This book is for anyone trying to feed themselves on a budget – so basically 99% of the population. Jack Monroe came to prominence when writing her blog, A Girl Called Jack, which documented trying to feed herself and her son on the ridiculously small amount of money she received on benefits. As a result, she became an expert at creatively adapting what she had on hand (and the Sainsburys value range) to create kid and budget friendly meals.
I would really love to cut down on the amount of money I spend on my grocery shop every week – as we easily spend 40 or 50 pounds for the two of us every week. We’ve started to make some basic changes – we buy household items and non-perishables in bulk at Costco, but it’s also important to me to buy ethical meat and eggs. We’ve also switched from beef to fish for health reasons (even though it’s more expensive), but I’m constantly thinking about how I could do more. Maybe it would be a good step to plan meals around what I have in the cupboard already, rather than just thinking, “what would I like to eat this week?”
A Girl Called Jack is a great tool to do that. I was genuinely shocked when I first opened to the book to see how many of the recipes for which I had all the ingredients on hand. It also contains tips for changing your shopping habits – just as useful to me as the recipes themselves! I can’t recommend this book highly enough for anyone who is looking to save a bit more money on food and to cook easy meals using staples.
There are a few “luxury” meals in the cookbook – while Jack points out that no one needs dessert, a home-baked dessert is certainly a nice way to treat yourself, so I decided to try the loaf cake recipe.
Apple and Cinnamon Loaf Cake (from A Girl Called Jack)
3 small apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
100g unsalted butter
180g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
I received a copy to review from Penguin UK, but all opinions are my own. This also contains an affiliate link, which helps to fund my cookbook addiction!