“The secret of cheap but healthy eating is to cook from scratch”, explained Jack Monroe when interviewed by Xanthe Clay for the Telegraph. She is a single mother who turned 9p meals into her much loved “A Girl Called Jack” blog which in turn lead to a publishing deal and much, much more. I’m thrilled to have this book in my hands now so I can explore Jack’s inspiring collection of cheap and cheerful meals.
I didn’t think I’d like a budget cookbook as often the dishes don’t sound very promising. But guess what? Most of the recipes in this book (if not all of them) are quite similar to what I usually cook for myself. And let’s face it, we can all do with saving money now and again.
So, here at Spoon, we decided to put the book to a test. We chose a random recipe and decided to try it out. Naturally, being the office’s newest foodie, I volunteered. I love cooking anyway so this really wasn’t so much a task but another opportunity for me to put my hobby into practice. So, here it is…
Creamy Mustard Chicken with Winter Veg
“This hearty, saucy dish is delicious in the winter, served with root vegetables and rice or mashed potatoes, or in the summer, with green vegetables tossed over pasta. Any mustard will do for this – I keep English in the fridge, but wholegrain or any other sort will work fine. Use this recipe as a base, and adapt as you wish.” says Jack.
See this is why I love this book. You don’t have to follow the recipe; it just serves as a base so you can get an idea of what you’re doing. And because she says “adapt as you wish”, I did just that – I Norafied it. Here’s what I added:
4 tablespoons oil – I actually used 2 as I’m on a healthy regime
2 chicken breasts or 4 thighs or drumsticks – I used 2 chicken breasts
Optional: 100g cooking or streaky bacon – I’m sure that would give a lovely flavour to the dish but as I said I’m trying to be good these days…
1 onion – Yep!
1 large carrot or 1 x 300g tin of carrots – I put one large carrot as well as some broccoli…
1 teaspoon English, wholegrain or Dijon mustard – I had some English mustard in the fridge…
500ml chicken or vegetable stock – I used vegetable stock
a handful of fresh parsley – I’m not a big fan of the parsley so I kind of skipped on that…
a handful of thyme – …but see, thyme, yes yes yes.
200ml double cream or natural yoghurt – I obviously chose yoghurt – firstly because it’s healthier and secondly, because it makes the recipe a lot fresher and “summery” in terms of taste…
E voilà! The creamiest and most enchanting of creations… Oh, I love my job!
For the full recipe barely make a ripple in your finances and splash out on this book. Cover price £12.99/ Currently £6.49 on Amazon and a supportively reasonable £9.47 via Jack’s blog: “A Girl Called Jack.