Monday, 16 January 2012

Storecupboard surprises

In truth, I had a bit of a dilemma about what to cook for supper this evening. The Husband had always intended to make a game pie this weekend, and the plan was to use some venison and pheasant we had in the freezer, courtesy of friends, and I was going to use the rest of the venison to make a casserole for us to eat yesterday evening. However, on Saturday, when I got home from swimming with the children, the Husband admitted that not only had a bought rabbit and bacon from the butcher for the pie, but somehow, accidentally he had also purchased bacon, sausages and black pudding what for having a full English on Sunday morning. So much for eating less meat and embracing veg.

It was totally delicious – really good bacon, and I love black pudding -  but having eaten it at 9 in the morning, I was still completely full at 2 that afternoon when Blue, full of indignation, exclaimed “Mummy! It’s 2 in the afternoon and we haven’t had any lunch”. I was a little irritated, so we had ‘fusion’ soup (fennel & celeriac combined with the leftover dahl and some water – reverting to type) with the multiseed bread (on a totally unrelated matter, I have been typing these posts up in word first to spot any spelling errors – did you know that it will autocorrect multiseed to read multispeed...). The bread was delicious – the soup less so, but edible. By 5 o’clock, the venison casserole I had put in the slow cooker in the morning was done and smelling lovely. The children wolfed it down but still I couldn’t face it. The Husband baked his pie, and made another casserole with the leftover meat, and then ate some of the first casserole at about 9. I had some stilton on the brick bread that I’d baked on Saturday. And a glass of red wine.
And then today, I still couldn’t face the meat. The casserole I’d made was already in the freezer. I wondered about having the Husband’s this evening, but it still felt like too much meat. The planned meal was chachouka (formerly known as egg surprise) but both kids were out for tea and the frozen sauce was supposed to feed all of us, so I decided to leave it in the freezer and so I turned to Hugh for inspiration. I have to say that I don’t think much of his ‘store cupboard suppers’ section. I’m sure they are all delicious, but are they really ‘store cupboard’? I guess it’s subjective, and probably only right that a book called Veg Everday pre-supposes a large amount of ‘veg’ in the store cupboard/fridge/garden, so perhaps we’re just not there yet, but there does seem to be an inordinately large amount of fresh stuff involved. In my book (the one I’d love to write, but, let’s be honest, is never going to happen), you can’t do much better for store cupboard than Nigella’s spaghetti with marmite. I always have spaghetti and marmite in the house. Job done. Most of Hugh’s truly ‘store cupboard’ ingredients are things like artichoke hearts in oil and other such delicacies. Not in my store cupboard, I’m afraid. – Hugh is clearly a man who has never had to resort to egg surprise.
The only truly store cupboard recipe as far as I could see was ‘Quick Chickpea Pasta’. You’re probably thinking what I was secretly thinking, and certainly what the Husband was thinking when I told him what it was called. However, I had pasta, a can of chickpeas, and cheese in the fridge. I had the leftover garlic oil from the Saturday night flatbread extravaganza, so I only needed to add some chilli at that for the dressing. Salt & pepper – done.

It was really, really good. As the Husband said – “If you’d told me what it was before I’d eaten it, I don’t think I’d have been very excited about it.” It just goes to show, really.

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