From the pantry...

8/29/2010 10:27:00 PM

When I made Nigella's double potato and halloumi bake, I mentioned that I hadn't been cooking at home enough. (Excuses, excuses!) That frustration resulted in me searching through the kitchen to see what ingredients we actually had in the pantry...

In the freezer...

And on the shelfy thing that lives between the stove and the fridge.

And boy, I have accumulated a lot of food in the few short months I've been here! Rice, pasta, curry pastes, oils, packet-fixes, frozen veggies and other leftovers. After this, I made a big effort to actually cook at home, using up ingredients we already had. I'm happy to say the following meals were the result!

Rindfleischtopf mit Rotwein

This dinner, from my Dr. Oetker Eintopf (one-pot) recipe book, was a deliciously soupy beef stew, with a lot of red wine added. The red wine in question was the cheap red wine which we'd bought for Glühwein.

For the last 20 minutes or so, I chucked in a few handfuls of short tube pasta which had been in my pantry for months.

These little circles of pasta cooked in the stew, absorbing all the delicious beefy, winey flavours.

Delicious! A bowl of this with a DVD of Mad Men is a great night in!

Frikadellen with Sweet Potato Chips

This wasn't quite as glamorous as the red wine stew, but it was a nice and easy little dinner nonetheless. I took the Frikadellen out of the freezer, and chucked them in the oven with some McCain Sweet Potato Superfries that a nice PR lady sent me a while back. The Frikadellen are, well, better when freshly cooked, but I quite liked the superfries - I think of them like roast sweet potatoes, but without the peeling and chopping.

Chicken Tikka Masala with Pilaf and Cucumber Raita

Shortly after I bought Jamie's Ministry of Food, which has a whole chapter devoted to make-at-home curries, I went out and bought a bunch of curry pastes, thinking that freshly made curries would be a great weeknight dinner. That, of course, was some months ago, and with the pastes rapidly approaching their use-by date, I thought I'd better get cracking!

The first curry I made was chicken tikka masala, (Patak's brand) made even more aromatic by the addition of onions, coriander root and chilli.

Very inauthentically (even considering that chicken tikka masala is an inauthentic dish itself), we added carrots and cauliflower for a higher veggie content.

Jamie's recipe makes a huge amount - even though I halved his recipe (which serves 4), there was way too much for the 2 of us! But leftovers were good the next day!

To go with, I made a pilaf (just plain rice, with stock, spices, nuts and onions), and a cucumber raita.

Roast Chicken "Tikka Masala" with Muttar Halloumi

Another Indian style meal, this one to use up the remainder of the tikka masala curry paste. Rather than making a curry again, I mixed the paste with natural yoghurt and used it to marinate a chicken. (Wear gloves! Marinating a raw chicken in hot curry paste is an unpleasant task!) I let it sit in the fridge overnight, and I put it in the oven as soon as I got home from work the next day. While it was cooking, I made a muttar paneer, but with halloumi instead of paneer. (I'd luckily found some cheap halloumi at the market and thought this might be a nice way to use it). I hadn't made muttar paneer in over 5 years (see here for proof!) but now I'm thinking I really should make it more often! It's delicious.

The chicken was a little brown coming out of the oven due to the marinade, but didn't taste burnt at all. In fact, it was lovely and juicy thanks to the yoghurt! There were heaps of delicious pan juices too.


And finally, the madeleines you see at the top of this post. I can't really say that making these helped to clear out my pantry, but they certainly are a storecupboard recipe. Flour, butter, baking powder, vanilla, honey, sugar... and that's about it! The Roux Brothers' recipe doesn't even need an electric mixer, just some light folding with a spatula. 15 minutes of easy work and 6 minutes in the oven (and an hour of resting time in bewteen if you can be bothered) and you have a tray of delicious, light, fragrant cakelets.

What foods do you have lurking in your pantry?

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  1. We did a pantry stock take awhile ago and was horrified by the amount of things we had lurking about in it.

    So I've been doing the same - trying to use everything that's in the pantry! Unfortunately this tends to go out the window everytime we go the farmer's market. Sigh.

    That chicken looks oh so good btw.

  2. My pantry is groaning with food! If I'm ever holed up here in the event of a nuclear fallout, I would probably have enough food to last me six months. I kid you not. lol

    I keep meaning to starting eating/cleaning everything but somehow I always end up bringing even more things from the supermarket. Argh. I like the look of all your dishes but those madeleines have caught my eye the most!

  3. You go girl! What wonderful dishes you came up with pantry ingredients!

    I keep telling myself I have to use up what I have in the pantry before buying anything else, but that resolve never lasts.

    I too did a stocktake recently and found 9 cans (3 x 3 pks) of corn kernels (from Costco). I distinctly remember buying them the first time thinking I would make something with corn, then the second and third time thinking the same thing... but never even using one can since then!

    We should have a corn party! LOL!

  4. I think it's time of the year where everyone cleans up the fridges and pantry. I have done one shelves... about 10 more to go?

  5. Very good idea...I'm guilty of enthusiastically stocking up on ingredients then forgetting them.

    That roast chicken looks SO good!

  6. all your meals look so tasty!

    my pantry at home is pretty bad. any one who comes visits us tells us how much food we have and i kid you not, my entire family of 4 could live quite comfortably if we holed ourselves up at home for next 3 months!

    hopefully after reading your post, I get my act together and start to do some pantry emptying!

  7. Your own version of the Masterchef mystery box and Invention Test all rolled into one. Great stuff.

  8. Uh oh... I think I'm overdue for a pantry check too... you've pushed me to try using some of the stuff up!



My email address is sarahcooks [at] hotmail [dot] com.