The Freezer Challenge


When the challenge was issued from Mellecotte, I didn’t think it was something I would manage to participate in. Maybe my mind can’t usually form a cohesive picture from the random jigsaw pieces that form the contents of my freezer. But ours is surely the world’s smallest freezer, and every once in awhile, a bit of culling needs to take place, to make room for more bits of junk (I usually save anything I can, because I have that “you never know when you might need… (two spoonfuls of uneaten curry, a thumbnail sized piece of ginger, excess christmas pudding from the year before.. etc etc)” mentality). I also tend to never get round to labelling all my freezer bags, thinking that I would definitely remember what their contents were, or even recognise them in their frozen state, but the thing I never learn everytime is that freezing tends to homogenise the look of every item, so bolognaise looks like curry, which in turn looks like apple pie filling. Go figure!

It so happens today we spent a lazy afternoon having a long lunch with friends, and now that we’re back, neither of us can be bothered to leave the cosy confines of the apartment to do some grocery shopping. So, to the freezer it is!

Items I found and decided to use from the freezer :

– 1 bag coconut milk
– 1/2 box spinach
– 1 bag frozen prawns
– 1/4 packet soy beans
– bird’s eye chillis

In addition to some pantry/fridge items :

– rice
– tin of curry paste
– jar of preserved eggplant
– dried shrimp
– 1/2 spanish onion
– 1/4 butternut pumpkin
– 1 potato

What we ended up having was Vegetable and Prawn Curry with a Spinach, Shrimp and Coconut Rice. Surprisingly edible. The idea for the rice came from a recipe I spotted in a magazine several years back. I don’t remember the exact ingredients, just the title, which sounded quite tasty. My version involved cooking rice in the usual way, but substituting the water for coconut milk and adding a cube of the frozen spinach and a small handful of the dried shrimp. This is a great way of making rice more interesting when you don’t feel like having plain rice. If you would prefer to be guided by a recipe, I recommend this one by Stephanie Alexander.

Fancy coconut and spinach rice :
(serves 4-6)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 x 2cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon chopped dried shrimp
200g baby spinach leaves, washed
1 cup basmati rice, washed and well drained
400ml coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add oil and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic, ginger, dried shrimp and spinach. Cook until spinach has wilted and liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add rice, coconut milk and salt. Transfer to a rice cooker and set to cook. If you do not have a rice cooker, bring saucepan to a boil, cover, reduce heat to lowest setting and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Place a folded tea towel under lid to absorb steam, and leave undisturbed for 10 minutes, then serve.


  1. Chris said,

    May 29, 2007 @ 1:09 am

    Wonderful rice and entry! Thanks so much for participating. You have a wonderful blog and look forward to returning.

  2. Dolores said,

    June 13, 2007 @ 7:28 am

    This looks quite tasty — and its ingredients are staples in my kitchen. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. Y said,

    June 16, 2007 @ 8:33 pm

    Thanks! I’m a big fan of rice based recipes. Fried rice, paella, risotto.. etc!

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