All posts tagged: vine tomatoes

Pappa Al Pomodoro, 29p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

I love a good tomato soup, and quite often with the humble tomato, simplicity is key. So imagine my delight, one evening, finding a recipe for Pappa al Pomodoro while idly leafing through the iconic River Café Cookbook ( Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers). I’d never heard of it, but fell in love instantly – garlic, salt, herbs, tomatoes and a little bread. Of course, the original calls for fresh tomatoes in late summer and ‘open-textured white bread made with olive oil, such as Pugliese’, given that the River Café is famous for tremendously good Italian cooking (and was home to a fledgling Jamie Oliver, Sam and Sam Clark of Moro and many many other great chefs of our time). I decided to see if I could make my own version, from my basics, including my stash of old bits of bread . Who has a toddler or fussy teenager, or even adult, in their household that doesn’t eat their crusts? I used to battle with my Small Boy in the morning about the crusts …

Chocolate, Chilli & Black Bean Soup, 64p [A Girl Called Jack]

I knock up this soup whenever I find myself in the grips of a piteous cold, or just generally need a bit of a kick in the cookies. It combines onions and garlic for detoxifying goodness, with chillies to fire your engine back up, tomatoes and carrots for essential vitamin C, beans for protein and chocolate because it’s a solution to almost everything. Plus dark chocolate and red wine are good for you, don’t you know? But putting all the science to one side, this is delicious, filling and surprising – so even if you don’t have a cold, make it anyway! Serves 2 from 64p 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. 400g tinned black beans or kidney beans, 55p 1 onion, 5p (54p/1kg) 2 cloves …

Tinned Fishcakes, 17p [Cooking On A Bootstrap]

A couple of years ago, I was later asked to do a stint on a BBC programme, Inside The Factory, on tinned food , and went for the day to a four-star hotel to play head chef to unsuspecting diners, who believed they were trying out the upmarket hotel’s new menu. This was their starter, and they all enthusiastically loved it, even when the ‘big reveal’ at the end proved that it had been made with value range tinned potatoes and a 40p tin of sardines. At the time of filming, these fishcakes worked out at 17p per head – prices change all the time, of course , but they remain a nifty, inexpensive, filling little number. And good enough for a roomful of self-styled food connoisseurs, too. (I’m currently trialling a partnership program with the budget supermarkets that I shop in for my recipes. If you click the links in the recipes I may earn a small commission, but don’t just click for the sake of it as they’re wise to that! As ever, …

Courgette, Tomato & Cheese Gratin, 34p [A Girl Called Jack]

This recipe from my microwave series is based on a recipe from my book, A Girl Called Jack, that I see popping up on my Twitter feed and Facebook pages time and time again – it seems to be a definite favourite among my lovely readers! And so, I wondered if it was possible to make a portable microwave version, either for busy evenings, energy saving cooking, or even to pop into a jar in your work bag to stave off the boredom of yet another soggy cheese sandwich or expensive takeaway lunch. The microwave version has fewer ingredients than the original, oven-bake recipe – trying to keep it simple. I’ll also confess that I’ve made it with a few different rices as an experiment; although the simple basic 45p-a-kilo white rice will always be my go-to budget staple, this dish IS delicious with nutty brown rice too, if it’s the kind of thing you keep in the cupboard, and if not then don’t worry about it. (This post is not sponsored; I provide links …

Sort-of Paella, 64p [A Girl Called Jack]

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 splash of sherry – whatever your budget or your cupboard will allow. But for me, nothing beats a fistful of tiny little prawns, half a cup of peas and a spoon to eat it with. Traditional paella uses saffron strands to colour the rice, but I use bright yellow turmeric powder instead. This is a fraction of the cost and much more versatile, as it can be used in Saag Aloo, Spiced Potato Soup and many, many curry recipes besides. Traditional paella also uses a fat short-grain rice, but I use the ordinary long-grain store cupboard stuff because it’s what I have to hand. And a rice is a rice is a rice, as far …

Mushroom & Tea Bourgignon, 39p

Now don’t freak out, but here’s a recipe for tea bourgignon. Like bourgignon for tea, but a little more exciting. The pedant in me thinks I can’t exactly get away with calling this vegan heap of deliciousness a ‘bourgignon’, given that it doesn’t have any beef or wine in it, but the rebel in me is shrugging her shoulders and recalling the hundreds of recipes I’ve cooked so far on this journey that deviate deliciously from their traditions and origins, and besides, ‘mushroom stew’ just doesn’t have the same oh-no-she-didn’t ring to it. For a while now, some of my readers have been asking what they can replace wine with in my recipes; either they don’t have it, or it’s too much of an outlay to go and buy a bottle just to use a splash here and there (and if anyone understands that, I do!). Well, my science head said one day that maybe strong black tea would give the same effect, and then by happy coincidence someone suggested it on one of my …

Minestrone Soup, 19p

I often receive letters and emails from friends, family and readers asking for ideas for cheap lunches. Aside from the ubiquitous cheese sandwich or home made scone-muffin-type-thing and an apple, banana or pear, one of my favourite staple lunches for this time of year is A Good Hearty Soup. And nothing says hearty soup quite like one packed with pasta and beans and chunky vegetables! I’ve been making minestrone soup for so long, I’m amazed it didn’t make it into either of my books – but I guess I’d never taken the time to write the recipe down and think about it too much. It’s one of my staples for a leftover half can of beans or chopped tomatoes, a scraggy little carrot or half an onion in the bottom of the veg drawer, tired greens, and those little broken bits of pasta in the bottom of the bag, or odds and sods of pasta that aren’t quite enough to do anything with. I keep all the last few bits of pasta, and the broken …

Courgette, Tomato & Brie Gratin [A Girl Called Jack]

This dish was born of a sad-looking courgette in my fridge, half of a very large onion that was starting to dry out, and some bits and pieces from my cupboard. The rice makes this filling and comforting, and the cheese, tomato and slightly crisp courgettes have me reaching for a second portion even when I am pleasantly full. If you have always been a bit disdainful about courgettes, this simple supper might just change your mind… You can double the recipe quantities to serve 4 people, in which case, use a roasting tin rather than individual ovenproof dishes. (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: 1 onion 150g rice (I use standard long grain but wholemeal is really good in this) 1 chicken or vegetable stock cube, dissolved in 200ml boiling water 1 x 400g carton or tin of …

Spaghetti Alla Puttanesca [A Year In 120 Recipes]

My take on Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is a little different – I prefer tinned sardines to the more traditional anchovies, and I like to add some of the preserved oil for a distinctive flavour. This dish is a hot, fast joyride for your tastebuds with its fiery chilli, soft chunks of fish, vinegary capers and salty aftertaste. (Serves 2) 4 fat cloves of garlic, peeled 1 fresh red chilli, chopped 2 tbsp oil 400g chopped tomatoes 100g tinned sardines in oil 200g dried spaghetti 1 tbsp capers 1 tbsp olives, pitted and diced Roughly chop the garlic – I like mine chunky in a dish like this, but if a mouthful of slightly crunchy garlic will put you off, chop it finely. Put it into a large saucepan with the chilli and oil and saute on a low heat for a few minutes. Pour over the chopped tomatoes and the oil from the sardines, and turn up the heat to bring it to the boil. Carefully remove the bones from the sardines by splitting them, …

Majorly Curried Eggs, 56p [A Year In 120 Recipes]

Early on in my career as a political commentator and food writer, I appeared on Channel 5’s ‘Big Benefits Row‘ programme, hosted by Matthew Wright, and featuring Katie Hopkins, White Dee from Benefits Street, and Edwina Currie. During the program, Edwina made some atrocious remarks about my (recently deceased) grandfather, and – I am not an easily upset person – I burst into tears on live television, to be comforted by Boris Johnson’s sister. It was an odd night, all in, and I went home at the end of it, bashed out an excoriating letter to Edwina, and made myself a Major pan of Curried eggs to console myself with. It was petty, but, it’s become a favourite recipe in my household, and not just for the wry grin it gives me every time. Rich, simple, cheap and easy…and not a bad dinner, either. Ingredients: (Serves 2) (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 …

Liver & Lentil Bolognese

Tonight’s dinner came courtesy of some chicken liver at the back of the freezer, and some veg left over from a photoshoot yesterday. Idly flicking through my cookbook collection to find a new chicken liver idea, I came across a bolognese in Save With Jamie. Mine’s not identical – I’ve left out the bacon and mushrooms and chicken stock for a start, and replaced the balsamic vinegar with white wine vinegar, and added frozen spinach for some greens and to lift the flavour… And far more tomatoes than his recipe, because I like a good tomatoey ragu sauce. The result? I ate a good portion of this from the pan, and proclaimed it the best bolognese I’d ever eaten. Between me and Jamie, this is a job jobbed. Cheers. Chicken liver and lentil bolognese, serves 4. Ingredients: 1 carrot 1 onion 2 fat cloves of garlic 1tbsp oil 200g chicken livers 1 tsp fennel seeds 1 red chilli 400g chopped tomatoes 1 tbsp vinegar – red wine or white wine 100g red lentils 100g frozen …

Feisty Soup [A Girl Called Jack]

I make this for myself whenever I feel as though I am coming down with a cold. you know – when you’ve got that shaky, exhausted feeling and general self-pity. Instead of spending a fortune on various over-the-counter paracetamol and lemon drinks, I drag myself into the kitchen and cook myself a cure. This is called feisty soup for a reason: it’s a bit like hot and sour Chinese soup in a way, and if this doesn’t help shift whatever is wrong with you, I’m not sure what will. I’ve combined lots of natural goodies that have antioxidant and other nutritional qualities – garlic for goodness, chillies to fire up your system, tomatoes for vitamin C and lemon and ginger to cleanse and revitalize. (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 1 onion 1 fat clove of garlic a thick …

Red Lentil Bolognese [A Girl Called Jack]

This meat-free Bolognese sauce is perfect over a bowl of pasta and topped with a handful of grated cheese. Allow 70 to 100g of dried pasta per person. I like to eat mine with some garlic bread as well, to mop up any leftover sauce. (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 1 onion 1 clove of garlic 1 carrot 1 tablespoon oil a fistful of fresh thyme a fistful of fresh parsley 1 vegetable stock cube 50ml red wine 1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes 100g dried brown or red lentils, rinsed optional: 2 tablespoons tomato purée or tomato ketchup, to thicken the sauce grated strong hard cheese, to serve Peel and slice the onion, peel and crush the garlic, and put both into a large sauté or non-stick frying pan. Wash the carrot then grate …

Chickpea & Tomato Brunch Loaf [A Girl Called Jack]

This loaf is a favourite weekend recipe of mine, which is easily adapted to personal tastes and what you have in the cupboard. Sometimes I like to thoroughly mash the chickpeas for a smoother bread, and sometimes I chuck them in whole for a knobbly, crunchy texture. Delicious toasted or grilled with butter, or bacon, or an egg, or all three… Makes 1 small loaf: 240g canned chickpeas (drained weight) 300g plain white flour, plus a little extra for kneading a 7g sachet of fast acting dried yeast a handful of chopped fresh rosemary zest and juice of half a lemon, or a tablespoon of bottled lemon juice 1 large tomato, chopped into small chunks Drain the chickpeas, thoroughly rinse them, and tip them into a large mixing bowl. Mash with a potato masher to loosen the skins, and pick them off as the chickpeas separate (not an essential step but definitely worth it if you want a smooth bread – if you’re leaving the chickpeas whole then don’t worry about this!). Add the flour, …

Moroccan Not-A-Tagine [A Girl Called Jack]

This tagine uses my three staple spices – turmeric, cumin and paprika – to deliver a gorgeous sweet and spicy dinner. I made it for Xanthe Clay from the Daily Telegraph when she visited for an article called ‘My 49p Lunch With A Girl Called Jack’. In her words: ‘the food is very fine, and it’s also healthy’ – so what are you waiting for? I like to serve mine with couscous and rice, and green vegetables. Serves 4 (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.) 1 large onion 2 fat cloves of garlic 1 red chilli a splash of oil zest and juice of half a lemon, or 1 tbsp bottled lemon juice 1 heaped tsp turmeric 1 heaped tsp cumin (ground or seeds) 1 heaped tsp paprika 1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes 1 tsp sugar a …