Spaghetti Bolognaise

People from Italy look away now, but an everyday spag bol as we think of it these days is really just a tomato ragout with added beef. If you don’t have three days to cook down a real Bolognaise, this is a great substitute. If you have some tomato sauce in the freezer you can make an after-work dinner very fast. If you don’t have a butcher nearby and you buy a 500g packet from the supermarket, the other half will be happy in the freezer in its plastic tray, just put the whole thing in a plastic bag and remember to eat within a few weeks.

For two people you’ll need to make one load of tomato ragout with the quantities HERE. You’ll also need 250g of minced beef. 

It’s not a strict recipe, so I’ve not written it out like one. Here goes:


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Buttery Baked Carrots

This isn’t so much a recipe as a serving suggestion. But hey, some professional cooks make a lot of money from glossy books which take up a whole page telling you how to drizzle honey on something and put it on the table. But everything on Life is Jam is free, and some of you may not have thought of this way of doing carrots.

  • 3 medium carrots serves 2 peeps as a side vegetable.

Slice them into English chip-sized pieces. Put in a single layer in an oven proof dish with 2 egg-cupfuls of water. Salt and pepper them, and scatter on a few bits of butter.   Bake at 200º for half an hour, or at the same temp as your roast. Keep an eye they don’t shrivel up. Take them out and simply warm them back up later if they do.

Other things you can put on: 

  • A pinch of ground cumin
  • fresh herbs like thyme or tarragon (thyme is in my picture)
  • some feta cheese just before serving
  • Some pine nuts added half way through cooking, or toasted in a small pan and added at the end.

These carrots are also pictured on the Roast Chicken post. The carrots went in after the chicken had been in half an hour. 

And I have to say my dinner that day was…..lush.

buttery baked carrots




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Anna Potatoes

Our mum always called them that, and I’ve never known if she did it because I liked them or because that’s what they’re called. Perhaps she called them Cathy potatoes to my sister, and Jon potatoes to our brother. 

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. I have them on my plate in the roast chicken post. If you’ve ¾ of an hour rather than the usual 15 mins-to-boil-your-spuds then you can have them with anything. Sometimes if I’m cooking just for myself I’ll have them on their own with just a few salads. Yup, that’s how rock ‘n’ roll I am.

For two people to have with a roast or whatever:

  • 400 g potatoes. Waxy salad ones work best
  • Butter, slivers of garlic, salt and pepper

Potato galette


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Mushroom Soup

Most soups start with softening onions and other vegetables and then adding other vegetables and possibly other things too, and finally blending the whole thing. This one, from the divine Elizabeth David, is very different. It’s a lovely simple soup – Elizabeth David knew everything there was to know about unfussy food – and it doesn’t start with onions and doesn’t need blending. Like most soups, it freezes well and possibly tastes even better when it’s been left for a while or frozen.

About the ingredients:

You can use any kind of mushroom. It works fine with normal supermarket mushrooms but if you’ve got something special to add, go ahead. Also, Elizabeth David puts bacon rinds in with the mushrooms when she cooks them. I don’t eat meat so I might use a bit of parmesan rind (be sure to remove after cooking).

Makes about 8 generous servings.  Cost per serving 30p


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I had this last night, it is one of my favourite comfort foods. The brilliant thing about kedgeree is that it’s incredibly moreish but is also good for you. It uses a decent amount of butter, but on this blog we believe that butter is good for you, unlike sugar, which we believe isn’t.

A word on ingredients.

I implore you not to be put off by the fact that I use brown rice.  Our mum Mavis uses brown, which is why I do. Catherine uses white rice in hers. It’s a matter of preference. What I like about brown is that it makes it more chewy. So it’s a buttery smokey creamy chewy bowl of moreish loveliness. The fish can be fresh or frozen, but if you make it for the first time and think ‘…hmm… This dish is chewy but it’s not the rice, it’s the FISH that’s chewy’!’, then one of two things has happened to mess with Kedgeree Heaven: 1) the fish was not so great to start with,  or more likely 2) you’ve cooked it too long. Tips on this below.

The main tip about this dish is not to stint on the butter and onions. Or it will not be as nice. You have been warned.

I’ve put it as a commuter cook (half hour) as well as a longer cook, as strictly speaking if you put the rice on and cook it for 20 minutes, you can cook the rest of the ingredients within that time, so you could cram it into half an hour.

Serves 2 generously. Cost per plate : £1.39!Kedgeree basic Ingredients


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Hello!!  And what innovative, eye-catching food-porn do we place before you today?? Celebratory tap dance..

Dah dah! …It’s OATCAKESHomemade Oatcake and CheeseOk so that’s mainly a picture of cheese. But under the cheese mountain is a crunchy chilli oatcake.

So why post about something so basic? (Some would say ‘plain’ and what they really mean is boring). Well, because this humble oatcake is not boring at all, it’s exactly the kind of home cooking that Life Is Jam is about – making everyday food yourself so you can cut out the fattening, unhealthy junk that people put in packet food, and so you can enjoy it more. These little tasty crunchies are:-

Easy, tastier than shop bought, cheaper than shop bought, better for you (no palm oil or other junk, just a little bit of butter), more satisfying to eat because you made it yourself and finally, they are customisable so you can choose your own flavours.

 The below makes about 210 grams, or 27 biscuits.  Total cost 26p. 


  • 100g oats (7p)
  • 100g plain flour (7p)
  • 15g butter (definitely not marg) (6p)
  • ¼teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder (2p)
  • 85 ml water and milk mixed (4p)



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