With a food delivery due tomorrow, I'm having a leftovers spree as I clear out things from my fridge that need eating. I never bin food unless it's obviously gone off, then it goes into a special food waste bin that the council collects from every week. Things that have use-by dates get sniffed - if they smell ok, they are almost certainly still edible. Not so long ago, I ate a pot of plain yoghurt that was more than a month past its due date - it hadn't been opened and it was fine (it must have been - I'm still alive, with no symptoms of food poisoning, and anyway, yoghurt is fermented so unless it's been exposed to air and left out of the fridge it's unlikely to go off).
My veg bin is almost empty
but I found three peppers that were just starting to wrinkle so I decided
to stuff them. I also grabbed a half-full packet of lardons,
half of which I ate a few days ago (I think they went into an
omelette). And lurking in the back of my larder was an unopened box of quinoa.
I bought this more than three years ago when I became single again and
was stocking a larder from scratch in my new home but never got round to
trying it. I usually use cous-cous as a filler grain but the jar is
empty right now so it was time to experiment with the quinoa.
Fortunately, the quinoa doesn't taste of wet cardboard but a bit like barley. Except nuttier.
1 small onion, chopped finely
Half a pack of lardons, or cut a couple of slices of bacon into strips
A clove of garlic, thinly sliced
A couple of small tomatoes, chopped
Small handful of roughly chopped parsley
Seasonings, to taste
What to do:
enough quinoa to fill the peppers. Heat the oven to 180C. Sauté the
onion gently in olive oil until it is transparent. Add the lardons and
garlic and fry until cooked. Tip into a bowl with the grain, parsley and
chopped raw tomatoes and mix well. Throw in a small handful of diced
halloumi then season to taste - I used only black pepper as lardons and
halloumi are already salty enough for me. Cut the peppers in half
vertically, pull out the seeds and pith, then stuff. Pack the peppers
into a small, ovenproof dish and pour about half a centimetre of cold
water into the dish. Pop in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes.
is a great way to use up almost any leftovers - mushrooms, diced carrot
or courgette, leeks, even a handful of frozen peas if you're short of
veg (don't bother to defrost them). I've used spinach leaves and black
olives before, and you can also add pinenuts, pumpkin seeds or capers.
If you don't have quinoa, use cous-cous, rice, bulgur wheat or even
breadcrumbs from a wholemeal loaf. Instead of halloumi, try feta
or even some crumbled stilton or grated cheddar if that's all you have.
If you don't have bacon, you can use leftover cooked chicken or pork, or
ham or chorizo (replace the meat with nuts if you're vegetarian).
I had two half-peppers left over - that's tomorrow's lunch sorted, then...