A Girl Called Jack – Vegan Recipes!


Today I want to point you towards a blogger and cookbook writer who strangely enough, is not vegan! Jack Monroe came to everyone’s attention when she started her blog about budget family cooking a few years back. Since then she’s become a beacon of hope for anyone who is currently suffering in the terrible political climate in Britain today. She’s well known for feeding herself and her son for just £10 a week when she was waiting for benefits to be paid to her which never seemed to turn up. Unfortunately this is more and more common now and many families are struggling to cope.

On her blog and in her books many of the recipes tend to be vegan because vegetables and rice are much cheaper than a steak! I follow the blog and own the first book and there are a surprising amount of recipes that I can use. Jack has gone a step further now and introduced a vegan section on her website to make it even easier for us vegan fans!

Here are a list of the most exciting vegan and gluten free (or easily adaptable) recipes I’ve found so far:

Carrot and Coriander Falafel

Penne Pappa al Pomodoro

Carrot, Cumin and Kidney Bean Burgers

Roasted Carrot, Chickpea and Garlic Soup

Red Lentil Bolognese

Mushroom Chasseur

For the rest of her vegan recipes have a look here.


Have you used any of Jack Monroe’s recipes? What did you think?


My Food Week (21st-27th January)

It’s that time again where I recap what I’ve eaten for the week and whether I feel guilty or not! It’s been a pretty good week seeing as it’s getting close to the end of the month and I haven’t had much money. I stocked up well this month so I haven’t run out of food as much as usual! I’ve started taking more snacks to work with me so I can eat smaller meals which is easier.


I’m loving plain gluten free cereals with nut milk and chopped banana for breakfast. This week I’ve had Brown Rice Puffs (made by Rude Health – http://www.rudehealth.com/our-food/gluten-free-cereals/puffed-rice/) and Dove’s Farm Cornflakes (http://www.dovesfarm.co.uk/case-quantities/organic-corn-flakes-8x375g/). I’m still using Alpro Hazelnut milk and I can’t decide whether it is better than almond or not! A bit of maple syrup has been amazing on my cereal too.

On Tuesday night I made a huge Quinoa bake using this recipe – http://www.choosingraw.com/toasted-almond-quinoa-bake/


I made a few changes to the recipe (as always!). I didn’t have enough quinoa so I made the value up with rice. This made for an interesting texture but I would like to try it with just quinoa next time. I also added some dark chocolate chips because I had some left over and used chopped nuts on the top instead of almond slivers (because I didn’t have any). It was a really nice hearty breakfast heated up for the next couple of mornings with a splash of soya milk.



Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup

Carrot, Squash and Lentil Soup

Carrot, Squash and Lentil Soup

I’m still in soup mode for my lunches. I love my food flask! I’ve been eating the leftovers of my broccoli soup from last week which was from the Meat Free Mondays Cookbook. Today I made a Carrot, Butternut Squash and Red Lentil soup from here – http://www.wcrfuk.org/cancer_prevention/healthy_recipes/recipe_detail.php?recid=45. The ultimate winter warmer!


This week I also came across a new variety of Hummus in Sainsbury’s – Pea and Mint. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it or not but took a risk and I’m glad I did! It is really nice. I’ve been having it on rice cakes with my soup.

The other lunches I don’t have pictures of which isn’t very organised I know (sorry!). I had an amazing salad on Wednesday consisting of a mixture of lettuce leaves and rocket and a big helping of butterbean stew leftovers (more on that later). On Friday I made a pasta salad using gluten free spaghetti, spinach, tomatoes, spring onions, sunflower seeds and mushrooms along with a huge amount of vegan mayonnaise. Yesterday I roasted some vegetables (cherry tomatoes, fennel, carrot and parsnip) and had them mixed into some wild, red and white rice.


On Monday I came home wanting my favourite comfort food – tofu scramble. I can’t believe I used to hate this stuff! I fried it with red pepper and leek and had it over a jacket potato.


I always love it when I have hours and hours to prepare my meal. A hunt in my food cupboard on Tuesday provided me with a tin of butter beans and a tin of tomatoes. I made this recipe for Braised Butter Beans with Tomatoes – http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/421620/braised-butter-beans-with-tomatoes and had it with roasted potatoes and boiled carrots and parsnips. It was amazing and the beans tasted even better the next day over salad leaves. Butter beans no longer seem boring! On Wednesday I even mixed the remainder of beans with some sweetcorn and some chilli powder and had it over a jacket potato with some salad.



A hunt in the reduced section in Tesco on Thursday provided me with a quick and simple tea for two days! I had singapore style rice noodles (basically curry spices) with stir fried button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn, spring onions and spinach. This was especially comforting after the journey home in the sludge on Friday night. I even dug out my festival wellies!

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

More leftovers from the freezer made my meal on Saturday night. This time it was the mushroom and lentil cottage pie from a couple of weeks back. A lovely, comforting meal with broccoli, carrot and peas and a gravy made from chickpea flour, sesame oil, stock and herbs.

IMAG0789Last (but definitely not least!) was another store cupboard meal. I used my last tin of tomatoes with a tin of beans, broccoli, mushrooms, celery and red pepper to make a filling pasta bake. I had this with a side of salad leaves and a dollop of that amazing pea and mint hummus! I’ve got enough pasta bake to last me into the week too.

Snacks and Smoothies

On Friday I followed this recipe – http://healthyblenderrecipes.com/recipes/vegan_chocolate_spinach_shake/ for an amazing banana and chocolate smoothie. Unfortunately I used more spinach in my smoothie than the recipe states. It still tasted amazing but looked very much like green sludge rather than the lovely chocolate milk look in the recipe’s photo (much to the disgust of my coworkers when I poured it out of my flask!). Oh well, people are used to me eating weird food by now and it sure tasted good!

Other snacks this week have been Gingerbread Nakd bars (my new love), clementines and many bananas.


All in all quite a good week in terms of food! Things I’ll definitely be having again – braised butterbeans, both soups and that amazing hummus.


What have you been eating this week?

My Food Week (13th-20th January 2013)

As part of my new diet (that you can read about here – http://writingbeckles.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/a-new-year-a-new-me/) I’m going to be doing weekly blog posts on the foods I’ve eaten and any recipes/blogs that I’ve used. My new diet started very well with a vegan/wholefoods New Years Day dinner but then the week after I caught some kind of stomach bug and went back to eating beans on toast. I have now cut processed foods out of my diet and started cooking from scratch again. I’m therefore eating a vegan/gluten free wholefoods (as much as I can) diet and am trying out lots of new recipes. Here was my week.


Every day this week I’ve been eating brown rice puffs with sliced banana, hazelnut milk and maple syrup.



Rosemary "Flatbreads"

Rosemary “Flatbreads”


These were from Simply Gluten Free and Dairy Free by Grace Cheetham.   They were supposed to be flatbreads but mine ended up more like rolls. I pressed some rosemary into the top of them to give them some more flavour. Yummy dipped in soup!

Stir fry

Stir fry

I had some marinated tofu pieces by Cauldron in my fridge that needed using up so I made a quick stir fry with button mushrooms, red peppers, leeks, walnuts and red cabbage. It was a good quick lunch.

Broccoli Soup

Broccoli Soup

This was today’s lunch and it was perfect for the snowy weather. It’s the Cream of Broccoli Soup from the Meat Free Mondays Cookbook. I didn’t have enough broccoli though so my version had savoy cabbage and spinach in it as well.


Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

On Sunday I made a huge cottage pie loosely following this recipe – http://thesmithsontour.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/lentil-cottage-pie.html . The base of this pie is mushrooms and brown lentils and the topping is a mixture of potato, carrot, sweet potato, parsnip and cauliflower. I also threw some leeks and spinach in the base for extra veg. I currently have Tupperware containers of this filling my freezer drawer.

Taco Soup

Taco Soup

I had a go at this slow-cooker taco soup on Wednesday. Unfortunately I decided on it too late to use a slow cooker so I made it on the hob. I also didn’t have any sweetcorn so I used garden peas. It was really nice if a bit too spicy for me! I got the recipe from here – http://peasandthankyou.com/2012/09/24/slow-cooker-taco-soup/

Quinoa burgers

Last but not least… today’s meal was amazing. I made quinoa burgers using this recipe – http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=95685 and sweet potato fries using this one – http://speltforchoice.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/baked-paprika-sweet-potato-fries-not-sticking-to-healthy-eating-regime/.

So that’s my week of food! Next week I’m going to start recording what I eat more so I can see my progress a bit better.

Have you eaten anything new/interesting this week?

Mushroom and Chickpea Stew

Tonight I decided I wanted roasted vegetables and cabbage for tea. I then spent ages trying to figure out how to get some protein into the meal. I found a tin of chickpeas in my cupboard and just had to come up with some way of cooking them! I’ve never really enjoyed chickpeas before but this meal was a definite success.


Mushrooms and Chickpeas


1 can of chickpeas

1 leek

a bunch of mushrooms (how ever many you want… I didn’t count them!)

1 mushroom stock cube (I used Kallo brand)

1 bouquet garni


  1. Add a bit of oil to the pan and fry the leek and mushrooms
  2. Add the chickpeas
  3. Add enough water to cover the vegetables
  4. Add the stock cube and herbs
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the chickpeas are soft

I roasted beetroot, carrot and potato and served it all with some boiled savoy cabbage. This is the first meal I’ve eaten every scrap of in ages. It’s total winter comfort food and thankfully I’ve got some left for tomorrow!

The wholefoods diet is going well!

Aubergines, Pasta and Cheezely

In the past two years I’ve built up a huge collection of vegetarian cookbooks and at the moment I’m trying my best to use them more and rely less on internet recipes. Some of my favourite cookbooks to look through are the “vintage” ones I’ve found in the stockroom at Oxfam. For some reason I rarely use them which is a shame.

Today I decided to use up one of the aubergines that came in this week’s veg box. I’ve been fighting a battle with aubergine as usually I find them too bitter but I’m determined to keep trying them until I like them. You may thing this sounds like self punishment but it worked with courgettes, red kidney beans and nuts/seeds so it can be done!

I searched through my shelves for a recipe involving aubergine and came across this gem of a cookbook.


This book was published in 1984 and the recipes are therefore not big on the health side of food. I used the recipe “Aubergines with Pasta and Cheese” as a guide but it needed veganising, making gluten free and I felt it needed more vegetables. I therefore used gluten free pasta and added peppers and onions to the tomato sauce. I also used Cheezely instead of cheese. I served the dish with some broccoli for iron and it made a gorgeous, comforting meal.

The Original Recipe


  • 2 medium sized aubergines
  • Olive oil
  • 225g pasta
  • 300ml tomato sauce made with 3 tbsp tomato puree and water
  • 225g strong cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt and pepper


  • Cut the aubergines into slices, sprinkle with salt and let sweat for 30 minutes
  • Cook the slices in olive oil until soft and slightly browned
  • Cook the pasta
  • Put layers in a baking dish of tomato sauce, aubergine, pasta and cheese
  • finish with a layer of cheese and bake for 25 minutes

My Recipe


  • 1 aubergine
  • gluten free pasta
  • olive oil
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pepper
  • garlic powder (to taste)
  • basil (to taste)
  • enough grated cheezely to cover the top
  • salt and pepper


  • Slice the aubergine thinly and sprinkle with salt. Leave to sweat for 30 minutes and then wipe off the liquid.
  • Put the pasta on to boil and fry the aubergine in olive oil until brown and soft
  • Make the tomato sauce by mixing the tinned tomatoes, a sliced pepper, a sliced onion, garlic powder and basil
  • In a baking dish put a layer of pasta followed by a layer of sliced tomato and aubergine and a layer of sauce. Then add another layer of pasta, sliced tomato and aubergine and sauce. Sprinkle cheezely on top.
  • Bake for 20 minutes and serve with something green (I used broccoli)

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