A Girl Called Jack

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A cookery book that I have bought recently is A Girl Called Jack, by Jack Monroe, which comes from her well loved blog, agirlcalledjack.com. I wasn’t a follower of Jack’s blog before purchasing the book, although I had read this infamous post, which is  the prelude to the book as well. The reason I bought this book, to be honest, was because it was well priced and well reviewed on Amazon. As I said in this post I wanted to start using the foodie books that I’m rapidly buying, and start talking about them on here. So this post will hopefully be the first of many!

This week my boyfriend and I tried 3 recipes from A Girl Called Jack. The first of which was Carrot, Cumin and Kidney Bean Burgers (p. 63). These are basically a veggie burger made out of kidney beans, onion, carrot, cumin and fresh coriander. We made the mixture, and then shaped them into patties and fried them to eat the next day. They weren’t as flavoursome as I thought they might be, you definitely need to have a tasty sauce with them. As suggested by Jack, serving these with mango chutney is delicious – unfortunately we only had  a tiny scraping of chutney left when we made these burgers. I also made some coleslaw to go with the burgers and salad. If I make them again I might add some more spices to the mixture. I also found the texture a little strange, as they were very squidgey in the middle.  There is a suggested alternative in the book to make them into smaller ‘meatballs’ which might mean they cook a bit firmer.

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The second recipe we tried was Sausage and Lentil one pot dinner (p. 186). This is a casserole with sausages, bacon, lentils, carrots and potato in a tomato sauce.  I don’t actually have a lot to say about this, it was really tasty and filling, and it was so simple to put together, just pop everything in a pan and leave to simmer for around half an hour. What more can you ask for! I would definitely cook this again, although probably in a cooler month than June!

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And the third recipe we tried was Brie and Bacon Risotto (p. 102). I love risotto, it’s one of my favourite things to cook for myself and my boyfriend at home. I always struggle to think of different flavour combinations for risotto though, and there are four different risotto recipes in this book, so I have a few to try now. This is the one that stood out to me the most though. I loved this recipe. The classic brie and bacon flavour, served with cranberry sauce, is just perfect, and I know I’m going to make this time and time again. Jack says that you don’t need to use different types of rice for different types of dishes, but I had some arborio rice in the cupboard so I used it. But next time I will try to make risotto with easy cook rice and see how it turns out!

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So, three recipes, one of which I’m unsure about, one of which I’ll try again in winter, and one which I know is going to be a firm favourite! There are lots of other recipes I fancy trying from the book – including Pork Kokkinisto, Peach and Chickpea Curry and the different risottos as I said above. I think once you have had a successful experience with one recipe, it spurs you on to try more and more from the book.

What I like most about this book is that it uses normal ingredients in really interesting ways. Obviously the whole idea behind the book is cooking on a budget, but this really shines through. I like that the ingredients used are mostly things I have in my kitchen cupboard, but if not I can easily get them at my local supermarket. I can easily pick up the book when I’m home from work, choose a recipe, and cook it within an hour. It’s perfect for weekday, after work dinners. After most of the recipes in the book there are also ideas for substitute ingredients or slight changes to the meal to make it work for you, which is really useful too. I’m really glad that I decided to buy this book, and can’t wait to try some more recipes.

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