(Half a glass of) Red Wine Risotto

(Half a glass of) Red Wine Risotto

Leftover wine means risotto.  I so rarely make it because (cough) I don’t like to have leftover wine, and I certainly don’t like sacrificing a hefty glass to the cooking pan.  A bottle of wine isn’t a cheap thing for most of us; I hover around spending around £7 per bottle and I intend to drink my wine!  But when drinking it isn’t on the cards, let’s not waste our precious my precious wine.

Oh, to live in Italy or France where 4 euro wine is good!  Anyway, this price point reminds us to not leave half empty glasses of wine. or be like Marina O’Loughlin and not pour hulking great glasses in the first place.  If you’re tidying up after a boozy lunch or lovely party DON’T throw every half glass leftover; freeze it if you need to and know that this risotto can be filling up your bowl with all its warming and cosy goodness.

This red wine risotto can use up frozen red wine if you have some lurking.  I served it to my friend Lucy with a hefty stir through of Stilton and some leftover sprouts; both optional, but if you’re feeding a lotta people on Boxing Day or after, this is a thrifty and delicious way to nail those tricky leftovers.

(One glass of leftover) Red Wine and Stilton Risotto

Serves 2, heartily

Ingredients

50 grams unsalted butter
1 medium onion (around 100 grams)
200 grams risotto rice
250ml red wine
250ml chicken/veg stock/water
Around 100g blue cheese (optional)
Around 50 grams grand padano/any Italian hard cheese
Leftover greens (totally optional)

Tools

Knife, chopping board
Large frying pan
Wooden spoon
Grater

Time

About three quarters of an hour

Prep

If using frozen wine, defrost
Finely dice the onion
If using a stock cube, prep the stock

Method

Heat the butter in the saucepan and when it’s a little frothy, add the diced onion
Cook on a medium/low heat until the onion is see-through – at least 10 minutes but give it 20 if you can
DON’T LET IT BROWN
Only when the onion is soft enough to be squashed with your wooden spoon add the risotto rice
Stir it around and make sure it’s all covered with the butter
Turn up the heat and pour in the wine; let is cook nice and hot for a couple of minutes
Heat back down to medium and add some stock/water and stir
Keep on adding the stock/water and giving the odd stir until the rice has a nice texture; not too soft but I’m not keen on too much of a bite.  Some brands of rice might take 20 minutes, some 30, so follow pack instruction
When you’re happy, stir through the grated hard cheese, and a little of the blue cheese, if using
If you’ve got some greens or sprouts to use up, stir them through, too
Serve with extra blue cheese and  sprouts if you like

Storage/further meals

Lots of people worry about storing leftover rice; billions of people all over the world eat leftover rice, so just be careful and you’ll be fine
Allow to cool to room temperature then cover
You can keep for 5 days in the fridge as long as kept cold and covered
Only reheat what you need at any one time

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Brandade

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Brandade

Fourteen years ago, I stood in the Sussex Stationers, Tunbridge Wells and bought my then-boyfriend a copy of ‘The River Cottage Year’.  I so wanted to know about seasonality and what grew when; aged 23 and about to live with the boyf, I wanted to learn about food.  The charts were confounding, and I didn’t need to know about everything in the hedgerow.  But I bought it and cooked him roast guinea fowl for a birthday tea.

It surprised me that many of the recipes weren’t so hard.  I had cooked, off an on, growing up, but with little care. Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup + tuna + mash for tea at uni, that sort of thing.  I did learn to cook a cottage pie when I was 10, but I swear I used a tin of tomatoes.  Smashing up the spuds with the masher was the best part of that operation – the youngest of 4 kids needed to get her tension out somewhere.

Anyway.  I digress.  I love to digress.

Using leftover parsnips in this French based recipe is probably something of an abomination, whoops.  But leftover food is not for wasting.  Parsnips and fish were a common pairing back in The Day, but more often matched with salt cod.  So, I’m not going to recommend that and, unless you live near a big city, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find it, easily.  Smoked haddock, or pollack – that’s easy.

Mashing your sweet, sticky parsnips with salty, smoked fish is heavenly.  Take a piece of toast, butter it, spread on the brandade and tell me that leftovers are shit.

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Brandade

Adapted from ‘River Cottage Year’, Gill Mellor and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, p49-50
Serves 1 as a main, 4 as a starter

Ingredients

50 grams leftover roasted parsnips
50 grams smoked haddock
Around100 ml milk
Around 50 grams butter
1 clove garlic
Cooking oil

Tools

Saucepan
Scales
Measuring jug
Frying pan
Heat-proof dish
Immersion blender and bowl

Time

About half an hour to prep and mix
15-20 mins to bake

Prep

Pour the milk into saucepan and add the fish
Turn the heat to medium and, after 5 minutes, your fish should be cooked through
Place the parsnips into the bowl of your immersion blender and pulse until smooth
You’ll need to add some of the poaching milk; keep any leftover for a chowder

Method

Take the parsnip puree out of the blender/bowl and put to one side
Place the fish into the immersion blender and pulverise
Add the parnsips and mash until you have the consistency of mashed potato; you might need to add more of the poaching milk
Season with pepper – you probably won’t need any salt, as smoked fish tends to be salty

Scoop into your oven dish and bake for 15-20 minutes

Serve on chunky toast, and maybe some winter salad and def some pickles

Storage/further meals

This is best eaten fresh, if possible
But, if you can’t eat it all, allow to cool to room temperature then cover
Parsnips can keep to up to 5 days in your fridge
If your parsnips were 1 day old when you made this, you can keep this dish up to 3 days
If they were more like 4 days old, either eat straight away, or freeze when room temperature
Eat within 3 months of freezing

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Macaroni Cheese

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Macaroni Cheese

Leftover roast parsnips can be tricky to use up, I think, because the texture can be off-putting.  I know I hate leftover roast potatoes and have to really disguise the flavour. Roast parsnips are similar, because they are high in starch.

This genius idea was inspired by the amazing Jack Monroe.  Her latest book (well, not including the almost-published tin-can lovely) provided the inspo for this recipe.  Mashing up your leftover roast parsnips well … it uses them.  You can’t really taste them.  And sometimes, especially if you feed picky eater (young AND old), this is A Good Thing.

If you have a lot of people to feed on a budget, then this is a cracker of a recipe.  It freezes well, too – so if you’ve got parsnips to use up, but no time to eat them, this dish is for you.

Not got cheddar?  Just use 100 grams of whatever you’ve got and you like.  Emmental and stilton?  Cheddar and Lancashire?  Talleggio and Pecorino?  Use around 100g and enjoy.

Making a white sauce is too much for some people, so use a ready made one; if you can be arsed to try to learn then all power to you.  You’ll save money, so much money.  Just don’t walk away from the pan half way through cooking. Ahem.  Burnt on white-sauce is the devil’s own job to clean off.  That is when you need a wallpaper scraper and wire wool.  I once got huge kudos/horror from a writer for walking away from a bubbling white sauce; he was right.

Adding sweetcorn or peas is totally optional but I like the bite and texture against the creamy sauce and soft pasta.  And use any pasta, esp if you have 4 bags of a few random shapes. Random pasta, random veg and random cheese: this is thrifty, leftover busting cooking at its finest.

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Macaroni Cheese

Adapted from Jack Monroe, ‘Cooking on a Bootstrap’ p112
Serves 3-4

Ingredients

50 grams leftover roasted parsnips
1 tablespoon plain flour
50 grams butter/oil
350 ml milk/milk mixed with veg stock and leftover gravy from your roast
Salt & pepper
100 grams strong cheese, grated
160 grams of pasta
100 grams sweetcorn (optional)

Tools

Colander
Saucepan with lid
Saucepan
Balloon whisk
Scales
Immersion blender and bowl
Serving bowl
Heatproof jug

Time

About half an hour

Prep

Place the parsnips into the bowl of your immersion blender and pulse until smooth
You’re likely to need around 50ml of the milk/milk & stock mixture to make it into mash
If you’re using frozen sweetcorn, leave it out to defrost, or drain if using tinned *

Method

Place a saucepan on the hob and, if you’re using butter, melt it
Add the flour and, using the balloon whisk or a fork, mix it in
Splash in about 50ml of the milk and make a thick paste
Keep on adding around 50ml of milk, whisking until all the flour/butter mixture is combined
Season like Jeremy Lee on MasterChef
Bring gently to the boil and, once it’s popping gently, turn the heat down and stir occasionally for 5 minutes

Meanwhile…

Put your pasta water on
When the water is boiling add salt and then the pasta
Put the pinger on for 5 minutes fewer than the packet directs
After the 5 minutes popping on the cheese sauce are up, add the cheese and mashed parsnips

Finishing it off…

When the pasta pinger goes off, save a a small jug of pasta water (around 50-80 millilitres) in your heatproof jug/little bowl
Try the pasta – you want it a little underdone because it’s going to cook with the cheese sauce
When it’s ready (that is, with quite a bit of bite/still raw in the middle), strain the pasta in the waiting colander
While the pasta is draining, take the sweetcorn and stir it into the sauce
Stir the pasta into the pan with the sauce
If the cheese sauce looks too thick, pour in about a tablespoon (15ml) of pasta water and some salt and pepper; if the sauce is still too thick you can add some more. Discard the pasta water when you’re happy with the consistency

Serve alone or as a side dish

Storage/further meals

Allow to cool to room temperature then cover
Parsnips can keep to up to 5 days in your fridge
If your parsnips were 1 day old when you made this, you can keep this macaroni cheese for up to 4 days
If they were more like 4 days old, either eat straight away, or freeze when room temperature
Eat within 3 months of freezing

  • You can freeze sweetcorn: take a baking tray and line it with greaseproof paper
  • place the sweetcorn in one layer
  • cover the tray and place it in the freezer
  • when it’s frozen, tip the sweetcorn into a bag and use it as you would use ‘normal’ frozen sweetcorn

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Slightly Soft) Roasted Leftover Pear, Stilton & Walnut salad

(Slightly Soft) Roasted Leftover Pear, Stilton & Walnut salad

Pears are a tricky beast. Buy a bag of 6, and how many do you really eat, every time?  3?  4?  All?!  GTAF.  I make like Nigel Slater and put four in a bowl to ripen, give those round little bottoms a little squeeze a couple of times a day, until they are perfectly ripe and giving and juicy etc etc.  But then it’s 3 days later, the washing mountain is building, the kids homework is beyond late and I remember that the kids don’t really like pears.  My once perfectly sweet bowl of pears are threatening to turn themselves into Lambrini Perry, scrumpy edition.

So, how to avoid the pitfalls of the mushy pear?  Once they’re fermenting in the bowl, they are, well, fermenting and there’s fuck all you can do about it.  (I am, right now, imagining my GCSE English teacher, Mr Lanaway, admonishing me for an over-reliance on swearing in my work.  I feel expressing the frustration of wasting £2.50 and a contribution to our food waste mountain is judicious, sir. Ahem).

Anyway.  Back to pears.  Once they are ripe PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE.  THE FRIDGE.  Right at the front SO YOU DON’T FORGET TO EAT THEM OKAY?

If your pears are a teeny bit mushy without being the whole hoopla rank, then just cook them.  Yes!  Cook them!

I am not a blue cheese fan.  Indeed, I used to sit on the cold – real October cold – pavement outside my dad’s favourite cheese shop, holding my nose and bawking.  I once asked a cheesemonger for a cheese “that isn’t really festy”.  I then told *these* little lines to The Cheese Buyer of Neal’s Yard. FFS.

Anyway.  If you’re looking to use up your roasted pears AND start sampling the delights of blue cheese, may I recommend this warm salad?  The cheese melts onto the nuts and pears, which does the job of making pears in salad less odd AND the cheese less intense.  If you think pears in salad is weird – remember StorrCupboard lovers! – tomatoes are fruits, so, you know, get over it and try it.  Or wait until my 2 other recipes come out 🙂

Warm, roasted leftover pears with toasty walnuts and melty cheese?  You are so welcome.

(Slightly Soft) Pear, Stilton & Walnut Salad

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

NOTE – this is more of a method than a *recipe* – so if you have 35 grams or 75 grams of nuts or cheese, get ’em used up x

2 pears – anything from *will NEVER ripen & I’m going on holiday tomorrow” to “oh god I’d better eat them even though they’re the wrong side of soft”
1/2 tablespoon of fat; I used pork fat for umami/keeping it cheap, but ground nut or vegetable oil would be great.  Avoid olive, too strong
around 50 grams of walnuts or pecans
around 50 grams of Stilton or other blue cheese
Few handfuls of salad leaves

Tools

Colander/sieve
Baking tray
Teaspoon
Scales
Chopping board
Knife
Mixing bowl
Tea towel/kitchen paper

Time

10 minutes prep
30 minutes to roast pears
5 more minutes to mix

Prep

Preheat the oven to 180C
Cut your pears in half and remove the core; chop into about 3 pieces, for even cooking
*I don’t peel the pears as I think that the skin provides a nice texture, but it’s up to you*
Place on the baking sheet and drizzle the oil all over
Roughly chop the blue cheese

Method

Place the oiled pears in the oven
Wash the salad leaves and leave to drain; either spin or pat dry with a clean tea towel
Place the salad leaves in a mixing bowl
After 20 minutes, add the nuts to the tray and coat in the oil
TIMER ON; check after 5 minutes
The nuts are done when they smell all toasty; take them out a little too soon rather than burnt
When the nuts are golden brown and the pears a little caramelised, remove from the oven
Stir the cheese into the pears and nuts on the tray
Mix the warm pear-cheese-nut goo into the salad leaves
Eat!

Storage
You can store the roasted pears for between 1 and 5 days, depending on how ripe they were when you roasted them.  You can roast alongside the nuts but do not store together, because the nuts will go soggy (insert joke here).
To serve from cold, bring to room temperature for a couple of hours before serving, if possible.  Warm through in the oven or in a microwave, if you like.

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Bought-too-many-herbs corn bread

Bought-too-many-herbs corn bread

I love cornbread, corn chips, corn crackers, corn fed chicken and sweetcorn.  Big bowls of polenta (grits) all rich with corn, butter and cheese, topped with heaps of veg or ragu/bolognese.  It’s the warm flavour of corn that does it for me.  So, for my final ‘good god either I don’t have enough herbs or I have too many’, I offer you: herby cornbread.
Sometimes cooking a dish that you can freeze for another day is the perfect way to use up a leftover; maybe it’s leftover because you ran out of time this week, or the herbs are going off more quickly than you expected.  Or, maybe, you’re just sick of the sight of the fucking herbs/veg/meat sitting there. looking a bit manky and beaten up.
Cornbread pairs really well with chilli, ribs and barbeque.  It’s also amazing toasted, buttered, and topped with a fried egg.  If you won’t eat the whole loaf in a day or so, get it frozen!  Slice it, freeze it, label it – and, hey!  Maybe breakfast could be cornbread and eggs rather than toast and marmite?  (Though I love toast and marmite tbf).
NOTE: do not use quick cook polenta; it’s milled the wrong way for this.  A bag of cornmeal/polenta will set you back 80p, and it’s amazing in cakes and bread.  If you bake homemade pizza, you can use it to dust the bottom of the tin, so it won’t go to waste.

(Bought too many herbs) cornbread

Based on Smitten Kitchen’s Sourcream cornbread with Aleppo

Makes 1

Ingredients

125 grams plain flour
145 grams course cornmeal/polenta (NOT QUICK COOK!)
10 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
up to 50 grams mixed, fresh herbs
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
225 ml sour cream *
150ml whole milk *
2 tablespoons neutral oil (ground nut, sunflower, light olive oil)

* If you buy a 300ml tub of sour cream and you might not use it all, just shove it in and use less milk; if you can only afford/want to get a 150ml tub, then add more. Sure, the consistency will be a little different, but variety is the spice of life, no?

Tools

Scales
2 mixing bowls
Teaspoons
Balloon whisk
Measuring jug
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Greaseproof paper
Scissors
Large loaf tin/7 inch round tin
Skewer

Time

15-20 minutes to weigh and mix
22-25 minutes to bake
Around 10 minutes to cool before slicing

Prep

Preheat the oven to 180C
Line your loaf or cake tin with greaseproof paper
Finely chop/process your herbs

Method

Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, milk and oil
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones using your balloon whisk, mixing until just barely combined
Spread the batter in your prepared and bake for 22 to 25 minutes
A skewer pushed into the middle of the cake should come out clean

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com

Leftover Green Pepper Curry

Leftover Green Pepper Curry

This green pepper recipe was a fluke find, many years back.  I was staring at some green peppers and feeling fed up, because I don’t like them.  But I had them and I needed to eat them. And not wasting food is, sometimes, just cracking on through.
Sometimes an unwanted food makes us creative though.  Happily the unpromising ‘Classic 1000 Curries’ is part of my cookbook stash.   I didn’t look at it for years because of the cover.  I know. Bad and judgemental .  The cover design is a grid of four pictures: two curries, one stack of pappudums and one pint of fizzy lager.
I looked at the book with curiosity, because it just seemed so unlikely.  I wanted it to be a crappy book.
Naturally, I was wrong.  The recipes are simple, tasty and easy to understand. There are so many in one book because it’s my kind of cooking: unfussy, getting something on the table.  I guess that there’s no author because the editor spoke to many people to get this wealth of recipes. Not every cookbook has to be a £26 hardbacked beauty to be useful.
This recipe to use your leftover green peppers doesn’t even need you to chop an onion.  I know! I guess it’s a Jain recipe, as followers of that religion do not eat onion or garlic.  I chose this recipe, and have repeated it, because we often have plain yoghurt in the fridge.  Leaving the pepper to rest in yoghurt takes away some of the bitterness, and makes a simple sauce.  I know it looks gross but, you know, try it!  (I thought of having a food blog called “brutti ma buoni” – Italian for ugly but delicious.  I will never be a food stylist …)
The whole spices are nice because of the crunch, but if you’ll never otherwise use them, use ground and just let them fry for about 30 seconds.

Green pepper poriyal

Serves 4
Adapted, barely, from ‘The Classic 1000 Indian Recipes’, Ed. Wendy Hobson

Ingredients
450g green peppers (before de-seeding; 400g after de-seeding)
2 tablespoons natural yoghurt (preferably full fat)
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
30 ml water
2 teaspoons curry powder

Tools
Sharp knife
Chopping board
Large frying pan
Lid for the pan
Wooden spoon

Optional tools
Measuring spoons

Time
25 minutes prep
25 minutes cook

Level
Medium

Prep
Chop the peppers into dice (aka sqaures), around 2cm
Stir the yoghurt into the peppers and leave to one side for 15 minutes

Method
Pour the oil into the pan
Add the whole spices
When you hear the seeds pop, add the peppers, water and salt
Simmer for around 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender
Sprinkle with curry powder and leave to simmer for about 3 minutes
Serve with rice or as part of a bigger curry meal

Storage/further meals
Store in a lidded container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days

Got a question? Ingredient you need help with? Get in touch:

ann@storrcupboard.com