What do you drag out of the dregs of the cupboard to make a meal?

Today’s dinner inspiration is brought to you by food and travel writer (and Mamamia reader)  Victoria Haschka who writes….

“I’m staring at an empty fridge. This is slightly concerning.  I didn’t really eat lunch. Unless the banana bread and coffee I hoovered at 10.30 this morning counts.

And I didn’t dub my husband The Hungry One because I was running out of cute nicknames.

Quick confession:

I didn’t grow up in a ‘foodie’ household. Until I blew out the candles on my 12th birthday cake I would only eat things that were white. Noodles were a particular favourite. Sometimes Country Split sandwiches with dry chicken or a salad made from the bland chaff of iceberg lettuce.

This was a time well before Masterchef. If someone said ‘plate up’ they were usually chastising you for fiddling with your orthodontics at the table.

Beans and artichokes

But over the years I’ve learned a few tricks. I’ve got handle on profiteroles.  And it turns out I’m getting better at turning the dusty and earnest dregs at the back of the pantry into the backbone of dinner.


So tonight; this is what’s on the table at our place.

White bean and artichoke puree with (insert protein of choice)

It’s there, I’m sure of it. It’s a lonely tin of beans in the back of my pantry. Sometimes they’re white beans, or cannellini beans, or borlotti beans.  On their own, these pale pulses can seem as mushy and exciting as eating sodden styrofoam. But muddled with marinated artichokes from a jar and paired with more flavourful friends they’re pretty darn good.

It’s just rinsing a tin of beans and emptying them into a saucepan on the stove. I add four or five marinated artichokes and a slosh of milk- about the same amount I’d put in a cup of tea.

All whizzed up

When it’s warm I whizz it with a stick blender, or I transfer it to a food processor. If it gets a bit lumpy I add a splash of water, olive oil or milk. It may look a bit like paint spackle, but the flavour is pretty good.  The artichokes give the beans a bit of a lift, bringing them to life.

I use it as a sturdy base for grilled coins of chorizo, roast lamb or barbecued fish. It goes well with cherry tomatoes that have spent a bit of time on a tray in the oven and also makes friends with steamed green beans and salad.

If I want to dress it up I make a rustic tapenade from a handful of chopped and smushed green olives, lemon rind, toasted almonds, capers with a lick of Dijon mustard. Spooned on the side it makes up a fun carnival of punchy flavours.

But in all honesty, most of the time I end up eating some of it straight out of the saucepan, or smeared on garlic toast. White on white. It seems some things never change.”


What do you drag out of the cupboard when you’re desperate? And what’s for dinner at your place tonight?


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