Saturday, 11 January 2014

Cleaning Out The Cupboards



I have been really enjoying some time in the kitchen this week. I haven't touched any sewing, crochet or knitting since the New Year (in fact, I've enjoyed a break and am only just starting to feel drawn back to those projects) but I've been feeling creative in the kitchen instead.

Continuing with my house-proud, de-cluttering mood, I deep cleaned the kitchen. I scrubbed the cupboard fronts and handles, cleaned the oven, under the toaster, inside the microwave. Believe me, it's not something I do often, if ever. I emptied and organised cupboards and, while bemoaning my lack of a huge, walk-in larder, realised that I hoard tea. I have boxes and boxes of the stuff; regular "tea" tea, decaf tea, peppermint, chamomile, green tea, apple and ginger, liquorice, chai, and something called "sleep-easy". I've been drinking them up all week to make space for a treat I ordered for myself with some Christmas vouchers - three little boxes of tea from TeapigsChocolate Flakechai and Rooibos Creme Caramel. I can report that the chai is wonderfully strong and peppery, as chai should be, but I've not had time to test the others yet, they only arrived today.



I had quite a lot of food just sitting in those cupboards, half-opened and long forgotten which, with some thought and imagination, could be put to good use. (I have a fairly flexible approach to sell by dates.) I found bags of worthy-looking nuts and seeds, leftover from a failed granola attempt last year. I decided to have another go as I buy and eat a lot of granola - it's a favourite breakfast of mine - but the nice stuff can be expensive. So using Sue's granola recipe I made a batch of my own and it's really very tasty indeed. I find myself looking forward to eating it for breakfast when I get up in the morning, is that strange of me?




Not overly crunchy, just crunchy enough. I didn't follow the recipe that faithfully as I wanted to use up what I had but I kept the ratios of dry and wet ingredients the same, and I will be making more in the future with different combinations of flavours and ingredients. I sprinkled a little of it, warm and fresh from the oven, over some plain yogurt with a drizzle of maple syrup. Delicious.


It also appears that I have about 4000 cupcake cases. I seem to buy them every time I go shopping, like tins of chopped tomatoes, and then forget to use them. I also have more glace cherries than is normal, so I made old fashioned fairy cakes with plain white icing and a cherry on top.



Last of all, I found three half full packets of chocolate chips. I'm not a lover of chocolate chip cookies, preferring oatmeal and raisin every time, but Sue's recipe for chilli chocolate biscuits caught my eye when she posted it last week and they turned out really well. 



The heat left in the mouth by the chilli is pleasantly strong and I thought the children would refuse to eat these, finding them too spicy. But no, they loved them and requested they go in their lunchboxes over the fairy cakes. Thank you for the cooking inspiration and your excellent recipes Sue!

It's probably a very good thing that I don't have a huge, walk in larder. Can you imagine what I'd hoard in it? So, that is mainly what I've been doing this week, cleaning out the cupboards, filling the cake tins and in the evenings, watching TV, in particular The BridgeSherlock and Homeland. Dark winter nights were made for tea, cake and good TV.

62 comments:

  1. Those cupcakes and cookies look delicious Gillian....I love Sherlock too!
    Have a lovely weekend, Caroline xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yum! I wish my kitchen had so many hidden treasures :-) I'm due for a big kitchen clean up but I've been putting it off-but I'm so tempted to roll my sleeves up and give it a thorough clean and then give those chilli chocolate biscuits a try! They look amazing :-) But not until the next episode of Sherlock is on...I'm a big fan too.
    Happy New Year to you and your family x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yummy! I really want a fairy cake and a cuppa now!

    Looking forward to Sherlock tomorrow.

    Helenxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Looks like it's been a good week! I haven't had time for cooking this weekend which is a shame. We have scarily been trying to make sixth form choices, watching hockey and rugby tomorrow. However, I bought a soup maker this week, which has been fun and healthy! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. How funny, I also buy canned diced tomatoes every.single.time I shop. I must use two or three almost every week. I love granola and I thought Sue's recipe looked great. I'm glad it worked well for you too because I've had some bad attempts at granola myself. I also have tons of cupcake papers and really should be working harder at finding a use for them...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oooh it looks like I've missed a couple of your posts!! I'll have to get caught up - I had a kitchen declutter before christmas some of the date of things I threw out oh my gosh!! Those chilli biccies look lovely xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm still loving those fairy cakes. I too have a ridiculous collection of fairy cake cases - it's excessive. I need to find some time to bake and then a good cause to donate them to! x

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just catching up with blog land after a looong break. The cakes and cookies look delicious but weirdly for me it's the granola that is making my mouth water! A bit belated Happy New Year to you! xXx

    ReplyDelete
  9. well that all sounds good - and looks delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  10. A lovely, delicious post! I love your granola and yogurt, that's my brekkie of choice, too! And who needs a better excuse to bake cupcakes than having too many cases? ;-) You have started the new year perfectly, with a good clear out and lots of yummy treats! Chrissie x

    ReplyDelete
  11. You have been busy... I have a lovely recipe for granola from an Annabel Karmel book which slowly toasts the dry ingredients in a mixture of oil and maple syrup it is delicious especially with yogurt xx

    ReplyDelete
  12. I feel so much better...I am not the only one with 100's of cupcake cases...I have a tin full of them. I'm definitely inspired to make some fairy cakes just like yours, we have tub full of glace cherries that need using. I have to admit they made me think of the film 'calendar girls' and THAT photo moment with the buns :) Have a great weekend! Sarah xo

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is amazing what you find when you turn out the cupboards isn't it! I have that cupcake case problem too, and actually, probably that tea bag issue as well! Fortunately although I have a lot of tomatoes I use them a lot! I still have dried fruit left over from my christmas cake, so I need to find something to do with that - not more fruit cake as we still have a huge lump of christmas cake looking at us!! Happy baking and making to you. xx p.s. would love to know what the other teapigs are like when you try them! xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is a lovely post, really warm and homely and just right for this time of year. I love your 'flexible approach to sell by dates' and am definitely a fan as some of the dry ingredients in my cupboard are likely to outlive me! The baking and making looks absolutely delicious and I am a huge fan of teapigs too but it has to be the peppermint or liquorice and peppermint for me. You may not have done your usual crafts but you've been so productive, and I agree a nice breakfast is essential to look forward to on a dreich morning when there is little reason to leave your warm bed.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello Gillian
    Having a good tidy up and clean really makes you feel so virtuous doesn't it ? I wouldn't even begin to try and count the cake cases we have stashed away, but your cakes looks so yummy I just might head to the kitchen tomorrow and use up a few more. Sometimes its lovely to just have a kitchen day isn't it ?
    Enjoy your tea, telly and cake,
    Kate x

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh do love a good old fashioned clean up and sort out Gillian, something so satisfying about it. Sue is an incredible cook, definitely puts me to shame, her granola looks super scrummy and as a food lover I can definitely says it's not strange to loo forward to a favourite and enjoyable meal :o)
    We like the same tv, I love all the Swedish BBC 4 programs and Sherlock is an absolute favourite, Mr. Cumberbatch is rather incredible x have fun with her bakes and telly x

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm impressed - and a little envious. I can only imagine how pleased I'd be if I did all this! Those little cakes, that granola... and I love the look of your tea.
    I now feel very inspired (is it wrong to secretly hope it rains tomorrow?)
    Hope you enjoy all that lovely food x

    ReplyDelete
  18. The cheque's in the post Gillian :D

    I've given up on Scandi-drama because of the knitting -doesn't go with too well with subtitles but Sherlock -completely obsessed with it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. oooooh so many lovely things in the one post. I want it all! The granola, the cakes, and most of all the tidy kitchen cupboards!! I am looking forward to getting reorganised for the new year in the next few weeks, and might even make some granola along the way. I have some spare white choc chips but I'm not sure they would work quite as well with chillies!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hey Gillian,

    I have yet to deep clean my kitchen, because our mild weather in St Ives has seen me outside in the garden. BUT I have a date with it on Monday. Thanks for sharing the granola recipie. I shall be making some of that next week. nd to be honest I think a good old fairy cake beats any fancy creation anyday. Yours look particularly yummy! I have always steered clear of tea that isn't 'tea,' but would welcome some recommendations from fellow builders tea drinker.

    Leanne xx

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love chai.

    I glace cherries. When I was little my Nan used to let me have 10 in a cup and I would eat them with a cocktail stick. I thought that was the height of sophistication as I pretended it was a cocktail. lol funny

    well seeing as hot cross buns are already in the supermarket, you could make individual chocolate cornflake cakes with mini eggs on top. yum and you get to use up some of those fairy cake cases.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love a clean kitchen! I always feel like I have a new kitchen after it's been deep cleaned. The fairy cupcakes look so yummy I can almost taste them, and they are beautiful! Your granola looks really good, too. I agree with you, winter nights were made for tea, cake, and good TV. Enjoy the weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Oh yes, tea, cake and good TV, wonderful. You've made me laugh with your cupcake cases, I'm the same with rubber gloves. Every time I see them reduced I buy a couple of packets. Last time I emptied the cupboard I found eight pairs! It's funny what you find when you have a clear out. All the little packets of long forgotten things, bought for long-forgotten recipes. The granola looks great, I'm sure I have most of the ingredients tucked away somewhere...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Gillian I have been having a good clearing out time too and also have a bountiful collection of cup cake cases I just can't resist them and buy them from everywhere. Your cakes and cookies look yummy and will go perfectly with your new tea.
    I am loving the return of the Bridge even if I have to put my knitting or crochet to one side. Thank you for the granola link it's my breakfast of choice and I have never had a go at making my own.
    Hope you have a good week
    Sue x

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm coming to your house for tea and cakes :-), they look yummy, I'm a tea freak too...love the stuff. Glad to hear you're enjoying your sorting, I've Bern having a good clearing of the decks too...love it....Elisa xxx

    ReplyDelete
  26. I admire you completely... I wish I had the desire to get in the kitchen like that... Those cookies sound divine and those cookies... yes please! I cleaned my microwave not long ago when I was embarrassed someone might come over and open it, it was so bad! I swear I could have fed a 3rd world country with what was on the sides!
    Way to go on using up what you have to make granola! I have never thought of making my own and I love granola! You have inspired me!
    Much love,
    Tammy

    ReplyDelete
  27. Another make your own breakfast cereal girl. Yum. Looks good. I make mine too. I use puffed rice, amaranth, and a few other puffed grains, raisins, corn flakes (of the health food style variety), currants, dried fig pieces, dried date pieces and crushed macadamia nuts. Also yummy.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I know I'm supposed to be looking at the food ... but actually I'm thinking how well you've photographed it! Ooh, and that I have eaten a glacé cherry in years!

    Happy cooking x

    ReplyDelete
  29. Your food looks very yummy, hope to get some baking done to day, been buzzy de-cluttering the bed room as well as making it into a sewing room. Did promise my self at Christmas I would get back in to baking once a week and do a big batch that would last the week....

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oh, your cakes look absolutely delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm gonna be right behind you in a week or two, my kitchen really needs some tlc as my fridge and cupboards suddenly seem to be overflowing with stuff (and dirt!). I have a TINY kitchen with minimal cupboard space so every inch of it is precious.
    This week however, is operation Toy-Clearout. Oh, and books too. The influx of Christmas stuff has sent us a bit over the edge. I'm planning on 15 mins a day, like the Flylady does, with a grand haul to the charity shop on Friday. I am looking forward to it!
    xxxxxxxxxx
    ps your granola/yoghurt/syrup combo looked delish!x

    ReplyDelete
  32. have I said happy new year yet! I love Homeland, there's something about it. Very gripping. Nice to re-connect with the food situation. The granola looks yum. My cooker is shocking! I try to ignore it! I am a housewife floosy! Heather x

    ReplyDelete
  33. I had a kitchen clear out but didn't find any treasures in mine even in my walk in pantry! I didn't clean my oven tho and each time I put it on it sets the smoke alarm off and reminds me I need to do it. We make small shortbread biscuits with chocolate chips they last about five minutes here, the children make them now.

    Love your granola it looks like a yummy breakfast :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh the post is yummy- it all looks delicious- and I'm intrigued by all the different flavours of tea:)

    ReplyDelete
  35. That sounds like a great week. My kitchen desperately needs similar attention, but in my out of work hours I want to do other things so it gets neglected. It seems to me it's possible to do work + a hobby, or home+ a hobby, or home+ work but not all 3. Oh we'll guess it will have to wait till I retire, about 5 years then!!!! Xxx

    ReplyDelete
  36. You always hear about people doing spring cleaning but I think January is the month when you feel that you want to wash out the old and bring in the new. My kitchen has had an unexpected deep clean. While finding homes for christmas gifts, I recycled my kitchen cupboards, moved everything around and wiped as I went.
    Now I have revamped organised kitchen cupboards and a husband who can't find anything!!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Oh getting organised is something ive been doing this week. Looks like you've done a better job than me!!
    The teas look nice I like a cuppa xx

    ReplyDelete
  38. I am coming over for tea and treats, yum, yum, yum. It feels so good to get organized, I am loving it.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
  39. Lots if yummy baking, tis the season I think for having a clear out and getting organised, enjoy the tea, I got some teapigs tea for Christmas too :)
    Clare x

    ReplyDelete
  40. Thank you for pointing us in the direction of the chocolate chilli cookies Gillian - my husband is a chilli head and will love these. I laughed when I read your tea-hoarding list as I have a similar one! Cleaned and reorganized kitchen cupboards are so satisfying aren't they? Have a good week.
    Jane x

    ReplyDelete
  41. One of those cupcakes would go just perfectly with my cup of tea right now!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I too have a cupboard full of cupcake decorations and the obligatory half full packets of chocolate chips! I might use them on those chilli cookies which look and sound so interesting. I also did lots of cleaning over Xmas including the oven doors (haven't been brave enough to tackle the rest yet) and am amazed that I can actually see what's cooking clearly now! x

    ReplyDelete
  43. I admire your creativity in making use of all those things you found in your kitchen cupboards. The cupcakes, brownies and granola all look delicious.
    We 're enjoying The Bridge and Sherlock too! Happy viewing!
    Marion x

    ReplyDelete
  44. You are living my life! I have all those problems plus a stash of sandwich bags , even though I don't think I buy them often.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I reckon I should try granola, I am getting a bit sick of porridge now 3 months into winter and I need a change. I keep an empty jar in the cupboard and when I have a silly amount of some dry ingrediant (oats, the bottom of the cereal packets that the girls won't eat, raisins etc. I put it in and then we make our own crazy flapjack recipe or rocky road. It is sort of fun because you never get the same twice I live life on the crazy side Gillian!!! Keep up your motivation on the sorting, it is good for you soul. Jo x

    ReplyDelete
  46. Well done with your kitchen springclean, though I do my quite regularly, I still find surprises. The granola sounds great and I eat a lot of muesli, so may just have a go at making some. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  47. I had what turned out to be the great fortune of spraining my ankle a couple days ago - I was pretty frustrated at first, but have had the great fun of being cared for by my kids while finding new (to me) blogs. I am enjoying your blog so much!! Immediately adding it to my list. I am completely in love with Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock!! It has caused me some bias - I detest Johnny Lee Miller's version! I am also enjoying your blog list - you have made my stuck-on-the-couch days quite entertaining and inspirational! I see you also crocheted "Mr Snake", I made one out camouflage yarn after seeing him on Lucy's (attic24) blog. He is named "KingSnake". Little people are certainly funny with their names! Hope your winter stays enjoyable, and I can't wait to see what's next!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Oh, that all looks so yummy! Great clean out fixes!!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Everything you made looks so delicious! Little fairy cakes with white icing and glacé cherries are my wee girls absolute favourite! In fact I will be making some for her birthday tomorrow. A lovely post and one which has motivated me to clean out my own kitchen cupboards!
    Marianne x

    ReplyDelete
  50. I want to bake something after your blog - and I dont bake! Appledore in Sherlock was filmed in a local house to me - check out Swinhay House. It was fab seeing it on the tv, but devastating knowing that Benedict had been so close and I never knew...

    ReplyDelete
  51. How brilliant that you can feel virtuous after doing your delicious baking, but it's got to be done to tidy out your cupboards ;)
    I've never seen Sherlock, perhaps I should find it on the iplayer....

    ReplyDelete
  52. Chilli chocolate biscuits!!! Now there is something I have to try! My eldests goes back to school on Wednesday so I have lots of plans to rearrange and tidy cupboards when (or if!) the baby sleeps. x

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hello lovely Gillian and it is good to see I am not the only one in complete spring clean mode. I have to confess the oven is being ignored and I am seriously thinking of getting someone in to do that when we have some pennies. I did also attack our 'pantry', which is our under stairs cupboard and it is so satisfying to see what we hoard, tomatoes tick, cupcake cases tick and the list goes on. It seems you have put yours to good use and I love the look of it all really. I am on a no sugar diet, so I am officially blaming you for sitting here drooling, thanks!! Hope you have a good week xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  54. A lovely post. I love the idea of making home made granola. I love shop bought, but you are right, it can be darned expensive! I am relatively new to your blog but have really enjoyed reading back through your posts, you have a lovely blog style!

    Have a lovely week

    Vanessa

    ReplyDelete
  55. Oh golly ... so many gorgeous eats ... it all looks delectable ... Bee xx

    ReplyDelete
  56. I too seem to hoard things… we have endless packets of nuts and seeds, I always seem to have a veritable mountain of ground almonds for some reason?? your bakes look delicious x

    ReplyDelete
  57. Another member of Tea Anonymous here - so many half used packed. Tut. I cleaned out the cupboard of doom and sorted the freeze. I am ashamed of my food hoarding tendencies and have some 'interesting' menus planned to empty it out!

    All you baking looks fabulous, the buns are picture perfect nostalgia.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I brought a box a Teapigs from our last trip in UK. I bought the breakfast ones and I love it. Your baking looks really good. I would be hesitating baking chili cookies, but I wonder if your post did not convinced me to try it out. A yummy post!

    ReplyDelete
  59. You are a busy girl Gillian, can't beat a bit of spring cleaning to start off the year - when you're finished there would you like to come to my place? Those chilli choc cookies look so good but I must resist as weight loss is a big priority at the moment - but there's always later, thank you!
    I thought I was already one of your followers but you must have slipped under the radar somehow - I've now remedied that! Joy x

    ReplyDelete
  60. I the best intentions to use things up but you always get the end of packets when you've used something in a recipe and it gets pushed to the back of the cupboard. I also have a huge stockpile of fairy cake and muffin cases....although that's being somewhat depleted as BigR is using them for creative purposes...wheels for vehicles made out of boxes and hooves are favourites at the mo! The chili cookies look divine!!

    ReplyDelete

Hello there! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I read them all avidly, every last one, and I always try to answer questions.