(DO NOT BIN) scrapings of bread sauce

(DO NOT BIN) scrapings of bread sauce

Okay I’m sorry if I’m skipping you guys to the end, mentally.  But bread sauce.  It’s a funny thing, isn’t it?

I didn’t eat bread sauce until I was 23.  My dad is a Yorkshireman, and we never, ever, ate turkey for Christmas.  So I learnt these traditions via my ex and his family who love their turkey, their bread sauce and cranberry sauce.

The name of it just sounded so gross – sauce made out of bread?!  But like Yorkshire puddings (served before the main roast, alone with only a pool of rich gravy, thank you very much) or a plate of thickly sliced bread placed in the middle of the table, bread sauce is a thrifty and delicious way to stretch expensive meat further.

But chucking it?!  No way!  If something is just, almost just, bread and milk – well, there’s loads we can do.

I made these fritters for breakfast one morning.  I said “Would you like a fritter?” “Hmmmmm, K” (she’s 13).    I stood at the cooker, cooking more.  She sat and ate, just a foot away from me.  “IS THIS A SPROUT, MOTHER?”  “Well, it’s Christmas leftovers babes”.  Reader, she ate the sprout.  And the sprout was good.

May I suggest that, when you’re clearing the table after Christmas dinner and you’re looking at the bread sauce, please please don’t just scrape it into the bin.  Wheat and milk are resource heavy to farm, so please don’t think that they’re nothing it’s just a small thing.  It’s not you know it’s not.  Squish all of those bits and scrapings into one happy fritter and trick *all* the haters into loving the leftover.

Leftover bread sauce fritters

Serves 4

Ingredients

Around 100 grams leftover bread sauce
Enough milk to take it to 300ml ml
2 eggs
Around 150 grams of leftover sprouts, carrots, ham, turkey – little bity pieces
225g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
30g unsalted butter + more for frying

Prep

Turn oven to 100C
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl
Melt the 30g of butter in the microwave or on the hob and set aside
Shred/finely chop the meat and veg leftovers

Tools

Scales
Mixing bowls
Measuring jug
Fork
Balloon whisk
Frying pan
Teaspoon
Oven-proof dish

Time

10m prep
20m cooking

Method

Add leftover bread sauce to jug and loosen with a little milk so there’s no lumps
Top with milk until you have 300ml
Whisk together
Crack the eggs in and whisk until fully mixed
If you’re using a big jug, add the flour mixture straight in and beat until smooth
If you don’t have a massive measuring jug, pour the liquid into the bowl and beat until there are no lumps remaining
Stir through your leftover veg and/or meat
Stir the melted butter through
** Put frying pan on the hob and add a pinch of butter – sort of 2 peas worth
Put the heat to medium hot
When the butter sizzles, pick the pan up and swirl it around so the butter is all over the bottom
Pour the batter on – enough so the fritter is about 6-7cm across (I can only cook 3 a time in my large pan)
Turn the heat to medium
The fritters are ready to turn when little bubbles appear on the surface
TIP: I loosen the fritters away from the surface of the pan as they cook, which makes them much easier to turn and less likely to catch
Using your flipper, flip them!
Mine are rarely perfect circles, so don’t worry about that
Cook for about a minute. They’re done when they are golden on the bottom
Place in the oven-proof dish, pop in the oven and start from **, until you have used all of your mixture
Serve with a little pat of butter and, of course, an egg on top

Leftovers?
Store in a lidded container in the fridge. Use as soon as possible for the best taste, but they keep okay for up to 3 days
Reheating: if there’s meat in there, I wouldn’t reheat.  If veggie, go for it.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Couldn’t drink the last) half glass of red wine

(Couldn’t drink the last) half glass of red wine

Yeah yeah I know “WHO has leftover wine?”.  Not often me TBF.  But it has been known – a big party here, a “I *really* shouldn’t have that last glass” after a pleasantly boozy Sunday lunch and knowing that there’s a big meeting on Monday morning. So, sometimes, and especially those of us who enjoy our wine, do have leftovers.

Okay, this isn’t a recipe but – leftovers are sometimes the one thing you need to give you an idea for tomorrow’s dinner.  Knowing that a hefty glass of red is tucked away in my freezer is all I need to think about cooking a bolognese, or poach some pears, or make a hearty onion soup or gravy.  Over Christmas we don’t always want or need to be cooking though!  So pour that wine into a tupperware or ice-cube trays and save it for a quiet day when a sauce can bubble and pop.

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

(Roasted too many) Parsnip & Pea Soup

(Roasted too many) Parsnip & Pea Soup

Sunday roasts aren’t the mainstay of British dinner table as they once were, but we all like to push the boat out sometimes, don’t we?  Roasts, with stacks of veg, some meat, boats of gravy and, of course, leftover roasties.  And, at this time of year, roast parsnips.

Yes, parsnips are available all year from supermarkets, but they’re one of the few veggies that benefit from a frost; the cold brings out the natural sugars.  I wait for them to come in my veg box, and, honestly, they’re not my total favourite veg.

Root veg are cheap and that’s part of the reason why we get in the habit of cooking too much – we don’t worry about chucking some cheap veg in the bin. Isn’t it better that someone isn’t, momentarily, disappointed about a lack of a sweet, golden, roasted parsnip, than thinking about, over the year, how many parsnips and carrots and potatoes we all just scrape into the bin?

No more..

Peas, like parsnips, are sweet and starchy. Half an onion, some oil and some stock – you’ve got a simple, light, waste-busting lunch in minutes.

(Roasted too many) Parnsip & Pea soup

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

25 grams butter
1 onion/leek (about 85g)
50 grams leftover roast parsnips
150 grams frozen peas
500mp veg or chicken stock
Salt & pepper

Tools

Knife
Chopping Board
Saucepan with lid
Immersion blender

Time

About half an hour

Prep

Dice the onion
Chop up the parsnips a little
Heat/make the stock

Method

Melt the butter in the saucepan and add the diced onion/leek
Sweat verrrrry slowly so that they go see-through, not brown.This will take around 15 minutes, at least
When the onion/leek is soft, add the parsnips, peas and stock
Bring to the boil and let boil for a couple of minutes
Take off the heat and blend
Reheat for serving

Storage/further meals

How long you can keep the soup depends on how long your parsnips have been sitting around
A day or two = you can keep this for a few days, in the fridge, covered
Three days?  I’d eat it sooner or freeze as soon as it’s room temperature

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Seriously?!) Leftover Oil  Foccacia

(Seriously?!) Leftover Oil Foccacia

The first time I ever made foccaccia (I know I hate me a little bit, too), I couldn’t believe *how* much oil I needed to use.  So, what better way to use up those one, two, three jars of leftover sun-dried tomato or sweet roasted pepper oil?

Now this is no ‘five minutes to mix and one hour to rise’ breads; ideally you leave it to raise overnight, in the fridge.  If you’ve made bread a few times, it’s so worth it.  The recipe is adapted from Peter Reinhard, ‘The Bread Baker’s Apprentice’.  I love this book and if you’re interested in bread it’s worth the purchase.  My eldest brother gave me a copy as a gift – from one bread head to another.  Reinhart takes you through the processes involved in mixing, proofing, shaping and baking.

Foccacia isn’t always flavoured and I am no Anna del Conte but I do like to, sometimes, add a flavour.  Using flavoured oil from a leftover jar of sundried tomatoes just makes your life easier – you’re not making some!  As the oil is the most expensive ingredient in the recipe, you are saving yourself a load of cash!  And flour?  Well, about 50p – can you buy a supermarket focaccia for that?  Can you fuck.

As with all bread, it freezes really well so you can use up the oil if you’re worried it’s about to go off.

Fancy bread makes a cheap soup tea much more exciting so get busy with your sundried tomato oil and make sure there’s never a leftover leftover.

Leftover oil focaccia

Based on Peter Reinhard “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice’, pp159-163

Serves loads
Takes *overnight*

Ingredients

550 grams strong bread flour
Around 100 grams of plain flour for sprinkling
10 grams salt
5-7 grams of yeast (5 grams is fine if you use a tin of yeast; 1 packet of dried)
100 millilitres of oil from your leftover oil
If you have any leftover tomatoes/peppers/olives from your jar, them

Tools

Scales
Mixing bowl
Bowl for dipping your hands in
Large metal spoon
Tea towel, one that you don’t mind getting a little dirty
Scraper/dough scraper if you have one
Measuring jug
Baking tray – the size that you just use in your oven for anything …
Greaseproof paper
Chopping board and knife
Sieve, if you want to get little bits out of the oil

Time

A few hours on and off for making the bread – not constant work but you need to be working from home/doing some chores and happy to dip in and out of doing
Overnight – 3 days prooving in the fridge

NB – this length of time is a GOOD thing!  Imagine – you maybe have some quiet time on Wednesday and friends coming for lunch on Sunday?!  See!

Prep

Sieve oil if you like
Chop the veggies into pieces around 2-3 cm

Method

First step

Stir together the flour salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl
Add 50 ml of the oil and water and mix with the large metal spoon until you have a large, sticky ball
Dip your hands in the water bowl and mix, and shape the dough into a ball – this may be tricky AF but don’t worry too much

Time lapse session

Once an hour, for 6 hours, push the dough down and re-shape it into a round
The dough, after a while, will double after an hour; the gluten is working nicely when this happens

Sprinkle enough flour onto the side and scrape the dough onto the flour; dust liberally with flour and pat it into a rectangle
Wait 5 minutes for the dough to relax
Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size
Fold it – bottom third to the middle and top half over the top
Dust with flour, replace the tea towel on the top and leave for 30 minutes

Time lapse session two

Do this, twice
Coat your hands with flour and stretch the dough from each end to twice its size
Fold it – bottom third to the middle and top half over the top

Then …
Let the covered dough ferment on the counter for 1 hour – it should get bigger, but may not double in size

Line your tin with baking paper
Drizzle 25ml of leftover sundried tomato oil onto the paper and spread it with your hands/pastry brush to cover the paper
Oil your hands with a little of the oil
Use a spatula or dough scraper to pull the dough, GENTLY, off your kitchen counter
Place gently onto the lined tray, trying to maintain the shape
Spoon over half of your remaining oil
Use your fingertips to dimple the dough and spread it to fill the pan
GO GENTLY -your fingertips, NOT the palms of your hand, otherwise you will rip the dough
Don’t worry about spreading the dough to fit every corner of the pan
Place any diced tomatoes/peppers/olives/even feta into the dimples

Loosley cover the pan with your tea towel and place in the fridge
Leave it from overnight – 3 days

Day of making
Remove the pan from the fridge 3 hours before baking
Drizzle over the last of the oil
Pop that tea towel right back on top and leave to prove for 3 hours

Baking
Preheat the oven to 200C
Place the pan in the oven
Lower the heat to 180C and bake for 10 minutes
Rotate the pan and bake for 5 more minutes – check it
Check it – if it’s light golden brown maybe leave for another 5

Remove the pan from the oven and shift it straight out of the pan and onto a cooling rack
If the paper is stuck, carefully remove it by lifting the corner of the bread and peeling it off the bottom with a gentle tug

Leave it to cool for at least 20minutes before slicing or serving

Storage/further meals

Slice and freeze

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

ann@storrcupboard.com