Leftover Green Beans with Soy Pork

Leftover Green Beans with Soy Pork

Leftover Green Beans with Soy Pork

This Chinese recipe for green bean stir fry shows one of the food rules I like to teach: pork and green stuff work well together. Every culture pairs them (bacon and cabbage! Ham and peas! Frisee lettuce and lardons!). Sweet and/or bitter greens both work well against strong flavoured, fatty pork. Hell, that’s why I love adding peas to chowder

Stir Fry is an excellent book to learn about Chinese cuisine; it’s simple and the recipes work. I avoided cooking Chinese food for a long time as I couldn’t afford all the flavours and vinegars. Living on a budget means not having a larder stuffed so you can cook Italian, Japanese, Ghanaian or Nordic cuisine on any given day. Right now, greens are great and I know I’m cooking a lot of Chinese cuisine. This means I can justify the rice wines and whatnot. I know that I’ll use up the little bottles before moving on to different flavours – and not necessarily replacing the oyster sauce or rice vinegar when I finish it.

Inspiration isn’t easy to come by when you’re buying the same veg week in, week out. Starting with using up half a packet of green beans in a new way is a great place to start. Or try a veg box; or buy two things from a farmers market; or take a punt on a large £1 scoop of a veg you might not usually try. You might be surprised. You’ll never know unless you try, right?

If you like the look of this recipe but don’t have green beans, then use runner beans, or maybe even some sliced hardy greens or peas. I don’t know if that’s authentic, but it’ll use up those veg or that meat, it’ll get everyone fed and it’ll taste great.

Leftover green beans with soy pork

Adapted, barely, from 'Minced Soy Pork', Ching-He Huang, 'Stir Fry', p173

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red chilli (optional, if cooking for kids)
  • 200 grams minced pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce/tamari sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • around 200 grams leftover green beans cut into 2.5 cm slices
  • 50 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce/shoyu
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour, blended with 1 tablespoon cold water
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Tools

  • knife and chopping board
  • wok
  • measuring jug
  • ramikin/little bowl
  • measuring jug

To serve

  • jasmine rice or noodles

Instructions

Prepare the noodles or rice

  • Cook as per packet instructions
  • If you haven't already, blend the cornflour and water.

Prep

  • Cut the beans into 2.5cm slices. Slice the garlic and chilli, if using.

Method

  • Heat the wok over a high heat until smoking and add the oil. Add the garlic and chilli (if using) and toss for a few seconds to release the flavour. Add the pork and let it settle in the wok for about 30 seconds to brown and sear and then stir for 1 minute.
  • Add the five spice powder and season with the dark soy/tamari. Toss until the pork turns rich brown and then season deglaze the wok with the Shaohsing rice wine/sherry.
  • Add the beans and toss for 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to the boil, then season with the light soy sauce and stir in the blended cornflour. Add a twist of black pepper and season with the toasted sesame oil

Storage

  • You can stir in a lidded container, in the fridge, for up to 5 days.

Leftover sausage and bacon stuffed potatoes

Leftover sausage and bacon stuffed potatoes

Leftover bacon and sausage chowder

My friend Chloe scooped out the middle of potatoes in her aunt’s Harringey kitchen, scorching her fingers whilst a bemused bunch of her Italian friends watched. Chloe was living in Italy and a group of mates had come over for New Years. Her then boyfriend loved cooking, he encouraged her, and helped, burning his fingers too. I think I just sat at the counter, happy that they were all back over from Italy for now, basking in the happy noise of their company.

She mashed the potato with bacon and butter, squashing it back into the skins before re-baking them. We ate for hours that New Years Eve, a mix of Italian and English, plenty of wine, lots of chat.

A few years ago, faced with hungry kids and a small food budget, I went back to these potatoes. Pork is a strong flavour, so carries through potato well. Mixing in an egg with the potato gives everyone some extra protein which can be helpful if you’re worried about getting goodness into everyone’s bellies when the pennies have to stretch far. Bubbling cheese is optional but so good; it’s also the only way to get my eldest any way near a jacket potato.

Every time I make these potatoes, I think of Chloe. I think of the time I learned that brussells are amazing steamed with a healthy wodge of melted butter and a sprinkling of salt; I think of the endless plates of tuna pasta I’d eat at her mum’s house and the aranchini that her ex made me. Of her mum’s industrial bags of sugar and the fact that I only drink tea because you had to at her house (I’m not joking).

The only reason any of us can navigate around StorrCupboard is down to Chloe. She is a bloody wonder. And if you ever find yourself in Turin, go to the lovely ex-boyfriend’s excellent restaurant Scannabue, where you’ll eat nose to tail, and roll out afterwards, full and happy. Every recipe has a life before and after anyone puts it in a book or a blog; I hope you have fun making this idea your own.

 

Leftover sausage and bacon stuffed potatoes

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes or 8 small...
  • 1 rasher leftover bacon
  • 2 leftover sausages (around 400 grams)
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 grams butter
  • 200 grams cheese

Tools

  • Scales
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Potato masher/fork
  • Whisk/fork
  • Oven-proof dish
  • Dessert spoon
  • Cheese grater
  • Optional: metal skewer

Instructions

Prep

  • Crumble the sausage into small pieces and chop bacon into small pieces

Method

  • Turn the oven to 180c
  • Prick the potatoes all over with a skewer/fork else they will explode!
  • If you have a metal skewers place them through the potatoes, as this conducts the heat through the middle and saves a lot of time and electricity
  • Depending on the size of your potatoes, they will take between 40m & 2 hours... you can start them off in a microwave if you like (WITHOUT the skewer...)

When the potatoes are cooked

  • When the potatoes are squashy to touch, take them out and *carefully* cut into them; try to cut them through their fat side, so it’s easier to fill them/cover with a lot of cheese.
  • PLEASE BE CAREFUL! THERE WILL BE A LOT OF STEAM READY TO GUSH OUT AND STEAM BURNS ARE PAINFUL
  • Scoop all the soft potato into a mixing bowl and break up with a potato masher/fork. Add the crumbled meat, season, and give a good stir
  • Whisk the eggs, and pour into the potato mixture. Stir again.
  • Place the potato skins in the dish. Using a regular eating spoon, put the potato mixture into the potato skins. Grate cheese all over the top.
  • Return to the oven for between 20 & 40m (depending on the size of your potatoes). They are done when they feel firm.

Storage

  • They will keep for a day or two in the fridge. As you have re-heated the meat once already, be careful! Smell and taste, and if you must re-heat ensure that fucker is piping hot all the way through.

Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Leftover bacon and sausage chowder

What angel first paired smokey food and milk?  Comfort food of the highest order.  Chowder, an American soup from the east coast, has hundreds of iterations (I once sat with a cookbook devoted to chowder.  Totally ignored the friend who I hadn’t seen for about a year and her new home and hamsters, but I learnt a lot about chowder.  Sorry Becky).
If you can, use whole milk because you want that creaminess.  This is not the place for skimmed milk. The potatoes should be floury ones like maris pipers or king edwards- you want the potato to crumble in, so that you get the starchiness.
If you have time to cut the fat off the bacon and let it melt a little in the pan, then you’ll get more bacon-y flavour in the soup.  Yum.  Seriously – are you still cutting fat off bacon and frying it in olive oil?  STOP!  Snip off that cold fat (what is oil if not fat?) and pop it in the cold pan on a low heat and leeeeave it for about 15 mins.  That fat will, slowly, melt (“render”), and you can cook the onions and other veg for the soup in this fat.  And now you don’t have to buy more oil! So, you haven’t chucked good bacon fat AND you’ve not used unnecesarry olive or sunflower oil, leaving it for another meal – so, that’s basically 2 food waste pitfalls avoided.  Win win!
In this chowder  I used basic veg, but you can add in sweetcorn, peas, diced pepper.  And even my kids eat this for heaven’s sake, so it’s a straight up win for me.  Whatever random bits of cold chicken, chorizo, veg -as long as it tastes good with the soup, it goes in.  Happy days!

 

Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Ingredients

  • 25 grams butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium potato (around 300grams)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • around 350 ml milk - ideally whole milk as this is creamy soup
  • leftover sausages and bacon
  • sweetcorn & peas optional
  • salt & pepper

Tools

  • Scales
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Large saucepan with lid
  • Potato masher/fork
  • Wooden spoon

Instructions

Prep

  • Optional: cut the fat off the bacon and place into a cool saucepan. Once it sizzles a little add some extra oil
  • Chop your veg. Crumble the sausage into small pieces.

Main

  • Once the fat is warm/butter is melted, add the onion and cook on a moderate (middle) heat for about 10m. You don’t want the onions to brown, you want them to go translucent and soft enough to be squashed by the back of your wooden spoon
  • When the onions are cooked, add your diced potato, carrot and celery. Season. Place the lid on.
  • Turn the heat down a little so that the veggies ‘sweat’ and get a little soft. This takes around 10m.
  • Now that the chopped veggies are ready, pour the milk over and bring to the boil.
  • DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PAN! Milk can boil over v quickly!
  • As soon as it’s boiling turn the pan down so it’s simmering (that is, little bubbles are popping up but it’s not boiling hard)
  • Timer on for 15m; keep checking the the veggies are done by pulling a couple out and checking if they are soft. Depending on how large/small you’ve cut them, this could take anything between 15 & 25m**
  • If using peas/sweetcorn, add them now.
  • Add the crumbled meat, boil it through and serve with lots of buttered bread.
  • ** If you’re making the soup in advance, turn the heat off and leave to cool. Do not add the meat and store separately. When you’re ready to eat, heat the soup; as it comes to boil add the meat and let the soup boil for a minute or so, to make sure that the meat is fully hot. Do not reheat.

Storage

  • I wouldn't re-heat this as it'll be the third time around for the meat. 

Leftover sausage and bacon wraps

Leftover sausage and bacon wraps

Leftover sausage and bacon wraps

At home we’re trying this whole “don’t just eat it because it’s there” thing.  Not easy when it’s so easy just to eat those last two sausages, last rasher of bacon, just sitting there, just in reach, so easy to just eat them … but we were good, we didn’t. Food waste is also eating food that we don’t need, a luxury that most of the world hasn’t long been able to achieve.
But 2 sausages and 1 rasher of bacon?  Cold bacon?  Ergh. Or maybe … some perfect salty, rich flavours that can stretch to feed 2 hangry adults or 4 modest appetites…
Using some Mexican inspired flavours, I though about refried beans. Refried beans were so surprisingly tasty to me when I got over my jitters and tried them.  The name is misleading, a mis-translation. In my local Asda, a tin of refried beans is £1.50, and a tin of pinto beans is 55p. It won’t surprise you to know I went for the pinto beans. Buy ready made if you like – we all need different shortcuts in life, and you’d be horrified to see the inside of my car, etc etc.
The garlic-y, soft beans are a great foil to the salty meat.  Toast your wrap, chuck in whatever salads you have, crumble over a little of the meat, some Tabasco or chilli flakes to taste and you’re done. Go crazy and add some sour cream.  Living on the edge, stopping food waste and saving money, whoop!

Refried beans

Adapted, barely, from Wahaca by Thomasina Miers, p148-9
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 can pinto or black beans
  • 1 medium onion (about 200 grams)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 25 + 10 grams unsalted butter or lard * 25 grams for cooking, 10 for serving
  • few fresh bay leaves
  • salt & pepper
  • * if cooking with lard, still use 10 grams of butter to serve, not additional lard

Tools

  • sieve/colander
  • frying pan
  • chopping board and knife
  • food processor or immersion blender & bowl

Instructions

  • Drain and rinse the beans. Place in bowl or food processor and blitz, adding a little water to loosen up.
  • Finely dice the onion.
  • Heat the fat in your frying pan. When it starts to foam, add the onion and season well. Let it cook until really soft - about ten minutes. When the onion is nearly ready, finely slice the garlic.
  • When the onions are done, add the garlic and stir, making sure that it doesn't burn - not too hot. After about a minute, add the pureed beans and bay leaf and stir well. Season heartily, as beans like a lot.
  • Stir regularly over the ten minutes to keep the texture nice and avoid sticking to the pan. Add a little more water - you're looking for a puree that falls off your spoon.
  • When you're ready to serve, stir through the 10 grams of butter. Spread over your wrap.

Storage and other uses

  • Drizzle with sour cream and serve with tacos.
    Store in a lidded container in the fridge for up to five days.

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

University is supposed to be when you learn to tackle difficult problems, meet exciting people and have adventures. I started every other weekend on the Virgin West Coast from Manchester to London, reading ‘Heat’ and eating a brie wrap from O’Brien’s in Piccadilly.  I had to visit the boyfriend I’d stumbled across at 17 and sort of ended up with. He reminded me to come. He couldn’t come up, of course. Too busy. He and I would spend the weekend walking around the shops, I’d study at the desk in the Volkswagen garage where he worked and, sometimes, I’d even go to my family.

My ex didn’t like how my parents and I ate. We’d go to a fab local, family Italian for pizza instead. I’d watch the pizza chef shape the dough, somehow never managing to get his fingers stuck or pull holes in the dough. It was there that his faddy eating gave me a gift: I learnt about Bolognese pizza.

I don’t know if this recipe is authentically Italian; I know it’s a perfect home for your leftover Bolognese. If you can be bothered to cook the mushrooms then do, it’s heaven. I’d imagine that, using the right ingredients, this pizza is easily adaptable to a vegan diet.

The restaurant has long since closed, along with the Sicilian café where I learnt to adore arancini, how to empty a slop bucket and the rules of scopa. Thankfully I’ve not seen that ex in 16 years, almost to the day, now I come to think of it. Some things haven’t changed.  I spend every other weekend packing up and driving to my parent’s house, so my children can be with their dad. I’m still packing up and tidying up and buggering off for a weekend. But when I can, a pizza feast with every buggering daft leftover, plenty of wine and beer, daft kids and best friends clears out my fridge and warms my heart.

 

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Got two spoonfuls of leftover bolgonese? Use this topping to make a zero-food waste pizza. Pizza base based on Rose Prince. 
The time this takes is anything from overnight -  20 minutes - if you want to make your own dough, you're looking at around 8 -24 hours. Pre-made base? 20 minutes. The choice is yours.
Servings: 1 pizza
Author: Ann Storr

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons leftover bolognese this can be a traditional, vegan, anything
  • 50 grams Parmesan/Italian hard cheese
  • 50 grams mushrooms
  • oil to cook mushrooms
  • 1 sprig each thyme and rosemary (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • white wine a splash (optional)
  • Optional Chilli flakes

Pizza base

  • 1 bought base OR
  • 540 grams plain flour + more for dusting
  • 5 grams yeast if you're using those little sachets and will otherwise bin the 2 grams, just use it all
  • 10 grams salt
  • 250 ml milk (full fat, preferably)
  • 150 ml water
  • polenta or more flour, for dusting baking sheets

Tools

  • Scales
  • Baking tray/pizza stone if you have one (I don't)
  • Cheese grater

If making pizza dough

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Clean tea towel

If cooking mushrooms

  • Frying pan
  • Measuring jug
  • Knife

Instructions

If making pizza dough from scratch, the day/8 hours before ...

  • Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the milk and water. Combine.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured counter. Shape the dough into a round.
  • Clean the mixing bowl with a dough scraper and pour in a little oil. Return the dough to the bowl and turn around in the oil a couple of times so that the dough is covered. Take your clean tea towel and cover.
  • You can either leave the dough to rise in your fridge for up to 24 hours or for about 6 hours; if the dough reaches double size more quickly than you like, just gently deflate it ("knock it back") and return to the bowl.

Cooking the mushrooms (these can be cooked ahead and left to one side)

  • Slice the mushrooms and turn the pan to about medium. Pour in a few tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms. Stir every couple of minutes to evaporate all water. Season well.
  • When the mushrooms are nearing done, crush/finely slice the garlic
  • Optional: add in the whole springs of rosemary and thyme and stir around. After a couple of minutes, add in the garlic and stir - don't allow the garlic to burn
  • Optional: if you have some white wine open or in the freezer, add it now and allow to cook off

Rolling out fresh pizza dough

  • When you're ready to eat, turn your oven to full blast. If you like, leave baking sheets in the oven to get nice and hot, which helps to make a crispier base. If making these with little ones/you're new to pizza, don't worry so much (as the burns up my wrists tell ...)
  • Grate the cheese, find the mushrooms and oil
  • Lightly dust your counter with flour. Using a large knife or dough scraper, cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces. Shape each quarter into a ball and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. 
  • Roll out one base at a time (this topping is enough for one pizza only). I allow the dough to fall over the side of the counter as gravity help to stretch the gluten structures
  • Dust a baking sheet with polenta or flour (polenta helps to get a crispier base but isn't essential). 
  • Place the dough on the tray, not minding about holes here and there. If you like, stretch the dough into corners of the tray
  • Spread the bolognese around the dough, using your hands if the dough rips (if your bolognese is v dry, it might -don't worry). Add the mushrooms, dust with cheese. Take the olive oil, use your thumb as a light stopper and drizzle oil over the top - if your sauce is quite dry, be generous with the oil
  • Bake for between 7 & 10 minutes, depending on your pizza base and oven Add chilli flakes if you like (I do)

Leftover bolognese

Leftover bolognese

Leftover Bolognese Sauce

Ragu, or Bolognese, was Monday night supper. After school mum or I would fry up a double pack of Sainsbury’s mince plus one bottle of Ragu sauce. Monday night meant spag bol because it was efficient. Parmesan or cheddar on top. Lots. It fitted in, we ate, it was simple. These days I slowly cook everything, and I learnt from one of my brothers to add a good slug of milk before the tomatoes. Simmer it for hours. Cover it in cheese.

If you’re a Ragu fan, a lentil demon or a slow cooked beef and pork mince cook, when there’s just a couple of spoonfuls leftover it’s tempting to scoop it into the bin/your mouth. Still both wasteful, still both

We’ve talked about this before but it’s worth remembering – carbs and veg have been used to pad out meat for generations. So, make a little extra tomato sauce, stir that little spoonful or two of Bolognese through it and you’re there. This isn’t the fanciest idea in the world, but it’s the price of a tin of tomatoes for dinner for two. And lots of parmesan, or ‘Italian hard cheese’ or cheddar. And never a leftover.