Cupboard Curry

Pasta with butternut squash, feta and bacon

  • Words, pictures and recipes Jo Arnell

Serves 4 (bulk out with rice and bread for an unexpected guest)

It's Sunday night, they're starving (Uncle Bob's just popped over and shows no signs of leaving) and all you can find is half an old cauliflower, two bendy carrots, a large sprouting onion, curry powder and a pot of yoghurt that no one wants to finish. What perfect ingredients! If you can find a tin of chickpeas, or some leftover meat, some potatoes, chilli flakes and a tin of coconut milk as well, then Bob's your (grateful) uncle! A lime and some coriander might be too much to expect from the back of the cupboard on such an evening, but they would be wondrous additions. Serve with a generous helping of rice and naan bread or pitta if you have any, depending on how far this needs to spread and how frugal you need to be.

  • assorted vegetables as discussed, include an onion if possible. For the one in the picture I used (oldish) new potatoes, two small carrots, half a small cauliflower, a handful of mushrooms, a tin of chopped pineapple (a handful of sultanas also works well, esp. if you're using yoghurt or cream instead of coconut milk.
  • 1 tin chickpeas (or lentils, or more potatoes - how bare is your cupboard?)
  • 1 tin coconut milk - be prepared to thicken. Or yoghurt or cream (or milk if you're desperate) can substitute.
  • 1tsp approx. chilli flakes (to taste)/green Thai curry paste if using coconut milk, or 2 tsps medium curry powder for the cream/yoghurt version
  • optional extras: chicken pieces, chopped coriander, lime juice

Pre cook any potatoes you're using. Sauté the onions in a deepish pan for 5 mins, then add the other vegetables and sweat until they're soft. Add cooked potatoes, chickpeas, chilli/curry, extra ingredients (but not the coriander) and the coconut milk/cream/yoghurt and either place in a medium oven for 45 mins, or simmer in a heavy based pan for a similar amount of time. Adjust the seasoning depending on how spicy you like it. This tastes even better the next day.

To find out more about Jo's practical gardening workshops visit or call 01233 861186

Words, pictures and recipes Jo Arnell