Bargain Basement Cooking!
Today’s challenge has been to make a meal with food found in the clearance sections at the supermarket. I didn’t have the time to go out and do the foraging myself so I sent my other half on a bargain hunting mission at one of our local supermarkets. And this is what he returned with…
There was a pack of stir fry veg, some extra mange tout, some fresh chillies and a tub of pineapple chunks. Well stir fry was obviously the way to go. I had a pack of ready cooked rice in the cupboard and few mushrooms that were on their way to the compost if I didn’t use them up so I threw them into the mix too. I normally would have some sort of tofu dish with stir fry but as there wasn’t any in the fridge, I used a can of chickpeas instead.
To get some flavour into the chickpeas, I tossed them in a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce and then put them on a lined baking tray and baked them in the oven for about 15mins. Whilst they cooked, I fried a thinly sliced onion and one of the chillies finely chopped in a teaspoon of sesame oil. Once they began to cook, I added some pieces of the pineapple cut into small cubes and stirred for a few minutes, then added the cooked rice and finally the chickpeas.
In another pan, I stir fried the veggies with some Chinese five spice powder.
And ta-da! Bargain basement dinner done. In less than 30 minutes too!
I love cookbooks. I have been collecting them for nearly 40 years and must have 100 or so by now. I bought my first cookbooks when I was still in primary school. They were called ‘Fun Food Feasts’ and ‘Cooking Is A Game You Can Eat.’ The originals got lost along the way but about 15 years ago, I found second hand copies online and replaced them. That’s how much I love my cookbooks. So cooking a recipe from one of my favourite, most inspirational cookbooks was something I was really looking forward to. It was quite hard to choose a favourite as I love different books for different reasons. In the end I went with Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s ‘Appetite For Reduction.’
Isa is another of my top vegan cookery writers. I chose this book of hers in particular because the recipes are easy to follow, the ingredients are fairly easy to come by even here in the UK and although it is a book designed with health in mind, at no point do you feel you are being preached at. Her humour and earthiness make cooking healthy vegan food so much more approachable. These are certainly qualities that influenced me when I decided to write this blog. As vegans we sometimes get cast as humourless, worthy do-gooders out to spoil the fun so anything or anyone that can break those horrible stereotypes is a good thing.
I’ve cooked many recipes from this book but the Caribbean Curry Black Eyed Peas is one I cook the most. It takes about 20-30 minutes to make and you can easily increase the amount if cooking for more people. It also is one of those dishes that taste better the next day so ideal for making ahead or having leftovers.
Isa has the bean curry served with steamed plantains and rice. Here where I live in Essex plantains are little more difficult to come by so this time I served it with roasted sweet potatoes and we also had some kale in the fridge so that got stir fried with some chilli flakes and garlic to serve on the side. If you want to try this one out here is a link to Isa’s Post Punk Kitchen site where you can find the recipe: