All posts tagged: plant power

Chestnut, Apple & Stilton Roast, 36p

I buy vacuum packed chestnuts in December and January, when supermarkets mark them down to get rid of their Christmas stock. They have a long shelf life, so last well into the year. The cheapest I have found them was 20p a bag, in Asda last year, and my friend Caroline, a fellow yellow-sticker aficionado, has given me several packets of chestnut puree over the years. If chestnuts are outside of your price bracket, any nuts will do; search the snack aisle in the supermarket for cheap bags of redskin peanuts, or salted peanuts and cashews. Simply soak them in cold water overnight and rinse thoroughly to get rid of as much of the salt as possible. If you can bear it, a change of water and second soak strips away most of the lingering salinity, but it is a bit of a fanny to do. To make this vegan, simply swap the stilton for a vegan cheese – Asda again have a good vegan ‘garlic and chive alternative’, and Violife ‘Blu’ would also work …

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 …

Pina Colada Bread, 15p [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 first made this on a dismal October morning after a long, uncharacteristically hot summer that had beamed in from mid-May until that particular drizzly day. My normally bright home was grey and miserable, and I yearned for the weather of the weeks and months before. Looking to inject some sunshine into my mood, I surveyed my tin collection and plucked out pineapples and coconut milk, and the Pina Colada bread was born. This recipe makes a rather large loaf; leftovers make for a phenomenal bread and butter pudding.   Makes 1 enormous loaf or 2 smaller ones, to serve approx 10 from 15p 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 …

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. …

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 …

Banana Caramel Milkshake, 36p

The weather is hotting up, and it seems like a lovely day to launch a new milkshake! But if you don’t have £3 to spend on a McDonalds or Five Guys one, here’s one I made earlier. If you’re intending on travelling with it, make sure to put it in a Thermos or similar flask, with an ice cube or two, else it might go a bit…rancid…in these warmer climes. And that would just be horrible. Makes two milkshakes from 36p 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.) 2 large bananas, 30p 1 tsp vegan salted caramel flavour (I do have a recipe for this, but for ease and convenience, here’s one someone else made), 10p 300ml nondairy milk, 18p 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional but delicious, 14p First slice your banana into around ten pieces, and place in the large …

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 …

Orange-Peel Salt

This, like so many of my recipes, came about from a pondering in the kitchen this morning. I had just finished telling Mrs J that I was thinking of blogging more, properly, again, because I miss writing for pleasure rather than writing for deadlines – two books in a year is quite an effort! She agreed with me that wittering about my day to someone other than the cat ought to be a healthy pursuit, and so I pottered back downstairs into the kitchen feeling pleased with myself. Then I made this orange juice, and just as I was about to scoop the peel up in my hands and pop it in the compost bin, A Thought occured to me. What if I didn’t throw it away, and instead gave it a whole new lease of life? I vaguely recalled buying a tiny pot of yuzu peel at Borough Market once, probably for the price of my firstborn and a limb, and set about trying to make something similar. Yuzu is a fruit that I …

Orange, Ginger & Turmeric Juice, 19p

You don’t need a juicer to make this juice – they’re expensive and difficult to clean – I just use a standard blender and a sieve to make all manner of juices! This one was a use-up for some oranges that were past their best in the fruit bowl, but would have been wasteful to throw them away, so I decided to put them to good use instead. Mrs J declared that it was very similar to a high street branded orange, ginger and turmeric shot, and I just smiled and said thankyou. Good for blasting colds – which we seem to have in perpetuity in this household at the moment. Made 4 glasses from 19p 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.)   6 small oranges, 67p (£1.35/600g growers selection sweetclems, Asda) 20g fresh ginger, 7p (45p/125g, fresh ginger, Asda) …

Garlic Jam, 76p

This started out as a curious thought in the back of my head – I know garlic softens and sweetens the longer you cook it, so could I make garlic jam? I scribbled some notes based on what little I know about jam making, dug out an old onion marmalade recipe to use as a rough guide, and promptly forgot all about it. Then one weekend, I acquired some beautiful purple garlic bulbs, and the garlic jam pondering resurfaced… I spent a pleasant evening peeling and slicing 40 cloves of garlic, and ended up with 2 jars of this sweet, punchy, unapologetic condiment. You can serve it on toast with freshly sliced ripe tomatoes, or with buttery sautéed mushrooms, or dolloped on the side of a curry, roast dinner, or wherever takes your fancy. (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.) Makes …

Marmite on Marmite tast, home made bread recipe by Jack Monroe in partnership with Marmite

Marmite Bread, 8p

I love Marmite on toast as a simple, quick and healthy breakfast, but my mischievous mind is always stretching possibilities and pondering, and for a while I had been wondering whether I could make Marmite *in* toast instead. This recipe is not for the faint hearted – I use a LOT of the sticky black stuff, so you may wish to temper it slightly – but it has quickly won a place in the heart of my kitchen; for breakfast, spread with butter or peanut butter, or dunked into tomato soup, or with a little cheese melted on top… Makes 1 decent sized loaf to serve 8 from 8p 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. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 50g Marmite, 40p (£2/250g) 400ml warm water 500g plain flour, 15p (45p/1.5kg) 2 …