All posts tagged: tomato paste

Diet-Coke Chicken, 54p [A Girl Called Jack]

You don’t have to use Diet Coke to make the barbecue sauce for this recipe; if you don’t mind the sugar, ordinary full-fat will do instead. And of course, I have priced mine as supermarket own brand saccharine sticky cola, because that’s my jam. Serve with rice, chips, a buttered bun, or slaw – however you like. (For vegan and vegetarian readers, this recipe was first published in A Girl Called Jack in 2014. The same sauce works brilliantly with a large flat mushroom, and when I have got around to uploading my back catalogue, I will do that recipe too! For now, just scroll past and mutter rude things about me, if you must.) Serves 2 from 54p 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 tbsp oil, 3p (97p/1l, Asda) 4 chicken thighs or drums, 73p (£2.20/12 drumsticks, Asda) …

Mushroom Rogan Josh, 31p

Last night I fancied a curry, a nice hot curry to warm the very cockles of my draughty flat, but like so many evenings of the dreaded ‘cooking for one’, I just couldn’t decide what curry to have. I opened the fridge, glowered at a bunch of onions and a handful of mushrooms, and took to Twitter with a poll. It’s my new favourite way of, to coin a phrase, Making Your Mind Up. (I challenge you, Brits of a certain age, to not take that on as an earworm now. I make no apologies.) The poll returned me a mushroom rogan josh over a korma or vindaloo, and I set about making it. Recipes online vary wildly, from the eyebrow-raising ‘take a jar of madras paste’ on the BBC Good Food website, to paprika, to Jamie Oliver’s cloves and allsorts. I picked all the bits I liked from about seven different recipes, made it vegan, adjusted it to taste as I went along, and when done, carried the pan to bed and devoured the …

Keralan Aubergine Curry

One of my favourite restaurants in Southend specialises in Keralan cuisine – and when I couldn’t afford it but really wanted a rich, spicy curry, I decided to make my own version. Aubergines are comparitively expensive to buy individually, so look out for the bags of three or four, and eat them all week! (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 2: 2 aubergines a pinch of salt 1 onion a fat clove of garlic 2 tablespoons oil 1 red chilli or a pinch of the dried stuff 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1 tsp cumin (ground or seeds) 1/4 tsp English mustard zest and juice of half a lemon, or a tablespoon of bottled lemon juice 1 x 400g carton of chopped tomatoes a fistful of coriander, to serve Cut the stems from the ends of the aubergines, and pierce the skin …

Gigantes Plaki, 65p [A Girl Called Jack]

I’m heading back to my Mediterranean roots with this simple but delicious dish. I can have it for dinner, then lunch the next day and pulse any leftovers into a soup. It makes me chuckle to see these spicy butterbeans retailing for almost £5 per pot in certain supermarkets, when they’re really just bigger, better baked beans. You can either soak dried beans overnight in cold water – which means they will need to be drained, rinsed and boiled vigorously for 10 minutes separately to the sauce – or use a tin of ready-prepared butter beans, which is more expensive but more convenient. If cooking with dried butter beans, use only 150g. Serves 2 from 65p 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 and make a purchase. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change. 1 onion, 5p (54p/1kg) 2 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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, …

Sausagne, 43p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

Making lasagne is an arse. A labour of love. An every-pan atrocity strewn around the desolate wasteland of what was formerly your kitchen. I have made dozens of lasagnes in my short lifetime, and halfway through every single one comes the moment, without fail, whereby I survey the three pans on the hob, the piles of everything, the crap strewn across every available worksurface and some of the not-available ones, too, and I wail inside that I could have just bought one for less than a quid at the supermarket. One night, craving lasagne but not the work that went with it, I threw this together, and the Sausagne was born. I’m not suggesting for a minute that it is an exact substitute but, my, it ticks all the soft, cheesy, comforting, gooey boxes, and with far less washing up. (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 …

Shakshuka, 49p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

I first had shakshuka the morning after a very heavy night before, with a friend who had come to rescue me from the vulgarities of my own hangover. He took me to a café, ordered me shakshuka, and watched, giggling to himself, as I slowly turned from a mumbling wreck into something that vaguely resembled a human being. I have made and loved it many times since, usually in varying degrees of unwellness, both self-inflicted and unfortunately less so. If you need any further convincing, it packs a vitamin C punch from the peppers and tomatoes, and the spices will wake you up and clear out any lurking nasties. As for the egg? Eggs are good for pretty much everything. (Vegans, replace the egg with a tin of chickpeas for the same protein hit but a completely different dish!) SERVES 2, IF YOU’RE IN A SHARING MOOD, from 49p 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 …

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. …