Can I just say I LOVE READY STEADY COOKING! Everyone should do it. It’s fun, it’s creative and I got an enormous sense of satisfaction (combined with intense smugness) as the packets in my cupboards dissolved away and I ate a steady stream of amazing food.
So this was week two of Ready Steady Cook, and for those who haven’t been following, as part of my environmental challenge I committed to using up as many leftover ingredients in my cupboards as possible. I only initially signed up to this for a week, but I was enjoying myself so much, I decided to see how much more of my stocks I could use up if I continued.
On Sunday we had a rather lovely Anjum Anand brown lentil curry, except we rebelled and used red lentils. No extra shopping required.
On Wednesday night we used up all our paella rice, some chicken and broad beans from the freezer and a bit of pepper from our weekly veg box. We only needed to buy a tin of tomatoes. The recipe was super simple and we found it on the tesco website (we used chicken in place of chickpeas). And it was spot on.
Thursday night was a roast veg platter with carrot top pesto and red carmague rice. Admittedly all the veg were from our veg box, so hardly leftovers, but I loved that we used the carrot tops in the pesto, I thought that was genius and very environmental. I was also delighted that we used up the camargue rice that had literally been in the cupboard for five years. And it tasted perfectly fine.
Finally, perhaps my proudest result this week – my choc chip cookies. I was desperate to use up a packet of semolina as it seemed like a pretty redundant ingredient. So I googled around and found a Mary Berry cookie recipe. I had all the ingredients in my cupboards and took great joy in using up some very random bits of chocolate that had been knocking around in the fridge for months. The biscuits were superb – the semolina providing a wonderful extra crunchiness.
I will definitely take some valuable lessons from these two weeks of cooking so resourcefully – it’s boosted my confidence to realise that you can make very delicious food without going to the shop and stocking up on expensive ingredients. Experimental and brilliant cooking is possible with limited supplies. I hope to continue cooking more frugally and more sustainably from now on.
Next week, as part of my environmental challenge I will be foraging and making some recipes with whatever I find. I’m thinking nettle risotto, wild garlic pesto and elderflower gin. I will fill you in on how I get on next week.