Three Ways With ...

(Trade paper)
Dispatches on 30/07/2024

We all have favourite ingredients that we keep in our kitchen. My personal favourites are in a constant state of change, depending on my mood or the season, but will almost always include tinned tomatoes and barbecued chicken. Anchovies and curry paste. Coconut milk and feta. Dried pasta and instant polenta. Tofu and soy sauce.

So often, the ingredients we boughtfor a recipe simply hang around, untouched or forgotten, in our fridge, freezer or pantry. We buy them for a recipe that only calls for a quarter of a tin or half a packet. Or we keep them ready for a culinary experiment that never eventuates. Or we simply can't eat them quickly enough.

Bread - stale, of course - is a case in point. Let's face it, 'stale' is what happens to bread. And the better the bread, the quicker it stales. (Don't worry - fresh bread doesn't make for good crumbing!) You may be wondering why I have so enthusiastically included stale bread as an ingredient in this book. The simple reason is that frugality is back, baby. But being 'economical' is not about being stingy. Quite the opposite - it is all about being creative, thoughtful and resourceful. Here, I've used stale bread in recipes for pasta with chilli crumbs, crumbed prawns with plum sauce, and parmesan and herb crumbed lamb cutlets. I encourage you (actually - I implore you) to explore at least three other ways with this thrifty and versatile one-hundredth ingredient.

This book is not about reinventing your pantry. Instead, more usefully in times like these, it's all about making the most of what you have to hand. Look at these basic 100 ingredients as a framework for the start of something good!

- Ross Dobson