Clearing cupboards and loving leftovers: Meals to slash your bills

Hey friends, how's your January going? I'm still making the most of all the food in my store cupboards and freezer, trying to declutter my kitchen and enhance my budget. If I was overhearing someone telling their friends about doing the same, I'd be thinking 'well, that's sounds boring and painful' and feeling well-meaning pity for the cupboard-raider I'd been eavesdropping on. Turns out it's neither - I've made lots of lovely vegan food, and I've not had to dip into my overdraft yet, so no complaints from the Flicking the Vs corner of London.

Here's my first lot of repurposing: turning leftover Christmas pudding into truffles.

If you're reading this with your mouth open, thinking 'leftover Christmas pudding? What in the name of all that's good and holy...?' then I'm sorry to have disappointed you, dear Christmas pudding loving reader. I like Christmas pudding too, but I'd gorged on it over December, and just didn't need to finish off the piece in the cupboard.

Turns out that you can totally turn Christmas pudding into truffles, just by adding some chocolate and booze of your choice - I used some vegan (obviously) dark chocolate and amaretto. By melting half the weight of the pudding in chocolate, then adding the booze and crumbled pud, you have a good load of truffles. I ate three straight away, and I've stashed the rest, hoping to make them last (some hope, I know, I know.)

Other adventures into food money saving is freezer diving. You know, when you root around in all those anonymous tubs in your freezer, pull one out, and use it to make tea - that's freezer diving.

I found this curry in an old takeaway tub in the bottom drawer of the freezer, and it was actually pretty tasty. I found a couple of tubs of chilli, and one sausage casserole, so I got decent lunches all week without doing any cooking. There's one tub left (place your bets in the comments below as to what it contains!) and once it's done, I'll be stashing some more goodies for the future version of me to enjoy later one.

Elsewhere, my fridge is totally paying out. I still haven't quite used up all the stuff I bought for Christmas (I can't be the only one, can I? Tell me you have the same problem, dear reader). Notable Christmas overstayers are a box of Oatly creme fraiche and single cream, and a jar of posh pickled onions. Not sure what dish I could make with those three ingredients, but I'll let you know when I find out and I've recovered from the resulting nausea.

When Ma Flicking the Vs came over for Christmas, she brought a massive homemade chocolate cake and we've been making our way through it slowly ever since. This week, we bade farewell to the final slice.

After a couple of weeks away from university, I've had a bit of time to get into the kitchen and start cooking properly. I thought I'd try and make hamburgers and buns for them from scratch, using the ingredients in my cupboards. Here they are, waiting to go into the oven. 

Both burgers and buns ended up containing vital wheat gluten - the burgers for binding, and the buns because the recipe said it would give the bread a good texture. It certainly did that, but it also made it taste faintly of seitan, which I'm a bit averse to. A seitan taste when there's a burger in your bun? Fine. When you're using the rolls to make toast and jam? Erk, not so much. Still, making the rolls wasn't actually as hard as I thought it would be, so I'd do it again, just not with the vital wheat gluten. And though I don't think I'm going to be giving The Vurger Co any competition any time soon, I still saved myself the price of a takeaway or some supermarket junk food. Maybe making the most of your freezer and your cupboards isn't so bad after all! 

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  1. Way to repurposed those leftovers! The truffles sound good enough to make extra Christmas pudding for in the first place.

  2. Yum those truffles look like little bombs of flavour. Great way of using up grub.

  3. Great job utilizing the freezer and cupboard! I'm quite impressed with the homemade truffles and burger. I'm pretty good at using up things in the freezer but my pantry is a mess with unlabeled baggies of who-knows-what from who-knows-when. :-)

  4. those truffles look excellent - I still have panforte and I haven't opened my christmas cake yet as we seem to have so much left. I also have lots of rice leftover from my mum making salad on boxing day - think it might need to come into use soon. Leftovers are great. Love your ability to find tubs of meals in the freezer. And good on you for staying on track with the budget!

  5. I love this post. I am definitely looking to the freezer and pantry for food this month. Getting paid early in December is great at the time but not when it reaches mid January. We have 2 mini Christmas puddings that we didn't get round to eating so I am interested in your truffle idea. Also, we have loads of soya cream as it turned up in a bargain shops for 35p. It's ok til March so even it if gets used for coffee that will be cool.

  6. Tonight we are having chilli from the freezer. It's the first vegan meal my father in law has made for us. We all ended up being ill when we were supposed to go over for the meal so it got delivered later frozen. It feels like a nice Monday night treat.


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