''He eats everything because that's what he's given,'' said Monroe, adding tartly: "Some children are very indulged." Mind you, the food is very fine, and it's also healthy. When it comes I'll get a pork belly." Not that there are no treats.Monroe keeps oil to a minimum, and key ingredients are cheap tinned vegetables, root vegetables and pulses, enlivened with clever spicing and herbs from her carefully tended pots. There's rarely any meat – the budget doesn't allow it – and Monroe is experimenting with going vegan for Lent. As well as bread, made with ordinary plain flour, there are occasional white chocolate and peanut butter cornflake cakes for Johnny. Besides, I don't know what's in that lasagne or whatever.She finished the experiment last Sunday, having struggled to eat a healthy diet, and admitting, "If you don't have much money...
"The circumstances that triggered it weren't brilliant, so it's nice that something good came out of it," she says. People check her shopping basket in the supermarket for extravagances, and she has had threatening phone calls after writing that the Union Jack needed reclaiming from Right-wing groups.
When Johnny arrived back from nursery – a gorgeous curly haired blond who chattered away merrily as he tucked into the homemade herb bread and tagine in Jack's book-lined sitting room.
"English was one of my best subjects at school,'' she says.
''I was a precocious reader and I won prizes as a child – a £5 book token aged 11 for a poem I wrote in junior school, that sort of thing." But this early promise wasn't fulfilled and she left school at 16 with seven GCSEs, moved out of the family home and took a job in a fish and chip shop.
Her blog, A Girl Called Jack, has gathered 16,000 regular readers.