Quick, tasty and cheap eats from the kitchen cupboard

Pancakes
Pancakes - when push comes to shrove
"Pancake Day sees supermarket shelves ransacked as people around the country fry up enormous batches of the delicious golden treats"
  • | by Rachel England

Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day, traditionally saw leftover ingredients – eggs, fat, flour and sugar – used up for a tasty meal prior to the fasting ritual of lent.

While its religious connotations are no longer so widely observed, Pancake Day sees supermarket shelves ransacked as people around the country fry up enormous batches of the delicious golden treats.

In the days of yore, though, people didn’t have a Tesco Express or a Spar around the corner, and relied solely on leftovers to whip up their Shrove Tuesday feasts; nowadays, convenience reigns supreme.

Nonetheless, there are still days when you simply can't be bothered to leave the house to forage for dinner, but instead of reaching for the takeaway menu, have a scour through your kitchen cupboards and in those long-forgotten crevices of the freezer. You’ll be surprised what delicious meals can be rustled up from bits and bobs.

In the spirit of Shrove Tuesday, here are our favourites:

Corn pancakes

A savoury take on the Shrove Tuesday staple. You’ll need:

  • A can of sweetcorn
  •  2 medium eggs
  • 5 tablespoons of milk
  • 25g butter
  •  85g self-raising flour
  • 2 spring onions (finely chopped)
  • Sunflower oil

Whisk the eggs, milk and butter together, then whisk in the flour and a pinch of salt until smooth. Mix in the corn. Add large spoonfuls of the mixture to a very hot pan and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side (as you would with traditional pancakes), until puffed up and golden. Tasty on their own, these can also be served with crispy bacon and grilled tomatoes, if you have them.

Storecupboard rarebit

A snazzy take on regular cheese on toast. You’ll need:

  • 2 slices of bread (the thicker the better)
  • 85g mature cheese ½ small red onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 small tomatoes
  •  1 medium egg

Start by toasting the bread on both sides, then put to one side. Make the mix by combining the cheese, onion, tomato and egg and season with salt and pepper. Divide between the two slices of toast and cover evenly. Grill until golden brown and bubbling.

Rissotto in a rush

A versatile dish that’s great for using leftovers. You’ll need:

  • 70g of rice per person
  • 1 onion Leftover vegetables (almost any will work)
  •  Chicken or turkey meat

Boil the rice for the recommended period while frying the chopped onion, leftover veg and meat (make sure this is cooked properly). Drain the rice and add to the frying ingredients. Combine well, season and serve. Easy!

Soupy pasta bake

Dig out a can of soup to liven up dried pasta. You’ll need

  • A bag of dried pasta
  • Frozen peas
  • Tin of soup (chicken, tomato or mushroom works well) Cheese for covering

 Boil the pasta and peas, drain and add the can of soup. Mix well, then pour into a baking dish. Cover with cheese and cook in the oven until golden brown and crisp on top.

Corned beef hash

A childhood classic that require few ingredients and little effort. You’ll need:

  • 4 potatoes, diced into cubes
  • 1 tin of corned beef 1 onion (thinly chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • Olive oil Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain and set aside.

Fry the onion and garlic on a high heat for 2-3 minutes, then add the potatoes and fry until golden. Crumble in the corned beef, mix together and fry for a minute or two, then grill the mixture until crusty. Serve with bread or a poached egg for a tasty twist.

Super soup

An unbelievably easy and delicious soup, great for cold evenings. You’ll need:

  • 150g red lentils
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  •  1.2 litres of chicken stock

After rinsing the lentils, mix all the ingredients together and simmer for 15 minutes until tender. Add a splash of lemon juice for extra flavour. That’s it. Easy!

Convenient cous cous

The perfect base for leftovers. You’ll need:

  • Cous cous Any leftover veg
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Feta cheese
  • Sultanas

Prepare the cous cous, then fluff together with any bits and pieces you have knocking about (although feta and sultanas will add a more authentic Moroccan flavour), season and serve. It really is that simple.

Vegetable omelette

Jazz up the traditional omelette with some from-the-fridge veg. You’ll need:

  • 1 courgette / sweet potato / aubergine / similar
  • 4 eggs
  •  Frozen peas
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Olive oil

Slice the vegetable and fry gently on a high heat until golden. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a bowl and add a little salt. Add the peas to the vegetable pan, then pour in the eggs and sprinkle with cheese. Turn the heat down low and cook for around 10 minutes until the egg has almost set, then grill in the pan until the egg has completely set. Place a cutting board or plate over the pan, flip and serve.

Rice Krispie cakes

Okay, not a ‘meal’ per se, but an easy treat nonetheless. You’ll need:

  • Rice Krispies
  •  4 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 large bar of chocolate

Melt the syrup, sugar and butter in a pan, then add the Krispies. Mix well, pour into a greased and lined baking tin, and cover in melted chocolate. Slice into squares and put in the fridge to set.