here is my British take on it… (Serves 2) 48p a portion 150g rice, 6p 2 tbsp oil, 6p 200g sprats, 40p […]

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DAILY MAIL FOOD BOOK OF THE WEEK

Is Jack Monroe a saint or a martyr? A bit of both probably, but there is no denying the impact she has made in a relatively short time. It is just two years since she began writing her blog, agirlcalledjack.com, which started out as local political commentary about her home town of Southend and, thankfully, blossomed into something much more […]

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LOVE MARMALADE

What do you do when you have an abundance of oranges in the house and a Saturday morning to kill? Christened ‘Love Marmalade’ – it certainly was a labour, but of the sticky, delicious, giggly variety. Here’s the recipe we loosely worked from, loosely meaning we talked about it for a week, then eventually halved and gutted and sliced the […]

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