Fruity jelly

Fruity jelly

Leftover gelatine jelly

A few weeks back, the most wonderful Laura Reduction Rader messaged me and asked if I’d like to take ownership of a packet of leaf gelatine from a recent Olio stash that she had.  As a vegan, that was one leftover Laura couldn’t shift and lucky me, I got it! Hoo-bloody-ra!

A packet of way outta date gelatine arrived and, like anyone a little stumped, I put it on my desk and had a think. And a think.

I didn’t research about whether or not the gelatine was safe. A product so highly processed and stable (i.e. it’s not ‘live’ like yoghurt, more like a spice or pasta) and still sealed in its original packaging … honestly I’ve probably eaten ancient gelatine many times. I’m in full health and have a lifetime of eating questionable s=food stuffs. If pregnant, or poorly or elderly or feeding little ones, use your own judgement.

When my kids were little I’d sometimes make them jelly from scratch because I was always trying to make sure they ate more fruit & veg (and, honestly, trying to avoid sugar. Now the eldest eats it from a packet with a spoon…). Homemade jelly, often with some segments of orange stirred through, would be made once, and then not again for yonks. It just felt an effort, and juice isn’t that cheap.

But sometimes we buy a pack of gelatine, or feta, or peppers, for *one* thing and then the rest is just a proper pain in the arse. So this week we’re all about gelatine (yes, if you’d asked me 20, 15 or even 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought my life would rely so much on leftovers).

If you’ve ever experimented with jelly, and like some fruit juice, get creative and make layers and have fun. Or be like me. Just make it and add hundreds and thousands and eat it at 11am when you should be working but the jelly is calling…

 

 

Fruit Jelly

Use up your leftover gelatine to make this healthy-ish, fruity jelly
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins

Ingredients
  

  • for every 1 leaf gelatine
  • you need 140ml fruit juice

Tools

  • Measuring jug
  • Saucepan
  • Plate/shallow bowl
  • Bowls for jelly!

Ratio

  • If you have 2 leaves of gelatine, you'll need around 280 ml juice, 3 leaves 420 ml and so on

Instructions
 

  • Take the gelatine leaves, snip them up
  • Place them on a plate/shallow bowl and cover with cold water. Leave for 5 minutes
  • In a saucepan, gently heat the juice. Don't let it boil as boiled fruit tastes nasty
  • After 5 minutes squeeze the water from the gelatine. Place the gelatine leaves into the hot juice
  • Using a whisk or spoon, stir the gelatine in until fully melted
  • Pour into the serving bowl and leave to cool to room temperature
  • When room temperature, place in the fridge & leave to set

Storage

  • Will keep for up to a week or so but best eaten within a couple of days

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 Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 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

Ann Storr
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 Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 10 mins

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

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