Tuesday, 20 September 2011

In praise of hoarding, quick fixes - and chocolate brownies

I'm not going to grace you with a picture of this evening's supper. A gastronomic feast it was not. However, it was quick, easy and the children ate it which, today, was just what was required. As I may have mentioned, the weekend just gone was our last outing in the van for the year, and so in the interests of everyone, we cleared out the 'reserve food' and have decided to eat it now rather than putting it back in the van to sit in the bottom of the cupboard for another season.

I do like to hoard, and don't feel particularly comfortable at home without a couple of cans of beans, some tuna (not that I particularly like canned tuna, and neither do the kids, but, you know, it's there if we need it) and various other bits and pieces 'just in case'. In fact, the reality is that I actually enjoy planning what we're going to eat on our excursions, so we are usually massively overcatered, and have never needed the reserves. As a result, there is now, sitting on our sideboard (because there is no room in the cupboards at home, because they are themselves stacked out with the home emergency rations - I mean you never know when there'll be a nuclear winter): a tupperware of pasta (OK, so that has been used and replenished), some 'pickwicks' teabags purloined from the scout camp in Holland, 3 tins of liver paste (ditto Holland) a jar of Pataks korma sauce, 2 cans of baked beans, a can of ambrosia rice pudding (yum yum), a can of kidney beans, a can of sweetcorn, a tin of corned beef (!!!) some orange and lavendar marmalade, a can of black olives, half a pack of Dutch noodles (Mie Nestjes, no less) a bottle of tabasco and some Uncle Bens boil in the bag rice. I mean what exactly I was going to do with that in an emergency of the kind I was anticipating is anyone's guess but there we go.

So this evening, I made inroads into the supplies but using up the other half of Mie Nestjies, and cooked them with some brocoli and cauliflower that were lurking in the fridge. To make this more exciting, I used the remaining sachet of Satesaus - also originating from the Dutch scout camp and squirreled into the van - a powder which makes up into a viscous peanut satay sauce. I squeezed in the remains of a lime that had otherwise been used for G&T and was starting to look rather tired, and I thought it would make the sauce slightly less cloying. Drained the noodles and veg, pour on the sauce, job done. Pudding yesterday was the carton of custard with pear halves. Today was the other can of Ambrosia with peach slices. Lush.

Perhaps I was feeling a bit guilty about the level of processed food I'd shoved into the kids in the name of easy food and knackered mothers, but feeling slightly more recovered from the weekend today, I am currently baking a tray of Nigella's chocolate brownies (the Domestic Goddess ones). Half quantities, and using dried sour cherries instead of walnuts so that the kids can take them to school in their lunch boxes. I know that brownies don't fall into the 'healthy food' category, but I am a firm believer in treats and homebaked treats at that, and brownies definitely come in to the top 10. I haven't made them for ages either, as I've been big on cake during the camping season, so I'm hoping I will get huge mummy points tomorrow when they open their lunch boxes.. I didn't have enough chocolate in the conventional block (I though I'd had 2 blocks left but my attempts to boost my iron levels before the last blood donation had obviously overridden my memory of what I had in my cupboards, although I find this happens a lot with my chocolate supplies), but I had some chocolate chips, and judging by the smell from the kitchen now as it cools down, I don't think any harm has come.

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