Storecupboard ingredients that never get used up

Seamless texture with spices and herbs
Seamless texture with spices and herbs

We've all bought things in a fit of recipe-driven enthusiasm, used them once, and then neglected the rest of the packet. A recent survey by discovered Britain's top five least-used ingredients are: five spice powder; desiccated coconut; glacé cherries; star anise and pearl barley.

So whether you're on an economy drive, spring cleaning or just want to cut food waste, here are some creative ways of using them up.

The cherry, chocolate and popcorn bars in the video above are a great way of combining some of the seeds, nuts and dried fruit in your kitchen that might be close to their use-by dates. You can substitute any dried fruit for the cherries. You can vary the recipe as much as you like - as long as you keep the proportions of 'wet' ingredients (the chocolate, syrup and butter) to dry ones (fruit, nuts, popcorn etc) the same. In other words, don't use more than about 450g in total of dry ones.

100g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
1 tbsp golden syrup
100g butter
150g glace cherries
75g sunflower seeds
75g pistachio nuts
75g sesame seeds
2 small cups of popped popcorn

1 Line a baking tray with non-stick paper or baking parchment.
2 Put the chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and melt.
3 In a large bowl, place the cherries, sunflower seeds, pistachio, sesame seeds and popcorn.
4 Once the chocolate has melted, stir it into the dry ingredients.
5 Spread the mixture out on baking tray and let harden in the top of the fridge.

More things to make with glace cherries:
Chunky cherry fudge biscuits
Delicate Florentine cupcakes

Things to make with desiccated coconut:
Easy tropical gingercake
Orchard fruit crumble
An Australian classic – the noble lamington

Things to make with five spice powder:
Chinese five-spice spare ribs
Spiced beef and vegetable stew
Pork with honey and ginger

Things to make with star anise:
Poached pears in wine
Chicken and cashew nut stir-fry
Fragrant Vietnamese beef curry

Things to make with pearl barley:
Winter vegetable and beer broth
Chicken and barley risotto
Classic Irish lamb stew

More food know-how:
A tasting guide to the Scottish whisky regions
Whole lotta pies: join the upper crust
Is fillet steak better than sirloin?
Easy-peasy weekend roasts