All posts tagged: garlic paste

Ultimate Lasagne, 35p [from ‘Veganish’]

This beautiful lasagne barely needs an introduction, as when I posted it on my Instagram, it received rapturous demands for the recipe. Good things come to those who wait, and here it is. Making lasagne from scratch is always a bit of a fanny, so I have deliberately made this recipe enormous so you can freeze it in portions for a quick ready meal, to make all of the work involved worthwhile by rewarding yourself with days where you won’t have to cook. Simply portion it into foil containers with those cardboard lids (around 8 for £1 from most supermarkets and factory outlet type stores, and reusable dozens of times if you wash them carefully) and pop into the freezer for a lazy day. For those of you who don’t have wine kicking about the place or don’t want to slosh it into your dinner, simply add stock or extra tomatoes in place of it. I have opted not to put cheese on mine, but you can if you want – for my vegan readers, …

Bootstrap Chilli, 25p

This chilli is adapted from a beef chilli recipe by Gordon Ramsay. I simply left out the beef and halved the wine to make it cheaper – plus, of course, Mr Ramsay doesn’t use a tin of cheap baked beans in his version! I’ve tweaked and fiddled with it so much over the years that now it’s not Gordon’s chilli, it’s mine. It first appeared in A Girl Called Jack, and has since been stripped back to this even simpler recipe, where it is handed out on recipe cards at Trussell Trust food banks – minus the red wine, because it isn’t strictly essential. (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 and make a purchase.) Serves 4 from 25p each 1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, 30p  1 x 400g tin of baked beans, 23p 1 onion, 5p (54p/1.5kg) powdered chilli, to taste, <1p …

Beef, Black Bean & Mandarin Stew, 66p [Tin Can Cook]

This is a brand new recipe from Tin Can Cook – 75 store cupboard recipes by Jack Monroe – which is available here, and there is a fundraiser to donate it to foodbanks here. I based this recipe very, very loosely on a Brazilian feijoada. Very loosely. More a nod to it than any attempt at an authentic rendition. Feijoada is traditionally made with pork, beef and black beans. Some versions are served with caramelised orange slices on top and stirred through, so I have used mandarins here; their bright citrus flavour helps to lift the heady, heavy black beans and beef. This may sound an odd combination but it is truly delicious. My apologies to my Brazilian friends – if you do get the chance to make an authentic feijoada, seize it, it knocks absolute spots off this one, but I’ve done the best I could with what I had! This improves with a day’s rest, as do most of us, so keep leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge and enjoy them …

Bean Goulash, 26p [A Girl Called Jack]

This recipe first appeared in my cookbook, A Girl Called Jack. I originally adapted this from a beef goulash recipe in the Abel and Cole cookbook, but tweaked it and tampered with it in the way that all recipes are. Beans are cheaper than beef, financially and environmentally, and this dish is simply fine without it. I use cheap baked beans in place of haricot beans, as they are usually a third of the price of a tin of the plain ones! Eat warm on toast, with rice or stuffed in a pitta bread with lashings of crunchy lettuce for lunch. Eat from a bowl, water it down with a little more stock or tomato and enjoy as a soup, or nosh it straight from the pan in the name of ‘testing’. For a slightly Mexican twist, have it with tortillas, some grated cheese, sliced red onion and iceberg lettuce, with lime to squeeze all over. Serves 4 at 26p each. This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use …

Cannelini Beurre Blanc, 38p [Tin Can Cook]

I have very little time for the notion that some foods are ‘not for poorer people’ – it is a criticism I have come up against time and again, whether it is kale pesto irritating the commentariat at the Daily Mail, or a slosh of £2.50 table wine in a risotto, there is a frankly hideous misconception that good food is for the ‘deserving’, with the parameters of who deserves exactly what seemingly set by those who have never had a tenner in their pocket to last a week. Sometimes, when testing new recipes, I have a moment of hesitation, wondering how to frame it to reduce the petty background chatter around what I consider to be ‘food for everyone’. And then I carry on. This was one such recipe. An unctuous and subtly powerful sauce reduced to a thick, provocative shroud for slow-cooked cannellini beans and a scant handful of pasta. It would sit proudly on any hifalutin restaurant menu, but its main ingredient is a tin of beans and a slug of vinegar. …

Pasta e Ceci, 48p [Tin Can Cook]

This is a brand new recipe from Tin Can Cook – 75 store cupboard recipes by Jack Monroe – which is available here, and there is a fundraiser to donate it to foodbanks here.   Pasta and chickpeas is a classic Roman dish, and I have upped the ‘tin factor’ on this version by making it with tinned spaghetti hoops because, why on earth not? Tinned spaghetti is pre-cooked and very very soft, so it needs little more than a gentle warm through at the end.   This recipe may look a little impetuous, or at the very least unappetising, but it is so much more than the sum of its parts, I promise you.   Serves 2, from 48p 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 or purchase any ingredients.)   1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, 33p 6 cloves of garlic …

Pearl Barley, Mushroom & Lentil Risotto, 44p

I have a feeling I should be calling this a ‘barlotto’ rather than a risotto, as the ‘ris’ in risotto refers specifically to rice, and I take enough liberties with that particular medium as it is, with my use of long grain rice in place of arborio to keep the costs down. But risotto, barlotto, whateverotto, this combination of pearl barley and brown lentils is fast becoming my new favourite, having had it in various guises for dinner for the last three nights running. I was once quite intimidated by pearl barley, not being entirely sure what to do with it, how to cook it, if it needed soaking beforehand, and thinking it was more of a ‘waitrose type’ ingredient than something for me, but my Mum, who is a Northern Irish lass, scolded me for my preconceptions, telling me that it was one of the main ingredients in her Irish Soup that she would make for herself, her eight brothers and sisters, and her Mum and Dad. Chastened, I decided to investigate it for …

Ratatouille, 69p

For the last two years of our courtship, Mrs J has been asking me very nicely to make her a ratatouille. Some childhood memory of a baked potato hot from a food van, piled high with soft, veg-laden ratatouille, stirs within her a bone-deep blissful comfort. Oblivious to the emotional sentiment, I would simply mutter something about ‘not being a frigging cafe’, and make something else. The truth is, I had never made a ratatouille before. My knowledge of it stemmed entirely from a Pixar movie starring a small excitable animated rat, and an indeterminable can of mush I was given at the food bank once that was so inexorably unappetising, I never wanted to see it or its ilk again. And then one day a few weeks ago, with the holy triumvirate of courgette, aubergine and pepper in the fridge, I decided to surprise her. I dug out my French cookery books – French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David, The Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo, and Elisabeth Luard’s Classic French Cooking, all liberated …

Butter Bean, Veg & Stuffing Stew, 42p

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of cheap packet stuffing for all manner of culinary surprises – from a crispy coating for chicken nuggets (vegan or otherwise), to a topping for mac n cheese, to folding it into a bread dough for little herby surprises, the uses I have found for it over the years are so numerous that I constantly have a ready supply of it, decanted into a 1l airtight jar on the kitchen shelf, with instructions written on the side in black marker as to how many grams per ml of water to make up standard stuffing. I buy the cheap boxes half a dozen at a time and upend them, nestling the jar between the Salt and Turmeric, and with equal gravitas to both. Its latest incarnation is as a thickener to soups and stews that need a little bit of a lift, like this one, rustled together from frozen veg, a couple of tins, and whatever was rolling around at the bottom of the fridge. You could add greens …

Chickpea and Aubergine Curry, 66p

I love a rendang curry – the first time I ever made it, it was with slow roasted pork belly, finely sliced and slowly cooked in the sweet, sour, spicy sauce. It was so rich, so flavoursome, so fulsome and delightful, that I dared not attempt to recreate it again for many years. And then, moving my office (sounds fancy, it is also my dining room and general crap storage area), I came across a pile of old recipe notebooks, and started to pore through them in that classic way of procrastinating my any means possible. I found my pork belly rendang recipe, and scribbled down the component ingredients for the paste and sauce. I contemplated making it with jackfruit instead, but I decided to save that can for another day, and opted for slow-cooked creamy chickpeas and thinly sliced, meaty aubergine instead. Mrs J declared it one of the finest meals I had ever cooked – she says that a lot, so either my cookery improves on a daily basis, or she knows how …

Cannelini, Leek & Sausage Pasta, 41p

I have set myself a challenge to blog a new recipe every single day for a few weeks – I used to blog regularly, when I was a single mum on the dole scraping meals together from loose change and a food bank box – and I would write about what I had to hand and what I would make from it. That was six years ago now, and both my spice rack and repertoire have expanded beyond recognition. I missed writing regularly for pleasure, however, especially as I cook on average three brand new recipes Every Single Day. Most of them are scrawled on scraps of plain A4 paper, then filed away in a huge lever arch file, to be pulled out and shuffled into some kind order and shaped into a book at some point in the future. I’ve decided to keep a kind of kitchen notebook here on my blog; keeping to my original principles of cooking great food for a little money, with a simple collection of basic ingredients, and costing …

South Indian Inspired Egg Curry, 57p

This recipe is based on one I have eaten many times at a South Indian restaurant in my hometown of Southend on Sea. I have tweaked it a little, to simplify it, while trying to maintain the baseline of the original. I try not to tinker with other cuisines too much if I can help it – I did when I first started out as a food writer, I was young and more naive than I am now, and less tuned in to the politics of food outside of my own topics of poverty and austerity. This isn’t a conversation for now, as I am still trying to pin down my thoughts on the complexities of appropriation with regards to recipe writing – and I hope that my work falls on the right side of appreciation rather than riding roughshod over culturally important treasures. An essay for another time, however. For now, here’s my take on a South Indian inspired egg curry – for a more authentic recipe, I recommend you check out Swasthi Shreekanth’s …

Sausage & Beer Casserole, 74p

I love how the cheapest can of beer can be enriched by half a dozen sausages and a few other ingredients for a homely, comforting, classic dinner – delicious with a pile of mash and some green veg. This recipe first appeared in A Girl Called Jack, and an adapted version was published in my Guardian recipe column in 2014. For vegetarian and vegan readers, I have found Linda McCartney Red Onion & Rosemary Sausages are the  best here, but you may have another preference!   Serves 2 generously from 74p each. (I may earn a small fee if you click the links or purchase any recommended products below) 6 sausages, 27p (91p for 20, Smartprice frozen sausages, Asda) a splash of oil, 2p (£2.94/3l, vegetable oil at Asda) 1 onion, 9p (90p/1kg, Farm Stores at Asda) 2 cloves of garlic, 4p (20p per bulb, Asda) 250g mushrooms, 54p (54p/250g, Farm Stores at Asda) 1 x 330ml can of beer, 23p (90p for 4x440ml Bitter, Asda) 1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes, …

Chillaf, 50p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

I’m a few days into the microwave cooking project since I gave up my oven for Lent and I have to say, I’m having a blast. I’ve set up a test kitchen in a corner with a fridge, microwave and kettle, and it’s like learning to cook all over again. Today I poached an egg for lunch, and mucked it up – I am completely out of my comfort zone and learning new things all the time, but what I’m hoping to achieve at the end of it is a useful resource for people to take into their offices, workplaces and kitchens and cook simply, cheaply, and with a microwave. It’s nothing new, microwave cooking was big recipe book business in the 1970s, and I have a few rather old and slightly hilarious microwave cookbooks that I’ve spent the last few days reading – anyone for defrosted hash browns with Campbells soup and crunched up cornflakes on top? It’s a real recipe from Easy Livin’ Microwave Cookin’ by Karen Kangas Dwyer, called ‘Elegant Potatoes’… Hmm. …

Simple Tomato & Bean Soup, 20p [A Girl Called Jack]

This simple staple started off as a tin of baked beans, thoroughly rinsed, plus a carton of chopped tomatoes – out of which I made a hearty, filling soup suitable for lunch or a light supper. I’ve jazzed it up a bit since then! And don’t be scared of rinsing baked beans, they are normally just haricot or borlotti or cannelini beans slathered in ‘that’ bright orange tomato sauce, and the value range versions are much cheaper than their plain counterparts. In case you’re interested, this recipe cost 15p per portion in 2012, and is up to 19p per portion 6 years later. Not the worst price rise I’ve seen when rewriting my older recipes, but still a little annoying.) (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 and make a purchase.) Serves 4 at 20p each 1 medium onion, 7p (59p/1kg, Farm Stores at Asda) 2 …