Thursday, 27 January 2011

When the cupboard is bare.... just have to use a bit of imagination.

Well the cupboard is not absolutely bare, but it is down to a bare minimum.  Even the basics are running low.  But I like the challenge of trying to produce meals from almost nothing.

I picked all the lemons that were ripe enough to use with the intention of making lemon curd...but I had no butter, so even though I've never attempted it before, I decided to have a go at Lemon Marmalade.  Having read somewhere that lemon juice is a natural pectin I guessed that only sugar would be required.  So I chopped all the lemons into small pieces, placed in a pan with sugar (don't ask me how much...I just guessed) and a tiny amount of water, and boiled then simmered until I thought it was cooked. It turned out really well.  It's quite sharp...the way I like of course it could be made sweeter with more sugar.

Most of you may know about my Extremely Adaptable Cake by now...see the recipe here.

You will see how I just use whatever I happen to have available.

So today I used some of the lemon marmalade to get the right consistency.  I think this would have been good with choc chips, but as I didn't have any, I used sultanas.

Very nice!

We needed a meal, and I only had the minutest amount of minced lamb in the freezer...really minute...about 100g!

I soaked some white haricot-type beans overnight, and then boiled them this morning.  Unfortunately, I forgot they were cooking and they boiled dry and stuck to the bottom of the saucepan.  Not to be deterred, and because I can't stand wasting food, I painstakingly removed all the burnt beans.

I chopped and fried two onions in olive oil with chopped garlic, added the mince, red pepper (chilli) flakes and salça (tomato paste), and then the rescued beans, and simmered for about 15 minutes, gradually adding a little water at a time so that it wasn't too dry.   I served on top of jacket potatoes.

A very satisfying and cheap day's cooking!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Oh good...the Blogger spam system is still working!

  3. You're a woman after my own heart! Our cupboards are not bare, but I can't stand wasting food and so always try to be really economical with everything. It looks as though you've made a feast out of nothing!

  4. Jan: Even when times haven't been so tough I've always been as economical as possible with food. There's far too much waste these days.

  5. I love your ingenuity - I too hate wasting food and these days am managing to eke out things pretty well.


  6. Like you, I can't stand waste and I use up the odds and ends of everything.

    Mt problem comes when Mr. Fly asks why we can't have that thing he enjoyed last week...and not only can I not remember what I did, even if I could the assortment of odds and bods would not be the same.

  7. Hi FF. It does get easier to economise and quite satisfying. I've had quite a lot of practise. (By the way I gave you an award on an earlier post..I know you don't accept them but it was more of a gesture).

    Fly: Ah yes. I also have that problem...I can never reproduce the same meal twice!


    You're wasting your time with your spam comments because the Blogger spam system is working perfectly and comments are going straight to the Spam box where I have great pleasure in deleting them! :-)

  9. You are a very resourceful person and your food looks delicious. Well done.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

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  11. I love these posts..the cupboard ones. The food makes my mouth water..and I'm oh so impressed with you.

  12. Lemon marmalade sounds delicious. That reminds me of the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade", you made something delicious even though basics were running low. A good example for the rest of us.


  13. Well done Ayak food looks lovely you are so good with your cooking you should write a little book about it I reckon xx

  14. I love how inventive you are. I love a challenge when the pantry is low on ingredients. Some of my more creative meals were created this way. My lemon spaghetti for one! Just juice of two lemons, the grated rinds, 2/3 cup of olive and 2/3 cups of parmesan tossed with a package of spaghetti and chopped basil. Delish! And goes a long way.

  15. 'Cross the Pond: I like the sound of that lemon spaghetti. I can't get parmesan here...I'll have to bring some back from my next UK trip.

  16. jedilost: Oh sorry if I made you hungry. We have food now and do you know, it's much more difficult for me to think of what to cook for dinner because I have choice. When I have so little I have to use my's actually much more fun.


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