Making a meal of it: how to use up cupboard lurkers

Raise your hand if you’ve ever bought some obscure ingredient, trotting round Tesco on your lunch with big plans to be the next Gwyneth as you wow your friends and family with your carb/dairy/refined/nightshade/lampshade-free culinary style and generally breezy wellness … only for the weekend to roll around.

Now, you find yourself consciously uncoupling from, in fact downright ALOLing at your pretentious midweek self as you serve up a giant bowl of pasta as a side to your Friday night glass (bottle) of wine.

It can’t just be us.

My friend Marie is as food-obsessed as us, to the point where we send each other daily emails detailing our next three meals and weekend eating plans. She’s more of a wartime warrior when it comes to cooking style (and a meat-eater), but we often share recipes and ideas and there is some overlap as she’s health conscious and likes trying new things.

A recent email chat with her alerted me to the fact most of us have a cupboard full of lurkers and therefore a multitude of potential meals sitting there waiting to be discovered. Most of the time we probably ignore them and dash to the shop thinking we don’t have anything in.

Lately, an economy drive prompted me to use up all of those weird and wonderful lurkers, to the point where I now have depressingly empty cupboards.

(No joke, I am actually so skint I helped myself to a half empty – or half full, depending on your outlook on life – bag of quinoa when I was at Chaz’s the other Sunday).

It was actually an enjoyable challenge and a good way to shake up the standard repertoire.

In my inherent boringness, I got really excited thinking up recipes Marie could try but lurkers’ potential is in the eye of the beholder, so you may suggest something completely different based on the same set of ingredients.

So in a Masterchef Invention Test style exercise, we decided to upload the contents of Marie’s cupboards, show you a few things we would do with the lurkers and invite you to suggest your own.

As I mentioned, Marie does eat meat and fish, so while I haven’t suggested anything non-veggie please feel free to – I’m sure she will prefer your ideas to mine if you do!

Help Marie #makeamealofit (before I nip round and pinch those pine nuts).


1. Coconut chia pudding


This recipe on Popsugar sounds easy and delicious, plus can be made on a Sunday and grabbed on your way to work.


2. One-pot olive and pine nut pasta

I am about to try my first ever one-pot pasta on recommendation of our friend Jade, who gets recipes from Pinterest so I’ve suggested one to Marie to try.



This recipe from Barefeet In The Kitchen looks really good.

3. Lazy pepper and tomato soup



I haven’t tried this before, but I’m pretty sure throwing the following into the Nutribullet would create a decent soup:

  • Passata carton
  • Jar of roasted peppers with the oil
  • Tin of chickpeas/any type of bean for protein and thickness
  • Italian herbs – basil, oregano, herbs de Provence
  • Salt and pepper

Here are a couple of similar recipes which I think would work with their cupboard rather than fresh alternatives:

Deliciously Ella roasted tomato and pepper soup

Italian Food Forever roasted pepper and chickpea soup

All of these would freeze well for quick lunches.

4. Red pepper hummus



Not a meal in itself, but a good thing to have in to jazz up other meals or use as an afternoon snack with carrot sticks and celery. The peppers could definitely be blasted with a tin of chickpeas and some spices and seasoning to make a quick hummus.

This BBC recipe looks like a storecupboard masterpiece and I’m sure you could use jarred instead of fresh peppers.

5. Tropical breakfast smoothie

Whizz up the tinned pineapple with a dash of coconut milk, frozen banana, a tablespoon of chia seeds and your choice of milk for a quick morning smoothie.

6. Chickpea coconut curry



I love a chickpea coconut curry combo and try a different variation practically every week. This recipe from Jessica In The Kitchen is now next on my list.

So, over to you. How would you combine Marie’s storecupboard lurkers?

Ideas in the comments please…


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