Thrifty, nifty, tasty

In this fru­gal time of year be­tween fes­ti­vals, a quick root around in the fridge and cup­boards can turn up most of what you need to put a se­ri­ously good meal on the ta­ble with min­i­mal ef­fort

The Irish Times Magazine - - FOOD- FILE - JESS MUR­PHY

This is cup­board mash- up week – you know, that in- be­tween week af­ter Hal­loween but be­fore the Christ­mas lux­ury comes into play? It is a fru­gal time when you will find your hap­pi­ness in us­ing up ev­ery condi­ment and lux­ury spiced gra­nola you were given last year.

When you look in your fridge for some­thing to eat it can look like there is noth­ing good in there. Usu­ally in mine it is all jars and condi­ments, and no sign of a meal.

But look at that old piece of cheese, check the cup­boards for ce­real, clear out that salad drawer and you can have a se­ri­ously good meal on the ta­ble with lit­tle ef­fort. There is noth­ing fancy about most of th­ese things: you are likely to find ev­ery­thing you need for them in even the most ba­sic cor­ner­shop ( well, maybe not the kim­chi).

Hav­ing been brought up by a sin­gle par­ent, I take pride in mak­ing some­thing out of noth­ing. I’m thrifty. When I was grow­ing up, my mum’s only nights out were her work’s so­cial club do. Those evenings, my granny Jean used to come around and teach me how to cook. We would make this chicken recipe, or fish cakes. If you ran out of bread­crumbs there was al­ways an al­ter­na­tive – corn­flakes, bran flakes, Rice Krispies even.

The day be­fore shop­ping day, we would make cheese scones, and there was al­ways chicken broth in the freezer. My­self and granny were hip­sters, I guess. Speak­ing of hip, I met Dearbhla Reynolds, who takes the fear out of fer­ment­ing and brought it all back to ba­sics with this Brus­sels sprout kim­chi. Make it with this recipe, or add a thick yo­gurt, a hol­landaise or may­on­naise, to make a kick­ass dress­ing to wake up the taste­buds this week as we head into se­ri­ous root veg­etable sea­son.

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