Saturday, 23 March 2013

Emergency rations

We're snowed in here at Auntie Anne Towers so I've done a bit of a review of what's available to make sure we won't starve. It's unlikely to be a long haul - but it's looking like it could be a few days before normal service is resumed.

This is when your store cupboard is vital. I have a few fresh veg - and I never allow myself to run out of spuds or onions. Beyond that it's down to the staples.

Think in headings.

I always have dried pasta in store, and there's some fresh pasta in the freezer. So I have spaghetti and I have shapes (currently shells). That means, with some judicious tin opening, I could make:
Spaghetti vongole (I have a tin of clams - but tuna fish would work just as well) Just use some garlic - dried will do to give flavour - and a small onion, to add flavour to the dish. A splash of white wine and a sprinkling of chilli flakes would help. And scatter a few dried herbs over the top - Italian ones for preference: basil, thyme, oregano.
Macaroni cheese. It doesn't have to be tube-shaped pasta in mac and cheese you know. Add some mustard to the sauce for extra punch.
Pasta bake. Just part-boil your shapes and add them to a sauce made from tinned tomatoes with herbs, garlic and onion. Add a few mushrooms if you have them. A tin of sweetcorn nibs wouldn't hurt either.

Risotto. You can make almost anything into a risotto. Tinned peas, mushrooms, tinned tuna, frozen prawns. As long as you have garlic and onion and some good stock you put by for this kind of occasion, you're made!
Curries. Whatever you have in a tin can be curried. Or this is maybe the way to use up your veg. Or leftovers. If you understand curry spices, go for it. If not, use ready-mix curry powder. Dried coconut, yoghurt, banana flakes, sultanas, all add to the flavour and help vary your dishes.
Chinese. If you've got soy sauce and some sesame oil you can make anything taste Chinese. Specially if you have five spice powder, ginger and garlic.

Seriously - take a good look around your kitchen and see what you have. We had tapas-style dinner yesterday so there were a few bits and pieces in the fridge that I've whizzed up together today into a pan of soup. The stewed peppers have given flavour and the leftover potato salad made it thick. There's some ciabatta that's going a bit dry today, but it'll make great garlic bread. If I make that into cheesy garlic bread it's almost a meal in itself.

Buon appetito!

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