bare bones pantry dishes

I regularly find myself on a Sunday staring into the shallow depths of my fridge wondering what I might be able to concoct for lunch or dinner. Add to that a rainy day, begging me to stay indoors and watch TV reruns instead of hunting/gathering sustenance, and what I’m usually left with is a can of chick peas, a too-ripe tomato and some cheese from that picnic we went on three weeks ago.

In the traditions of my family being completely confounded on December 25th (since we didn’t celebrate Christmas) without a service station open to sell us sausage rolls, I’ve learned that tins of asparagus and tuna, mixed together with a whole lot of imagination, can get you a pretty great lunch or dinner.


So here are my bare pantry meal solutions.

Because I’ve actually just looked in my pantry and fridge and found nearly nothing in either, I’m going to be making a hummus and a tapenade with a little side salad. The following ingredients are what I had at home and small variations are absolutely OK.

(for the hummus and tapenade)
1 400g can of chick peas, drained and rinsed well
3 tbs tahini
1/2 a punnet of mixed kalamata and green olives, finely chopped (rinse your olives before chopping if they’ve been in brine to get rid of any acidity)
1 small handful of parsley, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
olive oil, as necessary

(for the salad)
1 handful of mixed salad leaves
1 tomato (mine was a bit too ripe so I had to bin about a third of it)

additional bits and pieces
1 baguette stick
a handful of dried fruits, I have apricots and dates
a small sprig of dried muscats
a small block of Moliterno Tartufo (this is a hard cheese infused with black truffles and probably the greatest addition to a cheeseboard I’ve ever had), but any other cheese will do just fine

Start with the hummus by putting the chick peas, 3/4 of the red chilli, 1 of the crushed garlic cloves and the tahini into a food processor. Whiz these together a little and add two tablespoons of the oil and half the lemon juice. Whiz again and test the texture. Add a good grind of salt and pepper, and a dash more oil if you prefer a smoother consistency and whiz again. With each addition make sure to push any of the hummus  clinging to the sides of the processor back down towards the blades. Scrape out the yummy hummus speckled with red chilli into a serving bowl.


For the tapenade, in a small bowl combine the chopped olives, the remaining 1/4 of the chilli, the other crushed garlic clove, the chopped parsley, a dash of olive oil and a good hit of salt and pepper. Mix well. Have a taste and if it needs a little bite then add a bit of the remaining lemon juice and mix well again.



To serve, I’ve also made a small salad of greens and a tomato. I’ve cut up a baguette, and served it with the hummus and tapenade on a board with the cheese, muscats, and dried fruits.





2 thoughts on “bare bones pantry dishes

  1. You’ve done a great job. I love bare bones pantry cooking. I feel like that’s when the really interesting stuff comes out. When I have all the ingredients that are coherent and familiar, I repeat the same old dishes.


    • Thanks very much! It’s always about using your imagination to get different ingredients working togehter, and also about thinking creatively about lunch and dinner and beyond that single dish. I love eating mezze-style meals.

      I hope you get a chance to try the recipes out. I’d love to hear and see how you go with them and any variations you’ve made! xx


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