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What lurks, unused, in the back of your food cupboard? Share ideas to use them up

(112 Posts)
Selks Thu 23-Jan-14 12:08:14

I've had a clear out of my kitchen cupboards and have discovered a few items I bought with good intentions, used once, and have languished ever since, forgotten and unloved, at the back of my cupboard.

I thought it might be inspiring if we can share what is sitting unused in our cupboard, and swap ideas for how they can be used?? (If that makes sense? grin)

So for mine, I have -
a bag of quinoa
a bottle of chinese chinkiang vinegar
A bag of pearl barley

Any suggestions for these?

What lurks in your cupboard that you'd like inspiration for?

VoldysGoneMouldy Thu 23-Jan-14 12:13:01

Quinoa goes with everything. Especially salmon. Nom.

I have no idea about the viniger but am intrigued to know more!

Barley always says "stew" to me.

Can I come to yours for dinner? grin grin

I have tinned potatoes - I don't know why I have these, they're gross - and a jar of curry sauce I moved in with... Three years ago.

Selks Thu 23-Jan-14 12:18:52

I confess I haven't actually opened the quinoa blush. Is it actually nice? Would you use it in the same way as rice, for example?

Tinned potatoes..hmm difficult one grin.....how about using them up in bombay potatoes - I'm thinking that would disguise their 'tinned-ness' somewhat!

poopooheadwillyfatface Thu 23-Jan-14 12:33:15

I like tinned potatoesblush esp with steak pie or made into a bastardised version of frittata

LittleBabyPigsus Thu 23-Jan-14 12:34:55

A Girl Called Jack has a lot of tinned potato recipes.

Barley makes a good risotto.

Selks Thu 23-Jan-14 12:41:47

Risotto, eh? Interesting.

ChablisChic Thu 23-Jan-14 12:45:56

We're having aubergines stuffed with quinoa, nuts and feta tonight. I usually use it as a salad, mixed with roasted veg.

Pearl barley I use to bulk up soups into a main meal.

Tinned potatoes on the other hand .... confused

Pantah630 Thu 23-Jan-14 12:47:33

Fuchsia Dunlop does a great sweet and sour courgette recipe that uses the vinegar, also gong bao chicken from the same book, Every Grain of a Rice. They're very tasty, can probably find recipes on google books.

PavlovtheCat Thu 23-Jan-14 12:47:51

pinto beans
dried green lentils
pasta n sauce

tinned potatoes make fabulous saag aloo or other potato curry as they are waxy.

marzipanned Thu 23-Jan-14 13:00:24

Quinoa is great, if you don't feel like experimenting then, sure, just use it where you'd otherwise use rice. Agree with barley risotto. Delicious.

Am guessing the vinegar could be used in a stir fry?

Pinto beans - make refried beans and have a taco night.

I have: Masa (tried to make my own tacos once and it was a complete fail, can I use it for anything else?)
Umeboshi puree

Selks Thu 23-Jan-14 13:04:32

Green lentils make a great shepherds pie, if cooked up with tinned tomatoes, sauteed diced onion and carrot, and savoury flavourings such as marmite, soy or stock...top with cheesy mash and bake.

You need a large squash or pumpkin but with the first half of barley I would make a north African style barley and squash stew.
The next day I would make a roasted squash, chilli, and feta quinoa salad with half your quinoa
Then buy some chicken for Fiona Dunlop gong bao chicken (the vinegar)
And then a chicken and quinoa salad on the fourth day with the rest of the quinoa
last meal would be a barley and veg risotto.

I used out tinned potatoes up yesterday again no idea why we had them, but e had two massive tins of them. get a pack of bacon lardons, finely slice two onions, sauté hem until bacon almost cooked and onions are soft, slice the potatoes and add them to the pan with some butter or olive oil, I added paprika and chilli to liven them up, cooked them in the wok. They were quite tasty but not sure I would go out of my way to buy tinned potatoes again.

marzipanned Thu 23-Jan-14 13:10:19

Dontletthemgetyoudown's idea has just made me think that tinned potatoes could probably be used in tartiflette. Dish of the gods, if you are a fan of bacon, cream and cheese.

DatsunCogs Thu 23-Jan-14 13:13:53

I love these ideas! I have:
Chestnut purée
Anchovy paste
Dried small beans with a black spot on them...no idea what they are as I have lost the packet!

I was thinking Spanish omelette with the tinned potatoes

Rattitude Thu 23-Jan-14 13:16:58

I have a bag of quinoa and a bag of polenta. I have never really been successful when attempting to use either.

As anybody got any recipe/instructions for cooking either?

marzipanned Thu 23-Jan-14 13:18:09

Datsun I just mix chestnut puree into plain yogurt and have with fruit - not sure if that sort of thing appeals to you though!

Anchovy paste - can be used to add an extra 'layer' of flavour to any meat dishes e.g. squeeze some in your bolognese or other mince when softening onions at beginning. Really good as a marinade for lamb smashed up with garlic and rosemary. Or make a puttanesca sauce for pasta.

For the beans I will once again suggest refried beans (oh how I love refried beans) or you could make any generic hearty soup/stew and bulk it out with the beans.

marzipanned Thu 23-Jan-14 13:19:48

Oh dear me again sad

BEST thing with polenta = polenta chips.

Make up according to instructions on the packet , which will give you soft polenta. Then pour the soft polenta into a baking tray or similar which you have lined with greaseproof paper and allow to harden.

Cut into chip shapes and either roast at high temp, with plenty of olive oil, S&P or shallow fry.

DH hates soft polenta (I love it) but will consume mounds of these.

LittleBabyPigsus Thu 23-Jan-14 13:23:47

Is the chestnut puree sweetened? If so, mix with melted chocolate for chestnut nutella! Tbh you could probably do this with unsweetened too.

Also Fuchsia Dunlop's books are wonderful, get them even if you don't use the vinegar.

Crowler Thu 23-Jan-14 13:25:56

I cooked barley with sausages/parsley/parmesan/garlic over the weekend. It was a big hit.

Crowler Thu 23-Jan-14 13:26:33

Polenta chips sound interesting, but rather time consuming!

DatsunCogs Thu 23-Jan-14 13:45:16

Mmm chestnut Nutella, I like it! Good ideas about the anchovy paste too, I had used it as if it were pesto...not great

lucysmam Thu 23-Jan-14 13:50:03

sushi rice, seaweed and rice vinegar...dd1 tried it once & decided she doesn't like it & I just haven't bothered since confused

There is more randomness but dd2 apparently can't take herself to the loo today hmm

marzipanned Thu 23-Jan-14 14:00:49

Chestnut nutella is a brilliant idea.

The only time consuming bit of the polenta chips is waiting for the soft polenta to harden, but you don't need to hang around for that part. You could make the soft polenta one evening and then leave it sitting out until the next day.

Making soft polenta - 10-15 mins
Cutting into chip shapes - 5 mins?
Roasting/frying - 10-20 mins, but unattended if roasting

marzipanned Thu 23-Jan-14 14:02:02

Oh Lucysmam we also have a bag of sushi rice. I snack on the seaweed and use rice vinegar for stir fries so that disappears quite quickly, but the rice is sitting there taunting me smile

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