Cupboard Clearout Cuisine

11th April 2012

Every now and again I tidy up the kitchen cupboards to see what little gems have been pushed to the back and forgotten. This weekend was the ideal time for a clearout with two whole extra days for cooking. First thing I discovered was a jar of Wing Yip Chinese Curry Concentrate with about 20 days left to go (this possibly may have moved house with us!).

Long unused in the freezer I had some Redwood’s chicken pieces which I know I don’t like hence it has been loitering in the freezer for so long. I marinated the ‘chicken’ pieces in soya sauce, garlic and mirin for about 4 hours, then fried them off in a pan and added them to the curry sauce using the concentrate, water and veggies. I served it with traditional Chinese stir fried vegetables, a recipe by Ching-He Huang (girl crush ♥).

It had that authentic Chinese curry taste, and the ‘chicken’ tasted pretty good after it had been marinated. Try it in place of Japanese curry sauce for a twist on this katsu curry recipe.

Shockingly neither of my local supermarkets were open on Sunday (anyone would think it was a bank holiday weekend or something…oh) which meant I was unable to buy kidney beans or veggie mince for my chilli. Instead I decided to make a pasticcio, a Greek pasta bake, a layer of mince sandwiched between two layers of pasta in bechamel sauce.

I used wholemeal pasta, used a vegan white sauce I use for lasagne and adapated a Heston Blumenthal chilli recipe using up some of my hefty cupboard staple red lentils. The chilli recipe requires a spiced butter, which worked really well with the lentils stopping them from getting too mushy, plus allowing them to keep their shape, making them the perfect mince replacement.

Layering up the pasticcio

A tin of pineapple on its way out made the perfect addition to a Warburton Square(ish) Wrap pizza. I had no vegan cheese but I am perfectly content with a cheeseless pizza. I made the pizza sauce using a tin of plum tomatoes which I always keep a tin or two of, draining them, adding some dried herbs and blitzing them before spreading on the wrap which I topped with cougette, cooked spinach and some antipasti.

Thanks to Chrissie for sharing the idea on her blog, which someone else shared with her. The wraps are also pretty tasty used as regular wraps and slightly thicker than a normal round one.

Having perfected my gingerbread man recipe (updated version here), I made use of the last few remaining uneaten ones by adding them to granola and making…gingerbread man granola, tadaaa! I finally cracked crunchy granola, you can find my recipe for it here. All sugar free by the way.

You can't catch me...

It all worked out tastily I have to say, generally I spend lots of money on food at the weekend as I will be inspired to make something and then inevitably have to go out and buy most of the ingredients. Making use of what you already have uses just as much inspiration and also saves a few pennies. :)

Of  course Easter weekend would not be complete without a hot cross bun, perfect with a cup of jasmine tea from my magic cupboard.

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