Ham, Pea & Mint Casserole, 30p.

Photo by Susan Bell, for A Girl Called Jack.

This delicious ham casserole is adapted from a favourite old recipe of mine – where I would boil the ham joint whole to make a stock, before shredding it into the casserole. This faster version is no compromise, making a delicious hearty dinner in less than half the time. For an extra special twist, serve with crusty bread topped with […]

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Sort-of paella, 67p

Sort-of-Paella, from A Girl Called Jack, photographed by Susan Bell.

The star of the show in this paella is the simple coloured rice, cooked al dente, accentuated with bright red tomatoes and little green peas. This recipe is delicious on its own, or can be used as a base. Feel free to add chopped peppers, seasonal vegetables, any meat or fish of your choice, a glass of white wine, a […]

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Chilli hot chocolate, 16p, and a broken foot, priceless.

This morning I woke up, walked out of the bedroom, skidded down the stairs, and crashed my foot into the wall with the full force of my rapidly-descending body slamming behind it. I spent the rest of the morning in Charing Cross A&E, where despite looking extremely light on staff, I was seen relatively quickly, by a doctor who used to be a psychiatrist and before that lived in the Phillipines (we had a great food chat!) I had my wonky-looking foot X-Rayed by a very kind radiographer, the doctor set it and strapped it up, and I cleared a good deal of my work diary for the immediate future. Walking with a stick on bruises and fractures and sprains is not really conducive to prancing about in a kitchen testing recipes, well, not as early as Monday, anyway. BUT, I made a New Years resolution to cook or make something new every day – so apologies that today’s may be fairly low level, but I can’t stand unaided right now and I’ve sprained my right shoulder, so chopping and slicing and dicing is temporarily beyond me… However, it’s something I’ve been meaning to get to grips with for a while, so simple it may be, but it’s also delicious, and comforting. Ladies, gentlemen and non-binary readers, I bring to you an oh so simple chilli hot chocolate… Serves two (you’ll probably want both!) 500ml milk (can be made with […]

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Leftover-Porridge Pancakes

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I never seem to get the porridge quantities quite right in the mornings, and have recently embarked on a series of experiments with teacups and measuring cups, trying to work out the exact amount of oats and water and milk needed to make two small bowls of porridge for two small children – but no matter how carefully calculated, there’s […]

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This week’s Guardian recipe: Black pudding hangover hash…

There’s a thing that happens when your better half runs a pork restaurant – you start to incorporate all things piggy into all meals of the day in the same way that you used to use onions, or garlic, with gay abandon and without question. It starts with lardo on toast, bacon sandwiches for lunch, porchetta for dinner, bacon in ice cream (you’ll have to pop down to Blackfoot for it if you’re curious), and emergency sausages in the meat drawer for the kids, the pasta, the ribollita, the essential top-up of the ‘Vitamin P’. The meat drawer that might as well be called the pork drawer, because it sees nary a sniff of anything else. And then – once you have a reputation as a pig obsessive – people shower you with porcine presents: where they might have once bought flowers, or a card, you get a packet of sausages or a fennel rub instead. A particularly memorable piggy gift recently was from my German friend Lea, who left London a few weeks ago with a trail of Blutwurst in her wake. Soft, dense, meaty and delicious, Blutwurst is black pudding for black pudding obsessives – and so the morning after her boozy leaving lunch-into-dinner the night before, this happened. Hangover food at its finest, with no more foggy-headed incompetency required than to grate some stuff, blearily mash it together, and dollop it into a frying pan. Bliss. And […]

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White Chocolate Tea Bread

Photography by Susan Bell

This came about because I LOVE chocolate chip brioche – so I decided to try to make some chocolate chip bread as a replacement. Unfortunately, though, the chocolate chips all melted into the dough as I added my usual boiling water and I ended up with this Chocolate Tea Bread instead – but it was still delicious! I eat mine […]

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Penny Pizzas

Photography by Susan Bell.

I make penny pizzas as way of using up leftovers such as Mamma Jack’s Best Ever Chilli or Lentil Bolognese – but they are just as good topped with a dollop of tomato purée and some grated cheese. Or they are a good way to use up sliced mushy tomatoes that have passed their best and the dry ends of […]

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Courgette, Sultana & Lemon Bread

Photography by Susan Bell

Courgettes give off quite a bit of liquid when you grate them but don’t worry about draining it off in this recipe because the courgettey water will help to flavour the bread and add moisture. when you will be adding water to a recipe later anyway, it doesn’t make sense to fanny about taking liquid out only to put it […]

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DAGAA

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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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CURRIED EGGS.

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I’ve had a hankering for Curried eggs for the past couple of days, I’m not sure why… So tonight, I knocked this one together. Rich and simple, cheap and easy, this is set to become a Major favourite in my household… Ingredients: (Serves 2) 4 free range eggs 1 onion 1 tbsp oil 1 fresh red chilli or pinch of […]

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TOASTED PITTA AND SARDINE BRUNCH.

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This speedy little breakfast was utterly delectable this morning – eliciting appreciative ‘mmm’ noises to myself and raising a eyebrow at the cat, who was very interested in my sardines. Sorry moggy, but these were mine all mine. Try at your peril – I fear breakfast will never be the same again. Ingredients (serves 1, adjust as required). 1 pitta […]

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SISTER MARTHA’S CHICKEN SOUP

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While in Tanzania, I visited last years winner of Oxfam’s Female Food Heroes competition: an Africa-wide search to celebrate female farmers and food producers who were making a difference to their lives and communities. (I’ll write more about Sister Martha separately). While we were at her house, I are very little, having spent the night before being horrendously ill. She […]

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READER RECIPES: TOM’S CORNED BEEF BOLOGNESE

I just received the following email and I haven’t managed to test this as I’m in Tanzania right now, but the combination of corned beef and red wine and tomatoes makes it a winner in my book! Thanks Tom! 🙂 “Hi Jack My wife is a big fan of yours and told me to drop you a line and see if you want to add this simple recipe to your site Very simple Corned beef Onion Tin of tomato Pepper Garlic granules Splash of left over red wine or Worcester sauce if you have it Spaghetti Pasta Simple spaghetti bolognaise that costs little and tastes great! Hope you like 🙂 Tom” Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

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BRANDY BUTTER ICE CREAM

Brandy butter ice cream with white chocolate chunks. This is a delicious use for any leftover brandy butter (or swipe it from the reduced fridge!) and a perfect accompaniment to a warm mince pie crumble 🙂 I have given a method for those with and without an ice cream maker. I have an accidental one, but not for much longer! Ingredients, serves 6: 300ml double cream 200ml milk 100g white chocolate 50g sugar 50g brandy butter First pop the brandy butter into a heatproof dish in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt. Remove and allow it to cool. Chop the white chocolate into small pieces, either with a sharp knife, or pop it in a freezer bag, tie it up, and bash it with a rolling pin or mallet. Then pour the cream into a large mixing bowl, and add the milk, sugar and chocolate. Stir through. Add a little of the brandy butter and stir in quickly to stop the cream from splitting. Add it little by little until combined. Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes clockwise, then 30 minutes anti clockwise. Repeat if necessary – it should be thick enough to not fall off a spoon but still soft enough to spoon into a tub. Line a loaf tin or other container with two layers of clingfilm, folding it over the edges. Pour the ice cream in, smooth the top […]

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MINCE PIE CRUMBLE

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And the dessert from the One Show! Here’s my twist on a festive dessert – because everybody loves a crumble, don’t they? I served mine with brandy butter and white chocolate ice cream, recipe for THAT to follow… ‘Mince pie’ crumble, serves 6: Ingredients: 100g flour 100g oats 100g butter 100g sugar 400g apples 200g mixed fruit and peel 200g […]

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MACKEREL PATE

In an effort to make an almost-traditional Christmas dinner for an episode of The One Show, here’s a seafood starter. Have more, if you want bigger portions – but save some room for dinner and dessert! Ingredients: serves 8 as a starter 220g Mackerel 100g cream cheese 100g butter 1 tbsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp black pepper 200g fresh spinach 1 small loaf fresh baked bread – I used the ‘giraffe’ bread for a change, and it was delicious! First remove the skin from the mackerel, it should peel off easily with your fingers, and discard. Put the fish into a large mixing bowl, and break up into flakes with a fork or wooden spoon and some elbow grease. Pick out any bones you can see – but small pin-bones are usually fine. Melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds in a heatproof dish, and pour on top of the flaked mackerel. Add cream cheese, pepper and lemon juice and beat well to combine. I added a handful of chopped parsley from my window ledge for colour, it’s not essential. Press into a lightly greased tin (I find an old butter tub a good size for making pâté!) and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. To serve, cut up the bread (some like it toasted but I like mine soft and fresh) and pop in a bowl in the centre for people to help themselves. […]

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EASY MINCE PIES

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These simple mince pies use marmalade in place of orange juice and sugar, to bring the cost down, and meld the fruits together with a spicy sweetness. I’m curious about making traditional ‘mincemeat’ – so expect to see a blog post on that later on! But for now, here’s a mince pie recipe so simple that you won’t even notice […]

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APPLE CRISPS

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I had some finely sliced apple left over from my pancakes this morning, so decided to make some apple crisps for Small Boy to have later in the day as a snack. I only have a mini fridge at the moment, so fridge space is at a premium – thought these were something I could pop in a bag and […]

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APPLE & SULTANA PANCAKES

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Serves around 3, depending on age, appetite, and how much of a pancake fiend you are… Ingredients: 100g flour (SR for light fluffy pancakes, but plain is fine too) 100ml milk 1 egg 1 apple, very finely sliced Handful of sultanas (50g approx) 2 tbsp oil Finely slice the apple, I used a vegetable peeler, and pop to one side. […]

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