What I've been cooking as I say goodbye to my kitchen

Our kitchen has been gradually falling apart for years. The hob only has three rings working instead of four, the extractor hasn't worked for as long as we've been in the flat, and there's been a weird leak that's been around so long it's almost old enough to vote. All the kitchen cupboards are victims of my various repairs over the years, and they're more nails and glue than wood now. 

So, when I got the news recently that the kitchen is going to be updated, it was pretty well received around these parts. It'll be nice to have a kitchen where everything works and doesn't look sketchy, grey and peeling. But a kitchen renovation does have its downsides: it means 1) no usable kitchen -- none, not even slightly -- for three whole weeks and 2) as part of the renovations, we have to clear everything out of the kitchen -- every last plate and cup, packet of rice, biscuit cutter, knife and fork -- and find it a temporary new home somewhere else in our flat. 

Before the repairs officially start, I've been trying to thin down our kitchen stuff, as anything that's left has to come out of the kitchen and live in our living room while the repairs are done. As I've been cleaning everything out, I've been discovering all those weird packets of stuff, exotic ingredients, and other gubbins - here are a few things that I've been cooking with all that gubbins.

I've had a dried bergamot in my a jar for a while (I have a horrible feeling it's been there since 2016), so Project Less Kitchen Crap claimed its first victim. The dried bergamot got run through the spice grinder and then turned into bergamot and ginger biscuits. They were actually superb (yes, I'm always surprised when things turn out good.)

Inspired by the success of the biscuits, I thought I'd tackle the box of rice cereal and the bag of marshmallows left in the cupboard to make... rice cereal marshmallow bars! Turns out three ingredients can actually make something really good with only minor effort.

I'd never made vegan marshmallow bars before, because I think the last time I tried to find a recipe, they all involved ingredients that I didn't have, like date syrup or coconut oil, or pieces of moonrock or something. So I mentally filed the recipes on the 'not today, Joey' folder, never to be looked at again.

Then, thanks to the impending kitchen chaos and a forlorn box of cereal, I decided to revisit the idea. Turns out they're not hard to make and they don't need any moonrock at all.

I just melted 20g of vegan margarine and 50g of vegan marshmallows over a low heat, then added 25g of puffed rice, stirred it thoroughly, popped into cupcake moulds and allowed it to set.  Once it was cold, I shoved my face in it.

I'm still working through my never-ending supply of coconut flour. It seems to have found the secret of eternal life, as no matter how much I use it, it never seems to diminish. Still, I'm making my way through it, having discovered Vegan Richa's recipe for coconut flour brownies to be very good indeed.

In the spirit of clearing out the cupboards, I threw in the rest of the vegan marshmallows, and some raisins for good measure. Strangely, the amount of coconut flour hasn't changed at all, so you can expect to see these being made again. And again.

I'll be honest, coconut flour brownies are not my favourite brownies. They're not even my second favourite. They're probably not even in the top ten. But if you have two bags of coconut flour that have inexplicably turned up in your kitchen to use up, I'm not sure there are much better ways to use them up.

Flour I'm more fond of is bread flour. I never thought of myself as someone that can bake bread (though I'm happy to dapple every now and again), I've recently started baking more of my own to cut plastic consumption. The bread I generally buy comes in plastic, but bread flour comes in recyclable paper, which I can live with. Plus it actually tastes better (no, honestly -- even if you're as cack-handed in the kitchen as me!) than the shop-bought stuff.

I've finally managed to work out a recipe that works, so I can make a loaf in about 15-20 minutes -- well, a couple of hours if you factor in all the proving and cooking time, but there's only 15 minutes of actual hard graft.

I used up the last of my bread flour with a heavy heart -- having got used to making my own bread, I'm going to have live without an oven for three weeks. Anyone know a good recipe for something you can make without a kitchen?

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  1. Sounds like there will be a lot of takeaway and no bake eating - salads anyone? Good luck with the reno - sounds challenging. I feel your pain with the coconut flour - just not much good on making a dint in the stuff I have though I am sure I have seen recipes that look good. Whereas I am a little jealous of your bergamot - sounds excellent in bikkies.

  2. Congratulations on getting a new kitchen soon! It sounds like it's sorely needed and it makes it all the more amazing the dishes you managed to make out of that kitchen. Would love to see before and after pics. :-) And great job on trying to use everything up. I have that exact same bag of coconut flour - it seems to be as full as the day I bought it.

  3. How exciting to get a new kitchen!! I think you've shown us your current one before, no? Being without an oven and cook top is a challenge, to be certain. You might have to visit the local bakery for your quality bread!

  4. Living without a kitchen is definitely a challenge, I'd blatantly just end up eating copious amounts of sandwiches and the odd salad. Could you use a camping gas stove? That way you could whip up some one pot pasta or some noodles.

  5. A new kitchen in only three weeks? That's pretty fast, and I hope they can keep to the schedule, and create something you will enjoy. I suppose a good toaster oven would help you get though the wait, and maybe a mini-fridge you can plug in somewhere. I know, how about an air fryer?

    The coconut flour and the marshmallows struck a chord with me — I have a recipe saved somewhere that uses a lot of coconut flour, but I'm afraid to even look in the bag of marshmallows leftover from last Thanksgiving. (melted some on top of pumpkin pie.) The thing about coconut flour is it isn't truly meant to be used as a primary ingredient, just as an add in, so it does tend to hover in the pantry forever.

  6. Coconut flour. I feel you. I have a tin of coconut flour that has been carted around through... probably three apartments/houses and two states. I keep thinking it'll get rancid but it survives, inexplicably.

    Good luck with using up the rest of your bits and bobs!

  7. Good luck with the new kitchen! We're having our entire bathroom replaced in a few weeks. Never mind no cooking....no loo, no shower! I've folded and booked into an aparthotel for a few nights :|

  8. That is definitely a mixed blessing. I'm very excited on your behalf to have a new kitchen in the pipeline, but the clean out and time without cooking options sounds hard! A good excuse to try different foods out perhaps...


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