Candied Lemon Peel

Candied Lemon Peel

Leftover lemon heart vinegar

I started obsessing about food waste when my kids were little and I was determined to give them as much organic produce as possible. Not everyone’s priority or privilege. I got by on spending around £60 a week on food and honestly, I was proud that I did manage.  Family or friends would raise their eyebrows and roll their eyes when I talked about my veg box, but I knew I was giving us good food. I learned to ignore the eye rolls. Using every scrap of a leftover lemon, half a sausage or pot of sour yoghurt made sure we could eat home-cooked food and I’m grateful that I learned to cook at home and school.

Lemons are so normal in our fridges but travel from Spain, Italy, Israel and, TBH, who knows where, just so we can put a little wedge in our gin & tonic or have a sweet and sour pancake. Leftover lemons deserve more than going hard inside your fridge door – let’s use every last scrap.

I came across this recipe in the James Beard Waste Not Cookbook. I have a growing collection of food waste books which makes me happy. Some focus on the scraps and others on how to cook one meal and then use those leftovers. For me it’s a mixture of both.

This ‘recipe’ is great and so thrifty. A 50p bottle of white vinegar. Lemon rinds. That’s it. You likely will use about 10 pence worth of vinegar in this recipe. You can use your leftover lemon vinegar in dressings, marinades or even mixed with sugar syrup and lightly poured over ice cream (especially good for those of us who don’t have the sweetest tooth).

The eco-cleaners out there know that distilled white vinegar is *the* hot cleaning product. I use mine in place of laundry detergent and for cleaning my bathroom (along with washing up liquid and bicarbonate of soda). Eco often means cheap because a spangly new product isn’t necessarily going to do a better job than some cheap bicarb (I say this as a person whose mum bought her a ££dress££ on Sunday and I enjoyed every second). 50p well spent, no?

Using every last scrap of your food saves you money which sometimes means you can buy that nice dress (over time), or, for me, means I can buy the organic butter or lemons. Every purchase we make is a choice, one way or another. Every leftover we make the most of helps the planet one little choice at a time.

 

 

Candied leftover lemon peel

Adapted from 'Cooking with Scraps' Lindsey-Jean Heard
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs

Ingredients

  • at least 2 leftover lemons (or lemons you'll use for something else)
  • 200 grams caster sugar

Tools

  • Sharp small knife or speed peeler
  • Saucepan
  • Scales
  • Sieve/colander
  • Cooling rack
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Storage jar or box

Instructions

  • If using whole lemons: use a speed peeler or a small sharp knife peel the rind off and place the lemons in the fridge for another dish
  • If using lemons you've squeezed for something, it'll be a little harder but totally fine - you'll just need to take a little more time
  • Place the peels in a medium sized saucepan and pour in cold water until the pan is nearly full. Put on to boil & boil for 2 minutes then drain and repeat twice. This is how you'll get rid of the bitterness and make the peels tender
  • After the third boil and sieve, leave the hot peels until they are cool to the touch.
  • Mix 150g of sugar and 175 ml water in the saucepan
  • Slowly bring to the boil and stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar
  • When the sugar is dissolved add the peels and turn the heat to medium
  • Simmer until the peels become translucent - anything between 60 and 90 minutes
  • Don't stir the peels! Every 15 minutes you can gently push the peels under the surface
  • Check the peels to make sure that they are simmering. You might need to turn the heat up and down to keep an even simmer
  • When the peels are translucent, get your cooling rack and place some baking paper underneath to catch the drips
  • Using tongs or a slotted spoon, gently place the peels on the cooling rack to dry - not all bunched up, in separate pieces. Let the syrup drip off the peels back into the saucepan before placing on the rack

The next day

  • When the peels are dry, add 25grams of sugar to a clean bowl and toss the peels to coat. Use more if the peels aren't fully covered
  • Take your airtight container and put a thin layer of sugar at the bottom and add some peels, trying to keep them from touching

Storage

  • The peels will keep for up to 2 months in the pot

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Lemon Heart Vinegar

Lemon Heart Vinegar

Leftover lemon heart vinegar

I started obsessing about food waste when my kids were little and I was determined to give them as much organic produce as possible. Not everyone’s priority or privilege. I got by on spending around £60 a week on food and honestly, I was proud that I did manage.  Family or friends would raise their eyebrows and roll their eyes when I talked about my veg box, but I knew I was giving us good food. I learned to ignore the eye rolls. Using every scrap of a leftover lemon, half a sausage or pot of sour yoghurt made sure we could eat home-cooked food and I’m grateful that I learned to cook at home and school.

Lemons are so normal in our fridges but travel from Spain, Italy, Israel and, TBH, who knows where, just so we can put a little wedge in our gin & tonic or have a sweet and sour pancake. Leftover lemons deserve more than going hard inside your fridge door – let’s use every last scrap.

I came across this recipe in the James Beard Waste Not Cookbook. I have a growing collection of food waste books which makes me happy. Some focus on the scraps and others on how to cook one meal and then use those leftovers. For me it’s a mixture of both.

This ‘recipe’ is great and so thrifty. A 50p bottle of white vinegar. Lemon rinds. That’s it. You likely will use about 10 pence worth of vinegar in this recipe. You can use your leftover lemon vinegar in dressings, marinades or even mixed with sugar syrup and lightly poured over ice cream (especially good for those of us who don’t have the sweetest tooth).

The eco-cleaners out there know that distilled white vinegar is *the* hot cleaning product. I use mine in place of laundry detergent and for cleaning my bathroom (along with washing up liquid and bicarbonate of soda). Eco often means cheap because a spangly new product isn’t necessarily going to do a better job than some cheap bicarb (I say this as a person whose mum bought her a ££dress££ on Sunday and I enjoyed every second). 50p well spent, no?

Using every last scrap of your food saves you money which sometimes means you can buy that nice dress (over time), or, for me, means I can buy the organic butter or lemons. Every purchase we make is a choice, one way or another. Every leftover we make the most of helps the planet one little choice at a time.

 

 

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Lemon Zest Sugar

Lemon Zest Sugar

Leftover lemon zest sugar

Lemon and sugar are, to my mind, the best pancake day filling. Sweet and sour, everyone can add more lemon or sugar to their taste. Simple. Minimum effort required by the cook. But what about the leftover lemon zest and juice-less fruit? What next?

I’ll tell you.

Lemon sugar, and two more ideas to come. Having a jar of delicately scented lemon sugar will be heaven for an elderflower and gin drink. How about profiteroles with lemon scented cream whipped up inside those craggy shells? I think I’m going to have to make those this weekend. Also – last minute gifts to friends or teachers can be easily and cheaply dealt with by 250 grams of lemon sugar in a leftover jar. Pennies people, this costs pennies.

If you have a fancy pants microplane, this will be easy. You don’t? No worries. The side of your box grater that does the thin strips will be best here.

Let me know what you use your leftover lemon zest sugar for, I hope you enjoy it.

 

Leftover lemon zest sugar

Zest your leftover lemon rinds to make a simple jar of citrus sharp sugar. If you can't bear to zest before cutting up the lemon, you'll get less zest but it'll be good enough
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Author: Ann Storr

Ingredients

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 50 grams granulated or caster sugar

Tools

  • Grater or microplane
  • bowl
  • clean jar with a lid

Instructions

  • Preferably, take your lemon and grate the zest off before you cut it up. If you can't bear to, don't worry about it
  • If your lemons are already squished and squashed, you'll need to half grate/half smoosh 
  • Grate the zest into the bowl and add the sugar. Mix it together with your hands.
  • Place in the jar and leave for at least a week, if possible, to let the flavours develop

Storage

  • Will keep for a few months

(Slightly Soft) Leftover Pears with Pork Belly

(Slightly Soft) Leftover Pears with Pork Belly

My ode to autumn pears

As part of my “well if you like redcurrant jelly with roast lamb” and “how about your apple sauce with roast pork” series, may I present – roasting your pears underneath your pork belly joint? Cook a pork belly joint in the normal way that you would – leaving any packaging off, if you can, for at least overnight.  I have a huge stainless steel mixing bowl that I place over the pork, so that it can dry out but not put other foods at risk.

Cook the pork hot, and REMEMBER to have a jar to keep the fat!  I made an onion tart yesterday morning, and rather than use expensive butter, I just used a tablespoon of pork fat.  Usually I would use butter.  My huge joint of pork belly cost me a tenner.  By saving the fat and using it in place of oil or butter, I figure that I’m both saving money and making my food go further.  Every time we make changes like this, being thrifty, we’re minimising food waste and saving money.  This can only be A Good Thing.

Some sweet little roasted pears to provide a little change from your apple sauce?  Or, if you think there’s going to be haters, pears mashed into the apple sauce so no-one knows?  Get on it, and make sure there’s never a leftover, leftover.

Roasted Pork Belly with (Leftover) Roasted Pears

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3-4 pears
1.5-2kg joint of pork
Loads of salt

Tools

Knife
Lage mixing bowl
Chopping board
Roasting tin
Baking tray
Tea towel/kitchen paper

Time

Overnight rest if possible
2-3 hours cooking and resting

Prep

If possible, remove the joint from packaging the night before you want to cook it
Salt it, cover with the upturned bowl and store in the fridge
On the day of cooking, remove the joint from the fridge a couple of hours before cooking, if possible
Dry the crackling with kitchen paper/clean tea towel
Re-salt

Method

Turn oven to 220C
Place the joint in the oven and roast for 15 minutes
Turn heat to 140C
Every half an hour or so, pour the fat into the waiting jar/bowl
Half an hour before cooking time is up, cut the pears in half and use the teaspoon to remove the cores
Remove joint and place the pears on the tray
Return the joint to the tray, ontop of the pears
Cook for a further 30 minutes
Remove the joint from the oven.  Baste the pears
Cut the crackling off the joint and place on a baking tray, uncooked side up
Return both trays to the oven for about 20 minutes to crisp up

Storage
You can store the pork for a few days in your fridge
Leftover pork?  You can make sarnies, ragu or noodles!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Slightly Soft) Leftover Pear & Vanilla crumble

(Slightly Soft) Leftover Pear & Vanilla crumble

So roasted pears with cheese and nuts isn’t for everyone – fair enough!  As I said, a younger me would not have touched it with a bargepole. What else to do with 2, 3, or 4 too soft pears?

In The Fruit Testing Fruit Demolishing Toddler Years, my resident Fruit Bat would try every single apple/pear/plum.  She left me with bowlfuls of fruit that hadn’t passed her test, stacking up in the fridge, the places where her little teeth had bitten into them browning and softening.  And now her sister wouldn’t eat it.  And they were spoiling because the skin was damaged.  And I couldn’t afford to waste a single fruit.

So often, the humble crumble would come to my rescue.  Two apples and two pears? In.  Three plums and one stick of rhubarb – oh, that’s my *favourite*.

But … just pear?  I hate to say it, but I prefer it to apple crumble!  Sorry mum.  With some vanilla essence. or half a vanilla pod if you’re feeling fancy/flush, the whole bowlful is light and floral.  And with heart-stopping pours of double cream, you’ll love your leftover pear crumble.

TIP: if you don’t have the time to eat all your soft pears before they go off, and you know that you won’t get through the crumble, make the crumble and freeze it!  easy preserving!

(Slightly Soft) Pear & Vanilla crumble

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3-4 pears
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
175 grams plain flour or half and half wholemeal + plain
125 grams butter/hard vegan alternative
75 grams sugar (I used dark brown but any will do)
Pinch of salt

LOADS of cream/ice cream to serve

Tools

Teaspoon
Scales
Chopping board
Knife
Mixing bowl
Oven proof bowl
Tea towel/kitchen paper

Time

20-30 minutes prep
40 minutes to bake

Prep

Mix flour, sugar and salt
Turn the oven to 180C

Method

If you want, sift the flour, salt and sugar together
Cut the butter/vegan alternative into chunks around 1cm
Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks sandy (I have hot hands so it’s never perfect)
ONLY WHEN THE CRUMBLE IS READY peel, quarter and core the pears
Place the pears in your oven proof dish
Sprinkle over the vanilla extract
Gently sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top – don’t pat down, else you’ll have a shortbread top
Place in the oven and bake
Check after 30 minutes; it’s ready when the juice bubbles up from underneath

Storage
You can store the crumble for a few days in your fridge
If you don’t have the time to eat the pears, freeze the crumble in the dish and eat within three months

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