I think it was probably my mother who instilled in me a fanatical horror of waste and subsequently a terrible habit to hoard. My grandfather, her dad, was the same – in fact he was worse, something we only fully realised after he died – the man had a whole room of copies of Reader’s Digest spanning decades, and a garage full from floor to ceiling with tat he’d picked up at the local jumble sale and never used.
For me, hoarding is mostly focussed on food – I get twitchy if my cupboards aren’t full to the gills, I can’t stand getting rid of (‘wasting’) anything that is still edible, and combine that with my love of discovering new products and devotion to condiments in particular and you have a recipe for one hell of an overloaded fridge!
When I recently opened the fridge door and realised not only was there no room for the milk I’d just bought, but also that I had NO idea what was taking up all the space, I decided it was time for a major clear out. Here is my shameful roll-call of the contents…
|bread rolls||celery||white miso|
|gentlemen’s relish||barley miso||Swedish mustard|
|English mustard||baby capers||ground coffee|
|dill mustard||tamarind chipotle chutney||curry roux|
|coconut cream||hot pepper jelly||chilli sauce|
|mint sauce||condensed milk||fast-action yeast|
|pickled radish||ghee||No.5 umami paste|
|cheddar||garlic mayo||red leicester|
|dill||corn cobs||young garlic|
|ginger||red chillis||damson jam|
|tom yam paste||mojito cocktail mix||horseradish|
|mango chutney||tikka paste||strawberry jam|
|schmaltz||garlic butter||1/2 pck puff pastry|
|goat’s butter||sweet chilli sauce||mayonnaise|
|1/2 red onion||cherry tomatoes||unsalted butter|
Ridiculous isn’t it? See what I meant about loving condiments? And this is not to mention the things that I had to bin which had gone mouldy whilst hiding at the back: streaky bacon, spring onions, pickled chillis, marmalade, mushrooms. Binning those has earnt me at least a month in the circle of hell reserved for people who wantonly waste precious resources….
This clear out was a real wake-up call, I certainly can’t afford to waste all this food, so what was I going to do with it? Well firstly, I made a resolution to use up ALL the items in my fridge. When cooking as many eclectic cuisines as I do it’s easy to end up with dozens of jars opened for just a tablespoonful in a recipe, but I’m going to make it my mission to use up all the existing ones before opening new. And secondly? It was time to make use of those fresh ingredients whilst they’re still good. And thus I present my puff pastry pizzette:
Perfect for students, late-night fridge raiding dinners, or anyone who wants to use up the odds and sods in their salad drawers. Quantities are up to you, and should be varied to use up whatever you have in the house.
Puff Pastry Pizzette
– Take half a 500g block of puff pastry (the other half can be frozen), cut it in two then roll out on a floured surface into two rectangles (or squares, or circles) about 5mm thick, and transfer to a baking sheet
– Top with whatever you like – I used thin slices of chorizo (skin removed), 1/2 a red onion finely sliced, a red chilli, and quartered cherry tomatoes
– Scatter over a handful of grated cheese: anything the melts well is suitable, cheddar and parmesan is a nice mix.
– Add a sprinkle of dried Italian herbs (oregano, thyme or similar) and a grinding of black pepper, and finally drizzle with a little olive oil
– Bake in a hot oven (around 200C/Gas 6) for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Serve with a generous pile of salad to cut through the richness of the pastry and cheese, if you happen to have any!