The lockdown pantry CHALLENGE : Inspired by... - Weight Loss NHS

Weight Loss NHS
101,826 members53,605 posts

The lockdown pantry CHALLENGE


Inspired by Delft and IndigoBlue61 I thought it might be fun to find a new way to inspire recipe ideas and exercise some kitchen creativity.

When you are getting sick of your repertoire of dishes or you have stuff in your cupboards you don't know what to do with, come here.

Here's how it works: go to your fridge, cupboard and freezer, compile a list of ingredients you want new ideas for. Reply to this post with your list. It shouldn't be exhaustive, but you need to include enough so people have something to work with.

Then look at other people's lists, and see what tasty dishes you might make from them. Don't try to use up all of them; if you see amongst a long list of ingredients everything needed to make your favourite 3 ingredient dip, then please suggest that. If you have a better way of cooking asparagus, then great, please share. If you can imagine a casserole that contains everything, that's brilliant, too.

You can assume everyone has a basic kitchen, and salt, pepper and oil. As some of us are low carb, some vegan etc I don't think there are any other staples that would be in everyone's cupboard BUT if you see a brilliant dish with the addition of one or two pantry staples, why not suggest it? Eg "if you have some rice and chilli flakes, you could make a wonderful paella piccante". And certainly include ingredients that aren't mentioned if they are optional.

26 Replies

OK, I'll start:

I've got eggs, coconut floor, ground almond, butter, miso paste, fresh coriander, butter, chicken thighs, tomatoes, a red pepper, wild mushrooms, 1/2 cabbage, yogurt, various chillis, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, onions, soy sauce, leeks, wild mushrooms and a courgette.

Any thoughts?

okay, here goes! Take the miso paste (if powder form make into a paste) and coat the chicken thigh, melt butter in a frying pan, seal the thigh, add garlic, chilli, ginger, fry off.

In a separate frying pan add red peppers, mushrooms, leek, onion fry off with a little butter.

Scramble an egg in the microwave, once cooked, chop up.

boil some rice (I know this isn't on your list but most have it in!)

once all the above is cooked, and hot. add the rice and egg to the veg and stir. have a plate ready, place the rice and veg on the plate and then the chicken thigh on top with all its spices. decorate with fresh coriander and for an extra splash of flavour a little soy sauce

Wallah you have

spiced miso chicken thigh on a bed or rice and veg, topped off with coriander and soy sauce.

using up 13 of your ingredients


Brava!! 👏 👏 👏

that was fun! if you cook it let me know how it tasted, back to work now, it's made me fell hungry LOL x

I imagined you speaking really fast, as if you were on a time limit.

Or cooking really fast.

Edit: you think you are hungry? I am 40 hours fasted. I should probably stop reading and writing about food.

I'd forgotten about the miso paste buried in the back of the fridge until I dug it up to make a tahini miso dressing. I had kept thinking I should try a miso glaze, but somehow never got around it it.

I wasn't really needing recipe ideas I just wanted to kick this off, but I think I will make this. I have rice, but am low carb, and I don' think it's necessary. I will scramble the egg in the pan. But yeah, I may break my fast with this tonight.


haha ye I speak really fast, I'm a Scouser it's in my blood, I don't cook fast thou but I love to cook and experiment.

wow well done with your fasting....

good luck and I hope it's tasty.. xx

Sheperdess2 stone
in reply to blindinglights

Fantastic use of ingredients... are you a chef??? 😂

in reply to Sheperdess

nooo but it's one of my passions, I try, sweet stuff like cakes and over the top cupcakes are my thing, but I know my way around the kitchen coming from a large family everyone mucked in xx

in reply to Subtle_badger

I think the coconut flour and ground almonds could make some nice crackers . . . And use the coriander and miso as flavouring? Be nice with cheese or peanut butter 😊

That would be delicious. Possibly too delicious!


Great idea 👍. Will pin this so we can find it easily and will pop back later with my contribution


Ok, my challenge is a tin of Haggis . . . Yes, a tin!! It was in a hamper we won at least two years ago and I’ve never been brave enough to open it 😂. Don’t get me wrong, I like haggis, but for some reason this is daunting! I’m just back from the shops and have a fairly well stocked fridge and larder so have salad and vegetables, as well as onions and potatoes. Suggestions please 😊

I'm going the other way from blindinglights, and going into storytelling mode.

I'm not British (well, I am now but I wasn't then), and at some point my parents acquired some haggis from an artisan at the market. None of us had tasted it before, but we were adventurous diners. "What do we serve with it?" my mother wondered, so I pulled the Larousse Gastronomique off the shelf, and looked up haggis. I still have that book, so I can quote it exactly. I remember my excitement when I thought I had found the exact information we needed.

When the dish is served at certain large banquets in Scotland, it is accompanied by..... escort of pipers.


The other servicing suggestion was not much more use

Haggis is normally served wrapped in a well starched napkin and whisky is the traditional drink which goes with it.

So there you go. That's all the French think you need to know about serving haggis. There is more detail about how to make it from scratch, which is best not dwelt upon.

Though now I think about it, nestled in damask cloth, and accompanied by Lagavulin is a pretty good serving suggestion.

Second anecdote: the first time I went to Scotland, was just after Christmas. Due to random chance, it started snowing as we crossed the border, giving us the impression it was snowing in Scotland but not England. The snow was unexpected, and the roads were not gritted so after seeing more than one car drive off the road, we stopped at the next town, Jedburgh. I remember turning into the tourist car park, and being so glad it was empty, because our car gracefully slid sideways several metres, before coming to rest at a jaunty angle across several bays. We found a notice board with B&Bs listed, and rang the numbers until we found one that accepting guests. We checked in and went in search of lunch, and found ourselves at a charming little cafe that served local produce and was closing for the day in an hour. I ordered the haggis, and I can't remember all the details, but it was served in a bechamel sauce, and it was delightful. We spent the afternoon walking around the ruined Abbey, that was picturesque in the snow, saw otters in the river and ate game at the pub in the evening. It was a lovely serendipitous day, because we had no intention of even stopping in that town.

tl;dr start here!

Anyway - to food. Bechamel sauce suggests two baked pasta dishes to me: lasagne and mac&cheese.

Crumble the haggis.

To make mac&cheese, mix the pasta and haggis together, pour over cheesy bechamel and proceed as usual.

For lasagne, layer haggis, and bechamel, pasta, cheese and repeat.

If you are low carb, replace macaroni with cauliflower and/or broccoli florets or replace lasagne with cabbage leaves or aubergine. That would be brilliant: an Italian, Greek, Scottish dish.

Slightly sad coda: the trip to Jedburgh was in 2000 or 2001. I was able to find the cafe on TripAdvisor with reviews from this year, but when I clicked on their website link, the website was gone. I think after more than 20 years, it has been permanently closed by the coronavirus.

in reply to Subtle_badger

I’ve loved reading this!! In future I shall insists my Haggis is served in a Damask cloth with an escort of Pipers 😂. (We live next door but one to the Hall where our Pipe Band rehearse so we are blessed with regular renditions)

Regarding Jedburgh, it’s one of my favourite Border Towns, although they’re all very pretty. The Abbey is as magnificent an ever. Slightly random, but you ever go again. you must go and see Mary Queen of Scots’ Death mask . . .

Regarding the haggis, I’m thinking it would also be very nice with the Russian cabbage pie 👍

🤣 that's a really good idea. There is something similar about Scotland and Russia - and not just the drinking and the shorter life expectancy.

journalgirlRestart Feb 2020
in reply to IndigoBlue61

bin it 🤮

in reply to journalgirl

Lol 😂 I take it you’re not a Haggis fan???

journalgirlRestart Feb 2020
in reply to IndigoBlue61

Not at all but in a tin ........

in reply to journalgirl

It was different, not bad actually 👍

OK this is a tricky one - see how you like a challenge ...

tempeh - 2 jars of it in slices - they were a gift so I have to come up with a great idea for them, remembering that I have 3 slightly conservative menfolk in the house.

Lots of veg - onions, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, and frozen mixed veg

tins of tomatoes/ soup/ sweetcorn

lots of spices

stock cubes

coconut milk


oranges, lemons, lime


Any ideas?

in reply to bikegrrrl

Oh, I've never tasted tempeh. I will have to consult authorities if no one else steps forward.

in reply to bikegrrrl

Oh dear. I just looked it up in the one cookbook I have that might mention it, a 574p vegetarian cookbook. I was surprised to see it only had one entry in the index, but then I turned to the page, and I see why

".. liked by some wholemeal cooks but not by me...flavour of soya beans too strong..texture too stodgy"

You may have broken the pantry challenge 🤯

Edit: ah, it's Indonesian. Do you have any peanut butter?

bikegrrrl10 kg
in reply to Subtle_badger

I do have peanut butter...

Oh please do not say I have broken the challenge - that cannot be...

in reply to bikegrrrl

No, the challenge is not broken. I have an idea, or maybe 3 ideas, all centering around satay sauce. I would happily eat cardboard with satay sauce.

Marinate the tempeh: because apparently that is what you do with it. Rose Elliot reluctantly suggests garlic, ginger, soy sauce and even dijon. See what is in your pantry.

Make Satay Sauce: satay is a spicy peanut/coconut sauce. It's simple and delicious. I usually make it by simply cooking together Thai red curry paste with PB and coconut milk.

3 tablespoons of PB in a small pan. Add whatever you have eg curry powder/paste, finely chopped chilli, crushed dried chilli, chilli powder etc etc. If you don't have anything like that, leave it off. You could also include lemongrass, tamarind, coriander, fish sauce, soy sauce etc etc. All optional. Then slowly blend in a can of coconut milk. Put it on the stove and gently heat, stir regularly, until it thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning. More spices can be added, or more of the PB and coconut milk if it's too hot.

3 ideas:

#1 Tempeh peanut curry:

The tempeh should be in cubes. Pat it dry. Heat oil in a pan; fry the tempeh until it is brown on all sides. Set aside. Brown onion in the same pot, then add in the tempeh, and a selection of chopped veggies of your choice. Cover with satay sauce, and simmer gently until the veggies are tender. Served with steamed rice and garnished with fresh herbs, if available.

#2 Tempeh satay

Tempeh should be cut into strips. Thread strips onto bamboo skewers, brush with oil, and cook under a grill or on a BBQ until browned on all sides. Serve companied by bowls of Satay sauce and the rice.

This is the most fun idea, but you probably don't have bamboo skewers, and the tempeh doesn't have anywhere to hide, so if people don't like the taste, they are stuck with it. Though rice and satay sauce is also amazing!

#3 Tempeh gado gado

This is what I would make. Gado gado is an Indonesian salad.

Fry tempeh cubes as before. Boil 3 eggs and quarter them. Start the salad with a bed of greens. Something dark like spinach would be best, but if even iceberg would do in a pinch. Then add chopped veggies: tomatoes, cucumber, bean sprouts, steamed green beans would be ideal, but use whatever you have. Arrange the eggs and tempeh on top, and pour over the thick satay sauce. Optionally garnish with crushed prawn crackers and fresh basil or coriander. Serve with rice.

How did I do?

bikegrrrl10 kg
in reply to Subtle_badger

Beautiful - what great ideas. I am going to go for No.1 - as being the most likely to get past my tasting panel of 3 blokes aged from 18 to (ahem) a bit older... I'll let you know how it goes, will be later this week.

Thanks so much!

in reply to bikegrrrl

I also had to google it and it came up with this

“What is the difference between tofu and tempeh?

Tofu is also a soybean product, but while tempeh is made directly from cooking and fermenting soybeans, tofu is made from condensed, unfermented soy milk that's been processed into solid white blocks. ... “Because tempeh has a heartier taste, some people prefer to use it as meat substitute“

I’ve never had much luck cooking tofu although I’ve eaten in restaurants and enjoyed it.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes 😊

You may also like...