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Image / Editorial

Ready, steady, cook: 8 store cupboard recipe ideas for the days ahead


by Laura George
16th Mar 2020
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These store cupboard stalwarts will get you through the next two weeks


There will be all kinds of lessons learned from this crisis. And perhaps we might dare to hope some of them might even ultimately be good for our planet. In the coming days, we are certainly going to need to be smarter about how we eat and how we plan to eat and consume in general. Who knows, maybe some good new habits will come of it.

As we all grow more conscious of worst-case scenarios, we are stocking up on what we think we’ll need based on what we need to have in the lives we live now and whether we can afford them. And we will need to be smarter about how we cook.

We will need to waste a lot less and plan how we use store cupboard ingredients optimally without sacrificing flavour. At the least, this is an opportunity to experiment with a more plant-based diet.

On the food front, it’s not just our pantries that need attention. Especially good care needs to be taken of perishables, using bones and what we’d normally consider vegetable waste, to make broths. We’ll need to preserve fruits and veg before they go off rather than chuck them out, or freeze them. It will be important to plan menus and prioritise the order in which we use things up in the fridge before best-by dates sail past.

This doesn’t mean we can’t make and enjoy delicious food. Here are eight larder-based gourmet stars.

Pesto
Make your own, which freezes well in sandwich bags, taking up very little space. Its versatility means it can do way more than dress pasta — lash it on anything you have in the
cupboard. It’s particularly nice on giant couscous.

1 cup fresh basil, leaves with stems
1 cup baby spinach
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Szechuan Spiced Late Night Noodles
Dried noodles, rice or egg-based, can be transformed easily and cheaply with the right flavouring. We’re not talking Pot Noodle here. Donal Skehan’s delicious Szechuan Spiced Late Night Noodles are adaptable to all kinds of substitutions depending on what you have to hand. BTW, good to know that spring onions regenerate — if you put them in a glass of water and cut off the greens as you need them, they will grow back 3/4 times.

Quinoa Chickpea Curry
The Little Green Spoon app has hundreds of delicious plant-based recipes based on basic pantry staples and offers a good few curries to choose from — this Quinoa Curry is a real hero. Dice one onion, mince 3 garlic cloves and 20g of ginger. Warm 30ml coconut oil in a pot then add onions. Cook for 5 minutes then add garlic, ginger, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cumin, 1.5 tsp curry powder and let them sizzle for a minute. Next add 175g quinoa, 1 tin chopped tomatoes and 600 ml veggie stock. Drain and rinse 1 tin of chickpeas and add them along with one tin of coconut milk and 60g spinach, fresh or frozen. Simmer.

Chorizo Black Bean Stew
This easy recipe from the New York Times couldn’t be simpler. Over basmati or with a side of roast sweet potato, it’s dinner party good with or without the garnishes.

Chestnut Soup
You can of course use your stock cube of preference as a base to build from to make all manner of soups from virtually anything but for something different that feels truly
indulgent, try Susan Jane White’s creamy Chestnut Soup.

Wild Mushroom Risotto
One of the nicest things about making a real risotto is the slow, meditative stirring and alternating of wine and broth. With a gorgeous mix of wild Irish mushrooms (€5) posted from Ballyhoura Mountain Mushrooms, the result will be truly comforting.

Veggie Chili
Anyone who’s watched Gamechangers on Netflix is probably already a Chef Charity Morgan fan. This recipe, beloved of NFL players, is a real crowd pleaser. Scoop it up with the tortilla
chips you’re hiding in the back of the press and don’t worry if you can’t add in the fresh pepper and carrot.

Fettucine With Spiced Cherry Tomatoes
There’s always Puttanesca, the classic Wit’s End go-to. Try Jamie Oliver’s but if you can’t abide anchovies, try Ottolenghi’s pantry-led Fettucine with Spiced Cherry Tomato sauce, substituting sun dried tomatoes for fresh.

Photo: Unsplash

Read more: Want to make your own pasta? Here’s a simple recipe to start you off

Read more: 5 TV chefs give their tips and tricks for the perfect pancake

Read more: Saturday night snack hacks: 16 delicious, healthy ideas to curb takeaway cravings

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