Our ‘big shop’ is done (online) with some consideration and a degree of meal planning. However, if I allow myself to roam, in real life, anywhere ingredients are sold, I tend to buy like a hoarder, without plan or direction.
A fresh, shiny purple aubergine, a little tub of some exotic spice, a wonderfully shaped pasta, salty white truffle butter, a pile of glistening, fat olives…when it comes to quality ingredients, I have scant self control – sensory pleasure takes over and I just have to possess it. I don’t necessarily know how I’m going to use it, but I’m sure I will .
Now, there’s one thing that stands between me and becoming a scoundrel who contributes significantly to the profligate waste of the planet’s resources – the fact that I hate seeing food go in the bin. Combine this with the inevitable overstocks resulting from my purchasing habits, and you will see why there are times when our meal preparation resembles an edition of Ready, Steady, Cook.
A recent inventory of our food resources has indicated the need for a whole cooking programme series, never mind a single edition. And so it came to pass that Barn and I made a pledge – for at least a 10 days we will cook using only what is already in the house – we call it a Cupboard Challenge.
Truth be told, this is not going to be a particularly difficult challenge; the cupboards are well stocked with basics, including an untold number of spices, varieties of pasta and rice, tins of tomatoes, and canned beans.
The fridge contains our usual wide selection of cheeses and massive array of condiments and pickles, plus veg, salad items, cream, butter and other general nonsense.
Our freezer is currently filled with a wide range of odds ‘n’ sods: half a dozen or so different pots of sauces, wraps, soffritto, a variety of veg, lots of ‘odd’ portions of meat and fish – one lamb chop, one salmon fillet, one pork loin steak… There’s a few good portions of meat (minced pork, chicken breast, a beef joint, 12 pork sausages) but it’s mostly stuff that is insufficient in quantity to be a meal, in and of itself, for two or more people.
Oh, and of course, due to our miserably haphazard to non-existent labelling systems, there’s also the mystery pots – those items whose true nature won’t be revealed until they’re thawed. Exciting times!
So good people, brace yourselves for the oncoming slew of rather imprecise, slightly unusual recipes.
P.S. You didn’t think that picture was my actual pantry, did you? I wish!