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How to make food blogger Jack Monroe's Love Soup and Paddington Bear Sponge Puddings

Only a few years ago, Jack Monroe had a budget of just £10 a week to feed herself and her baby son.

But when her blog, A Girl Called Jack, which detailed the thrifty meals she cooked, gained in popularity, Jack went from being a skint single-parent to being dubbed the 'poster girl for austerity' by newspapers across the world.

A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe
A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe

Such is the success of her writing that the blog - which she started as a response to a local politician's spiteful comment about single parents - has now been turned into a cook book, also called A Girl Called Jack, and Monroe's fronting a new Sainsbury's advertising campaign.

Here's two great recipes to get your teeth into...

Love Soup, as featured in A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe
Love Soup, as featured in A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe

Love soup (Serves 2, of course!)

3tbsp vegetable oil

Zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon, or 1 tbsp bottled lemon juice

1 clove of garlic

Small piece of fresh ginger (approximately 1cm) or 1 tsp ground ginger

A fistful of fresh coriander

A fistful of fresh parsley, plus extra to garnish

1 onion

2 large carrots

1 potato

1/2 a vegetable stock cube

Here's what you have to do

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. First make the marinade for the vegetables. Measure the oil into a teacup, jug or other small receptacle. Finely grate the lemon zest into the oil. Peel and crush the garlic, and peel and grate the ginger, then add them too. Finely chop the herbs into the mixture. Squeeze the lemon juice in - as much of it as you can squish out - stir together and set aside.

Peel the onion, chop into quarters and place in a roasting dish. Wash then chop the carrots into thick rounds and add to the roasting dish. Peel and dice the potato and put it in too. Pour the marinade over the top and shake to coat the vegetables. Pop the roasting dish into the preheated oven for an hour or so, shaking occasionally to loosen the vegetables and re-coat them in the marinade.

When the carrots and potatoes are tender, remove the vegetables from the oven and tip into a food processor. Dissolve the half stock cube in 500ml of boiling water and pour this stock into the food processor (to cover the vegetables). Blend until smooth, and serve with a flourish of parsley and a smile.

Paddington Bear Sponge Puddings
Paddington Bear Sponge Puddings

Paddington bear sponge puddings (Makes 6 small puddings or 4 large ones)

70g butter, plus extra to grease the muffin tins

50g sugar

A splash of lemon juice

2 eggs

100g self-raising flour (or 100g plain flour and 1 level tsp baking powder or bicarbonate of soda)

8 heaped tsp marmalade plus extra to serve

Here's what you have to do

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. Place the butter in a microwaveable dish and heat on the defrost setting for 30 seconds until soft. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and lemon juice, and cream them together until well combined. Break the eggs in, then add the flour. Mix well with a fork or wooden spoon to create a smooth, glossy batter.

Lightly grease each of your muffin tins with a little extra butter to stop the puddings from sticking to the sides - which will ruin a seriously good dessert! Dollop a generous blob of marmalade in the bottom of each tin. Divide the batter among the tins, spooning it on top of the marmalade until each tin is approximately two-thirds full.

Cook in the centre of the preheated oven for 30 minutes. The puddings should be risen, light and golden, and should come away from the tin easily. Serve with extra marmalade warmed through to make a sticky sauce!

A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe is published by Michael Joseph, priced £12.99.
Check out the blog at agirlcalledjack.com

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