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

 

Flapjack pictured to describe a variety of ingredient you can add

Ratio: Flapjacks

Ann Storr
Want to clear out those bits and bobs of cereal, dried fruit, nuts?
Course Snack
Servings 16 flapjacks

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)
Keyword cheap recipies, family recipies

 

Mashed potato cakes

Mashed potato cakes

How to use leftover mash to make potato cakes

When I was little, if my mum was boiling potatoes, I’d ask her to do extra. I didn’t see any joy in a boiled potato, (well, unless it counts as a vessel for melted butter). But, I knew that too many boiled potatoes meant leftover potatoes and that meant Welsh potato cakes.

I think, when I went to uni, one of my godmothers gave me one of those cookbooks that you write in. The first recipe I called home for was the potato cake. All best writing in the cookbook; almost 20 years on and now it’s all scribbles of recipes that I’ve written here and there; a cut-out of the first recipe my ex and I fell in love with, and over; his mum’s chocolate cake (“butter or margerine”), when I made a turnip curry and that was, genuinely, nice enough to write down.

By total fluke, my dad decided to make these recently. He’d never known about mum’s recipe, and found on online. His recipe was to pan fry, which I did using dripping from their pot. I found it harder to get the crust that I love, so, I prefer to stick with baking.

I love these. They are utterly special to me.

Leftover Mash Potato Cakes

Serves 4

Ingredients

225 leftover mash
100 grams plain flour + more for dusting
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 egg
Milk – around 50ml but how much you need depends on your mash – this needs to feel quite firm but not rigid
1/2 tbsp sugar *
Pinch salt

* optional; it’s in the original, and how I like the taste,but feel free to leave out if you prefer.

Tools

Essential

Scales
Mixing bowls, small and large
Sieve
Fork (to whisk eggs)
Potato masher
Wooden spoon
Baking tray(s)
Silicone scraper
Large kitchen knife
Cooling rack

Helpful

Measuring teaspoons

Time

20m prep
20-25m to bake

Prep

Dust the baking sheet lightly with flour
Place butter in an ovenproof dish and melt in the heating oven (PUT A TIMER ON!) OR// melt in a saucepan on the hob
Lightly beat egg
Turn oven to 220 degrees
In a small bowl, mix flour(s), baking powder and salt together
Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto a baking tray.

Method

Mash all your leftover roots with potato masher until combined and smooth
Sift the flour mixture over the mashed veg
Use wooden spoon to mix them together
Add in egg, stir to combine
Pour over melted butter and combine
Flour a work surface and scoop the dough out
Using a rolling pin or patting with your hands (less washing up…), roll the dough until it’s about 3cm thick
Either way, pat the dough into a circle
Take a sharp knife, cut the dough half, and then quarters. Cut into halves again – you should have 8 triangles
Place a little flour onto your fish slice thing and gently move each cake onto the tray
When all the cakes are on the tray(s), put in the oven and bake for about 20m
They are cooked when puffed up, golden and slightly firm to the touch
Either serve straight away, or leave to cool on a cooling rack, with a knob of butter melting on top

Storage/further meals

Leave to cool and keep in a sealed container in the fridge; if you know you’re unlikely to eat within a couple of days I’d freeze them as I don’t think they keep well
Frozen, you have *months*

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Herby corn bread

Herby corn bread

I love cornbread, corn chips, corn crackers, corn fed chicken and sweetcorn.  Big bowls of polenta (grits) all rich with corn, butter and cheese, topped with heaps of veg or ragu/bolognese.  It’s the warm flavour of corn that does it for me.  So I offer you: herby cornbread.
Cornbread pairs really well with chilli, ribs and barbecue.  It’s also amazing toasted, buttered, and topped with a fried egg. If you’re making lunchbox food, make 12 muffins that you can freeze, and pop out of the freezer straight into a lunchbox as needed.  If you won’t eat the whole loaf in a day or so, get it frozen!  Slice it, freeze it, label it – and, hey!  Maybe breakfast could be cornbread and eggs rather than toast and marmite?  (Though I love toast and marmite tbf).
NOTE: do not use quick cook polenta; it’s milled the wrong way for this.  A bag of cornmeal/polenta will set you back 80p, and it’s amazing in cakes and bread.  If you bake homemade pizza, you can use it to dust the bottom of the tin, so it won’t go to waste.

Herby Cornbread

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Scales
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • Teaspoons
  • Balloon whisk
  • Measuring jug
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Scissors
  • Large loaf tin/7 inch round tin OR 12 pan muffin tin & liners
  • Skewer

Ingredients
  

  • 125 grams plain flour
  • 145 grams course cornmeal/polenta NOT QUICK COOK!
  • 10 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • up to 50 grams mixed fresh herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 225 ml sour cream *
  • 150 ml whole milk *
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil ground nut, sunflower, light olive oil
  • * If you buy a 300ml tub of sour cream and you might not use it all just shove it in and use less milk; if you can only afford/want to get a 150ml tub, then add more. Sure, the consistency will be a little different, but variety is the spice of life, no?

Instructions
 

Prep

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Line your loaf or cake tin with greaseproof paper
  • Finely chop/process your herbs

Method

  • Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, milk and oil
  • Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones using your balloon whisk, mixing until just barely combined
  • Spread the batter in your prepared tin or into the muffin tin and bake for 22 to 25 minutes for bread, around 15 for the muffing
  • A skewer pushed into the middle of the cake should come out clean

Storage

  • Cornbread doesn't keep well so freeze when cool.
Keyword corn bread, lunchboxes, muffins

(Bought too many herbs) cornbread

Based on Smitten Kitchen’s Sourcream cornbread with Aleppo

Makes 1

Ingredients

125 grams plain flour
145 grams course cornmeal/polenta (NOT QUICK COOK!)
10 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
up to 50 grams mixed, fresh herbs
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
225 ml sour cream *
150ml whole milk *
2 tablespoons neutral oil (ground nut, sunflower, light olive oil)

* If you buy a 300ml tub of sour cream and you might not use it all, just shove it in and use less milk; if you can only afford/want to get a 150ml tub, then add more. Sure, the consistency will be a little different, but variety is the spice of life, no?

Tools

Scales
2 mixing bowls
Teaspoons
Balloon whisk
Measuring jug
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Greaseproof paper
Scissors
Large loaf tin/7 inch round tin
Skewer

Time

15-20 minutes to weigh and mix
22-25 minutes to bake
Around 10 minutes to cool before slicing

Prep

Preheat the oven to 180C
Line your loaf or cake tin with greaseproof paper
Finely chop/process your herbs

Method

Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, milk and oil
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones using your balloon whisk, mixing until just barely combined
Spread the batter in your prepared and bake for 22 to 25 minutes
A skewer pushed into the middle of the cake should come out clean

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Bought-too-many-herbs garlic bread

Bought-too-many-herbs garlic bread

“There’s no such thing as too much butter” said a friend to me one boozy evening.  I texted him a picture of the garlic bread I’d just made, after a couple of glasses of pinot.  “Okay”, he said “maybe you have a point”.
Dear leftover lovers I have refined for you my butter to bread ratios, and I bring you a herby garlic butter to make fabulous use of that handful of herbs.
Garlic bread, in its full 80s/90s glory, has to be made with a supermarket baguette, all bleached white.  You need to squash up your garlic for this recipe, so use a crusher or grate it on the ‘thin cheese’ side of your box grater.  You *don’t* want to bite into chunks of garlic (shudder).
Think your kiddos might balk at this amount of greenery in the garlic bread?  Add more butter and garlic so that the ratio is more to their liking.  If you have a food processor, you can cut the herbs teeny tiny, which might help.
Any herb-garlic butter you don’t use now can be wrapped and frozen for another time; you can stir it through pasta, use it in a jacket potato or to melt over a perfectly cooked steak.

(Bought too many herbs) garlic bread

Serves 4

Ingredients

15g herbs (parsley, coriander, chives) after removing stalks
7g garlic (roughly x2 cloves)
75g unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Half a big baguette

Tools

Grater/crusher
Chopping board
Bread knife
Bowl

Time

15 minutes to mix
15 minutes to bake

Prep

Take the butter out of the fridge – if you can, n hour or so before using but even 10 minutes is helpful, but not essential
Turn the oven to 220C

Method

Take your herbs and
EITHER
Gather them into a little bundle and, using your knife, chop them.  As the bundle flattens and spreads, gather it up again and chop again.  And again!
OR – process quickly in a blender/immersion blender so finely chopped but not into a paste
Garlic: either grate it using the thin cheese side of your box grater, or use your garlic crusher, or squash to a paste with the side of your knife
Place the garlic, herbs, butter and salt into a mixing bowl
Get your hands right in there and squish that shit together so you’ve got a nice even mixture
When you’re happy with the mixture, wash your hands!
Take your bread knife and cut slices into the baguette around 2cm wide – like a garlic bread from the supermarket
Take a loaded teaspoon sized scoop of butter and squish it into each cut into the bread
Keep going until the garlic herb butter is evenly spread out
When all the butter has been used, place the bread on a tray and into the oven
Check after 10 minutes; you want the bread to be golden and crunchy, the butter all melted
You might need a little more time; if the top is golden but the butter not melted, just turn the heat off and leave the bread in – the leftover heat will do the job
Eat …. enjoy!

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Manky Melon Salad

Manky Melon Salad

Fruit salad can be another saviour of the sad fruit bowl.  Woolly melon needs disguising guys.  I could have given you a recipe for a Russian chilled melon soup or tart but … but melon recipes always say “you must have the sweetest the best the most flavoursome fruit”.  And we don’t have that, always, do we? We have sad, flavourless fruits that really we want to bin.

 

But we are food waste warriors and we are not about to chuck this food that has taken farmers months to grow, has used petrol and fertilisers to get to us and, quite frankly, your hard earned cash to buy.

 

Sometimes it’s good to hide in plain sight.  So, I mixed my shitty old melon with a lovely, sweet mango. Add loads of grapes and a skinned nectarine (note: eldest child told me the nectarine didn’t work. I disagree. You decide).  Pour over a little apple juice if you like, and maybe serve with ice cream. That’s it.

 

Waste averted, bellies full. Happy days!

 

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

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