Store Cupboard Challenge ~ Days 6 and 7

 I haven't made much of a dent on the supplies at all really. We finished up the frozen chickpeas but I have soaked and cooked the dried chickpeas so we have plenty of those still. I used up quite a lot of lentils yesterday in a somewhat disappointing lentil and ham soup. I have sprouted the remaining mung beans so that we can have beansprouts for salads and an oriental-style fish dish I am planning next week.

We haven't eaten the frozen fish and I was pleasantly surprised to find there were 10 chicken breasts and not 8 as I'd thought. This means there are enough for a meal next weekend.

I used up some chicken stock but I also made more, likewise the yogurt and bread.

The granola has gone. I'll make some more tomorrow but they will have to make do with toast in the  morning.

The butter has held out as has the milk but the cheese has gone. I have used up all but one of the eggs  in today's pudding and in a bowl of egg mayonnaise for the next couple of days' sandwiches.

An unexpected but welcome addition to the food supplies came this morning when I noticed a single quince had managed to survive the April storms. Not a particularly big specimen but it will make an apple pie extra special next weekend.

This year's quince harvest

This week's menus
Breakfasts ~ toast with jam or marmalade or sunflower butter/ granola/ scotch pancakes
Weekday lunches ~ chicken sandwiches/cheese and coleslaw sandwiches/pitta pizzas/baked potatoes, cheese and coleslaw/ leftover soup
Snacks ~ flapjacks, apple muffins, bread and jam, apples

Baked potatoes with cheese, sweetcorn, coleslaw, salad
Apple fool

Chicken stew made with leftover chicken, mash, peas
Apple fool

Chickpea and squash curry, raita, rice
Apple fool (this lasted a long time because nobody wanted it except me. No idea why; it was lovely)

The children all had beans on toast
Charlie and I had tuna-cheddar chowder and toast which was much more delicious than it sounds.

Potato, onion and ham hotpot, peas

Lunch ~ lentil and ham soup with croutons and bread
Supper ~ fried eggs with smoked paprika roast potatoes with sweetcorn and courgettes

Lunch ~ baked potatoes with the last of the cheese, beetroot, carrot and apple salad and sliced tomatoes
Supper ~ griddled chicken breast marinated in barbecue spices, garlic and olive oil with rice, sliced tomatoes and peas
Clafoutis aux framboises

Saturday supper

Beetroot, carrot and apple salad

Simple griddled chicken
Clafoutis aux framboises (Raspberry batter pudding)
A clafoutis is basically a thick pancake with fruit in it. I wanted to make a proper pud for Sunday by which I mean something solid and comforting. A bowl of raspberries (with which I am well supplied) was not going to cut it. Crumble and pie were out because I didn't have enough butter, as was anything cakey. I had no cream either so mousses, ice creams and fools were out. I could have made meringue but I can't eat meringue without cream.

I found a suitable recipe here. I replaced the cerises with framboises and reduced the quantities by a quarter (because I didn't think my dish was going to be big enough) et Robert est votre oncle.

Grease a thick based pie dish or tatin tin with butter

Melt 30g butter

Mix together
75g plain flour
55g caster sugar
a pinch of salt

Whisk in bit by bit
3 beaten eggs
Then add little by little
150ml milk and ½ tsp of vanilla extract
Finally stir in the melted butter

Arrange about 250g of raspberries (or other fruit) on the base of the tin.
Pour over the batter.

Bake at 210°c (190°c fan oven) for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180°c (160°c fan oven) and cook for 20 minutes more. Serve warm or cold. Sprinkle with icing sugar if you like.
Next Week
I am keen to continue. This week has made me appreciate just how much food I already have that can be made into perfectly good meals without the need to buy new stuff. It has also made me aware of those few foodstuffs I find it hard to do without - butter, milk, eggs and cheese especially (clearly veganism is not an option for me). I'd really like to continue for as long as possible although I will need to start replacing things soon, yeast, sugar, olive oil for example.

I spent £33.25 on food this week, that's reason enough to carry on.

Sampler for September



  1. You have really influenced my thinking with this 'Store Cupboard Challenge'. Like everyone else I am spending a small fortune each week. Today I have made an 'Apple Pie' with perfectly good windfalls. I also made an 'Apple and Blueberry Crumble' with blueberries that were a little past their best. I also used up some mushrooms and ham that were destined for the bin in a Quiche. Three left over 'homemade' hamburgers have gone into a 'meatloaf' with stale bread and I have made a stew for tomorrow with chorizo,left over sausages, pulses, leftover Butternut squash and left over potatoes. It is shocking what I throw away and it has to stop! Thanks Sue :)

    1. Gosh, that all sounds delicious. It's so satisfying using up things which might otherwise be thrown away especially when they are made into such tasty sounding dishes.

  2. This is so interesting - and inspiring! (Love your September sampler, too.)

  3. You are having a good subliminal effect here too. There has been the makings of a meal more than once when I might otherwise have made yet another trip to the shops.

  4. You are doing really well xx

  5. I am seriously impressed and would love to be a clever/imaginative enough cook to do this. However, although we spend quite a bit on food, there is almost no waste at all and we eat seasonally and well.
    Are the savings going on gin...? Ax

  6. Well done and good luck for next week. I set myself a target of £52, considerably higher than yours, especially as there are only 3 of us. But I did manage to come in just under at £51.11. Like you I'm going to give it another go next week, hoping that with a bit more organisation I can do even better. I'm really quite enjoying it.

  7. Anonymous9:10 pm BST

    Sue your food looks so appetising. I am going to continue as long as possible too. We are hopefully moving before Christmas so I have 2 freezers that need to be empty by then. It's not just food we have saved on this week though, when I pop in to Tesco which is our local shop I usually pick up a magazine, bar of chocolate, etc.

    I have really appreciated how much it has made me more organised. This week was a bit of a whirlwind but because I had planned every meal we could stick to it easily.

  8. Great post. Not only was everything healthful (and delicious, I'm sure), it photographed terrifically. And the whole thing was super affordable!

  9. deedownunder7:54 am BST

    Hi Sue
    Was inspired by this whole idea of yours and sorted out my fridge and cupboards - even threw away some very old tins hidden at the back. Due to the summer humidity here the lids were even a bit rusty! How long can one keep tinned food for, do you know? I have tried not to buy much this week and use up the existing stores. My fridge is now starting to look empty ..for the first time in ages. This week, I am going to try and use up as much of the rest as I can, buying the odd essential to make the meals. Thanks, this has been fun and a good exercise.

    1. Dee, It keeps a fairly long time but I'm not sure exactly how long -I expect it varies according to type. Is there not a date on the tin?

      So glad this challenge is inspiring others, and it is quite fun isn't it?

    2. Hi Sue, My tins didn't have a date on them, so I googled and found that in Australia, only tins that need to be consumed within 2 years have a 'best before' date. Those with a shelf life of longer than 2 years have no date. So, you are right it is a long time. But, I wasn't game to try my rusty tins!

  10. Oh well done - that's a fab financial result. Very impressive quince harvest (not). What a shame. I have not been able to use any apples from our two trees this year (apart from one I yanked off before it was ready and ate it stood in the garden). Are the kids holding up under the strain?

    1. I haven't told them what I'm doing, nor have they noticed.

  11. I always enjoy seeing what you've created, and this challenge is so interesting.
    I'm finding I am able to control things much more sensibly now our boys have flown the nest. We don't mind eating leftovers, for one thing, which was never geeted very enthusiastically by the offspring !
    Seriously impressed by how much you've spent, considering it's a for a family.
    Keep going !


  12. Pati from London1:31 pm BST

    Well Done Sue!! That's great! We tend to buy only what we need in terms of food. We plan our meals and we buy what it is required for them. We freeze little but we do spend quite a lot on fruit/veg and meat/fish and baby stuff.Your posts however, have made me think of the way I purchase food and how I could save a little bit here and there. x Pati

  13. That beetroot salad looks amazing. I thought it was red cabbage to start with - I often make red cabbage, carrot and cooking apple coleslaw. I love beetroots - and have recently become a bit addicted to them on homemade pizza as suggested by Hugh F-W.

  14. Anonymous4:22 pm BST

    Very pleased that there is at least one quince on your tree. I went shopping this morning for fruit and veg ,milk and coffee. Spent just under £15.I'm actually enjoying cooking again. ME

  15. Hi Sue,

    As others have said, I've loved following this challenge (do I love it as much as Not Camping? Possibly!) Anyway, I've been absolutely inspired and am determined to try it myself next week. Unfortunately my cupboards seem to be considerably under stocked, compared to yours and I also lack your knowledge & "kitchen management" skills. In my cupboards I have; passatta and tom purée, anchovies, suet, gravy granules, lasagne sheets, spaghetti, risotto rice and half a bag of pasta. In the freezer there's a single pork chop, 2 small salmon fillets, corn tortillas, black bananas, choc ice cream, small amount of sweet corn and some breadcrumbs. I have fresh potatoes, onions and chillies. The fridge holds the usual condiments, milk, butter, Parmesan and 4eggs. Sue, I'm throwing myself on your mercy - have you any ideas on how I can best use this random collection of foodstuffs?!?
    P.S. It was the Kings Norton Mop Fair today - I have been trapped with 30 over-excited children all day! Do you feel for me?!?
    Jo x

  16. I see a spicy tomato sauce there with the passata, anchovies and chillies to serve with the pasta. You could make a simple risotto with parmesan cheese. Salmon and mashed potato make fishcakes rolled in breadcrumbs. Or you could make a salmon and sweetcorn lasagne. Perhaps the pork chop could be cooked and chopped up then combined with sweetcorn, chillies and tomato puree to make a spicy filling for the tortillas. Potatoes, onions and eggs make a Spanish omelette, or you could make the eggs and milk into pancakes providing you have flour.

    1. Sue, you're a marvel! Thank you so much! The possibilities seem obvious now, but most hadn't even occurred to me. I echo the calls for a "kitchen management/recipe" book/e-book/downloads etc. I'd certainly buy it!
      Jo x

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  18. You mention sprouting mung beans. How do you do that? If you start out with dried beans, do you have to cook them at any point?

    1. No you don't need to cook them. I put 2 tbsp of dried mung beans (the little green ones) in a wide mouthed jar and I cover them with water and leave overnight to soak. The next day I fix a piece of muslin over the jar with a rubber band and tip out the water. I then put the jar in a cupboard for 2-3 days rinsing with water through the muslin 2-3 times a day. They grow about 2cm long.


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