Here greeny greeny greeny greeny things... And kids, if you're reading this in years to come, I told you I was smarter than you...

Raw broccoli and courgette pesto, 17p (NUT-FREE) (VEGAN)

Here greeny greeny greeny greeny things... And kids, if you're reading this in years to come, I told you I was smarter than you...

Here greeny greeny greeny greeny things… And kids, if you’re reading this in years to come, I told you I was smarter than you…

So, the two delightful four year olds in residency have both announced recently that they ‘don’t want school dinners any more’ ‘because they make us eat lots of VEGETABLES.’ News to me, this one, as they have both been fairly consistently good Vegetable Eaters throughout their childhood – albeit *different vegetables*, which means we have a list stuck to the front of the fridge to remind us that one of them will happily nosh on peppers but not peas, and the other one likes carrots and broccoli and ‘sometimes’ cauliflower. One thing they are both very sold on, however, is broccoli. And pesto.

So, I opened my fridge this evening to mull over the tired scrappy bits in the vegetable drawer, and found exactly 67g of drying, wilting -broccoli. (I’ve rounded it up to a round 100g in the recipe, as I don’t expect anybody to weigh out 67g of anything!) The sneaky mum in me decided to ‘extend’ it into something I could pass off as ‘broccoli pesto’ – and here we are. And kids, if you’re reading this in a few years time, I told you I was smarter than you.

It’s only raw by virtue of laziness – there was a small someone-treading-on-my-broken-toe incident over the weekend and thus my recovery has been unceremoniously flung back to what feels like square one. Today I have mostly been working from my duvet. You can steam or saute or boil and cool the component parts if you like, but, licking the bowl as I type this is testament to the fact that you just don’t have to. I proffered a spoonful to my small boy, told him it was ‘broccoli sauce’, and he demolished it. Win all round.

Makes enough for six bellies at 17p each* – I split mine into three pots of ‘kids plus a snack for me’.

100g broccoli, stems and all, 14p
250g courgette, 50p
50g spinach, fresh or frozen and defrosted (up to you whether to refreeze it if using defrosted spinach, I’ve been doing it for years with veg and never caught vegetable lurgies, but health and safety scaremongerers abound…), 7p
100g bread, stale or otherwise, 13p (or 7p for two white pittas) – to give it that nutty texture that’s so great about pesto, without any actual nuts
100ml oil (I used sunflower), 13p
30ml lemon juice – the bottled variety is fine, 6p

The adults might like to add a clove or two of garlic and a pinch of salt, and non-vegans might want to lob in a load of hard strong grated cheese, but it’s perfectly delicious the way it is…

Finely shop your broccoli and courgette, and roughly chop your spinach. Tear up your bread, and put the whole lot in the blender – pulse until it resembles a pesto. The wetness of the courgette should help it along, but if your blender is struggling, add the oil and lemon juice, and if it’s still struggling, a small slosh of water. The breadcrumbs will soak the liquid up anyway.

Divide into jars or containers and store one in the fridge and one in the freezer for a cheat dinner for a later date. Serve over hot pasta, and enjoy.

If you’re seriously suspicious about your kids eating ‘raw’ veg, then you can tip this into a pan and cook it off for a few minutes before tipping it over their pasta – but I find a good grating of cheese goes a long way in getting kids to eat anything (vegan cheese for vegans, obviously, and not so much for everyone else).

And enjoy! You can play with the vegetables, and veg proportions – I just include enough broccoli to pass mine off as ‘broccoli sauce’ – and the Smalls are none the wiser. Hoorah for a penchant for pesto, in my household at least…

* Prices are worked out at Sainsburys because that’s where I currently shop, but things like courgettes and broccoli are widely sold in many other places for similar prices. If you happen to find them ludicrously cheaper, please comment below as I’m sure my readers would love to know where the bargains are. Prices are also subject to change but are correct at the time of blogging. I worked them out like this:

Loose broccoli £1.35/kg. Frozen broccoli £1.40/kg but more florets than stems, so use what you prefer. Loose courgettes 20p/100g – am very cross that the Basic courgettes appear to have vanished as they were once a staple on my very low budget and I based a lot of my early recipes around them! I digress. Frozen spinach £1.40/kg. Giraffe bread £1/800g loaf. Basics pitta breads 22p/6. Sunflower oil £4/3l. Bottled lemon juice 50p/250ml.

Jack Monroe. You can follow me on Twitter ( and Instagram ( if you like, and find me on Facebook at

…and if you enjoy my recipes, you might like one of my books – I like to direct people to the Hive, as they deliver to your local independent book store, or your house. They’re available in other places too, but I think the Hive is just great:


Pumpkin, lentil and spinach daal


Serves around 4, depending on appetite.

150g dried red lentils
4 fat cloves of garlic
1 large white or red onion
1 tsp cumin (seeds or ground)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 red chilli (the general rule is the smaller they are, the hotter they are) or pinch of the dried stuff
A grating of fresh ginger or pinch of dried
1 tbsp oil
100g pumpkin purée
100ml coconut milk or natural yoghurt
100g spinach (fresh or frozen)
Zest and juice of a lemon

First rinse your red lentils thoroughly under cold running water, and set to one side.

Peel and finely chop your garlic, and peel and finely slice the onion, and toss them into a saucepan or frying pan – ideally with a non stick bottom, but if you don’t have one don’t worry, just use a little extra oil and be very vigilant about stirring it so it doesn’t all stick! Add the cumin, turmeric, finely chopped chilli and grated ginger, then stir in the oil and turn on the heat, low and slow to soften the garlic and onions and so as not to burn the spices.

When the onions have softened (and turned a brilliant yellow colour from the turmeric), add the rinsed red lentils, water, pumpkin purée and the lemon juice, and bring the heat up to medium for 8-10 minutes to soften the lentils. You may need to add more water, depending on how ‘wet’ your purée is.

When the lentils are soft and swollen, add your coconut milk or yoghurt to sweeten and add a soft creamy texture. If you’re using coconut milk, you can add it while the daal is still on the heat. If you’ve opted for yoghurt, remove the daal from the heat and add it slowly, a tablespoon at a time, stirring to stop it from splitting.

Tear up the spinach and stir through to wilt before serving, and garnish with the lemon zest.

And enjoy! I like mine with fluffy rice on the side, and leftovers in a sandwich or pitta bread the next day…

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook:

Photography by Susan Bell

Courgette, Sultana & Lemon Bread

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 back in again, and I like simple solutions. I often start preparing my bread last thing at night so I can take the frustrations of the day out on it as I knead, which gives the additional bonus of being able to leave the dough overnight to rise for extra light and fluffy bread. This bread is delicious sliced and toasted with butter (or whatever spread you have) and marmalade, or simply eaten warm by the handful.

Makes 1 small loaf

1 small courgette
300g plain flour, plus extra to knead the dough
a 7g sachet of fast-acting dried yeast
50g sultanas
zest and juice of 1⁄2 a lemon or 1 tablespoon bottle lemon juice

Grate the courgette finely into a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and yeast to the courgette, and then tip in the sultanas. Combine everything with a wooden spoon, making sure the courgette doesn’t all just clump together.

Pour the lemon juice into a measuring cup, grate in the zest and add recently boiled water to make it up to 150ml of liquid (less than usual for this amount of flour because of the wetness of the courgette). Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in most of the lemon-water. Mix to form a sticky dough, adding the rest of the liquid if required.

Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Leave the dough to rise for half an hour, with a tea towel over the top to keep the heat from the water in.

When the dough has risen, knock the air out of it, and pop into a lightly oiled or silicone 1lb loaf tin (approximately 17 x 7 x 6cm). Cover with cling film and leave to rise again (this is called proving) for at least another half an hour or. A little before the end of the proving time, put on the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 to preheat.

Score the top of the dough lightly. Put the tin in the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes; the loaf should be golden and crisp on top, feel lightweight and sound hollow on the bottom when tapped. Take out of the oven, remove the loaf from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack, then slice and devour.

Photography by Susan Bell

Photography by Susan Bell

‘Courgette, Sultana & Lemon Bread’ recipe from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe, available to buy now.

Twitter: @MsJackMonroe Facebook:


Summer odds and ends cooler

This hardly qualifies as a recipe, falling more into the ‘ideas’ camp, but it’s so yummy I just want to share it with you. Basically this morning I was rooting around in the fridge and came across some straggly old mint, a withered half a lemon and a quarter of a cucumber that had gone soggy and soft. Rather than throw them away, I sliced the lemon and cucumber and threw them into a jug, stuffed the mint in, and filled it with water, for a super-refreshing drink – perfect for this sticky hot day… I’ve been topping it up with fresh water as it steeps (and I gulp it) – I can’t get enough of it!

It would work with just lemons, or just mint, or just cucumber, or any combination of the three. I’m sure a sad little apple could find a home in a jug like this, or a dried up orange – so many possibilities…



Jack. Twitter: @msjackmonroe. Facebook:




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!

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 all over with a sharp knife or a fork. Pop into a mixing bowl or saucepan, and cover with cold water and a pinch of salt to draw out the natural bitter flavour. Leave to stand for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic, and toss into a medium pan with the oil. Sweat the onions on a very low heat, stirring to ensure they don’t burn or stick. Finely chop the chilli and add to the pan, or pinch in your dried flakes. Add the turmeric, cumin and mustard, and stir to cook the spices a little.

Remove the aubergines from the water, cut into chunks and add to the pan. Stir in well to coat with the now-spicy oil, add the lemon juice and zest (if using), and turn the heat up to medium to brown the edges of the aubergine. Pour over the chopped tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes, until the aubergines are tender.

Finely shred the coriander and scatter on top to serve.


Keralan aubergine curry from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe. Available to buy from The Hive, supporting your local independent book shop. Photography by Susan Bell for A Girl Called Jack.


Twitter: @MsJackMonroe   Facebook:





Broad beans can be bought frozen for around £1.50 for a 750g bag – much cheaper than their fresh counterparts, and no prising them from fiddly little pods either – although I do love thumbing the velvety lining of fresh pods to pop them out… Whether you choose fresh or frozen beans, this salad uses a lot of storecupboard basic ingredients, like lemon, garlic, herbs and cheese. It takes just minutes to knock together, and I think it tastes like summer’s coming…

140g broad beans
40g hard strong cheese
50g leaves – I used rocket on special offer, but try spinach, watercress, pea shoots, lambs lettuce, anything fresh and crunchy will do
a fat clove of garlic
1 tbsp oil
Juice of half a lemon
A fistful of mint
Salt and pepper

First bring a pan of water to the boil. Drop in the frozen broad beans for two to three minutes to defrost and slightly soften. Drain them and tip into a bowl, and grate the lemon zest over the top.

Roughly chop and crush the garlic clove, using the flat blade of a chunky sharp knife if you have one, or the back of a spoon and some elbow grease if you haven’t. Scoop the smashed up garlic into a jar, squeeze out the lemon juice, add the oil, screw the lid on, and shake well to make the dressing.

Toss the beans with the salad and whole mint leaves, dress, season with salt and pepper, and top with hard strong cheese to serve.

Tip: For a more substantial salad, and for you omnivores out there, top with crispy bacon to serve.

First published in The Guardian, May 2014. Photograph by Graeme Robertson for The Guardian.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe






Here’s the Rhubarb and Ginger Soda Bread recipe I made for my first ever FoodTube video…


300g flour
1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda
200ml milk (semi skimmed, soya, UHT, any milk will do)
Juice of half a lemon, or 2 tbsp bottled lemon juice
100g fresh rhubarb
1 tbsp sugar
Small piece of fresh ginger

First, pour the milk into a jug and squeeze in the lemon juice. Leave to stand for a few minutes to curdle. This replaces the buttermilk in traditional soda bread recipes, and can be done with any milk or milk substitute, and any citrus or acid, like vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and bicarb and briefly mix through. Thinly slice the rhubarb and add to the bowl with the sugar, and grate in the ginger. In the video, I use the edge of a teaspoon to remove the thin skin from the ginger, but if you think life is too short to peel ginger, you can leave it on – but it has a different, woody taste to the tang of peeled ginger. Use the edge of a spoon, or a vegetable peeler, to peel thin strips of ginger into the bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients (a small rough hole in the middle) and pour in most of the curdled milk and lemon. Mix briefly with a wooden spoon, adding more liquid if you need to. It should be a slightly tacky, but malleable, dough. If you accidentally make it too sticky, just add an extra generous tablespoon or two of flour to bring it back.

Tip the dough out onto a floured work surface and knock it into a bread shape – you can pop it in a loaf tin if you have one, or knock it into a round and pop it straight in the oven.

Lightly dust your loaf tin (if using) and pop the bread in. Dust the top with extra flour and cut a crease down the middle of your dough – Irish folklore says that this is to let the fairies out, so respect your fairies and set them free. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes, until crusty, risen and golden and rustic looking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing.

Serving suggestion: The bit you don’t see on the video, is me layering it up with mackerel and honey for the production crew, who were initially suspicious, and then devoured the lot! But it’s also great plain, warm from the oven, toasted and spread with butter or crean cheese, and of course rhubarb and ginger are natural bedfellows for all sorts of delicious cheeses – try it with Brie, mature cheddar, or anything with a bit of bite…

And enjoy! Thanks to all the lovely feedback, I will be doing more videos with FoodTube in the future – so thankyou all so much for being so lovely and encouraging.

Jack xx




What do you do when you have an abundance of oranges in the house and a Saturday morning to kill?

Christened ‘Love Marmalade’ – it certainly was a labour, but of the sticky, delicious, giggly variety. Here’s the recipe we loosely worked from, loosely meaning we talked about it for a week, then eventually halved and gutted and sliced the oranges, left them on the doorstep all day, took them to work to a busy restaurant in the evening and I boiled it off in a brief service hiatus on a Saturday night – complete with a set of whites, a butchers stripe apron, and three different spoons dropped into the pan. I recommend you make it all in one hit, without trying to squeeze in a 70th birthday party in the country and a busy restaurant shift in between. Eventually bottled at half past two in the morning – but oh, so worth it.

Granny Annie’s Dark Chunky Marmalade, from “Big Table, Busy Kitchen” by Allegra McEvedy.

Makes about 7-9 jars, apparently.

1.5kg Seville oranges
2 lemons
2.7kg sugar (ALL the sugar in the house – we rooted around and made it up from granulated, caster, golden and soft brown….)
1 tbsp black treacle

You will also need:
1 piece of muslin, about 50cm square (doubled over if it’s the very flimsy kind)
Waxed paper or grease proof paper, cut into circles to fit inside the jars.

Scrub the oranges and lemons under warm water and pick off the green stalk at the top.

Choose your marmalade-making saucepan. It needs to be pretty big, about a 7-8 litre capacity to allow for bubbling up, then drape the piece of muslin over the top of it.

Cut the oranges and lemons in half around the equator, as you would for juicing, and squeeze them into the pan through the muslin.


Now find yourself a shallow-bowled dessert spoon – you’re going to use it for digging, so preferably one with a slightly pointy end. Holding a half orange in one hand and the spoon in the other, dig out all the pith, pulp and membrane until the inside of the fruit is smooth and white, and let this fall into the muslin. Do the same with the other oranges and lemons.

Twist up the muslin so all the gubbins is inside it and tie to the pan handle – loosely enough that it sits on the bottom of the pan but tightly enough that it won’t unravel.

Then use a really sharp knife to slice the rind of the oranges and lemons into thin-ish matchsticks and tip them into the pan.

Pour in 3.4 litres of cold water, then Annie always leaves it for an overnight soak and soften at this stage (though when prodded she admitted that this wasn’t obligatory, it was just to spread the work over two days).

Whenever you’re ready, pop a couple of saucers in the fridge for testing later, and bring the contents of the saucepan to the boil, then turn down to a busy simmer. You need it to reduce by a third over about two hours, so if it’s happening too fast or too slowly, just adjust the heat. Don’t rush this step as once you add sugar the skins will toughen, so it’s crucial that they are tender enough before moving on.

Still working on the heat, lift the muslin bag out of the liquid, then use a slotted spoon to squeeze the life out of it against the side of the pan, scraping the jelly-like goo off the muslin with a spoon and dropping it back into the pan. This step is vital as it’s where most of the pectin comes from that will set your marmalade, so don’t skimp on the muscle – it may take a good five minutes (it’s surprisingly satisfying, not to mention beautiful, watching it ooze through the pores of the fabric). Once you’ve ditched the contents you can give the muslin a good rinse, wash it and use again next year.


Pour the sugar and treacle into the pan and stir until it’s all dissolved – feel the bottom of the pan for any granular bits and don’t go on to the next step until you are sure that ALL of the sugar has melted. Now turn the heat up to an impressive rolling boil – be careful as it will rise up the pan in a Vesuvian way, and the contents will be about as hot, too! From when it’s at the ferociously bubbling molten lava stage give it 20 minutes with no skimming, but stir occasionally so the pieces of orange don’t catch on the bottom. During this time it will rise right up the pan, doubling in size, and if you’ve got a sugar thermometer you want it to hit the ‘jam’ mark, which is 105C.


Meanwhile, heat the oven to 140C. Put your jam jars and lids in the oven for 15 minutes or so – you need them to be a bit too hot to handle when the marmalade goes in.

Get a saucer out of the fridge and drop half a teaspoon of marmalade on to it. Let it cool for less than a minute then push your finger into the little pool and lift it up a centimetre: this is all about checking that it’s at the right viscosity for setting. What you’re looking for is a wrinkling on the surface as you push your finger into it and lift your finger up a centimetre – the marmalade should stay in contact with your finger.

From the point when it’s had the 20 minutes of hard boiling, check it for these signs every couple of minutes on a new bit of cold saucer – it will happen pretty quickly, but can take up to half an hour of boiling.

Once you’re happy, take it off the heat, and leave to cool for about 20 minutes, using this time to give it a good careful skim. The marmalade needs to firm up a bit before you put it in the jars so that the pieces of orange will be suspended, as opposed to sinking to the bottom.


Give it a quick stir and then ladle the marmalade into a jug – much easier for tidy pouring. I suggest doing one jar first and leaving for a minute to see how she settles. When you’re happy with your orange dispersion, fill the jars right up so there’s minimal space for air in there. Immediately pop the wax paper circles right on to the surface of the marmalade to prevent contact with the outside world (air = bugs = mouldy marmalade). Leave to cool completely with the lids off, preferably overnight, and then screw the lids on tight. The marmalade’s good to go straight away, but hide those for later in a cool, dark place.


From “Big Table, Busy Kitchen” by Allegra McEvedy, recipe reproduced with permission.

Jack Monroe (Twitter: @MsJackMonroe) & Allegra McEvedy (Twitter: @AllegraMcEvedy).




This is my take on Greek dolmades. I first had stuffed vine leaves at my grandad’s guesthouse in Southend, and deeply regret not pilfering his recipe before he passed away. I wrap mine in cabbage leaves, which will no doubt have him swearing at me from beyond the grave, but these go down well in my house.

(Makes 20) at 30p each
1 large savoy cabbage, 80p
100g rice, 4p
1 tbsp oil, 3p
1 onion, very finely chopped, 9p
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped, 6p
400g minced meat (pork or lamb is best but turkey is good too), £4.50
1 tbsp parsley, chopped, 8p
1 tbsp mint, chopped, 8p
Pinch of cinnamon, 1p
140g tomato puree, 34p

Remove the leaves from the stalk of the cabbage and simmer them in a saucepan of boiling water for a few minutes.

When they’ve softened, remove with a slotted spoon and leave to dry on a clean tea towel or kitchen roll.

Bring the water back to the boil, add the rice and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and fluffy.

In a separate pan, heat the oil on medium and add the onion, garlic and mince, until the onion has softened and mince has browned. Mix in the rice, parsley, mint, cinnamon and tomato puree and cook for another minute or two.

To make the stuffed leaves, place two teaspoons of the rice and mince mixture into the centre of a leaf, fold in the sides and roll up tightly. Eat them hot with yoghurt, mint and cucumber dip, or cold with a squeeze of lemon.

Jack’s tip
For a more substantial main dish, put the stuffed leaves seam-side down into a roasting tin or casserole dish, pour over a tin of chopped tomatoes or 400ml chicken stock with a few tablespoons of tomato puree stirred in, and bake in the oven at 180C/350F/gas mark four for half an hour.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

First published in The Guardian, Weds 26th Feb. Photography by Graeme Robertson for The Guardian.



So, I have a MASS of parsnips left over from cooking for The One Show last week (or the week before), and they’re starting to go a bit wrinkly in the way that vegetables do when you buy them in bulk for cheapness and end up despairing at what on earth to do with all of them… So, I picked up my copy of Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook, one of my bibles for inspiration for miscellaneous fridge remnants. Under ‘P’ for those pesky Parsnips was a smoked haddock and parsnip fish cake… Quick root around the fridge yielded half a packet of kippers (dated the 20th of December, quick sniff, seem fine)… But sorry Sarah – I didn’t really want fish cakes. I wanted to shove everything in a pot and not have to think too hard about it. So, risotto. This risotto. This heavenly, lightly spiced, smoky sweet risotto, inspired by a fish cake. Bliss.

Serves 2:

1 onion
1 tbsp oil
150g long grain rice
1 vegetable stock cube
2 large parsnips,
100g kipper fillets (or more if you have them),
100g green beans
1tsp of cumin
1/2tsp turmeric (not absolutely essential)
1tbsp of lemon juice
Parsley or coriander to serve

I wanted my parsnips almost roasted, so cut them into fine chips and threw them in the pan with the oil on a high heat to cook for 10 minutes.

When the edges of the parsnips are golden, reduce the heat to medium. Dice the onion and add to the pan and stir to soften for 5 minutes.

Add the rice and toast for half a minute, then pour over most of the stock. I’m feeling lazy, i’m not going with the pour-a-bit-stir-a-bit method tonight. All in. Slosh. Stir.

Add the kipper fillets, turmeric and cumin and stir in. Stir occasionally to disturb the rice and stop it from sticking.

When the rice is al dente and the liquid thick and soupy, add the green beans. Stir through to cook, and flake the kipper fillet with your wooden spoon.

Serve with a shake of lemon and a handful of parsley or coriander.


Jack. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe


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. Pop a handful of spinach on a plate, turn out the pate, slice, and place on top. Garnish with extra lemon and pepper if you want to make it look pretty!

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @msjackmonroe

Nut-free super kale pesto, 15p


Last week, I was trying new things for upcoming recipes for my Guardian column, when I came across a bag of kale on special offer at Waitrose – 75p for a massive 200g bag.

Anyway, I used a scant handful of it for a recipe, and this evening decided to make the rest into kale pesto…

Ingredients (makes 14 portions – freezing the rest in ice cube trays!)

200g kale
150ml sunflower oil
150ml water
30ml lemon juice
80g grated strong hard cheese
1 chilli

Basically…. De-head the chilli and slice it. Stuff as much kale as you can fit into your blender (you can add more later). Throw in the chilli, grated cheese, oil, lemon and water and blend vigorously until the kale has vanished into a vivid green pulp. Turn the blender off, add any remaining kale, and blend again.

Store in a clean sealed jar with extra oil on top, and keep in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze in ice cubes.

I served mine straight over spaghetti with a pinch of extra chilli and lightly toasted breadcrumbs – recipe for THAT delicious dinner to follow.

Also looking forward to spreading some on toast, topping with cheese, and grilling lightly for lunch… I’ll keep you posted on that one too…

AND I reckon it would make a great spread to top a pizza base, topped with tomatoes and cheese…

Costs worked out at Sainsburys, apart from the kale (Waitrose) and correct at time of writing.

200g kale 75p. 3l oil £4 (150ml 30p). 250ml lemon juice 60p (30ml 7p). 200g hard strong cheese £2.30 (80g 92p) 10 bird eye chillies 75p (1 chilli 8p). Total cost of ingredients used: £2.12 Makes 14 portions of kale pesto at 15p each.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

Lentil and spinach Daal, 66p.


So, if you’ve made the Beetroot, Feta and Lentil salad that I kicked off my Guardian recipe column with – or you have some lentils and spinach still kicking about, here’s a recipe for a quick warming winter dinner. It’s easy and filling – I love mine with pitta breads dunked in…

Ingredients (serves two):

1 onion
1 red chilli or pinch of dried flakes
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp cumin or turmeric, or a tsp each if you have them
100g red split lentils
1 chicken stock cube
200ml water
200ml natural yoghurt
130g spinach
1 tbsp lemon juice

First, peel and finely slice the onion, and finely chop the chilli, and add to a large frying pan or sauté pan with the spices and crumbled stock cube. Cook on a gentle heat for 10 minutes, until the onions have softened.

Thoroughly rinse the lentils and add to the pan, turn the heat up to medium, and stir through. Toast for a few minutes, before adding half the water (100ml). Stir in quickly – it will absorb quite fast.

Chop the spinach and add to the pan (if using frozen spinach just put it straight in, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it starts to cook). Add the remaining water and stir through, until the spinach is wilted and the lentils are swollen.

Stir the yoghurt in and serve with fresh herbs – coriander or parsley or mint work well if you have them to hand – and a shake of lemon juice.

Leftovers can be thinned with a little stock to make a delicious soup, or tossed through pasta. Keep in the fridge for 2 days or freeze in an ice cube tray for easy portions.

Ingredient cost breakdown (calculated at Sainsburys but similar prices available at other supermarkets): 1 loose onion 11p. Bird eye chillies 75p for 10 (8p each). Vegetable or sunflower oil £4.50/3l (3p/tbsp). 42g cumin £1 (10p for 2 tsp). 500g split red lentils £1.09 (22p for 100g). 10 Basics stock cubes 20p (2p each). 500ml natural yoghurt 45p (18p for 200ml). 260g spinach £1 (50p for 130g). 250ml lemon juice 60p (4p/tbsp). 6 Pitta breads 22p (4p each). Total cost of ingredients used: £1.32.

To use up remaining ingredients, or if you have something in your cupboard to use up, search using the search bar below!

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook:

Spiced chicken and mandarin tagine, 68p.


This spiced chicken and mandarin tagine will serve us for two nights in a row – the chicken legs were a rare treat in this week’s shopping but I’ll get two nights dinner from them, plus a stock base for a soup or risotto on Wednesday. I still rifled through the bottom shelf to find the cheapest pack, and thought I had it at £1.92, but then found one for £1.88 instead! (I’ll do something with the half a can of mandarins tomorrow too…)

Ingredients (Serves four):

4 chicken legs, £1.88 (Sainsburys Basics)
1 large onion, 11p (loose, Sainsburys)
2 fat cloves of garlic, 5p (£1.90/10 bulbs avg 8 cloves each, Sainsburys)
400g chopped tomatoes, 35p (Happy Shopper)
1/2 can broken mandarin segments, 12p (23p/312g, Sainsburys Basics)
15ml white wine vinegar, 3p (£1.15/500ml, Sainsburys)
15ml lemon juice, 4p (60p/250ml, Sainsburys)
1 vegetable or chicken stock cube, 2p (20p for 10, Sainsburys Basics)
1 tsp cumin, 5p approx (£1/jar, Sainsburys)
1 tsp turmeric, 5p approx (£1/jar, Sainburys)
1 tsp paprika, 5p approx (£1/jar, Sainsburys)
1 small red chilli – herb garden
Handful of fresh parsley – herb garden
Handful of fresh mint – herb garden

First, place the chicken legs skin side down in a large non stick pan (I used my ‘everything’ sauté pan that I’ve had for an age and literally do most of my dinners in…)

Bring the pan to a very gentle heat to seep some of the fat from the chicken, or add a splash of oil to speed things up.

Brown the chicken on both sides on a medium heat.

Peel and slice the onion and garlic, and finely slice the chilli, and toss into the pan with a teaspoon each of paprika, turmeric and cumin. Crumble in the stock cube.

Add the wet ingredients: chopped tomatoes, mandarins and juice, the white wine vinegar and lemon juice, and stir well to combine.

Throw in the herbs, and bring the pan to the boil, then reduce to a medium simmer for around 20 minutes to cook the chicken through. Top up with half a cup of water if it starts to dry out.

Meanwhile, boil some plain rice to accompany.

When the chicken is cooked through, remove the pan from the heat and serve with the rice.

To make it much cheaper, replace the chicken with chick peas and start from the ‘onion and garlic’ stage…

Jack Monroe. Follow me on Twitter @MsJackMonroe. Find me on Facebook at

A Girl Called Jack is available to order here:

Baked trout in best tomato sauce, with lemon and herb rice. 33p.


People often ask me why I don’t buy items from the Reduced chiller at the supermarket: well I do, I just don’t tend to blog about them, on the basis that they aren’t dependable, and price reductions vary from supermarket chain to supermarket chain, and even store to store. However, on finding a packet of trout in my local supermarket for 70 pence this evening, it was too good not to share.

You can substitute the trout in this recipe for white fish fillets: Sainsburys do a frozen bag of white fish for £1.75, for 520g, which would make the fish in this recipe 81p for a 240g portion, so only 2-3p more expensive per head than my bargain trout.

Ingredients: (Served 4 at 33p each)

240g trout, (normal price £2.41, reduced 70p) or 240g white fish fillets (£1.75/520g)

1 tablespoon sunflower oil, 3p (£4.50/3l)

400g chopped tomatoes, 31p (31p/400g)

1 onion, 11p (each)

1 chilli, free

200g white rice, 8p (40p/1kg)

Fistful of parsley and basil, free

Juice and zest of half a lemon, 8p (84p, bag of 5 fruits)


Firstly, prepare the tomato sauce. Peel and dice the onion and add to a saucepan with the chopped tomatoes. Place on a low heat and allow to simmer.

Pop the herbs into a tea cup (my preferred method of chopping them!) and chop into them with kitchen scissors until they are finely chopped. Grate the lemon zest in, half the lemon and squeeze the juice from one half in. Tip most of the herbs and lemon mixture into the tomatoes and onions, and reserve some for the rice.

While the onions are gently softening in the tomatoes, and the herbs infusing the sauce with their own special wonderfulness, now would be a good time to pop the rice on to boil. Bring a saucepan of cold water to the boil, add the rice, and reduce to a simmer.

Set the oven to 150C, pop the trout on a baking tray skin side down with a smudge of oil to prevent it from sticking, and bake for 10-12 minutes until opaque and pinkish. By this time, all being well, the rice should be nice and fluffy…

Drain any excess water from the rice, and tip in the remaining lemon and herb mixture. Spoon onto plates or into bowls. Break up the trout into large chunks with a fork, (tip any excess juice or oil into the tomato sauce and give it a quick stir). Serve the trout next to or on top of the rice, and top generously with the tomato sauce. Garnish with extra herbs if available, and enjoy the melty goodness…

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

Creamy Greek cheese and courgette pasta

This classic combination of Greek cheese and courgettes crops up again in a simple pasta dish that is perfect for lunch all year round. Eat cold in the summer, or warmed through in the winter to melt the cheese into a soft, delicious sauce.

Serves 2

1 courgette
a fistful of fresh mint, plus extra to garnish
a fistful of fresh parsley
1 tablespoon oil
zest and juice of 1⁄2 a lemon or 1 tablespoon bottled lemon juice
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled
50g Greek cheese (goat’s cheese or feta)
100ml natural yoghurt, plus a little extra to taste
70g fresh or frozen green beans, trimmed
160g pasta

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Chop off the stalk and end from the courgette. Dice and toss into a shallow roasting tin.

Pop the mint and parsley into a teacup and chop finely with kitchen scissors. Pour the oil over the herbs, add the grated lemon zest, squeeze in the juice and press in the garlic. Stir well and pour over the courgette in the roasting tin, shaking to coat it in the mixture. Pop the dish into the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes to roast.

When the courgette is cooked, tip out into a bowl, pouring in all of the juices from the roasting tin. Crumble the cheese over the roasted courgette, and mash roughly with a fork. Stir in the yoghurt, and set to one side.

Bring a pot of water to the boil and put in the spaghetti. Cook according to the packet instructions – usually simmering for around 8 to 10 minutes. After about 4 or 5 minutes, add the green beans to the pot, crank the heat up and cook them in with the pasta until soft but still a vibrant green.

Drain the spaghetti and green beans, and tip the cheesy courgette sauce in. Mix well to coat, adding extra yoghurt if you want a runnier sauce. Serve in deep comforting bowls, with additional mint leaves to garnish.

Tip: If you are short of time or don’t want to use the electricity/gas for roasting, simply grate the courgette instead of dicing it, mix with the rest of the roasting marinade ingredients and let them sit together whilst the pasta cooks. The flavour will be less intense but still utterly delicious – and super quick!

‘Creamy Greek Cheese And Courgette Pasta’ from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe.

Twitter: @MsJackMonroe Facebook:

Roasted courgette and feta potato salad

Like many of my recipes, this was a toss-together of some ’fridge stuff’ – some rogue Greek cheese and a courgette that was kicking about. harking back to my Cypriot roots for what was initially going to be a tzatziki, this ended up as something else entirely. The sauce or dip, or whatever it should be called, is immensely versatile, but my favourite thing to do with it is toss it with pre-boiled tinned potatoes as in the recipe here. These quantities are easily halved for smaller households, or doubled for parties and potato fiends.

Serves 4 as a snack or 2 as a main meal

1 courgette
a fistful of fresh mint
a fistful of fresh parsley
1 fat clove of garlic or 1⁄2 an onion
1 tablespoon oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
50g Greek cheese (feta-style or goat’s cheese)
120ml natural yoghurt
500g tinned potatoes (drained weight)

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Chop the stalk and the bottom from the courgette. Dice and tip into a shallow roasting dish.

Pop the mint and parsley into a tea cup and chop finely with kitchen scissors. Peel the garlic or onion. Pour the oil over the herbs, add the grated lemon zest, squeeze the lemon juice in and press the garlic in. If you don’t have any garlic, then very finely chop the onion and add it to the dressing. Stir well and pour over the courgette pieces, shaking to coat them in the dressing. Pop into the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes to roast.

When the courgette is cooked, tip into a bowl, pouring in all of the juices from the roasting dish. Crumble over the cheese and mash roughly with a fork. Add the yoghurt and mix well.

Drain the potatoes and toss through the sauce until coated, then serve.

Tips: If you are short of time or don’t want to use the energy heating the oven, simply grate the courgette and mix with the rest of the dressing ingredients. The flavour will be less intense but still utterly delicious. This dish is very similar to the Creamy Greek Cheese and Courgette Pasta, so why not roast your courgettes at the same time and make both.

‘Roasted Courgette And Feta Potato Salad’ from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe.

Twitter: @MsJackMonroe Facebook:

Airy Fairy Easy Peasy Soda Bread


Think you can’t make bread? Or that you need a fancy pants bread maker to do so? RUBBISH. You have a natural, free bread maker in your palms and your knuckles – and this easy recipe with no proving or rising time is a great place to start.

A lot of soda bread recipes use whole meal flour, salt, and yoghurt – but true to my usual style, I’ve pared it back to the basics – but basic doesn’t mean disappointing. Gorgeous warm with red fruit jam, or butter, or dunked into hearty soups and stews. It goes without saying that this is one of my favourite and most tried-and-tested recipes, doesn’t it?

Ingredients, Serves 4:

200g self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
200ml milk (soya or almond for vegans, cows milk if you’re not)
Juice of half a lemon


Squeeze the juice of half a lemon, or 2 teaspoons bottled lemon juice, into the milk. Stand to one side to allow it to sour.

Meanwhile, weigh the flour and add the bicarbonate of soda, and mix through.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mix, and pour most of the milk-and-lemon in. Mix well with a wooden spoon to form a sticky dough. Use your judgement, if it looks dry, add the remaining liquid.

Tip onto a floured work surface and pat into a round shape, kneading ever so lightly. The trick to amazingly light soda bread is not to fiddle with it too much.

Pop it into a loaf tin, score it across the top in three places, and place in a 180C oven for 40 minutes. It should sound hollow on the bottom when tapped, and feel ridiculously light.

Break into chunks and serve warm with butter, or allow to cool completely and wrap in clingfilm to keep fresh.

Jack Monroe. Follow me on Twitter @MsJackMonroe

Feisty Soup

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.

Serves 2

1 onion
1 fat clove of garlic
a thick slice of ginger
1 red chilli
a splash of oil
1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes
1 vegetable stock cube, dissolved in 200ml boiling water
juice of 1⁄2 a lemon or 2 teaspoons bottled lemon juice
a handful of parsley

Peel and chop the onion, garlic and ginger, chop the chilli, and put them all into a medium-sized saucepan with the oil. Cook on a low heat until the onion is softened. Tip in the chopped tomatoes, pour in the stock and add the lemon juice.
Chop the parsley and add to the saucepan as well.

Simmer away for about 20 minutes, until the onion and ginger have softened.

Blitz in a blender to achieve your desired consistency, I leave mine a bit chunky but it can be blended smooth.

Eat, and feel better soon!

Tips: If making this soup for little mouths, do not chop the chilli or use the seeds inside. Instead, halve the chilli down the middle and rinse it under a cold tap to remove the seeds, then add to the soup whole during cooking. Remove before blending.

Any remaining soup will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days, or in the freezer for 3 months.

The soup can be left whole and chunky as a fiery sauce to form part of a more substantial meal. Omit the stock, stir through a few handfuls of cooked prawns and some green beans, and serve with spaghetti or noodles.

‘Feisty Soup’ recipe from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe.

Twitter: @MsJackMonroe Facebook:

Photography by Susan Bell.

Gigantes Plaki

Gigantes Plaki literally means ‘Really Big Beans’! 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 in order to get rid of any toxins – 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. I like to serve this dish with rice and green beans as a vegetarian meal, or it is great with baked chicken or fish.

Serves 2

1 onion
1 fat clove of garlic
a splash of oil
a pinch of ground cinnamon
1 x 400g carton or tin of chopped tomatoes
a splash of lemon juice
1⁄2 a bunch of fresh basil, plus extra to garnish
1 x 400g tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 vegetable stock cube
75g Greek cheese (such as feta), crumbled

Finely chop the onion and garlic and put into a large saucepan along with the oil and cinnamon. Cook on a low heat until the onion is softened, then add the chopped tomatoes and continue to simmer on a low heat for a few more minutes.

Chop all the basil stalks. Add the lemon juice, chopped basil stalks and half the basil leaves (leaving the other half aside for a garnish) and stir in, continuing to simmer.

Stir in the butter beans and crumble in the vegetable stock cube, with a little water if necessary. Stir well to dissolve.

Simmer all together on a low heat for approximately 20 minutes.
Ladle into bowls and serve garnished with the crumbled cheese and remaining basil leaves.

Tips: Gigantes Plaki can also be eaten cold as a mezze or snack, or mixed with leftover rice and stuffed into a pitta bread for next day’s lunch – it’s delicious cold and perfectly portable.

If you don’t have any basil, this is also very good made with parsley or mint…

You can make fab burgers from this mixture. Just strain off the tomato sauce, crush and add an extra clove of garlic and a pinch of dried chilli flakes, then gently mash the beans and shape into burgers with floured hands. Fry for a few minutes on each side.

Photography by Susan Bell.

Photography by Susan Bell.

Posh Mushroom, Spinach & Walnut Pasta, 34p

Mushroom, Spinach & Walnut Pasta, 67p for 2 at 34p each.

This came about as most of my recipes do, by a head in the fridge and a ‘hmm, what am I going to do with that?’ I’d bought the spinach in a fit of expense, as I start my new job and will be up earlier and to bed later, I wanted something to snack on straight from the fridge when I get home, and I can eat spinach by the handful. Some of it ended up in here, and as they say the rest is history. This doesn’t sound fancy, but it’s one of my favourites so far…



80g Spaghetti, 6p (39p/500g)
100g mushrooms, 24p (97p/400g)
1 onion, 5p (part of a 20pc vegetable pack, £1)
Garlic clove, 3p (46p for 2 bulbs avg 8 cloves each)
Splash of lemon juice, 2p (60p/250ml)
Handful spinach, 10p (£1.50/200g)
Splash of oil, 2p (£4.50/3l)
2 walnut halves, 15p (£2.84/100g – which in my packet was 36 halves)
Fresh thyme and parsley, free (window ledge)

How To:

1. Break the pasta in half and put into a saucepan of water. Bring to the boil.

2. Finely peel and chop the onion and garlic. Add to a separate saucepan or small sauté pan with the oil and lemon juice, and cook gently over a low heat until translucent. Break the mushrooms by hand and add to the pan with the chopped parsley and thyme.

3. Check the spaghetti – if it comes to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer.

4. Finely chop the herbs and spinach together – I put mine in a bowl and go at it all with scissors to save my poor worktop and also because it’s therapeutic at the end of a working day. I like my cooking physical and de-stressing, as well as cheap and simple and nutritious.

5. Drain the pasta and toss through the spinach, herbs, mushrooms, onion and garlic with any juices from the mushroom pan. Serve in two bowls and scatter the walnuts on top, and enjoy.


My non vegan friends would love this with either shavings of Parmesan on top, or crumbled goats cheese, or chunks of Brie, and on all three counts I would be highly jealous of my non vegan friends!

For the carnivores among you, add bacon for a seriously sensational dinner – can you tell I’m missing my meat a bit on this vegan-for-Lent stretch?

You can also experiment with different mushrooms, add a splash of white wine to the onions and garlic as they cook if you have any lying about, and serve this with chunks of home made garlic bread.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

*(Prices calculated at Sainsburys, using the Basics range where available. Costs checked on date of publication against ASDA SmartPrice, Tesco Value, Morrisons Value and Waitrose Essentials. Some variation between major supermarkets but most items widely available at similar price.)


Garlic, Herb & Lemon Bread

If you want to be really traditional and a little bit messy, you can get stuck in and use your hands to mix together the ingredients and form the dough. you need a good swirling motion, but I’ve made a lot of bread and never quite got this right. It’s good for the homespun warm feeling, not so great for trying to get out the little remnants of dough from under your fingernails and in the creases of your knuckles afterwards!

Makes 1 small loaf

250g plain white flour, plus extra to knead the dough
a 7g sachet of fast-acting dried yeast
2 fat cloves of garlic
2 handfuls of fresh parsley
zest and juice of 1 lemon or 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus extra to grease the bowl and loaf tin

Put the flour and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Peel the garlic cloves and finely chop or crush. Finely chop the parsley into a small bowl or tea cup using kitchen scissors. grate the lemon zest. Add the garlic, parsley and lemon zest to the flour and yeast with a flourish and stir to mix.

Measure the lemon juice into a measuring cup and add the oil. Pour in lukewarm water to make up to 180ml. Make a well in the centre of the flour/yeast/herb mixture and add the liquid gradually, working the mixture in with a wooden or silicone spoon, or your hands.

Lightly flour your work surface and tip the dough on to it. knead and stretch the dough for about 10 minutes. Lightly oil the inside of the bowl, put the dough back into it, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise until doubled in size. This takes about half an hour, but varies depending on the temperature of the room.

When the dough is risen, knock the air out of it by tipping back on to a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape into a round and pop into a lightly oiled or silicone 1lb loaf tin (approximately 17 x 7 x 6cm). Cover with cling film or a clean plastic bag over the top like a tent and leave for 30 minutes to prove. A little before the end of the proving time, put on the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7 to preheat.

Score the top of the loaf with a sharp knife and pop it into the preheated oven for 30 minutes to bake.

The loaf should sound hollow on the bottom when tapped. Remove from the oven, tip out of the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. Then slice the loaf and eat!

Tips: If doubling the quantities to make a 2lb loaf, the timing will be slightly different. After the first 15 minutes turn the oven down to 170°C/325°F/gas 3 and allow to cook for another 30 minutes.

Will keep for 3 days in an airtight container, or 1 month if frozen.

‘Garlic, Herb & Lemon Bread’ recipe from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe.

Twitter: @MsJackMonroe Facebook:


Chickpea & Tomato Best Brunch Loaf

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, yeast, chopped rosemary, tomato, and finely grated lemon zest (if using), to the chickpeas, and stir together.

Squeeze the lemon juice into a measuring cup and add lukewarm water to make up to 160ml of liquid. Make a well in the middle of the chickpea and flour mixture, and pour in half of the liquid, mixing together. Gradually add as much of the remaining liquid as you need until a soft, sticky dough is formed – but firm enough to shape. If it’s too sticky-tacky, never fear, just add an extra shake of flour and work it in.

Lightly flour your work surface, then tip the dough out and knead and stretch it for 10 minutes. Pummel the dough, pound it, mush your knuckles into it – it’s like a stress ball but much more satisfying! Pop the dough back into your mixing bowl, cover with a clean tea towel or cling film and leave to rise for 2 hours. This sounds like a long time but the end result is a gorgeous light loaf with a proper crust around it.

Knock back the risen dough (a fancy term for tipping it onto a floured worksurface and quickly shaping it a bit) into a rugby ball shape, and pop it into a lightly greased loaf tin, then cover and leave to prove for half an hour. A little before the end of the proving time, put the oven on to 220C to preheat.

Place the tin into the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes until the bread is risen and golden. Remove the loaf from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

‘Chickpea and tomato best brunch loaf’ recipe from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe, available to buy here.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe Facebook:

Photography by Susan Bell

Moroccan Not-A-Tagine

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:

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 fistful of fresh mint, chopped
a fistful of fresh coriander, chopped
2 large potatoes or 40g tinned potatoes (drained weight)
50g prunes
1 stock cube, dissolved in 500ml boiling water

Peel and dice the onion, peel and finely chop the garlic and chop the chilli, and place in a medium sized heavy-bottomed pan with the oil, lemon zest, turmeric, cumin and paprika. Cook gently over a low heat for 10 minutes, until the onions have softened. Then add the lemon juice, chopped tomatoes, sugar, mint and coriander, and stir everything together.

Chop the potatoes and carrots and add to the pan, along with the prunes. Pour in enough stock to cover – usually around 500ml. Leave the pan simmering, covered, on the hob for 30 minutes, checking it every now and again to ensure it is not drying out. Give it a quick stir while you’re there too, to stop it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

You’ll know it’s ready when the vegetables are tender (but not falling apart in a mush!) and the sauce has thickened.

‘Not A Tagine’ recipe from A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe, available to buy here.

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe Facebook:

Photography by Susan Bell

Photography by Susan Bell