A Saturday night menu created from store-cupboard staples 

Chickpea and tomato stew with chermoula; Chocolate and orange tahini squares  
Whip up a delicious meal from everyday ingredients – with a twist here and there Credit: Steven Joyce

When you’re cosy indoors on these cold and wet Saturday nights, you might not have the energy (or patience) for more than a quick dash around the nearest shop. Enter these store-cupboard dishes, which make good use of kitchen basics and dried goods.

The stew, for example, stars everyday spices, tinned tomatoes and cooked chickpeas (or any beans you like really). I recommend keeping a stash of stock or broth in the freezer – it will always come in handy for extra flavour oomph.

The simple slaw is my go-to winter salad for its crunch and freshness, contrasting against a sea of soups and roasts. It calls for a juicy pear (or use an apple if that’s what’s in your fruit bowl) and a cheap and cheerful cabbage.

Then, for pudding, you need just six cupboard ingredients and little effort to make a chocolate-orange tahini ‘fudge’ that you can easily adapt, swapping in dashes of peppermint, rose and warming spices like cardamom – or how about a few chewy sour cherry pieces and a pinch of chilli flakes?

Need to use up those pantry staples? Melissa Hemsley has the answer for a simple yet sustaining menu Credit:  Sophia spring

 Chocolate and orange tahini squares

If you use dates instead 
of raw honey to make these, they become vegan and will also set faster. Stir the jar of tahini before you weigh it out.

Prep time: 10 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling time

MAKES 

16

INGREDIENTS 

  • 4 tbsp dark chocolate chips or 70g dark chocolate, broken 
into pieces
  • 140g light tahini
  • 4 tbsp raw honey 
or 80g pitted dates 
(about 4 large dates)
  • 1 tsp orange extract (not essence), or 
as needed
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp white or black sesame seeds
  • Zest of ½ orange

METHOD 

  1. Line a small baking tin, 
or a lunchbox or other similar container that’s about 10cm x 10cm, with baking parchment.
  2. If not using chips, place the chocolate in a food processor and pulse a few times so it’s roughly chopped, then tip into 
a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the tahini, honey or dates, orange extract, coconut oil and a pinch of sea salt to the food processor, and blend to a paste. Taste and adjust with a little more salt or orange extract if you like.
  4. Roughly stir in the chocolate chips or broken-up chocolate
with a spatula, transfer the paste to the tin or lunchbox, and press 
down so it’s even.
  5. Scatter with sesame seeds, orange zest and a tiny pinch of sea-salt flakes to finish, press down again, then chill for about an hour in the freezer or two hours in the fridge, until firm.
  6. Slice into small 
squares to serve 
straight from the fridge.