Monday, 29 August 2011
How not to waste open jars and packets
One of the main things that stops me - and I guess you - being frugal is the tendency to use an ingredient for a single recipe then fail to use the rest of it. The problem is it requires constant thought - remembering it's in the fridge (or cupboard) and incorporating it into - or even letting it inspire - another meal.
But this week on holiday in France with slightly less on my mind I managed it.
When we arrived at the house we found there wasn't much to go with the sausages we'd picked up at the local shop. We had a tin of haricots blancs, a jar of red peppers, some garlic and a few shallots. I sweated off a couple of the shallots and a clove of garlic, sliced about a third of the peppers and added those to the pan along with the rinsed beans. French tinned beans break down more easily, I find, so you get a kind of rough-textured garlicky purée that's particularly good with sausages. A holiday staple.
The next day I made a piperade (spicy scrambled eggs - above) with another of the shallots, another third of the peppers and a pinch of hot paprika, let it cool slightly then stirred in 5 lightly beaten eggs and scrambled them. You need to cool your pepper mixture first otherwise it turns the eggs an unappealing shade of salmon pink or, worse still, pink and green. Hot peppers and eggs are a great combination.
And the next I concocted an impromptu hors d'oeuvres with hard boiled eggs, sardines, some tapenade toasts (toasted leftover baguette spread with olive paste) and the remaining peppers which finished off the jar.
Part of it I think is being aware you have limited time in a place so you don't want to stock up with a lot of food you can't use. And maybe being too idle to go to the shops in the heat. (Sorry, shouldn't rub it in. It has been gloriously hot and sunny here.)
But it's a good way to eat and use up what you buy.
How good are you at using up leftover ingredients? Any two or three-way recipes you can recommend?