Will you join my Back Of Challenge for unloved food?


Let’s face it, we all have them: dark, dusty corners of cupboards, shelves, veg racks and fridges that are home to forgotten and unloved packets, tins, jars and bottles of things.

Things that started out with such promise and excitement of dishes ahead. And maybe you did flirt with them, just for one dish as planned. And then they went into the cupboard, and slowly, slowly began their long march to the back of the cupboard.

And then they just kind of stop there.

I’m a bit horrified at the number things at the back of my cupboards:


#Backofchallenge - like many a food lover, way too many things at the back of my cupboards!


It’s certainly an eclectic mix, and reflects different types of cuisine that I’ve dabbled in, or places I’ve been, or even friends and family have been. And there’s stuff that I’ve managed to forget I’ve got and then bought more of, only to find the original at the back of the cupboard.

I mean, how much pomegranate molasses do I really need?

So I’ve decided that I am going to challenge myself to use them all. Though obviously not all at once! And by getting them out of the dark corners, at least I can see what there is, and start thinking of what to do with them. It’s partly frugal and making good use of what there is (those who’ve read this blog for a while will know how much I loathe food waste), but also it’s quite interesting to see what can be done.

And I always love a challenge.

Am I the only one with long forgotten items in the cupboard? Or would you admit to what is lurking there? Would you join the #backofchallenge? If it makes you feel better, then this is the list of things that I’m going to be working through:

Marmite (only MGG eats it, and obviously not very often given it hasn’t moved in a year)

Thai green curry paste (was darned hot the only time I’ve made it)

Tuna rillettes with parmesan

Dulce de leche (or the French equivalent of) with salted butter

Vacuum packed whole chestnuts

Two types of chestnut puree, one plain, one with vanilla

Leftover flavoured rice cakes (paprika and salt and vinegar) that MGG has gone off

Womersley Blackcurrant & Rosemary Vinegar

Cardini Light Caesar Dressing

Pomegranate molasses (two part bottles)

Peppermint extract

Orange flower water

Light corn syrup (I think this came from working through recipes in Sky High Cakes)

Stem Ginger in syrup

Instant miso soup

Belazu preserved lemons

Morello cherries in syrup

Almond butter

Honey with black truffle

San Marcos pickled chilpotes

Dijon mustard

A grape must mustard from the Charente

Condensed milk

Mild tomato salsa

Fig confit

Hotel Chocolat pure cocoa bean shavings & cocoa, honey and mustard dressing

Laksa paste

Piquillo peppers

A whole stack of rubs and salts from Gourmet Spice Co

Roasted cocoa nibs and star anise


Anyone got any ideas that spring to mind with these? I’m thinking that there’ll be some further exploring of recipes from Arabesque as a starting point! Some of these make additions to other good ingredients, so things like the fig confit I like with chicken liver pate and toasted brioche. It’s more that these are forgotten, when there’s some good eating hidden in all of these.

So have a delve around the back of your cupboards, see what there is, then either comment here or tweet me with what’s in your #backofchallenge and what you’re thinking of doing with it.


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Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

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