Saturday 23 February 2008

FF #3 Dip and muffins from the pantry

Eating out Loud is holding an event called Food Fight and this month the theme is Pantry Raid. Allen has asked bloggers to take a photo of our pantry and then share a recipe made with key ingredients from the pantry.

So I was making a lentil pate the other night that drew from my pantry. I thought that it would go with some chickpea muffins that I was making. Well the pate and the muffins did not go together (although E loved the muffins with leftover Lentil and Chestnut Soup). Then I finally looked at my photo of the pantry this morning and thought, what a mess!

So there I was writing a meme about me in my last post and trying to avoid sharing too many fashion disasters and bad habits, and then my pantry reveals all. You can run but you can’t hide! Well Ricki is not the only one who isn’t fussy about clear desks and frequently washed floors! We often have to clear space on the table to find room to eat dinner. I even have to clear cookbooks on the chair so our cat can sit on the chair beside me as I blog sometimes. (Although today she has been sitting on a Nigella cookbook from the library which has found its way to the chair – do you think they would mind?)

So you can see that my pantry is not uniform rows of neatly labelled jars but it is well used. When we bought our place18 months ago it seemed a luxury to have a pantry. My mum has always had a walk-in pantry (perfect hiding place for the nieces) but I have lived in a series of inadequate kitchens without pantries (and in one house we had to keep the fridge in the bathroom). Yet I still don’t have enough space. I could blame my recent interest in gluten free foods, which has expanded my world of grains and flours, or I could blame blogging which makes me try things I might otherwise not bother with. But it is really just my nature to accumulate and hoard clutter. I hate to throw out but I just don’t see that it is priority to order all the bits and pieces which land in my lap. I’d prefer to spend the time cooking or blogging.

In Darwin last week, a taxi driver told us about what he would put aside to survive in the event of a cyclone. I like to think of our kitchen as a cooking survival kit. It feels that things in the fridge are perishables that might get smelly or wilt if left too long. I know it is a mistaken belief, but I love to think that pantry goods could last forever. No pressure to use them immediately (eg a packet of pasta and a jar of pasta sauce will always be there waiting for the night you can’t face cooking.)

Despite the mess, I mostly have a place for everything. I have shelves for flours, sugars and grains, tins, spices, bottles (and one for the recyling). E’s staples are Walkers shortbread, crisps and chocolate. He makes impulse purchases like Cheerios -for the Golden Compass freebie - and plain-wrap pot noodles. I tend to regularly buy tinned tomatoes, tinned legumes, nuts, dried fruit and vitawheat biscuits. My impulse purchases are more gourmet than E - a jar of fennel seeds or a tin of pureed chestnuts. Then there are the puy lentils that I bought last year and have intended to use in pate for months and months. Like I said, the beauty of the pantry is that most things in it will wait.

So I finally made the lentil and walnut pate from Post Punk Kitchen which I originally saw on Urban Vegan. It had appealed to me for it’s simplicity and for having ingredients that I had available. I put the lentils on to cook while I made dinner and finally got around to blending everything at 11.15pm. I was finished by 11.30. Perfect for a night when I get caught up blogging.

The pate was quite nice, although not the pate of my dreams. I never was a big fan of pate when I ate meat but I still like the idea that I can find a nice vegetarian version without boiled eggs. I have another recipe I probably prefer which has tofu, green beans and walnuts. But this one seems more straightforward. So now I have almost 3 cups of pate and wondering what to do with it. I went to the Slow Food City Marketplace this afternoon and talked to the woman with the meat pates who suggested roasting pumpkin, covering it in pate and wrapping it in pastry and then baking it again. Sounds great! More simple was buying toasting up some Irrewarra seeded sourdough and spreading it with pate and nectarine chutney (from the Slow Food market).

I made some muffins to serve with soup, but had hoped they would be a good accompaniment to the pate. These were the sort of muffins that didn’t need butter and were almost quiche-like because they had quite a bit of vegetable in them. They also used chickpea flour rather than wheat flour which gave quite a distinctive taste. We enjoyed these and I have added the recipe because they are a useful gluten free alternative. If you make them, you should expect lots of flavour (without any vegetables standing out) but do not expect that they will taste like a wheat muffin. And don’t make my mistake of expecting they will be good with pate.

Lentil Walnut Pate
(From Post Punk Kitchen)

1 cup French "puy" lentils
1 cup whole walnuts
2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoon lime juice (or lemon juice)
½-1 sea salt (or to taste)

- Place lentils in a saucepan with at least 2 cups boiling water. Cook at a rapid boil for 10 minutes and then cover and gently simmer for 30 minutes or til soft. Drain.
- Place walnuts in the blender to finely grind. Then add remaining ingredients and blend well. Check seasoning.

Tip: try taking to lunch in a little tub with some bread and vegetables for dipping.

Chickpea Muffins
(from Diana Linfoot’s More Muffin Magic)
Makes 10-12

½ cup pumpkin puree (approx 150g mashed)
2 eggs
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
3 spring onions, finely sliced
½ cup finely chopped spinach or cooked green peas (optional)
½ to 1 tsp curry powder (optional, I used ¼ tsp tumeric)
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
1½ cup chickpea flour
3 tsp baking powder

Place all ingredients except flour and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl. Stir well. Add flour and baking powder and stir til just combined (it makes quite a stiff batter). Spoon into greased muffin tray (or into a muffin tray lined with paper cups). Bake in 200 C oven for 25-30 minutes.

On the stereo:
The Wickerman original soundtrack: Various Artists


  1. I would kill for your pantry, as I am limited to two crappy cupboards and two spice racks. :-)

  2. Your comment about having to clear a spot on the table just to find room to eat made me smile. I'm supposed to be clearing my own dining table in preparation for a little Oscar party I'm throwing tomorrow night, but I'm procrastinating by reading delicious food blogs. Thanks for the lovely distraction!

  3. Thanks Ann that makes me appreciate my pantry - apartment kitchens can be so small but am glad you still find room for truffle oil :-)

    Thanks Tania - an oscar party sounds fun - worth clearing the table for! I am sure you will pick up some great ideas in all the food blogs and make the procrastination worthwhile :-)

  4. What a great pantry! (Reveals just enough, not too much). And I am very relieved to hear about your kitchen and chair (thankfully, dogs don't sit on kitchen chairs, or I could be in trouble) ;).

    Both these recipes sound good to me--one would guess they'd be nice together, but I'll take your word for it!

  5. thanks Ricki - I do like my pantry - I am sure your dogs manage to sit close enough to get some patting while you blog - which is why zinc likes to jump on the chair :-)

  6. Chickpea muffins! I just happen to have some pumpkin puree in the freezer. Yet another wonderful recipe idea that I will be trying shortly.

  7. thanks Lisa - this is a recipe you would love because it would go with a good curry and I think a bit of spice would be good in these


Thanks for dropping by. I love hearing from you. Please share your thoughts and questions. Annoyingly the spammers are bombarding me so I have turned on the pesky captcha code (refresh to find an easy one if you don't like the first one)