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Links #14: A Girl Called Jack, low budget cooking, red velvet cake

Although it’s not released until the end of the month, I was pleased to finally get a glimpse of Jack Monroe’s hotly anticipated new book A Girl Called Jack. I think Jack Monroe’s food, message and tone are all brilliant and her book looks beautiful, I’m just surprised Penguin hasn’t been a little bolder with its production.

I’m probably outing myself as ‘that bastard from the art school crit’, but from a design perspective, I think the book looks like it’s pitched mainly at students. Given the context, would it not have been braver for the publishers to release it as a low-fi paperback, a little like the old school Penguin Cookery Library? (In particular, my Mum’s old favourite The Pauper’s Cookbook by Jocasta Innes.) The choice to go bright and colourful with the design and photographs says more about the current fashion for ‘food porn’ than the origins and direction of Jack Monroe’s food writing, but still, at £7 on Amazon A Girl Called Jack is affordable, and from what I have read already, well worth investing in.

Also on the subject of cooking on a budget, I was glad to see that the folk behind innovative vegetarian food blog Green Kitchen Stories have started a new thread comprising low-cost healthy recipes. I was a little critical in my review of the Green Kitchen Stories book last year, my main gripe being the book’s message that healthy eating should involve lots of expensive ingredients such as organic superfoods*, plant milk and nut butters. The blog’s co-author Luise Vindahl is training to be a Nutritional Therapist, however, so she does know her stuff. And, her first post on the topic of low cost healthy eating – this recipe for mung bean stew – offers a load of sound advice for how to keep costs down while prioritising the health benefits of your diet.

Elsewhere on the web:
A big welcome to Chloe from Lewes-based Seven Sisters Spices who started a fab new blog last month.

I was intrigued by this post on the origins of red velvet cake. Turns out, the cake’s ‘redness’ was initially a naturally occurring colour tint caused by a chemical reaction between the acid in unsweetened chocolate, natural cocoa powder and buttermilk with the alkali of baking soda.

And here is an interview with yours truly and Emma Jane of Cakes and Catwalks in anticipation of this year’s Food Blogger Connect conference.

*As an aside, I thought Jay Rayner was pretty funny on the topic of Superfoods in this month’s Observer Food Monthly.

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About Chloe King

I'm a freelance writer, designer and webby type. I live with my husband and daughter in the south of England. I like to cook and can throw a good party.

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