The cupboard love experiment – trying to use up things that have been languishing unused in our kitchen cupboards and freezer – has been going great guns this week and despite my worries, we haven’t stinted on flavour.
We are almost out of tinned tomatoes after having a delicious tomato pasta dish a couple of times as we’re so fond of it. Fry up sliced garlic, onion, any veggies you fancy, then add tinned tomatoes, pepper, herbs, simmer for five minutes and add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar just at the last minute, pour over pasta and add basil leaves if you have a plant handy. It’s very simple and cheap but hearty. And to use up left over sausages after a previous meal of toad-in-the-hole, we added a cold chopped up sausage thrown over the top. Mmm!
We also used up a packet of stewing meat that had been sitting in the freezer in a delicious low-fat steak and Guinness casserole. It’s actually a WeightWatcher’s recipe but is surprisingly good and even passed the DJ test – normally he hates anything that doesn’t include lashings of lard. Fry the meat in a teaspoon of olive oil in a casserole dish on the hob until it’s sealed, then add onion & garlic and fry on a low heat for 4 minutes. After that, add vegetables – leek, parsnip, mushroom, swede, whatever you fancy – 300ml of beef stock and 200ml of Guinness, plus seasoning, and two tablespoons of redcurrant jelly (sounds weird but I promise you, it tastes good!). Bring to the boil, and then put in a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees/gas mark 5 and cook for one and a half hours. Keep checking there is enough liquid in the casserole. Then when it’s done, blend two tablespoons of corn flour in a little water, stir into the casserole dish and cook on the hob until it thickens. Delicious! And normally it will do for a couple of meals for two if you serve it with couscous or rice.
DJ has also been out and about foraging. In his wisdom he decided to go fishing again on Saturday with a friend in Kent. Normally the place he goes to in Enfield is a catch and release lake, so after you’ve caught one fish per person if you catch any more you have to put them back. But the resort he visited this time around – which belongs to Who singer Roger Daltrey who was apparently wandering about the place posing in fancy sunglasses! – allows you to take home as many trout as you like. Fortunately or unfortunately – depending on whether you are the unlucky individual who has to gut them – DJ caught three of little devils (well, four actually, but luckily it got away- phew!) and brought them all home, looking a little sheepish (him, not the fish!).
Now, I’m quite happy with trout but we already have two in the freezer, which have been there for months, and five trout seems a bit excessive. Happily I managed to foist two of them onto my slightly bemused elderly neighbour, Lou, and put the remaining one in the freezer with its two new chums while we decide how we’re going to cook them. Another neighbour, Sid, recommends smearing the trout in butter, putting it in tinned foil and baking it in the oven, so we might give that a try. Meanwhile, I’m wondering what to do with the semolina, pudding rice, Miso soup and honeycomb which is sitting at the back of the kitchen cupboard unused and unloved, which doesn’t involve putting extra inches on my waistline….any ideas?