Sunday, 14 June 2009

Storecupboard standbys

This month I have mostly been; broke. For some reason there just seemed to be too much month at the end of my money. So I've been eating my way through my storecupboard, glad that I have a few meals that I can knock up from tins and other goodies stashed away in the pantry. I say pantry, really I mean big cupboard that my flatmate and I each have a shelf in, but after all - this blog says I have one, so I have renamed it 'The Pantry'

Reverting to my student standbys is always a good way to extend the month/ money ratio, and this pasta dish is actually still tasty whilst being concocted from things that lurk at the back of my fridge and cupboards.

Pantry Pasta (serves 2)

1 clove garlic
1 chilli (or equivalent storecupboard ingredient - my flatmate's mum gives us bags from her chilli plants that we freeze. The chillis not the plants)
1 tin anchovies in olive oil
150g pasta (I use wholemeal penne)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon red (tomato) pesto

Put the water on to boil for your pasta, add salt. Cook pasta as per packet instructions - 5 minutes before it's done, get another pan out and do the following:

Open your tin of anchovies, drain the olive oil into your pan, warm through and add your chopped chilli and crushed/ chopped garlic. Let this sizzle for a minute or so then add the anchovies. Let these melt down into a sort of grey mush (attractive huh?) and then add your tomato puree and red pesto. (If you have any fresh tomatoes lying around, feel free to chop a couple up and add them now) Cook for about 4-5 minutes then add your cooked, drained pasta to the pan. Stir the sauce through so that it coats the pasta. Serve (if it's not the end of the month add wine).

Unsurprisingly by slightly nearer the end of the month (baked potatoes with beans and cheese) I was missing treats, so found a packet of puff pastry in the freezer and decided to experiment with eccles cakes.

I used a Delia recipe for these, but made them a lot bigger, as her suggestion for size was quite frankly, pants.

75g butter
150g soft brown sugar (I used golden caster sugar)
150g currants
1 teaspoon cinammon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Grated rind of 1 large orange
50g mixed peel

Given that mixed peel is up there with aubergines and macaroni cheese on my Things I don't eat list. I was slightly trepidatious of adding it. But for one reason and another I do trust Ms Smith, so went ahead and was pleased to note it didn't render the eccles cakes inedible at all.

Melt the butter and the sugar together in a pan. Add this to the fruit and spices in a mixing bowl. I let it cool whilst I rolled out puff pastry so it was really thin (at most I'd say half a centimetre thick) and then started using a cookie cutter the size Delia suggested. On seeing that I could get about half a teaspoon of filling in that, I quickly abandoned those and started cutting out pudding bowl rounds of pastry which worked far better. I put a good dessertspoon of filling in the middle of the round, brushed the outside edge with milk, folded the pastry in half so that I had a semi circle and then brought each corner in to the middle, turned the eccles cake upside down and made the customary 3 slits with my knife. The cakes were then brushed with milk and cooked in the oven at 220 degrees C for 15 minutes.

Fantastic, and as I had all the ingredients; bargainous. Next time I would freeze them before cooking so that I could take one out as needed between then and payday. Sadly these were snaffled by colleagues and flatmate as otherwise they would have gone stale. Lesson learned.

Thankfully it's payday tomorrow so wine and foodstuffs will be mine. Tonight. Scrambled eggs on toast.


Anonymous said...

We do a similar pasta dish and have coincidentally just decided to put it on this week's menu.

The eccles cakes look good, am glad you over-ruled Delia and her stupid portion sizing!

Penelope said...

It was really random, the eccles cakes ended up the size of a 50p piece, I would have included one for scale but thought people might laugh.

The pasta dish is yummy and so quick too. I think it's the anchovies, but there's something really satisfyingly savoury about it.

hungryandfrozen said...

I have the same shelf-splitting situation at my flat :) this pasta sounds delicious. When I have nothing to eat, pasta with 'something' is always there. When I'm out of pasta, it's really disastrous!

Cute eccles cakes! I'm all about upsizing if possible (apart from Nigella, whose portion sizes I trust)


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