After failing miserably at making a dent in my pantry during my week of pantry wars, I am now focussing on using one item each week. This is likely a better idea than admitting abject defeat and just moving house, leaving everything behind and starting afresh.

By the time my child goes to University I should be just about finished.

Pantry target for this week is: chickpeas!

You wouldn’t think this would be a problem but I have FOUR BAGS OF DRIED CHICKPEAS! Four bags are just too many.

My evil master plan for one bag this week is to make a nice chickpea curry for dinner this evening. We’ve been super heavy on meat lately and just finished the last batch of frozen hummous so we don’t REALLY want more right now-this dish should be the ticket.


1 lb (500 g) dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch (2.5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2-inch (5-cm) piece cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 can (28 oz/875 g) diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 cup (1 oz/30 g) chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander) leaves
Pick over the chickpeas, removing any misshapen beans or grit. Rinse under cold running water. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl, add enough cold water to cover by at least 2 inches (5 cm), and let stand at room temperature overnight. Alternatively, for a quick soak, put the chickpeas in a large pot, add enough water to cover by at least 2 inches, bring to a boil, remove from the heat, cover, and let soak for 1 hour. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté until the mixture just begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon, cayenne, coriander, cumin, mustard seeds, and turmeric and sauté until the spices are fragrant and thoroughly blended with the onion mixture, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, the sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) water. Deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil.

STOVE TOP: Transfer the tomato-spice mixture to a large Dutch oven and stir in the chickpeas. Partially cover and cook over low heat until the chickpeas are very tender, about 3 hours.

SLOW COOKER: Transfer the tomato-spice mixture to a slow cooker and stir in the chickpeas. Cover and cook until the chickpeas are very tender, 4 hours on the high-heat setting or 8 hours on the low-heat setting.

Guess which version I’m using?

About 15 minutes before the chickpeas are done, sprinkle the garam masala and lime juice evenly over the chickpeas and stir, breaking up some of the chickpeas with the back of the spoon to thicken the mixture slightly. Season to taste with salt. Remove the cinnamon stick and serve at once, garnished with the cilantro.

But more importantly, how did the pies turn out?

Firstly, here is my new favourite thing in the world-pork pie. I did a bit more research and found the pis has several names; melton mowbry, coffin pie (won’t be using that one) and raised pork pie.

You know it is good by me offering not ONE but THREE rubbish pictures of it.

The recipe that I gave the other day was just WAY too daunting so I came up with an adaptation that is a bit more realistic.

Here’s what you do:
1) Cut into small (small bites) pieces and pork sholder roast (about 2 lbs), trim off any huge chunks of fat. Add 8 slices of bacon that have been chopped to the bowl and add 1 1/2 T. of dried sage, a dash of salt and A LOT of pepper. Let sit. The bone that you take out place in a VERY hot pan. Brown on all sides and then add about 3 cups of boiling water. Reduce by half.
2) In a pot bring to a boil: 1 cup (1/2 water and 1/2 milk) and 1 1/2 cups of shortening (use lard if you have it). In a bowl have 8 cups of flour. Pour the boiling mixture in and BEAT like there is no tomorrow. You can do this in a stand mixer with a dough hook but I don’t like the noise. You might need to add a bit more boiling water to the dough to create a soft pastry.
3) Divide into two balls. Take a small (clementine sized) chunk of dough off of each.
4) Take a cookie sheet either with silpat or parchment paper on it and the larger balls. Think back to summer camp and trying to make a bowl (in my day we still made ashtrays) and recreate that shape-the sides should be about 2 1/2 inches high and as straight as you can make them. Do this with both balls.
5) Pack your lovely, pottery assignments fill of the pork mixture. Use the small balls of dough to create tops. Seal completely and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
6) Take out of the fridge. Poke a hole in the centre of the top and using a funnel pour in your reduced pork stock.
7) Brush all over with a beaten egg and bake at 350 for an hour. Bake for an additional hour and a half at 325. Serve at room temperature with some nice chutney.

The gingerbread cake was it’s usual fabulousness even without “the pan”

I made raspberry loaf for breakfasts using my usual blueberry muffin recipe and the bakewell tart (substituted homemade rhubarb jam for raspberry) was so good that I wasn’t able to take a picture of it.