Archives for posts with tag: store cupboard ingredients

Each time we leave Patience, we imagine we’ll be back sooner rather than later. We imagine it might be just a few months, certainly not years.

Braunston Marina mooring

And so because we’re optimists we leave all kinds of food behind, saying to ourselves ‘We’ll be back long before that best-before date.’

This time we arrived back on the boat having been away for longer than we care to admit to find an interesting array of groceries in our store cupboard. The question is always how to incorporate the sometimes beyond their sell-by date ingredients into delicious meals. Some things languish, others prove irresistable.

The star of the show this week has been the togarashi seasoning.

Togarashi close up

We have used it on everything. Richard has whipped up fabulous breakfasts every day this week. He’s specialized in eggs with togarashi seasoning: frittata with red pepper and togarashi, scrambled eggs with stir fried vegetables flavored with togarashi, an omelette filled with mushrooms, onion and togarashi and coddled eggs with togarashi seasoning.

mushroom togarashi omlette

I’ve been in charge of the suppers all of which involved togarashi seasoning.  You’d think we’d have overdone it but that’s not the case. Addicted? Possibly.

But addiction wasn’t our biggest problem. Diminishing supplies of togarashi were. I decided I’d better  stock up before we left Braunston for the start of our journey so I made a special trip by bus to the nearest branch of Waitrose in Daventry.

I dashed in and marched down the first aisle after the fruit and veg section and was pleased to see a massive section of exotic ‘Waitrose Cooks’ Ingredients’, the array of jewel-coloured labels as familiar as the togarashi seasoning label. Squares of bold color with simple black text. Hooray – in a few seconds I’d have the box of togarashi seasoning in my hands and I’d be on the bus back to Braunston.

The line up of ingredients was impressive and tantalizing. They had everything any cook could possibly want from ancho chillies and black bean sauce to nam pla fish sauce and tamarind paste, from yuzu juice to za‘tar.  How tempting. I wasn’t, however, here to stock up on every exotic ingredient on the planet. I just wanted a 40 g cardboard box filled with togarashi seasoning.

So I scanned the shelf just for that purple box with the orange and black label that I now knew so well.

Togarashi box

They had a five spice blend, an Italian mix, a smokey steak rub and a spicy Thai mix. But no togarashi seasoning. I scoured the shelves. Nothing. Well, too bad.

I went back to Patience without the main aim of my shopping expedition accomplished.

Since then I’ve been trying to use some of the other store cupboard surprises.  I’ve just incorporated a jar of sugary honey and all manner of spices as well as some cognac in a steaming cauldron that has perfumed the boat and made us happy.

I know we won’t be eating togarashi anything tomorrow.

Clementine cauldron

Spiced clementines preserved in honey and cognac


  • 10 clementines
  • 250ml honey
  • 750ml water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 3 star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla paste
  • 150ml cognac


Pierce each clementine three or four times, place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and boil for fifteen minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a heavy bottomed pot, slowly bring the honey and the 750ml water to the boil with bay leaves, star anise, cloves, peppercorns and vanilla paste. Drop the clementines into the boiling syrup, lower the heat and simmer with the lid on for an hour until soft. Carefully remove the clementines, draining any liquid back into the pot and boil the syrup until nicely thickened and reduced

Bottle in sterilized jars but keep in the fridge and use within a couple of weeks. I don’t think these will keep too long.

Delicious with cheese. We have had them with feta, cheddar and Gruyère so far. I’m thinking about having them with yoghurt for breakfast and perhaps I’ll add some chopped walnuts.

clementine preserve


A late summer vegetable garden is not a pretty sight. Weeds take over, plants die down, platoons of snails munch their way through layers of leaves on young cabbages, beans dry on the plants, fruits rot on the ground and mutant courgettes abound. So it was with some trepidation that I stepped out into the vegetable garden last Friday with the sole aim of gathering enough produce to make a platter of snacks for an impromptu drinks party. A few minutes later I scampered back into the kitchen  and found myself frantically paging through a pile of recipe books looking for inspiration. There was more produce than I could possibly have imagined, although how to turn it into a platter of snacks would certainly be a bit of a challenge. Veg bowl march 2014

  • A giant butternut
  • Three large and three small aubergines
  • Rocket – more than we could imagine using
  • Basil – an abundance of  very large healthy leaves
  • Red, yellow and green peppers
  • Red and green cabbages
  • 56 granadillas
  • 3.5 kg tree tomatoes
  • Huge bunches of sage
  • Onions
  • Spring onions
  • Beetroot
  • String beans
  • Lettuce
  • Swiss chard
  • Chillies
  • Lemon grass
  • Three smallish and possibly inedible mealies – they turned out to be perfectly sweet  and lovely
  • Some mis-shapen courgettes

Well, between the garden produce, the still very full store cupboard and a trip or two to the Cheese Gourmet in Linden we have eaten very very well this  past week.

Friday night snacks:

  • Wraps (from the store cupboard) filled with hummus (home made the previous week), pesto made from basil and McGregor almonds, rocket, a drizzling of sweet chilli sauce and butternut roasted with z’atar
  • Lettuce  and Swiss chard leaves with a filling made of a tin of store cupboard cannellini beans with finely chopped lemon grass and fresh kaffir lime leaves with red pepper and mealie kernels.
  • Cheese served with tree tomato jam and tree tomato jelly flavoured with rose and vanilla (previously made)

Sunday night dinner party for a group of 80-something-year-olds

  • Borscht made with beetroot, onion and red and green cabbage
  • Buckwheat and spring onion blinis
  • Granadilla curd served with a dollop of yoghurt


  • Conchiglioni  and cannelloni filled with a butternut, red and yellow pepper, and sage filling baked on a bed of aubergine and tomato ‘jam’ x 2 suppers
  • Thai inspired Norwegian wild mushroom risotto with aubergine, string bean, courgette, chilli and basil cooked with lemon grass-infused coconut milk.
  • 100% pork, preservative free Peter James-Smith Italian Salsiccia and English Breakfast sausages from the Cheese Gourmet with a red cabbage, rocket, basil and red pepper salad.
  • Left-over borscht


  • Two huge jars of granadilla curd
  • Three jars of tree tomato jelly flavoured with bay leaves, star anise and rose water


  • One loaf of Rosie’s bread
  • Bran rusks

And then to round it all off this Friday’s supper was a tofu stir fry loosely based on Yotam Ottolenghi’s  Brussels sprouts and tofu recipe. We substituted red cabbage for the Brussels sprouts, tree tomatoes for the mushrooms and basil for the coriander. And the whole family devoured it. A nice surprise.

I started the week feeling like a character out of  The Wolf of Wall Street but  after seven days on my very own food waste challenge I ended the week feeling happy.

I’m excited thinking about this week’s cooking and I’m also feeling excited about the little germ of an idea I have growing sparked by Mazi Mas and A Girl Called Jack. I don’t have much time to pursue those thoughts right now – I’m too busy  juggling cooking and work.

So what did we cook last week?


  • Breakfast – oats porridge with yoghurt, honey and cinnamon
  • Baked – a loaf of ‘Rosies Brown Bread’ from one of my all time favourite recipe books, Pam Hirschson’s Treasury of Recipes.

Treasury of Recipes

  • Baked – a sponge cake to use a test batch of cream cheese icing make by my daughter for the wedding cake she is making for my niece next week. We served this with some of the left over roasted plums in the fridge.
  • Supper – left over green bean bredie with an added tin of cannellini beans. This was served with a grain salad made with bulgur wheat, a tin of chick peas, read rice. We added basil, mint and chopped red pepper out of the garden and dressed it with olive oil and lemon juice and garnished with fried onions(garden produce too).


  • Breakfast – oats porridge with yoghurt, honey and cinnamon
  • Lunch a slice of ‘Rosies Brown Bread’ with scrambled eggs and rocket
  • Children’s school/university  lunch – left over grain salad
  • Supper – Lettuce and Lovage soup from the freezer. While defrosting the lovage soup I discovered that in fact one of the packets was not lovage soup but a lentil and cumin soup. The combination of the two soups ended up being delicious and inspired me to add a tin of coconut milk to the mix. I garnished the soup with fried onion, more cumin, slivered apricots (from the South African Food and Wine Blogger Indaba’s overflowing goody bag courtesy Cecilia’s Farm) and chopped almonds from my sisters perfect piece of land in McGregor. And served the soup with pappadums.


  • Breakfast – oats porridge with yoghurt, honey and cinnamon
  • Lunch -pancakes with cinnamon sugar and lemon. It was a gloomy, rainy day and my daughter enticed me away from my desk to indulge her.
  • Supper – Pasta with freezer tomato sauce which on tasting was very hot(too many chillies) so I added two tins of cherry tomatoes from Super Sconto and a generous portion of ‘olive toffee’. The olive toffee was the result of a failed attempt to make olive jam. I think I’ve now hit on the perfect tomato sauce enhancer. I still have enough ‘olive toffee’ to enhance another 8 pasta and tomato sauce meals….


  • Breakfast – oats porridge with yoghurt, honey and cinnamon
  • Lunch – scrambled egg made with four left-over egg yolks(from the wedding cake trial) and two whole eggs on ‘Rosie’s Bread’ served with rocket and balsamic glaze.
  • Cooked 500g of chick peas
  • Supper – Salad of garden watermelon,cubed, on a bed of rocket with roasted balsamic glazed beetroot, shredded beetroot leaves, ‘confettied’ beetroot leaf stalks, a handful of chickpeas and olives marinated in lemon, garlic and olive oil. Potatoes roasted with bay leaves. Home-made hummus done the Nigella Lawson way from How to Eat. Chickpeas soaked and cooked according to her instructions too. There is no other way to do this!
  • Also made a quinoa and chick pea salad dressed with the left-over lemon, garlic and olive oil marinade made for olives.


  • Breakfast – oats porridge with yoghurt, honey and cinnamon. We should be sick of this by now but we’re not. Panicking a bit that we are going to run out of oats.
  • ‘Rosie’s Bread’  with hummus, rocket and cheese
  • Supper – pasta with the balance of the tomato sauce, thinly sliced fried salami and parmesan.
  • YA’s lunch for school and university – quinoa and chick pea salad
  • Also made another loaf of “Rosie’s Bread’


  • Breakfast – oats porridge with yoghurt, honey and cinnamon.
  • Lunch – bread, hummus, rocket, slivers of parmesan.
  • Supper – fritters made with the balance of the quinoa and chick pea salad mixed with two eggs, some chick pea flour and  – the first bought item of the week – a packet of bacon. These were served with a watermelon, rocket, basil, left-over roasted beetroot, olive, sesame seed, sunflower seed  and hummus salad.


Pasta with porcini mushrooms

Also made during the week

  • One jar of tree tomato, rose and vanilla jelly
  • Two jars of tree tomato jam
  • Two loaves of banana bread (one in the freezer)

Everything we ate came from either the garden or the store cupboard except for one packet of bacon. I call that a successful week. But what on earth did the rest of the family think?

Over supper on Friday night I asked the family what the favourite meal of the week was?

They all loved the soup from Monday night and voted the quinoa and chick pea fritters a close second. On Saturday night they seemed to think the pasta with porcini mushrooms and truffle oil was the meal of the week.