Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Eating all the food

I randomly started sorting out the big cupboard that I keep most of my food in last week. Can't remember now why I started. I moved a couple of things around to try and be able to even see what was in there. It is now almost a year since I moved here and that big cupboard kind of became the place to just put stuff into because it was too big to wait until I had figured it out - I just needed the space.

It's three shelves worth of deep cupboard on top of the fridge. So it's as deep a the fridge and goes from the top of the fridge (almost shoulder height on me) up to the ceiling. Since I'm tall I can still reach stuff on the top shelf but to get to things at the very back of the top shelf, I do need to stand on a chair. I have a few things stored elsewhere in the kitchen that don't need to be used very often and I'll move them into that space at some stage. For the moment I'm not baking very much either so the mixing bowls are fine up there.
What I was mostly sorting last week was the bottom shelf. I didn't even sort, really, just looked at everything that was there and checked dates. I think that I've become very conscious of the fact that since I've been here a year now, anything in the cupboard that I know I brought with me has been there for a year.

There was one packet of sauerkraut that was already slightly out of date when I moved, for example. I knew that and should have made sure to eat it fairly promptly after the move but I didn't. Just haven't been able to get enthusiastic about sauerkraut for the longest time. So out it went and I found one or two other things that aren't far off their best before dates that I will need to keep an eye on and use up soon. Quite apart from that, however, I realised that because the cupboard is so deep, there is actually a sizeable amount of food in it. I have therefore declared May to be an eating from the storecupboard month. Well, I was thinking about doing that and then yesterday (a bank holiday here), I was sitting on the couch, hungry, not in the mood for the effort of trying to come up with a meal, contemplating ordering a takeaway and realised how silly I was being.

Since I had just looked through the cupboard last week, I knew there was a box of Bratlinge in there and I decided I'd better give them a go before they became one of those bought the box to try and never actually got around to it things. I've eaten these before at a friend's house but had never made them myself and it was so easy. I actually tried looking up recipes afterwards to see if it would be easy to make a homemade, rather than a boxed version, but it seems like Bratlinge is also used as a kind of a catch-all word for any non-meat burgers.

So, for example, the kidney bean, carrot and cumin burgers I often make wouldn't be called burgers in German, they'd be Bratlinge. I vaguely remember a time when vegetarian food was a bit strange and you'd hear people talking about nut cutlets. I think these days burger tends to just get used for anything burger-shaped, regardless of whether it's meat or not. These Bratlinge were of the spelt and oat variety, just a box that was on special offer one week at Aldi. You just add a small amount of boiling water to the contents of the pouch, stir well and leave it to sit for ten minutes. Then you can form the mixture into burger shapes and fry them for four minutes on each side. Really easy and really delicious, too. I also cooked some rice and warmed up a pouch of red cabbage with apple. Very filling dinner for not a whole lot of effort. And all from the storecupboard. I'm going to try and keep that up for the rest of the month, or until the food runs out. Honestly, I think the month will run out before the food does, though. I'm planning on only buying fresh fruit and veg, and probably eggs and milk at some stage. Today that meant a head of lettuce, an onion and a bunch of enormous scallions.

I wasn't quite organised this morning so I did buy a falafel wrap for lunch. But when I got in the door this evening, instead of just sitting down, which I really wanted to do, I went straight into the kitchen. I finished off the last of a jar of olives to keep the hunger at bay while I was cooking. I say cooking but there wasn't much of it. I put pasta into my Tupperware poacher thing and while that was "cooking" mixed up some stuff to eat with it. To start with, a small tin of sardines (I don't even particularly like sardines, why do I have five tins of 'em?), I just tipped the whole lot into a bowl, oil and all, since I figured otherwise the pasta might be a bit dry. I chopped up one of the giant scallions and added that, along with a couple of dried tomatoes from a jar of semi-dried tomatoes in oil. Added some dried basil and oregano and then remembered I had ordinary dried tomatoes in the cupboard as well. So I soaked a couple of those in water, chopped them and added them as well. Finally, I chopped up the feta that was in the fridge and which should, according to the package, have been used by last Sunday. I'm not a stickler for dates on packages but feta is definitely one thing I have found to rarely last much longer than the package states. So I used half of it this evening, and have the rest of it for lunch tomorrow. With all of that my bowl was already full and when I added the pasta, it made for a huge dinner.

While I was waiting for the pasta I also washed the salad I bought earlier and put some of it directly into a separate bowl to take with me to work for lunch tomorrow. Made up a quick dressing using mustard, oil, and pomegranate molasses, and then chopped up another giant scallion and a couple of semi-dried tomatoes to go with the feta. I'll add all of that to the salad leaves just before I eat tomorrow. Not sure yet what to do for dinner tomorrow but I do still have some soup in the freezer and it would probably be a good idea to eat that before warm weather hits and soup is the last thing I'll be interested in eating.

Tonight's dinner on the left before I added pasta. On the right is
stuff to add to salad leaves for tomorrow's lunch.

I think I'll take and post photos of some of the meals I come up with this month. You'll have to forgive the terrible quality in advance. There is no natural light in my kitchen and I know myself I'd get frustrated with running through the apartment to get outside for a photo on the balcony and then back to the kitchen every single time. 

1 comment:

Jane said...

I think that's a very creative and frugal way to cover your food needs for the month. I moved my food staples out of my pantry and put them on a shelf in the kitchen. Every time I'm in the kitchen I can see exactly what I have on hand and now that is far less then when I kept it in the dark deep pantry. Occasionally I use up the contents of my freezer as i put leftover soup, stews and chilli in there and forget about it. Those bits and bobs really help out when I feel too tired/lazy? to cook a regular meal.