A Vegetable Curry For 26p Per Portion

For our Friday Food feature, a 26p curry from Southend Blogger Jack Monroe:

Last night I fancied a curry, a nice hot curry to warm the very cockles of my draughty flat, but like so many evenings of the dreaded Ďcooking for oneí, I just couldnít decide what curry to have. I opened the fridge, glowered at a bunch of onions and a handful of mushrooms, and took to Twitter with a poll. Itís my new favourite way of, to coin a phrase, Making Your Mind Up. (I challenge you, Brits of a certain age, to not take that on as an earworm now. I make no apologies.)

The poll returned me a mushroom rogan josh over a korma or vindaloo, and I set about making it. Recipes online vary wildly, from the eyebrow-raising Ďtake a jar of madras pasteí on the BBC Good Food website, to paprika, to Jamie Oliverís cloves and allsorts. I picked all the bits I liked from about seven different recipes, made it vegan, adjusted it to taste as I went along, and when done, carried the pan to bed and devoured the lot.

Hereís my mushroom rogan josh, so delicious that I had it cold for breakfast this morning…

Full recipe here.

Roast Suckling Pig – With Spanish Flavours

From Rayleigh’s own food blog this week:

When I told Mrs. Spud to expect a delivery of suckling pig, she wasnít best pleased.

ďWhat, with the head and everything?Ē

But she neednít be worried, as what turned up was a boned and rolled suckling pig joint. Perfect for the squeamish! I was a little relieved myself, not because I had to stare a pig in the face but whether it would fit in my oven. The meat they sent was a regular roasting joint size.

How best to treat this lovely bit of pork? A roast with Spanish flavours to bring out the sweetness and juiciness.

Full recipe here.

Black Pepper Steak Stir Fry

We’d be interested to hear the thoughts of Rayleigh Food blogger, Gary Fenn, on Marks and Spencer having a food store in Rayleigh. In the meantime, for a hot and ultry and Friday evening, here’s a hot and sultry recipe he’s just blogged about:

… hereís my version of the Hakkasan dish. Itís not as clean tasting as their version, but retains the heart of it. It ticks all the boxes I was after and one Iíll be making many times.

You start by marinating bavette (skirt) steak. Whilst I love rib-eye Ė itís probably my favourite steak Ė bavette is brilliant in stir fries and extremely tasty. But you must cook it very quickly to avoid it getting tough…

Meatballs With Coconut Cream : 97p


From Jack Monroe’s blog this week….

Bear with me folks, because this baby sounds a lot posher and more complicated than it actually was. You can make it go further by blitzing a slice of bread in the blender or grating it, and mixing it with the mince to pad it out. Thereís a scarce amount of onion and garlic in this, because of the short cooking time, so can be left out if you donít have them lying around, I just always add them to my meatballs because thatís the way my Grandad taught me to do it….

Home Made Pork Pie


You may have eaten a pork pie hundreds of times (and in Rayleigh Byfords bacon-topped pork pies are especially good). But have you ever made one?

Big Spud – the food blog from Rayleigh – has a recipe here.

Itís a little shambolic round the edges but itís a lot of fun to make. I hadnít made hot water pastry before and it spits with volcanic fury so be careful, but it is quite manageable.


Something Warming For A Damp August

rAGUFrom Gary Fenn, Rayleigh Food blogger…

“I had a great big clear out of the freezer and unearthed heaps of lamb and pork. Great big lamb shanks and chunks of pork all solid as rock and crying to be used up. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a slow cooked pork and lamb ragu. Kinda traditional style, but I used a few Knorr flavour pots to kick things along. If you don’t have stock pots, add about 6 cloves of crushed garlic and a tablespoon of dried Italian herbs such as oregano, basil, or parsley. I didn’t even have an…”

Find the recipe here.

Go Brazilian!

go brazilian !

From Rayleigh’s own food blog, “Barbecue beef feijoada with spicy sweetcorn”

“Hereís a way of feeding a crowd and keeping with the Latin American theme: my barbecue beef feijoada, made with brisket. Iíve eaten feijoada a few times and always enjoyed it. But whatís in it? I consulted a Brazilian friend of mine in order to get a few ideas but like many Ďnationalí favourites, everyone has a different view on what it should contain. Like shepherdís pie, chilli con carne or lasagne al forno everybody has their own take in their house that defines the dish. A few patterns emerge: definitely pork, possibly beef, certainly black beansÖ other than that itís fair game. Tomatoes or not? Paprika?”

Find the recipe here.

Sweet And Sour Pork

Rayleigh food blogger Gary Fenn has a new video this today – featuring sweet and sour pork. It takes about 10 minutes and looks very tasty… and Gary is also mastering the knack of cooking and doing a video presentation at the same time!

Freedom Food are asking for people to come up with a video recipe featuring Freedom Food ingredients and Fairtrade produce, so Iíve gone with pork and pineapple to recreate that Chinese takeaway classic, sweet and sour pork. It takes around ten minutes to cook and is really versatile Ė you can swap out the pork for chicken or fish, or even skip meat all together

Feathering Your Nest’s Mulled Wine Recipe


mulled wine


This week we have permission to publish a “secret recipe”. It’s for the mulled wine that “Feathering Your Nest” were giving to people on the night of the Christmas Lights Switch-On.

And it is really tasty and warming:

My secret mulled wine recipe!

Makes 25 servings of wholesome goodness.

2 ltrs OJ
1.5 ltrs Apple juice
1 ltr cranberry
1.5 water
500 gr caster sugar
4 sachets of mulled wine spice
1 orange studded with (40) cloves
2 cimammon sticks
1 sliced apple- serving
1 sliced orange. “

Chuck it all in the pot except serving slices. Bring to boil + simmer for 30 mins. Can be cooled + stored in fridge for 1 week.

Thanks, Lesley.

Pumpkin Pie


From the food blog from Rayleigh, a seasonally appropriate recipe for pumpkin pie … with a refreshingly frank verdict from the cook:

I canít say I was blown away by it. The flavour was definitely pumpkin but I couldnít help thinking something was missing. It needs perhaps a layer of chocolate icing to offset the smooth, uniform flavour. And I added lemon zest to the pastry but I think orange would be a better choice. Maybe Iím just not darn American enough.

It does look good.