She’s been blogging, tweeting and writing cookbooks for nearly a decade now, giving us genius tips for saving money and reducing food waste, including making soda bread out of sour milk, or fashioning a delicious meal out of broccoli stalks.
There’s always been an audience for her cheap and delicious recipes, but with the cost-of-living crisis growing, it feels like there’s more of a need than ever.
Her latest cookbook is called Thrifty Kitchen, featuring over 120 wallet-friendly recipes – including pear and cinnamon buns, potato and egg curry, corned beef chilli and mincemeat bread pudding.
Risotto with peas and lettuce
1tbsp oil or baking spread
2 stock cubes dissolved in 750ml boiling water or 750ml chicken or vegetable stock
2tbsp lemon juice
200g frozen peas
A pinch of pepper
¼ head of lettuce
1. Grab a wide, shallow-based non-stick saucepan and pop it on the hob. Shake in your rice and add the oil or baking spread, then turn up the heat to gently toast it at the edges for a minute or two.
2. Add a splash of stock, and stir well to stop the rice from sticking and burning. Add a splash more. When it has been absorbed, add a splash more, and repeat until two-thirds of the stock has been used. This may seem laborious, but to me it is one of the joys of making a risotto; the ability to stand still for 20 minutes and lose myself in the methodical stirring and rhythmic hypnosis of a repetitive, gentle task. When the rice is starting to swell and almost all of the stock is absorbed, splash in the rest, along with one tablespoon of lemon juice.
3. Add the peas and pepper, and stir well. Finely slice the lettuce and set to one side; you will fold this through (gently stir it in) right at the very end, as do it any earlier and you will end up with a soggy rotten mess!
4. When the risotto is finished – that is, the rice is soft and sitting in a sticky, creamy liquid, bejewelled with bright green peas – remove it from the heat. Gently fold in the lettuce to wilt it, dash over the rest of the lemon juice and an extra smattering of pepper, and serve immediately for best results.
To keep: Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to three days, but because of the rice content must be cooled completely before refrigerating and then be reheated until piping hot. This can also be frozen for up to three months, then defrosted and heated until piping hot
400g mixed root vegetables and peels
1 large onion
70g cheese, grated
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Oil, for frying
1. First, make sure your peels are clean – if they’re a bit mucky, bring a pan of water to a vigorous boil, salt it very generously, and drop them in for a minute or two to blanch and loosen the soil. Drain and spread onto a clean, flat tea towel, and rub dry vigorously to remove any stubborn bits. Plunge straight into a bowl of cold water to stop them from cooking any further – you don’t want them to be too far gone in comparison to your veg, else the fritters will cook unevenly.
2. Finely slice your peels, and grate the veg. Then peel and finely chop the onion and place it with the veg and peels into a large mixing bowl.
3. Crack in the egg and mix well, then add the flour and cheese and mix well to combine. If it needs a hand sticking together, add a tablespoon of cold water and mix again.
4. Heat a little oil in a frying pan, and add a tablespoon of the fritter mixture. Flatten with the back of a spoon – the thinner they are, the faster they will cook and the crisper they will be. Fry on each side until golden and crisp. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
5. Repeat until all the fritter mixture has been used. To keep each batch warm as you cook the rest, put them in the oven, heated to the lowest temperature.
6. I serve these for breakfast with sausages and a poached or fried egg, as a sneaky pile of vegetables and vitamins to start the day, hidden in a tasty Jackson Pollock-esque hot and crispy disguise.
To keep: These freeze brilliantly and can be kept for up to three months – you can freeze either the fritter mixture or the cooked fritters. Allow to defrost completely in the fridge for a few hours before cooking or heating through to serve.
1 medium apple
50g porridge oats or muesli
75g natural yoghurt
Nuts or seeds, to top (optional)
1. First grate your apple coarsely, including the skin, into a decent-sized mixing bowl.
2. Add your oats or muesli, then the milk and yoghurt, and stir everything well to combine. Divide it between two pots or jars and top with the nuts or seeds, if you have any to hand. Pop the pots in the fridge overnight, or for four hours, and enjoy cold.
To keep: These can be made up to two days in advance but I wouldn’t recommend leaving them any longer than that due to the fresh apple used, as it will start to go brown and not look very appetising. The recipe is not particularly amenable to freezing due to the dairy content. It will freeze and thaw if you’re determined to do so, but may split in the thawing process. If this happens, it’s still fine to eat, just give it a really vigorous stir to bring it back together.
Thrifty Kitchen by Jack Monroe is published by Bluebird, Photography by Patricia Niven. Available now.