Store Cupboard Challenge ~ Day 14

It's going very well. Very well. I am continuing into the third week.

This is what I have left.

1 bag of chicken carcasses and trim (for soup)
Veg hash - 8 portions
Raspberries - lots, from the garden
White and redcurrants 
Cranberries (bought last winter!)
2 large loaves
1 packet of pitta bread
5 pints chicken stock
2  pints lamb stock
Yogurt starter 4 little tubs of yogurt in 2 tbsp amounts
1 can sardines
2 x 400g tins baked beans
Moong dahl
Puy lentils
Green lentils
Brown rice
Basmati rice
Pudding rice
Popping corn
1 x 500ml passata
6 jars Sunflower butter -I buy this in bulk as it is unavailable in shops
brazil nuts -I buy these in bulk and use them for granola
almonds - I buy these in bulk and use them for granola
Sunflower seeds -I buy these in bulk and use them for granola
Desiccated coconut -I buy this bulk and use it for granola
Oatcakes and water biscuits
Gram flour (chickpea flour)
Plain flour
Golden syrup
Granulated sugar, muscovado sugar, demerara sugar
Dried milk
Tea and coffee
Rum, brandy, vermouth
Spices -lots of these
Black olives
Creamed coconut
Dijon mustard
Chutneys, jams, jellies, pickles 
Worcester sauce, soy sauce
Olive oil
Sunflower oil
Homemade granola
Butter -about 250g
4 pints of milk
small piece of Cheddar 
small piece of Brie 
A bowl of egg mayonnaise for sandwiches over the next few days
Lard - 1oz
A bowl of beetroot, carrot and apple salad
2 lemons

3 Cooking apples
Eating apples
About 10 kg of spuds 
3 Onions

A lot less than I had two weeks ago but still quite a lot of food you'll agree. I am particularly well supplied with rice and lentils and I will be concentrating on using them up this week without making my family sick of them. 

Food used up since the challenge begun ~ red lentils, mung beans, soup mix, black beans, tinned tomatoes, tuna, sweetcorn, white fish, chicken breasts, ham hock, fusilli, self-raising flour, chapatti flour, cocoa, caster sugar, dried apricots, sun-dried tomatoes, harissa, anchovies, a packet of pitta breads  and probably some other things I have overlooked.

It feels a bit odd not to be restocking the things I always have in my cupboards, things like baked beans, tinned tomatoes, passata, pasta shapes, dried beans, olive oil (am running low on this but will try and hold off buying more until it is actually gone). I am enjoying the challenge of using up things rather than buying things. When I have finished this challenge - either when there is no more food in the house or more likely when I've had enough- I will enjoy filling my cupboards again.

There are, as I explained in the first post of this challenge, a selection of items I get through every week  which I am not prepared to do without. They are; oats, bread flour, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, coffee and fresh fruit and veg. Tomorrow I need to restock all my flour supplies, plain and self-raising as well as bread flour. i will also need to buy yeast and baking powder.

This week's menus
Breakfasts ~ granola or toast with jam/marmalade/marmite/sunflower butter
Lunches ~ sandwiches (cheese/egg/haslet), baked potatoes with cheese and beetroot, carrot and apple salad, brie, crackers and chutney. egg-fried rice (leftover rice)
Snacks ~ welsh cakes, chocolate muffins, raspberry muffins, fork biscuits

Monday ~ Spaghetti with tomato-olive sauce

Tuesday ~ Fish stir-fry (pollack fillets with carrot, broccoli, beansprouts, peppers) and rice

Wednesday ~ Sweetcorn and black bean stew  with this crusty bread. I was very dubious about this bread recipe. The dough is not so much a dough as a batter and when I scooped it out of the bowl for its second rising it spread all over the floured cloth and I thought 'uh-oh'. I needn't have worried though; the bread was a triumph.

Thursday ~ Chickpea pilaff, bacon, rocket and tomato salad

Friday ~ Red lentil dhal, flat breads and mango chutney (not homemade)

Cream of chicken and barley soup

Lunch ~ Cream of chicken and barley soup.
 I made this by roasting some chicken carcasses I had in the freezer (you can read about them here). I picked off the meat after they had been roasted. This gave me about a mugful of chicken. I also poured off all the fat and saved it in a little dish in the fridge.

Next I put the roasted bones and bits into a big pot with an onion and a carrot and covered all with water. I brought this to the boil and then simmered it with the lid on for about an hour. I then strained this stock into a bowl and threw away the bones.

Next I melted a generous lump of butter in the pot and softened a portion of my veg hash in it (a chopped onion would work just as well). Then I added a chopped leek and two diced carrots. After a couple of minutes I added a tablespoon of flour and stirred it into the buttery vegetables to make a paste. After another couple of minutes I began to add the stock stirring after each addition to make a smooth soup.

Once all the stock was in I added cupful of soup mix which I had soaked overnight. This was mostly barley but also had lentils and dried peas in it. I then left the soup to simmer for about 40 minutes. Finally I added the reserved chicken and some milk (water would have done) to thin it a bit and then I seasoned it with salt.

To finish the whole thing off I cut some bread crusts into cubes and fried them in the chicken fat I had saved. We love croutons in our soup.

Supper ~ Brie, bacon and leek pasta bake (fancy macaroni cheese).
 Raspberry and redcurrant fool - I had thought I'd make a pie but it didn't feel quite like a pie day yesterday, I fancied something summery and I still have plenty of raspberries. I had eggs and gelatine leaves and thought about making a mousse but in the end I decided to keep it simple.

 Roughly 300g of frozen raspberries and redcurrants in bowl, sprinkled with icing sugar, left to defrost. mashed with a potato masher, 300ml softly whipped cream folded in, more sugar added to taste. Enough for two meals.

Sun-dried tomato, anchovy and basil paste

Lunch ~ Spaghetti with breadcrumbs
Now this is the kind of pasta dish I like. I made this as a way of using up half a tin of anchovies and half a jar of sun-dried tomatoes. I poured the oil from the tomatoes into a frying pan and I put the tomatoes, the anchovies (rinsed of their salt) and a couple of handfuls of basil into the food processor to make a paste. I then fried some breadcrumbs (from the freezer) in the tomato oil until crisp. I combined the breadcrumbs, tomato paste with some cooked spaghetti. Delicious.

The tomato paste would have been nice with some butter added to make it a bit easier to combine with the pasta. It would then be nice melted over grilled fish or used to stuff a chicken breast or a baked potato.

Supper ~ Spiced grilled chicken and brown rice
This dish was again the result of things which needed using up. There was about a cupful of yogurt left and a couple of teaspoons of harissa paste. This had been in my fridge for months. There was a 'use within 1 month of opening' instruction on the jar but it smelt fine. I mixed the harissa with the yogurt, a clove of crushed garlic, some salt and a large tablespoon of honey and used it to marinate five chicken breasts which I had cut into chunks. After an afternoon in the marinade the chunks of chicken had about 10 minutes under a red-hot grill, the pieces turned now and again.

We have all decided we don't really like brown rice even when it cooked with onions and spices. Not sure how I'm going to use my brown rice mountain up now.


post script

My daughter makes me laugh so much. This is what she has just said to me; 'is £489.99 too much for a phone?'


  1. I like that you used the sniff test for the Harissa,the bread looks wonderful and the answer to your daughter's question is yes.

  2. I'm intrigued. What on earth is Sunflower butter when it's at home?

    1. Exactly like peanut butter only with sunflower seeds instead of peanuts.
      Earlier post on it here

    2. Now I know. Thanks.

  3. You are great. I have wasted a lot less. I have also spent a lot less. I am not as inventive as you are yet...but I am trying. I even shopped at Waitrose! lol How much for a phone? I hope you told your daughter she must be having a Giraffe!

  4. Ages since I made that NY loaf. I know I felt very doubtful the first time - it looked such a sloppy mess - and baked it in an old Pyrex casserole as I didn't want to risk my nice Le Creuset pot. And it turned out just great. I do like the look of those cranberry and cheese variations.
    Can't help with brown rice ... have just chucked some, but that's not in the spirit of your challenge!

    1. I was so sure the loaf would stick to the pot, but no, it lifted right out.
      The brown rice may just get forgotten about.

    2. PS Thought of you in Waitrose this afternoon when I noticed homity pies. And thought that you'd probably make an enormous one for the price. Maybe you should go into marketing! Quince Tree Basics?

    3. Mary, I didn't know the bread could be done in Pyrex. Always wanted to try that recipe but don't have a cast-iron pot. Can't wait to try it now. Sue, I wish you could send all your brown rice here. We love it. And my daughter knows better than to ask me something that funny. Especially since I don't even have a phone like that.

  5. I am so impressed with your store cupboard challenge. With the children no longer with us after the summer we are trying to decrease the amount of food in the house! The bread looks amazing, I will definitely be trying that next weekend. Although I read your posts avidly I don't always have time to comment so thank you for all your great recipes they are such an inspiration. I don't know how I ever managed without my frozen vegetable hash. Sarah x

  6. Anonymous8:09 pm BST

    My cupboards are overflowing, Sue, you have inspired me to make use of the contents rather than just hoard.

  7. I get very frustrated by these 'put in fridge and use within a month' labels. Being a particularly lazy cook I use the ready crushed garlic from Waitrose, but the jar is HUGE. It's supposed to last three months, but even then I only ever use about a tenth of it. The last one went well beyond the date (by months) because I couldn't bear to waste it.

    I just hope that as it's cooked it'll be OK. We're still here..

    Can I have your daughter's old phone?

    1. I don't know why she thinks she needs a new one. The one she's got is less than 12 months old. She is one neverending list of wants.

  8. I predict that not too long from now your daughter will say "mom why do you stay at home cooking we could easily eat ready meals from the supermarket and you could get a job" which we all know means" and I could have expensive phones" .

    1. Oooh she would never be so foolish as to suggest such a thing to me! :)

  9. I've been planning to cook all my brown rice and freeze it in portions, and then freeze sweet and sour veg. If Uncle Ben's Rice Time is anything to go by, this will make a decent lunch for me to take to work (also having the benefit of not being made by Uncle Ben).

  10. My mobile phone must be worth almost that - as an antique!

  11. Lovely looking and sounding recipes as always! That first bread looks amazing and gives a lovely airy end result!
    Are you a bread machine fan for your square loaves? They seem to be all the rage everywhere. The oven I have at the moment is rubbish for baking bread, so I have to forego that pleasure right now... and was wondering about a bread oven - though they are so bulky and I have little space. Any ideas?

    1. Decidedly not a fan Sandra. I like to bake several loaves at once in the oven. I do it like this.

  12. I'm so impressed and it all looks delicious. I am guessing you said yes to the last question!!

    1. I could barely speak from laughing.

  13. Hello Sue. Have been following your lovely posts as ever and have really enjoyed the store-cupboard challenge so far. I like using things up like htis though am always a bit careful of using up al the little bits and bobs that make a difference to the meals (herbs, spices, etc) as they cost so much to replace all in one go. Love using up the things in the freezer and fridge in inventive ways. Will definitely have a go at the bread and I have to say I love the nuttiness of brown rice, though I fear I am alone in this.

    The phone? Ha ha ha ha....I have a son who would say just the same thing!

  14. deedownunder10:10 am BST

    That's funny.... the contrast of you busily posting about your wonderful achievements at frugality, and your daughter wishing for a phone like that!!

  15. Ah, I recognise the lovely bread - I came across it a while ago as the nearest thing to sourdough without using a starter, and was delighted with the result. I especially like baking it in a cast iron dish - it has such a good homely aura.

    Am v. enjoying this series of yours, and that price is ok for a phone if a free set of 6 copper pots and pans is included.

  16. A suggestion for that brown rice. You won't recognise it as brown rice. Makes a delightful warm Winter breakfast.

    Brown Rice Porridge
    1 cup brown rice rinsed
    2 cups reduced fat cream
    2 ½ cups water
    1 cup coconut milk (~1 tin)
    1 tablespoon mixed spice
    2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
    Handful of desiccated coconut
    ½ cup raisins
    2 tablespoons linseeds
    2 tablespoons chia seeds
    1 tablespoon goji berries (optional, but sooo good for you they're worth the effort of finding)

    2 tablespoons brown sugar or similar amount of organic maple syrup (to taste)
    * Cook on high in slow cooker for ~ 3hours until rice is soft and cooked (mmmm the smell that begins to waft through the house as it cooks !)
    * You may need to add more water at the end of cooking if the rice is not quite cooked and has absorbed all the liquid.
    * Portion into zip lock bags to freeze – (weigh them out and anything from 100 to 200gms is great per serve, your choice ). Freeze.
    * Defrost and warm in the microwave as required – you might like to add a little milk after defrosting

    1. Helsie, that sounds fabulous, wish I'd had some for breakfast this cold, damp morning. I particularly like the freezing tip. I don't have a slow cooker but I'm sure I could make it work. Many, many thanks x

  17. I'm still going along with your challenge too, in my own way. It is an excellent way to use up things and I am looking forward to the re-stocking too.

  18. Now I'm commenting 3 times in a day! Just to say, if you don't like brown rice, see whether you like brown basmati rice - I think it is so much nicer than normal brown rice.


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