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Jack Monroe’s 3 Course, Zero-Waste Christmas Dinner from £4.34

All prices quoted are per person or portion, and based on generously feeding four adults, with leftovers! The full shopping list is given at the bottom of the post, which was accurate at the time of publication but may be subject to change.

Prawn Cocktail, from £1.15

Roast Potatoes, from 12p

Mandarin-Glazed Carrots & Parsnips, from 19p

Cranberry, Cashew & Veg-Peel Stuffing Roast, from 27p

Yorkshire Puddings, from 11p

Free Range Roast Chicken, from £1.26

Big Pigs In Kingsize Blankets, from 39p

Christmas Odds-And-Sods Gravy, from 11p

Sneaky Sprouts, from 29p

Mincemeat Pudding, from 37p

Get the full shopping list HERE.

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Peach & Chickpea Curry, 61p [A Girl Called Jack]

This is my favourite curry, my go-to, easy but perfect comfort food. I used to make it with a cheap turkey leg, but any protein source will do – so feel free to chuck a fistful of whatever you fancy in with the onions if you want to bulk it out or extend it. Recipe from A Girl Called Jack.

Serves 2 from 61p each (This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links if you make a purchase.)

400g canned chickpeas, 40p

1 onion, 5p (54p/1kg)

2 fat cloves of garlic, 4p (17p/bulb)

1 chilli or a pinch of dried chilli flakes, <1p (80p/100g)

a splash of oil, 2p (£1.10/1l)

1 tsp cumin (ground or seeds), 2p (£1.15/100g)

1 x 400g tin of peaches (or apricots or mandarins), 33p (33p/411g)

1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes, 30p

a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped (optional)

1 stock cube, 5p (49p for 10)

First drain your chickpeas and rinse them vigorously. Pop them in some fresh water in a saucepan and boil rapidly for 10 minutes to soften.

Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, and chop the chilli. Pour a little oil into a medium, heavy bottomed pan, and add the onion, garlic and chilli, then the cumin, and cook gently on a low heat for a few minutes to soften the onion. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat up – burned onions will permeate your whole curry, whereas sweating them will add a delicious sweetness.

Drain the peaches, reserving the juice, and chop into small pieces. Add to the onion mixture in the pan, along with the reserved juice. By this time, the chickpeas should have finished boiling, so remove them from the heat and drain them, and tip them into the peaches-and-onion pan.

Pour the chopped tomatoes in, add the coriander, and crumble over the stock cube, then stir everything together. Reduce the heat to a low setting, and cook gently for 30 minutes. You may need to add a cup of water to the sauce if it starts to get a bit thick. Stir well, and serve.

 

Will keep in the fridge, cooled and stored in an airtight container, for three days, or in the freezer for three months. Reheat to piping hot to serve.

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Peach & Chickpea Curry by Jack Monroe

Peach & Chickpea Curry by Jack Monroe

Linda McCartney Sausage, Greens & Pulses Curry

This recipe is a paid collaboration between me and Linda McCartney Foods for Veganuary 2021. It will be updated with costings shortly – it’s been an extraordinarily busy week!

Serves 4

2 tbsp cooking oil,

1 large onion,

4 fat cloves of garlic or 6 dinky ones,

A thumb sized piece of ginger,

1 tbsp ground cumin,

1 tsp turmeric,

1 tbsp garam masala

A pinch of chilli flakes

400g canned tomatoes

400g full fat coconut milk

400g canned kidney beans (chickpeas also work well here!)

Scant 1/2 tsp English mustard

6 Linda McCartney sausages

Spinach or kale or spring greens

First peel your onion and quarter it, then cut each quarter segment in half. If you have onion-averse household members, feel free to chop it much smaller to sneak past them, but I like it nice and chunky to complement the pieces of sausage in the dish. Peel the garlic cloves and quarter them lengthways. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan, and add the onions and garlic. Grate in the ginger, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the spices – the cumin, turmeric, garam masala and chilli flakes – and stir in to coat the onions evenly. You can throw in any extra veg you want to use up here! Cook on a low-medium heat for around 8 minutes, stirring intermittently to keep it all moving so it doesn’t stick and burn.

Drain and thoroughly rinse your chickpeas, and add to the pan. Pour over the canned tomatoes, and the coconut milk, add your mustard, and stir well. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes.

While the curry sauce cooks, fry your sausages. I found they worked best in a griddle pan on a high heat with a splash of oil straight from frozen, but they can also be cooked under the grill, or in the oven, if you prefer. I did test this recipe by cooking the sausages with the onions at the start and piling everything else on top, and it also worked just fine, but while perfectly tasty, it’s not as good-looking as the satisfying char from a griddle pan – so if you don’t mind your dinner not winning any style awards, you can just sling them in the pot at the start and be done with it.

Season to taste with a little salt and pepper, and fold the spinach through to wilt before serving.

Vegan Pastitsio, 77p

This recipe has been produced in partnership with Linda McCartney foods for Veganuary.

Pastitsio is a food that reminds me of my childhood; snaffled from piled-high buffet plates at various relatives’ houses following Greek Orthodox church services, usually a christening or a funeral. My aunties would usually make them; huge trays of something that was a cross between a lasagne and a macaroni cheese. Usually stuffed with ground meat and several kinds of cheese, it was a challenge to make one that was vegan but still authentic enough to not get myself excommunicated from my family! But here it is – and it’s an instant classic in my household already. Using Linda McCartney’s Vegemince, it’s super simple to make – and can be enjoyed straight from the fridge, so make a large batch and give yourself a few days off cooking. Who said Veganuary meant missing out?

Ingredients – serves 6 generously from 77p each. All prices quoted are based on Asda groceries and correct at time of writing.

For the bechemal:
50g flour, 2p (45p/1.5kg)
60ml cooking oil, 7p (olive is traditional, but I use sunflower), (£1.09/1l)
1 tbsp or 11g nutritional yeast, 28p (£3.15/125g) – not essential
Scant 1/2 tsp mustard, any kind, <1p (37p/180g)
400ml cashew milk or unsweetened soya milk, 22p (55p/1l unsweetened UHT soya milk)
100g vegan mozarella, 70p (£1.40/200g)

For the mince:
1 onion, 8p (60p/1kg)
2 large stalks of celery, 10p (50p/bunch)
1 medium carrot, 5p (44p/1kg)
4 fat cloves of garlic or 6 dinky ones, 12p (69p/3 bulbs)
2 tsp oil, 1p (£1.09/1l)
1/2 tsp cinnamon, <1p (75p/100g)
1 tsp mixed dried herbs, 1p (30p/18g)
A pinch of powdered clove or 2 whole cloves, 3p (88p/31g) – not essential
500g Linda McCartney Vegemince, £2.25 (£2.25/500g)
175ml red wine or strong black tea, 1p (39p/40 teabags)
125ml strong mushroom or vegetable stock or weak vegan gravy, 3p (39p/12 stock cubes)
500g passata, 33p (33p/500g)
1 tsp vinegar, 1p (29p/568ml)
1 tbsp sugar, 1p (65p/1kg)

Plus 300g tubular pasta – traditionally it’s bucatini but I used penne, and macaroni is also fine, 27p (45p/500g)

First peel and very finely chop your onion, and finely slice your celery. Grate your carrot, including the peels and the top, using the large holes on a box grater. Heat 2tbsp of oil on your largest hob ring in a very large nonstick pan, and add the veg. Turn the heat down to low – the large hob will still give off a generous amount of firepower – and add your cinnamon, herbs and clove. Season generously with salt and pepper, and cook gently for around 10 minutes, keeping them moving every now and then so they don’t stick and burn.

Add your mince, from frozen, and stir through the veg. Pour over your wine (or tea), passata, and stock. Stir in the vinegar and sugar. Bring to the boil, briefly, then reduce to a simmer, uncovered, for around 20 minutes.

While the sauce is cooking, make your bechemal. If you have a small bullet blender, this step is super easy. Just weigh the flour into the largest cup, and add the oil, mustard, sliced vegan mozzarella, nutritional yeast, a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper, and two-thirds of the cashew milk. Blend for 60 seconds, or until smooth. It will look a little thin, but don’t worry, it thickens up when warmed, just like in the traditional method. Transfer it into a saucepan, on a low heat on your smallest hob ring, and stir intermittently to keep it smooth, adding the remaining cashew milk a little at a time. When it has thickened sufficiently that it thickly coats the back of your wooden spoon, remove from the heat. It will continue to firm up – don’t be alarmed by this – but if it starts to set, loosen it with a little of the boiling pasta water from the next step.

Bring a large, wide pan of generously salted water to the boil, and add your pasta. Slightly undercook it, so it is al dente, as it will continue to cook in the oven. Around 6-7 minutes is fine for most dried pastas, but check the packet instructions and simply knock 1-2 minutes off the cooking time. When the pasta goes into the pot, turn your oven on to 180C and lightly grease your dish.

Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Add a ladle of the bechemal and shake through gently to lightly coat the pasta.

Transfer half of the pasta to the bottom of the dish. If you want to be fastidious about it, you can try to make sure the pasta is all aligned neatly so when it is cut through it looks spectacularly neat and really quite awesome, but Greek and Cypriot cooking is more of a practical skill than a beauty pageant, so you can just pop it in however you like.

Stir a ladle of bechemal into the mince and sauce, then spread it evenly over the pasta. Layer the remaining pasta on top, then pour over the remaining bechemal. You can top this with extra cheese if you like, but it’s not essential.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, then remove and allow to cool to room temperature before enjoying. Can be stored in the fridge for three days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Delicious enjoyed fridge-cold, room temperature (as is traditional), or piping hot.

If you like this you might like my books! You can support a network of independent bookshops – and me! – by using my affiliate link here: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/JackMonroe

Mincemeat Pudding, from 37p

Serves at least 4 very generously, from 37p. For the full shopping list, see here.

300g white bread, 14p (36p/800g, HW Nevill at Tesco)

300ml whole milk, 26p (50p/568ml or 1pt, Asda) OR the combined strained juices from the canned mandarins and canned grapefruit from the Stuffing Roast and Prawn Cocktail, if making this as part of the Christmas menu

50g baking spread, 11p (55p/250g, Best For Baking spread, Asda)

300g mincemeat, 84p (£1.15/411g, Asda)

1 egg, 13p (75p/6 medium free range eggs, Asda)

400g can of custard, 50p (Tesco or Asda) – optional

First dice your bread, tear it up, or blast it in a food processor. They all give a similar result, with the food processor edging it for a slightly more even texture but not enough to justify yet more washing up, in my humble opinion. But do whatever feels right to you, with whatever you have at your disposal. Place into a large mixing bowl that will easily hold twice its volume, and set aside for a moment.

In a second, smaller mixing bowl, or jug, measure in the milk. Melt the spread and beat in quickly. Mix in the mincemeat – it won’t look particularly pretty at this stage, but it all works itself out in a moment. Add the egg and beat in briskly with a fork, until the wet ingredients are well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients over the bread, and mix well. Leave to stand and absorb for 15 minutes.

Lightly grease a loaf tin, 20cm cake tin (round or square), or individual pudding tins. Transfer the pudding mixture to the tin, or divide equally if using pudding tins.

Place in the centre of the oven at 190C, covering with a little foil to prevent it from overly browning. You can remove this 10 minutes before the end if you like a crispy top and edge to your pudding. Bake for 50 minutes, checking with a knife to the centre, cocktail stick or skewer. It should be moist and dense but not underdone. If it clings to your implement, return it to the very bottom shelf of the oven for a further 10-15 minutes.

Serve with custard, or whatever suits.

This can be made up to three days in advance and warmed through in the microwave or oven to serve as required.

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Cranberry, Mandarin & Cashew Nut Stuffing Roast, from 27p

Serves 8 adults, from 27p each. For the full shopping list, click here.

2 onions, 12p (60p/1kg, Growers Selection at Asda)

200g fresh bread, 9p (36p/800g, HW Nevill at Tesco)

PLUS washed clean peels from parsnips, carrots and potatoes, chopped up very finely

125g cashew nuts, soaked in two changes of cold water for 1hr minimum each to remove excess salt, 75p, (75p/125g, Smartprice at Asda)

1 can of mandarins, £1 (Del Monte at Asda or Tesco)

2 tbsp or 35g cranberry sauce, 9p (49p/200g, Tesco)

1 tsp mixed dried herbs, 3p (30p/18g, Asda)

40g baking spread, melted, 9p (55p/250g Best For Baking Spread at Asda)

20g lard, melted, 3p (39p/250g, Stockwell at Tesco) – if making for vegan or veggie friends replace with 20ml cooking oil or 20g solid coconut oil, as preferred

Salt and pepper, <1p

First peel your onions and top and tail them, then cover with generously salted water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Simmer for around 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, blitz your bread into crumbs in a food processor or chop into 1cm dice with a bread knife or sharp heavy knife. Blitz your veg peels in the processor, or chop up very small with a sharp heavy knife.

Drain and dry the nuts, either toasting in a dry frying pan for a minute, or shake onto a clean tea towel, place another on top, and roll them under your palms for a minute to absorb the excess water.

Remove the onions from the water – if you want to be extra frugal you can keep the water and use it to make your gravy with if you’ve not made it already, or boil it down to a manageable amount and pop it in a jar in the fridge as a starter for your leftovers soup tomorrow!

Drain your mandarins and reserve the juice or syrup in a jug, bowl or any other receptacle – you can use this as the liquid component in your mincemeat pudding, to glaze your chicken or turkey, to add a sweet undertone to your gravy, or to caramelise your carrots and parsnips.

Chop the onion finely and add to the mixing bowl with the bread, veg and nuts. Mix the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl; the drained mandarins, cranberry sauce, herbs, and melted baking spread. Add these to the middle of the dry ingredients and mix really well – it should be stiff but not impossible; if it’s a bit dry or crumbly, add a dash of the reserved mandarin juice. If it’s slightly sloppy, add some more bread.

Lightly grease a loaf tin and transfer your mixture into it, pressing it down and into the corners firmly. 

Bake in the centre of the oven at 190C for 50 minutes – it may be made in advance and reheated, or chilled uncooked and put in the oven an hour before the main meal is due to be served. It will keep in the fridge cooked for 2 days, uncooked for 2 days, and leftovers can be frozen for up to six months.

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Yorkshire Puddings, from 11p

This recipe makes eight small Yorkshire puddings in regular sized muffin tins or four large Yorkshire puddings in Yorkshire pudding tins.

2 tablespoons or 25g of lard, 4p (39p/250g, Stockwells at Tesco)

125 g plain flour, 4p (45p/1.5kg, Stockwells at Tesco)

A pinch of salt, <1p

Half a teaspoon of mixed dried herbs, 1p (30p/18g, Asda)

2 medium eggs, 25p (75p for 6 medium free range eggs, Asda)

150 ml of whole milk, 13p (50p/568ml or 1pt whole milk, Asda)

First turn your oven on to 190°C.

Drop a little lard into the bottom of each muffin tin, and pop the tin into the oven to heat.

Weigh your flour into a jug, this makes pouring out the batter far easier. Add the salt and herbs and stir briefly to distribute.

Crack in the eggs and pour over half of the milk, and beat in the remaining milk.

Check your muffin tin, the fat should be very hot! Remove it carefully but quickly from the oven. Pour the batter in, divided evenly between the tins. Return quickly to the oven. Close the door and do not open it for 15 minutes. You need to be very strict about this else your Yorkshire puddings are at risk of collapse. 

After 15 minutes have passed, open the oven a fraction and take a peek – they should be light and fluffy and enormous! Serve them pretty quickly.

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Big Pigs In Kingsize Blankets, 39p

Serves at least 4, but that’s allowing for three full sized sausages each, and even I admit that may be a little excessive. Maybe. For the full shopping list, see here.

12 sausages, £1.20 (Woodside Farms at Tesco)

200g cooking bacon, rashers only, 30p (75p/500g, Woodside Farms at Tesco)

1 tbsp cranberry sauce, 4p (49p/200g, Tesco)

First separate your cooking bacon out into ‘rashers, chunks and scraps’. You want the rashers for this, but some of the more substantial scraps will do as well. The chunks work well in stews and casseroles, and the scraps in pasta sauces and in with your sprouts.

Brush each sausage with a little cranberry sauce – this helps the bacon stick to it and stops runaway blankets, and also imparts a note of sweetness that’s delightfully pleasant and unexpected.

Wrap a rasher (or substantial scrap or two) around each sausage, and place snugly in a small roasting dish, side by side. If you pack them in tightly, they are less likely to unravel, so you can get away with using scrappier pieces of bacon here.

Cook in the centre of the oven at 190C for 50 minutes – to save space, I stuff mine around the outside of the chicken or turkey, which means all the sausage, bacon and meat juices pool in the bottom of the one dish, ready to be poured either into the gravy, or into a jar in the fridge for a starter for a rich stock or soup base.

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Prawn Cocktail With Caramelised Grapefruit, £1.15

To serve 4, generously. For the full shopping list, see here.

200g small prawns, £2 (Smartprice at Asda, frozen)

90ml/6tbsp seafood sauce, 36p (£1/250ml, Tesco)

salt and pepper, <1p

1 can of grapefruit, £1.10 (Del Monte)

130g shredded iceberg lettuce, 35p (Growers Selection at Asda)

200g cherry tomatoes, 48p (Nightingale Farms at Tesco)

half a cucumber, 32p (Growers Selection at Asda)

First defrost your prawns overnight in the fridge – best to do this in the sealed bag they came in to catch the excess liquid that comes out as they defrost. If you forget, and we all do, you can leave them in a bowl of cold water, covered, at room temperature on Christmas morning, but squeeze one between finger and thumb to make sure it is fully defrosted an hour or so before assembling to serve.

Drain your prawns well and gently squeeze them out, and transfer to a small bowl. Mix with the seafood sauce and a little salt and pepper, and set to one side.

Drain your grapefruit juice, reserving the juice. You can use this to glaze your carrots and parsnips, or as the liquid component in your mincemeat pudding, or add to festive fizz if that’s your thing, or lemonade if its not.

Heat a frying pan on a high heat on your largest hob ring – you don’t need to add any fat as the grapefruit is super juicy, but if you want to, a splash of oil or a little of any solid fat will do. Carefully place the grapefruit in, spacing it apart so you have room to turn it over, and turn the heat down to medium so it doesn’t run riot.

Fry your grapefruit segments for two minutes on one side, and then around a minute and a half on the other, until it starts to char slightly and caramelise. It may take a little longer or be a little quicker depending on your hob and pan – it’s almost impossible to be exact about these things as everyones home kitchens and personal tastes are so variable, so just keep a close eye on it. When done, remove from the heat to cool.

Either finely dice your cucumber, or shave it into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler or julienne peeler. You can also grate it with the large holes on a box grate if you like, but this tends to produce a ‘wetter’ end result, so transfer it onto a couple of sheets of kitchen roll or a clean flat tea towel and gently squeeze it out to remove any excess liquid if you do it this way.

Quarter your cherry tomatoes, or if you’re super fastidious (like me, sometimes) you can cut them into eighths. I quite understand if you don’t want to- there’s more than enough to be getting on with – but I find it bizarrely meditative.

Divide your shredded lettuce between four bowls or glasses. Add your cucumber, then your tomatoes. Dollop in your prawns in seafood sauce, and finish with the cooled griddled grapefruit. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

If you have it in stock, you may wish to adorn with a little chilli flakes, chilli sauce, or tabasco. Lemon isn’t needed here, as the grapefruit provides the sharp citrus kick, but a little heat is always a tantalising finish. If you don’t keep these to hand, a little extra pepper will do the same job.

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Parsnips & Carrots In Mandarin Glaze, from 19p

Serves 4, generously, from 19p each. See the full shopping list here.

500g parsnips, 40p (40p/500g, Perfectly Imperfect at Tesco)

700g carrots, 28p (41p/1kg at Tesco)

a little lard or cooking oil, 2p (see shopping list)

a pinch of mixed dried herbs, 2p (30p/18g, Asda)

a pinch of salt, <1p

a little black pepper, <1p

juice from the canned mandarins, optional (see shopping list)

First peel your parsnips and carrots, and set the peels to one side in a mixing bowl with a little cold water and a dash of lemon or vinegar to keep them from browning – you’ll be using these in your stuffing roast later!

Pop the carrots and parsnips in a large saucepan, and salt generously. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 12 minutes.

Drain – reserving the water to reduce for your gravy later – and transfer to a roasting tin. Add the juice from the mandarin can, if using, and lard or oil. Season with salt and pepper, and a pinch of mixed dried herbs.

Bake in the centre of the oven at 190C for 45ish minutes – with a jiggle halfway through to evenly caramelise and re-baste in the fat and citrus juices.

Once finished, they will keep in the bottom of the oven for up to 45 minutes, or can be removed and returned for 10-15 minutes to warm through to serve.

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Odds And Sods Gravy, from 11p

To serve 4, from 11p each. For the full shopping list, see here.

3 chicken or vegetable stock cubes, 10p (39p/12, Asda)

2 large onions, 12p (60p/1kg, Growers Selection at Asda)

2 tbsp or 35g cranberry sauce, 9p (49p/200g, Tesco)

2 tbsp or 30g flour, 1p (45p/1.5kg, Stockwell at Tesco)

3 tbsp or 40g soft spread, 9p (55p/250g, Best For Baking at Asda)

a pinch of mixed dried herbs (30p/18g at Asda)

This may be controversial but it really does work, and it’s super easy, so trust me, even if it feels a bit wrong!

First peel your onions, quarter them, and pop them in a small powerful blender, along with all the other ingredients and 300ml cold water. Blend until completely smooth.

Pour into a heavy based saucepan and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook slowly and gently for around 40 minutes, stirring every now and then. If you have a small slow cooker this is perfect to put in on Christmas Eve on Low and wake up Christmas morning to the smell of gravy wafting through the house! Thin to your desired consistency with extra water – the water from cooking the roast potatoes is ideal as it’s starchy and warm and salty, and this way it doesn’t go to waste!

You can let this cool and microwave it when you need it, or heat it through on the hob to serve, but it does thicken as it cools so if you plan to do that, make it a bit thinner than you’d like to serve it. I have an alcohol-free house but if you have some cheap red or white wine or even cider kicking about, a splash or two in this gravy would be delicious!

You can also add the fat that seeps out from cooking your pigs in blankets, and the juices from your chicken or turkey roast, to really give it a rich and succulent flavour. If you’re planning to do this, maybe dial the soft buttery spread down a bit – else you might not have room for pudding!

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Jack Monroe’s £4.34 3-Course, Zero-Waste Christmas Dinner: THE SHOPPING LIST

All prices quoted are from Asda and Tesco, correct as of December 2020

Asda free range chicken, £5.04 avg 1.55kg

2kg white potatoes, £0.79, Farm Stores at Asda

250g lard, £0.39, Stockwells at Tesco

22 slice white loaf, 36p, HW Nevill’s at Tesco

Roasted and salted cashew nuts, £0.75/125g, Smartprice at Asda

12 x chicken or vegetable stock cubes, 39p, Asda own brand

500g Brussels sprouts, 93p, Redmere Farms at Tesco

12 sausages, £1.20, Woodside Farms at Tesco

500g cooking bacon, 75p, Woodside Farms at Tesco

1kg brown onions, 60p, Growers Selection at Asda

1kg carrots, 41p, Tesco

500g parsnips, 40p, Perfectly Imperfect at Tesco

1 can of mandarin segments, £1, Del Monte at Asda

200g small frozen prawns, £2, Smartprice at Asda

130g shredded iceberg lettuce, £0.35, Growers Selection at Asda

250g cherry tomatoes, 48p, Nightingale Farms at Tesco

Half a cucumber, £0.32, Growers Selection at Asda

250ml seafood sauce, £1, Tesco

200g cranberry sauce, 49p, Tesco

411g mincemeat, £1.15, Asda own brand

1.5kg plain flour, 45p, Stockwell & Co at Tesco

250g Best For Baking Cake Spread, 55p, Asda own brand

Tin of custard, 50p, Asda own brand

6 medium free range eggs, 75p, Asda own brand

1 pint (568ml) whole milk, 50p, Asda own brand

Mixed dried herbs, 30p for 18g, Asda

Grapefruit, £1.10, Del Monte

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Sneaky Sprouts, from 29p

To serve 4 adults, from 29p each. See the full shopping list here.

500g brussels sprouts, 93p (93p/500g, Redmere Farms at Tesco)

2-3 small onions, 18p (60p/1kg, Growers Selection at Asda)

2 tbsp lard or cooking oil, 4p (39p/250g lard, Stockwell at Tesco or £1.09/1l vegetable or sunflower oil at Asda)

a pinch of salt and a little pepper, <1p

Warm your lard over a high heat on your small or medium hob ring until it starts to sizzle, then turn down to medium-low.

Peel and very finely slice your onion and add to the pan. Mandolin or finely slice your sprouts and add those too. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook on a very low heat for around 12 minutes, keeping everything moving around the pan so it doesn’t stick and burn. These can be kept warm or reheated but are best made right at the last minute and served immediately – I generally get this all sliced up and prepared ready, then put it on the heat as soon as the Yorkshire puddings go in the oven!

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Ultimate Roast Potatoes, from 12p

Serves 4 adults from 12p each. See the full shopping list here.

1kg white potatoes, 40p (79p/2kg, Farm Stores at Asda)

1 tsp salt, <1p

Water to cover

4 tbsp or 50g lard, 8p (39p/250g, Stockwell & Co at Tesco)

Pinch of mixed dried herbs, 1p (30p/18g, Asda)

First lightly scrub your potatoes. I use either a boxfresh sponge scourer, or an all-purpose little cheap and cheerful nail brush, or a clean rough flannel. However you choose, gently remove any dirt lodged in the skin, because you’ll be using the skins later. 

Lightly peel your potatoes, with the lightest of touches, barely shaving the skin off at all. Put the skins in a bowl of cold water to keep them from browning, with a dash of vinegar or lemon juice and a hefty pinch of salt – you’ll be coming back to those later. 

Cut your spuds into thirds (see the picture attached.)

 Pop your spuds in a saucepan and cover with water. Generously salt it, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes. Make sure your oven is turned onto 190°C. 

Drop your lard into your roasting tin. Drain your spuds well and shake to rough up the edges, this makes them extra crispy but don’t shake them too much or you’ll end up with mash!

Tip them into the roasting tin while they’re still nice and steaming- the residual heat will soften the lard in the tin.

Place the roasting tin on the middle shelf of your oven, for 90 minutes, removing and carefully shaking after 45 minutes to cook evenly and crisp up.

When they’re ready you can pop them in the very bottom of the oven to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.

A version of this menu was originally devised and developed for The St Giles Trust Pantry, registered charity number 801355. You can support their vital work by texting PANTRY to 70460 to donate £5.

If you like this, you may like my books, and if you purchase them through this neat affiliate link you support me as the author AND support local bookshops too.

Turkey Meatballs, 53p [from ‘A Girl Called Jack’]

These meatballs are a classic recipe from my first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack, and they recently got a new and exciting lease of life when I taught Marcus Rashford to cook them in the kitchen of his old school, Button Lane Primary School, in Wythenshawe, Manchester a couple of months ago. And then I had to keep it a MASSIVE SECRET which god help me, has almost burst me with anticipation a few times over the past few weeks, especially when people have endlessly been asking on Twitter if we are going to be doing anything together. Serene emojis and poker faces all round. Video footage of that strange and hilarious and humbling and inspiring day is available on the GQ YouTube channel on their Men Of The Year awards video – and I’ll be posting my own video later on when I get the okay from the GQ team.

Marcus was a bit nervous about cooking, saying it wasn’t something he really did, but we had an absolute blast and he made an excellent job of it, so if you’re nervous about giving these a go, rest assured they’re super easy. And we fed a whole primary school hall of kids and teachers with it, so it’s fair to say they’re pretty popular as well!

I add the mashed beans to stretch the mince out and make it go further; when I used food banks to feed myself and my son back in 2012-13 I actually used much more baked beans than this, but this is the optimum amount for keeping the beans relatively udetectable while saving a decent amount of money in the process.

Makes approximately 20 meatballs, serving 4 from 53p each. Prices calculated at Asda as it’s where I shop, but similar products are available for similar prices at all of the major supermarkets.

1 x 400g tin of baked beans, 29p (29p/400g, Asda)

1 large onion, 9p (60p/1kg, Growers Selection at Asda)

2 slices of bread, 4p (49p/22 slice loaf, Asda)

1 tbsp flour, <1p (49p/1.5kg flour, Asda)

400g turkey mince, £1.88 (£3.75/800g, Asda)

2 tbsp cooking oil, 3p (£1.09/1l sunflower or vegetable oil, Asda)

1 x 400g can of tomatoes, 28p (28p/400g, Smartprice at Asda)

salt and pepper, to season, <1p

cheese, optional

spaghetti or pasta, to serve

First tip your beans into a ciolander or sieve, then run them under a cold tap, shaking gently or mussing them up with your hand if you’re not squeamish, to get all of the sticky orange sauce off. If you fancy being a little more advanced and a little less wasteful, you can tip the lot into a mixing bowl and add half a can of cold water, then pour the lot through a colander over a bowl to catch the orange suice, thinned down a little. Set this to one side to use in the tomato sauce for the spaghetti later.

Tip your newly-naked beans into a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for around 10 minutes to really soften them up. Drain well, then tip into a large mixing bowl, and mash to a pulp. We didn’t have a masher to hand 9in the largest kitchen I’ve ever cooked in, which led to four panicked minutes of me skittering around on a pair of six inch block heels calling out ‘Masher? Masher? Anyone? A masher?’ to various bewildered members of staff and production crew. There’s always something! Anyway, we made do with a fork and some adrenaline-fuelled vigour, so if you don’t have a masher, just work yourself up a bit and go for it.

Peel and finely chop the onion, or grate it using the large hole side of a box grater. Toss into the mixing bowl with the mashed bean pulp. Tear up the bread into small pieces (or blitz it in a food processor if you have one for ease). Add the flour, and stir well to combine.

Remove the mince from the packaging, separate it with your fingers lightly, and add that to the mixing bowl. Beat all of the ingredients together well until they are evenly distributed – you may need to add another tablespoon or two of flour, depending on how fatty your mince is or how wet your beans are.

Lightly oil or flour your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking, and form it into walnut-sized balls. One generously heaped tablespoon makes a perfect child-sized meatball – much bigger and they take longer to cook through.

Heat a little oil in a large frying pan, and drop the meatballs in a few at a time. Jiggle the pan gently, being careful not to splash yourself with hot oil, for ten minutes, until evenly cooked on all sides and through the centre. If youy’re cooking pasta with it, bring a pan of salty water to the boil and add the pasta, as it will take around seven or eight minutes to cook.

Pour over your can of chopped tomatoes and allow it to warm through, then serve. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and add cheese if you’d like.

This recipe was originally published in A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe, which is available to buy, signed, directly from Jack at jackmonroe.bigcartel.com

Vegan Fake Bake, 90p [Veganish]

In 2019, Greggs (a UK high street bakery chain, for my overseas readers) launched a legendary vegan sausage roll, and I launched half a dozen of them into my face in one week alone. I started to fantasize about an entirely vegan pasty-and-cake shop – which I’m sure exists somewhere – and one thing led to another and I ended up here, with my own vegan version of their famous Steak Bake. I reverse-engineered this by physically dissecting a steak bake or two, then painstakingly recreating it in my kitchen at home. The jackfruit gives the tender meaty filling, the gravy fools your tastebuds into thinking it’s a proper steak bake, and the rest bolsters the flavour. Bisto red gravy granules are the best to use here, and also vegan at the time of writing, but Asda own brand ‘meat gravy granules’ are also vegan too. As with all things, do check the labels carefully, as products are subject to change over time.

Makes 4, from 90p each (This post contains affiliate links – I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any products.)

1 large onion, red or white, 9p (60p/1kg, Growers Selection at Asda)

2 tbsp cooking oil, plus extra for greasing, 3p (£1.09/1l, Sunflower oil at Asda)

1 tbsp sugar, 1p (65p/kg, Silver Spoon at Asda)

1 tsp paprika, 1p (£1/100g, KTC or Natco brand)

½ tsp turmeric, <1p (£1/100g, KTC or Natco brand)

Salt and black pepper, to taste

2 × 400g tins of jackfruit in brine or water, £2.40 (£1.20/can Summer Pride at Asda)

3 tbsp vegan gravy granules, 7p (Asda gravy granules, 71p/200g)

1 tbsp light soy sauce, 5p (54p/150ml, Asda)

375g ready-rolled puff pastry, 90p (90p/375g, Asda)

Flour, for dusting, <1p (49p/1.5kg, Asda)

1 tbsp aquafaba (juice from a can of white beans)

First make your filling. Peel and finely slice your onion, and toss into a large non-stick sauté or frying pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil and the sugar and spices. Season with salt and pepper, and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes, until the onion starts to soften but not brown.

Drain the jackfruit and squeeze it in your hands to remove any excess liquid. Shred it with your fingertips until it is in fine pieces, and add to the pan. Add the gravy granules and soy sauce, and 125ml water, and cook on a low heat until the gravy has thickened. Add 125ml more water, a splash at a time, to loosen the gravy. Cook the filling for 25 more minutes, until thick and the jackfruit is tender and flavoured all the way through. Remove the filling from the heat and cool completely.

When the filling is cool, preheat your oven to 200ºC (fan 180ºC/400°F/gas 6).

Divide the pastry into four equal rectangles using a large sharp knife.

Lightly grease a baking sheet. Place one piece of pastry on it. Spoon the filling evenly on the bottom half, leaving 1cm around the edges to prevent it from leaking out as it cooks. Carefully fold the pastry over from top to bottom, pressing the edges together gently with your fingertips. Crimp the edges with a fork, around the three non-folded sides. Repeat with the remaining three pieces of pastry.

In a small bowl, beat together the remaining oil, aquafaba and soy sauce to make a glaze. Brush over each pastry generously. Bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes, until the pastry is risen, crisp and golden.

Serve warm. They will keep, cooled, in the fridge for 2 days.

This recipe first appeared in Veganish, a collection of 100 super simple budget vegan recipes, by Jack Monroe. Click here for my books!


All text copyright Jack Monroe.


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