There are some students that might be more Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall than Jack Monroe, but on the whole most of us are a tad strapped for cash. After paying rent it can be pretty darn tricky to make the most of the the little loan we have leftover, but the weekly food shop is one thing that doesn’t have to cost a bomb. Jack Monroe has been tight, I mean below-the-poverty-line-tight. Thankfully as students our bank accounts are not this empty, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a few recipes up our sleeves for when we’re counting down the days until our next chunk of loan comes through.
A Girl Called Jack started out as a food blog, which was so successful that Jack is now a celebrity chef and political activist. Needless to say, Jack Monroe is no longer living in poverty, and you don’t have to be either for her 100 budget recipes to be a smashing addition to your cookbook shelf.
The reason why Jack’s food blog and now her cookbook have been such a success, is that even though the recipes are dirt cheap, they don’t taste it. Not only this, on the whole, health is pretty high on the menu. Some of the fancier recipes are great for a weekend, such as her salmon pasta with chilli and lemon. But it’s the weeknight lifesaver recipes – the ones that can be made out of stuff you already have in – that make this book such a good buy for me. My favourite recipe so far is ‘Gigantes Plaki’ (which just means ‘really big beans’), made with butter beans, tinned tomatoes and feta. Its perfect for curling up with a bowl of it over oven chips when you’re home late from uni, and you can heat up any left overs for lunch the next day.
As well as the recipes, the book also includes ways to save money on food, cooking tips, and two of Jack’s blog posts that put any money worries we have as students into perspective. Jack proves that a lack of money doesn’t have to mean grim food. So if you’re in need of a little more inspiration than beans on toast for a cheap meal, head on over to Jack’s blog, then get yourself the cookbook for a mere fiver.