Flexible cooking: Cupboard clearing flapjacks

Flexible cooking: Cupboard clearing flapjacks

Flexible flapjacks

My good friend Emily knows this: flapjacks are the cure-all for hungry people who want something sweet and have loads of random packets of ‘stuff’ to use up. Flapjacks are a fun, simple recipe to make with small people, and it gives the opportunity to talk about why we need to be careful to not waste food, why it’s fun to adapt a recipe to the ingredients you have on hand.

When I went through a phase of buying a lot of rolled grains, I would bake and my flapjacks would fail – too crumbly, not chewy. I wanted a flapjack, not a tray of granola. It took me so long to learn the correct ratio for a flapjack that could use up oats, jumbo oats, other grains, random dried fruits, seeds…

So, I present to you the Flexible Flapjack recipe. Stick to these amounts, and add in sultanas and dried figs, half a bar of chocolate and some flaked almonds. It doesn’t matter what you’ve got, just enjoy stirring in a few leftover cornflakes, a couple of walnuts, and take pride in knowing your teatime treat is avoiding food waste and helping our precious climate.

Two suggestions:

  1. If you’re using nuts, toast them in the oven as it warms up. You’ll achieve a much better, more rounded and deeper flavour
  2. Also as the oven warms, melt the butter in the butter, using the heat being generated

 

Ratio: Flapjacks

Want to clear out those bits and bobs of cereal, dried fruit, nuts?
Course: Snack
Keyword: cheap recipies, family recipies
Servings: 16 flapjacks
Author: Ann Storr

Equipment

  • Measuring spoons
  • Scales
  • Large saucepan
  • Square baking tin
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Wooden spoon
  • Optional: baking tray if toasting nuts
  • Optional: sharp knife & chopping board, if you're chopping nuts/large pieces of dried fruit/chocolate

Ingredients

  • 300 grams rolled porridge oats Don't use all jumbo oats; maximum 100 grams jumbo
  • 100 grams nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate, handfuls of leftover cereal... If you have 150 grams of little bits and bobs to use up, do use them, but then decrease the amount of oats in the mixture
  • 75 grams sugar caster, soft brown – whatever
  • 150 grams golden syrup
  • 200 grams unsalted butter/vegan equivalent + a little more for greasing
  • Good pinch of salt

Instructions

  • Line your baking tin with greaseproof paper and turn your oven to 180°C.
  • Whilst the oven is warming, place the butter in the oven proof dish and melt as the oven warms; when the butter is liquid, golden syrup and sugar together and stir until fully combined. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
  • If you are using any nuts, place them on a baking tray and toast in the warming oven for around 10 minutes. If you're using any whole nuts, chop them into smaller pieces once roasted. If using, chop any large fruits (e.g., figs, dates, glace cherries) or chunks of chocolate into smaller pieces.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the wet. Stir well, making sure that every little oat is drenched in syrup
  • Pat the flapjacks into the corners of the pan and a flat top but not too firmly – you’ll never get them out!
  • Bake for about 25 minutes until bubbling and golden
  • Leave to cool in the tin, and cut into squares

Storage

  • Keep in a lidded, airtight container for up to a week. If they last that long. (They might last longer than a week but they’ll go stale)

 

Holidays

Holidays

StorrCupboard is going on hols. That’s right. First proper holiday in 3 years.

 

There are some big changes coming and to get those down, I’m taking it slower over the hols. Keep checking in, there will be tips and tricks on Instagram, but I’m not going anywhere. I’m still around for questions, questionable Insta stories and nonsense.

 

See you back for new term new year vibez.

 

Ratio: Pasta with pork & greens

Ratio: Pasta with pork & greens

Ratio Cooking: Pasta with Pork & Greens

Pork and greens is a classic combo; the fatty sweetness of the pork and earthy bitterness of greens means all cultures are loving it.
This recipe is based around chorizo and courgette, but feel free to substitute any broccoli and ham that could be sitting around, or a couple of sausages and some greens. Remember, this is getting a good ratio of pasta, meat and veg, not seeing perfection, and using what’s in the fridge to be your relay race cooking inspiration.

Pasta with pork & greens

Got a little meat, a little veg and not sure what to do? read on...
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cheap recipies, family recipies
Servings: 4 people
Author: Ann Storr

Equipment

  • Knife and chopping board
  • Large frying pan
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Heat proof jug or just a mug
  • Colander/sieve
  • Optional: garlic crusher/microplane

Ingredients

  • around 100 grams cooking chorizo
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 200 grams pasta
  • salt & pepper
  • cheese to serve

Instructions

  • Dice the chorizo and courgette into 5mm cubes. Place the chorizo in the cold frying pan and leave the courgettes to one side. Turn the heat to medium, so that the chorizo cooks in its own, delicious, fat.
  • Once the chorizo is crispy, remove and put to one side. Add at least one tablespoon of oil (any will do, including any leftover pork fat you might have from a roast). Put the diced courgette into the pan and cook slowly.
  • With the courgettes in the pan, put your pasta on to cook. Put the timer on for 4 minutes fewer than the packet cooking time.
  • Before you strain the pasta, dip the jug or mug into the pot and save at least 50ml of pasta water. Then strain away.
  • When your courgettes are soft, chop/crush/grate your garlic. Turn the heat up a little, and stir the garlic through for a minute, until you can smell it. Return the chorizo to the pan, and then pour the pasta into the pan.
  • Stir everything round, and splash on a little pasta water to help to combine everything (this is why you undercooked the pasta). Taste, season, and add a drop more water if you like.
  • Serve.

Storage

  • Any leftover pasta can be kept in a lidded container for up to 5 days. If the meat has now been cooked twice, I would play safe and get it all eaten up with this dish.
  • You could freeze any leftovers, and make a simple pasta bake by pouring some white sauce over and baking from frozen.

Ratio: Pasta with pork & greens

Ratio: Pasta with pork & greens

Ratio Cooking: Pasta with Pork & Greens

Pork and greens is a classic combo; the fatty sweetness of the pork and earthy bitterness of greens means all cultures are loving it.
This recipe is based around chorizo and courgette, but feel free to substitute any broccoli and ham that could be sitting around, or a couple of sausages and some greens. Remember, this is getting a good ratio of pasta, meat and veg, not seeing perfection, and using what’s in the fridge to be your relay race cooking inspiration.

Pasta with pork & greens

Got a little meat, a little veg and not sure what to do? read on...
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cheap recipies, family recipies
Servings: 4 people
Author: Ann Storr

Equipment

  • Knife and chopping board
  • Large frying pan
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Heat proof jug or just a mug
  • Colander/sieve
  • Optional: garlic crusher/microplane

Ingredients

  • around 100 grams cooking chorizo
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 courgette
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 200 grams pasta
  • salt & pepper
  • cheese to serve

Instructions

  • Dice the chorizo and courgette into 5mm cubes. Place the chorizo in the cold frying pan and leave the courgettes to one side. Turn the heat to medium, so that the chorizo cooks in its own, delicious, fat.
  • Once the chorizo is crispy, remove and put to one side. Add at least one tablespoon of oil (any will do, including any leftover pork fat you might have from a roast). Put the diced courgette into the pan and cook slowly.
  • With the courgettes in the pan, put your pasta on to cook. Put the timer on for 4 minutes fewer than the packet cooking time.
  • Before you strain the pasta, dip the jug or mug into the pot and save at least 50ml of pasta water. Then strain away.
  • When your courgettes are soft, chop/crush/grate your garlic. Turn the heat up a little, and stir the garlic through for a minute, until you can smell it. Return the chorizo to the pan, and then pour the pasta into the pan.
  • Stir everything round, and splash on a little pasta water to help to combine everything (this is why you undercooked the pasta). Taste, season, and add a drop more water if you like.
  • Serve.

Storage

  • Any leftover pasta can be kept in a lidded container for up to 5 days. If the meat has now been cooked twice, I would play safe and get it all eaten up with this dish.
  • You could freeze any leftovers, and make a simple pasta bake by pouring some white sauce over and baking from frozen.

Ratio: Cauliflower Cheese

Ratio: Cauliflower Cheese

Knowing how to make a basic white sauce is one of the world’s best things. It’s cheap when you know how to make it for yourself. It’s full of goodness and can be used to stretch other food nice and far. Most Brits love a cauliflower cheese, but of course you can shove any veg in there; broccoli, roasted leftover veg and of course, pasta.

My mum used to make cauliflower cheese into a meal for 6 by piping finely milled mashed potato around the inside of an oven proof dish; my dad loves whole tinned tomatoes in the middle. Topped with breadcrumbs and baked for 20 minutes, please can I suggest you try this? It’s frugal, and delicious.

Top tips for cheese sauce:

  1. If you have rinds from your ‘parmesan’, use them to flavour the milk that you’ll be using. This means you’re using less cheese in the final dish, and making the most of the flavour from the cheese. I use mine at least twice, and then the dog has a lovely chew toy… instructions here.
  2. Never walk away from the pan. Ever. It could burn on the base, boil over, set into a thick lump… more trouble than its worth
  3. If you have a balloon whisk, use it! It’s much more effective than a wooden spoon.

You can bake the dish without par-boiling the cauliflower. If the oven is already on, then go for it. But, that is a lot of electricity for one meal if you’re only cooking the one dish! If baking with the cauliflower from raw, bake for about 40 minutes.

 

Cauliflower Cheese with mash & tomatoes

Serves 4, heartily

Equipment

  • Colander
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Optional: pan and steamer
  • Saucepan
  • Balloon whisk
  • Scales
  • Serving bowl
  • Heatproof jug
  • Ovenproof dish

Ingredients

  • 700 grams floury potatoes such as white/red/King Edwards/Maris pipers
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 50 ml milk

For the cheese sauce

  • 500 ml milk
  • Aromatics – all optional but all lovely: freshly ground nutmeg, parsley stalks, leek tops/half an onion, parmesan rind
  • Salt & pepper
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 90 grams plain flour
  • Around 100 grams strong cheese – whatever you like including cheddar, parmesan, blue cheese, even emmental, gouda – this is a great way to clear the fridge
  • 1 teaspoon mustard

Instructions

Method

  • Turn the oven to 180C
  • Make the mash: peel the potatoes, and steam/boil/microwave in salted water until cooked through
  • Once they are cooked through, mash with plenty of butter, and season. Really make sure there are no lumps (Only add enough milk to make the mash the right consistency for you; you can use more if you like). If you have a potato ricer or mouli, this is the time to break it out – you want a really creamy mashed potato. No lumps thanks.
  • Steam/boil the cauliflower for 10 minutes/microwave for about 3, so it's halfway cooked

Make white sauce

  • Strain any aromatics from your milk
  • Place a saucepan on the hob and melt the butter
  • Add the flour and, using the balloon whisk or a fork, mix the flour in
  • Splash in about 50ml of the milk and make a thick paste
  • Keep on adding around 50ml of milk, whisking until all the flour/butter mixture is combined
  • Bring gently to the boil and, once it’s popping gently, turn the heat down and stir occasionally for 5 minutes
  • Add in the cheese/cheeses and mustard (if using), and mix the half-cooked cauli and cheese sauce together.

Assemble the dish

  • Squash the mash around the edge of your oven-proof dish
  • Next, pour in the cauliflower cheese
  • If using the tomatoes, make a well in the middle and use a spoon to place the tomatoes in. Keep the leftover sauce to add to a tomato sauce.
  • Cover with a thin layer of breadcrumbs and grated cheese

NOTE – if freezing the whole dish, leave it to cool, cover, label then freeze

  • Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked through & the sauce is bubbling

Storage/further meals

  • If you’re not planning to eat this dish within 3 days I’d play it safe and pop it in the freezer

How to make your own white sauce

How to make your own white sauce

How to: make your own white sauce

Making a white sauce can seem like a waste of time when you can buy a jar. But making your own is cheaper, is fresher and I be more delicious. If you are buying your milk in reusable glass bottles, and if you can get flour from a refill shop, then the packaging waste is minimal (just the butter!).
Making your own white (or cheese) sauce also lets you use up bits and bobs to make your sauce more delicious: cheese rinds, parsley stalks and leek tops are just some of the aromatics that can give your white sauce a sweetness and depth that can’t be replicated from a jar.
Once you’ve got your white sauce, use it in cauliflower cheese, lasagne, pasta bakes and more. It will freeze well, so it’s a great way of using up leftover milk before it goes off. Busting food waste and making something creamy to inspire the next meal, the StorrCupboard way.

White sauce

Make white sauce or cheese sauce - make it extra delicious by using your kitchen leftovers
Prep Time5 hrs
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: cheap recipies, eating on a budget, no food waste
Servings: 4 adults
Author: Ann Storr

Equipment

  • Saucepan with lid
  • Colander
  • Balloon whisk
  • Scales
  • Sharp knife (if using nutmeg)

Ingredients

  • 500 ml milk
  • Aromatics – all optional but all lovely: freshly ground nutmeg, parsley stalks, leek tops/half an onion, parmesan rind
  • Salt & pepper
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 90 grams plain flour
  • For cheese sauce: around 100 grams strong cheese – whatever you like including cheddar, parmesan, blue cheese, even emmental, gouda – this is a great way to clear the fridge
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard optional

Instructions

Prep

  • Place the milk in a saucepan with any aromatics. Gently heat until about blood temperature and then leave for at least 5 minutes or up to a day.
  • Remove any onion flavourings after half an hour, but leave any bay leaves/cheese rinds until you are ready to cook.

Cooking the white sauce

  • Take a jug or bowl, place the colander/sieve on top. Strain any aromatics from your milk into the jug. Discard any lay leaves/leek tops. You can re-use the cheese rind, just rinse and keep in the fridge.
  • Place a saucepan on the hob and melt the butter
  • Add the flour and, using the balloon whisk or a fork, mix the flour in
  • Splash in about 50ml of the milk and make a thick paste
  • Keep on adding around 50ml of milk, whisking until all the flour/butter mixture is combined
  • Bring gently to the boil and, once it’s popping gently, turn the heat down and stir occasionally for 5 minutes
  • Add in the cheese/cheeses and mustard (if using)

Useage

  • You can use in a lasagne, pasta bake or cauliflower cheese

Storage

  • Store in a lidded container, for up to a week in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. If using from cold, you will need to warm the sauce up and give it a good stir to remove any lumps that have settled.

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