You know you've graduated from occasional to full time 'home baker' when you see a recipe you like and find that you've got almost all of the ingredients in the kitchen already.
A lovely fellow blogger sent me a recipe for caramelised banana cake this week as I'm always salivating over her photos of delicious bakes on Twitter. It's on my list to bake this weekend as I have some bananas to use up (as I always do). Finding ways to use up leftovers is a pet passion of mine.
Only the other week I found some remnants of peppers, soggy tomatoes and sad looking mushrooms. I roasted all of them with some onions and added them to some couscous I'd forgotten I had in the cupboard. Of course now I've opened the couscous and have to use it up, because let's be honest it's like pesto in that you really have a craving for it (sort of) then you're stuck with what's left for ages afterwards. So I decided to pair it with some orange slices I froze a while back - I buy them and then don't eat them, but I can't be bothered to unpack the juicer and wash it after use so they get frozen for 'later.' I've also got some honey that needs to be used up in the next few months so I've googled a fab looking recipe for honey and orange couscous cake - perfect !
The occasional foray into home bread making has left me with a few packs of fancy bread mixes and I've found that even when they are past their best they make a brilliant tear and share bread and also enable me to use up the odds and sods of sundried tomatoes, olives and rosemary which I push into the bread mix before it goes in the oven. Even if it doesn't rise much it's packed with flavour and you just call it 'rustic' to cover up any mistakes.
Last night I remembered I had some pine nuts left in a tin so I toasted them in a small pan and scattered them over the salad and hummus we ate for dinner. It's only a little touch, but it felt a bit 'cheffy' and reminded me of one of my favourite dishes at Giraffe restaurants.
Essentially I hate to throw anything out so if I can use it I will give it a go. I can't be the only one who searches for new fangled ways with old favourites can I ?