Sad salad pack chicken stew

Sad salad pack chicken stew

This stew is just yum.  Just. Yum.  It was inspired by the wonderful Victoria Glass, from her amazing ‘Too Good to Waste’ book.  Her stew uses sweet flavours – sweet potatoes and red peppers.  Lovely, but I wanted super super simple.  The leek is great and don’t miss it out if possible as it adds a gentleness that is just delicious.

Using chicken thighs is really cheap, and much better for a stew than breast meat.  On my insta stories I showed how to render the fat from the skins; you just leave them cooking verrrrrrrrry slowly and the fat will leach out.  And then you, dear cook, get to eat it all.  Yum.

Then the leaves – just stir them in and watch them wilt down.  Supper in one pot – what’s not to love?

Leftover salad pack Chicken Stew

Inspired by Victoria Glass, Too Good to Waste, p25

Serves 4

Ingredients

800 grams chicken thighs (4 chunky ones or a packet of 8)
1 onion (around 80 grams)
1 leek (around 100 grams)
1 carrot
1 stalk of celery
3 potatoes (around 500 grams)
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 litre chicken stock
Any leftover salad pack leaves that you need to eat up!

Tools

Heavy saucepan
Tongs, if you have them
Knife
Chopping board
Jug

Time

About half an hour;  active time and 45 minutes simmering – so about an hour and a half all told

Prep

Pull the skins off the chicken thighs
Finely dice the onion
Wash the leek and slice in half lengthways
Cut the leek into half moons
Dice the carrot and the celery
Peel and crush the garlic

Method

Place the skins in a cold frying pan and turn the heat to medium; sprinkle over a little salt . Turn them every couple of minutes and press the skins into the pan

When they are crispy and crunchy, remove and either scoff them or use them to add crunch to a salad another day

Turn the heat up and brown the chicken all around; you may have to do this in batches

As the chicken pieces are ready, place them on a plate and leave them to one side.  Keep cooking until you have them all finished up

Place the onion and leek into the hot fat and sweat for about 10 minutes, until soft

When they are soft, add in the carrots and celery and sweat until soft

When the veggies are soft, scrape them out and leave to one side

Add in a little more fat and turn the heat up

Pop your potatoes into the hot fat and brown on all sides

When the potatoes are brown, turn the heat down and add in the crushed garlic and stir around the hot fat for one minute

Once the garlic is cooked, return all the veggies and chicken pieces to the pan

Pour over the chicken stock, bring to the boil.  Turn the heat down and leave to simmer.  You may need to rotate the pieces from time to time

When the chicken is cooked through, stir in the leaves.  They should only take a minute or two to wilt

Storage

Leave to cool to room temperature; if the leaves were on the wonk, freeze any leftovers.  If you were just bored of them, you should have up for 5 days to eat the stew.  Only reheat what you want at each meal.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Salad pack pesto

Salad pack pesto

Salad packs are easy to grab in the supermarket and easy to forget about, honestly.

If you’re not keen on cooking up your greens, then how about making a waste-busting pesto?  My dearest friend Chloe has lived in Italy for 15 years, and I’m not sure how she’d feel about this recipe…

Pesto pasta is a simple tea for many families so having a jar in the fridge is quite normal for all of us.  I prefer home made pesto because I like mine a little chunky and funky.  I made mine with my hand held immersion blender, but if you have a food processor it’s quicker.

I love mixing my pesto in a salad, and because it’s full of nuts and cheese, I find it really filling and a great work lunch.  Enjoy making your leftover loving salad pack pesto!

Salad pack pesto

Ingredients

around 50 grams leftover salad pack, any sort
around 50 grams nuts – whole or ground almonds if they need eating up
150 ml oil (any)
75 grams hard cheese – Italian hard cheese or a hard goat cheese
2 cloves of garlic
Salt

Tools

Scales
Immersion blender or food processor
Jar for storing

Time

About 10 minutes with a food processor, 20 minutes without

Method

Processor method

Pulverise leaves until they are chopped but not goo-ey
Remove and then chop the nuts until they are ground down

Immersion blender method

Squash up the leaves, going up and down and clearing the leaves as and when you need to
Remove and next it’s the nuts; again jiggle it up and down (or use ground almonds)

Both methods

Add to the leaves
Grate the cheese and garlic in the bowl, sprinkle over the salt, and pour over the oil
Mix and taste, adding in more garlic/salt/cheese until you are happy

Storage/further meals

If your leaves are a little old, then I’d get that pesto eaten toot suite
If you can’t get that pesto stirred through pasta or salad soon and the leaves were old, SCRAPE that shit straight into some silicone ice cube trays.]
If your leaves weren’t terribly old your pesto will keep for a while but is best eaten within a couple of days

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Sad salad pack rescue mission

Sad salad pack rescue mission

How to rescue leftover salad packs

I’m not a fan of salad packs – those washed bags of rocket and crunchy slightly meh leaves.  I definitely don’t like a bowl of rocket.  As a dedicated veg box customer these fuckers come my way from time to time.  Supermarket salad packs aren’t great either; the bags are gassed for preservation, with nothing to be said for the way that the leaves are farmed, ‘neutralising’ the soil because the ecosystem has been so depleted through the farming methods required to grow acres and acres of these delicate plants – which shouldn’t need fucking neutralising!  It’s soil!  Aaanyway … the reason your salad pack turns from a bag of scrumptious leaves to green goo as soon as it’s opened is because that gas has now escaped, and those leaves that are quite possibly weeks old are now, you know, too old and they will go off.

The sheer amount of energy that is expended to get these buggers to your supermarket – not to mention the time to take to earn the money to pay for the leaves – means there’s no room to waste your leftover salad pack.

As I said, I’m not a huge fan of the salad pack.  So, this is my thought process: okay, I don’t like this ingredient/I’m stuck.  I don’t want salad.  Why would I want salad?  It’s fucking January, why would ANYONE want a salad in January?! I slam the fridge and sulk and imagine inhaling a bowl of warm pasta, even though I’m not terribly hungry and the salad back is begging to turn a little yellow…

So, I calm down, stop the anxious brain from running and look at it again.

These are leaves.  Little baby leaves.  You know what else is leaves?  Spinach.  You buy spinach leaves, no?  Or bags of frozen spinach?!

So, wash those leaves, pop them in a little pan with a dash of extra water and cook them down for about 5 minutes on a medium heat.  They’ll wilt down and – voila!  Okay okay okay they don’t taste the same as spinach – give your cooked greens a taste and see what you think.  You might want to mix them up with your spinach to, essentially, well, hide the taste.  I won’t judge.  You can even then freeze the cooked greens, perfect if you need a few days’ grace.

To freeze your cooked greens, simply lie a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray; squish up little handfuls of greens and place on the tray, and when you’ve used all the greens, cover and place in the freezer.  Once frozen hard you can pop into a bag and VOILA, frozen greens, ready to heat up and stir through any soup, stew or whatever you like! Leftover salad packs never seemed so versatile!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Leftover milk) cheese sauce extravaganza

(Leftover milk) cheese sauce extravaganza

During my fridge full of milk conundrum, lots of people suggested a cheese sauce freezing for another day.

So I thought: I’ll let you know why MY mum’s cheese/white sauce is the best.  You’re WELCOME.

My mum taught me to gently heat the milk with a bay leaf, seasoning and nutmeg, and leave it to stand for a few hours.  I go a little further and add a leek stalk (if I have it, or some onion ends or half an onion), a parmesan rind (if I have it – it means I need less cheese in the final sauce), and maybe some parsley – preferably just the stalks.  Don’t let the milk boil.  And then leave the milk to stand for anything from 5 minutes to overnight – take the onion/leek out after an half an hour though, else the flavour will dominate.

If, when you go to make your white/cheese sauce, you don’t need all the milk, just freeze it and label it “seasoned milk”.  So you don’t put it in your tea.

Once you’ve tried seasoning your milk you won’t go back…

Now this cauliflower cheese is how my mum made it, to feed a family of 6 a few days before payday.  A ring of mashed potato because cheese sauce and mash are heavenly; plus it was cheap as chips.  The plum tomatoes in the middle are beloved by my dad.  As a kid I didn’t get it at all, but the sharp tang and thin sauce just work.  Don’t fight it.

So make your cheese sauce, and if you like, make your cauliflower cheese and freeze it for a skint January evening.

(Note – my mum made this for 6, but I’ve given quantities for 4, as not many people are mad enough to have a family of 6 these days)

(Leftover milk) cauli cheese

Serves 4, heartily

Ingredients

For the mashed potato:

700 grams floury potatoes such as white/red/King Edwards/Maris pipers
50 grams unsalted butter
50 ml milk

For the cheese sauce

500 ml milk
Aromatics – all optional but all lovely: freshly ground nutmeg, parsley stalks, leek tops/half an onion, parmesan rind
Salt & pepper
50 grams unsalted butter
90 grams plain flour
Around 100 grams strong cheese – whatever you like, including cheddar, parmesan, blue cheese, even emmental, gouda – this is a great way to clear the fridge
1 teaspoon mustard

Optional: 1 tin whole plum tomatoes

Tools

Colander
Saucepan with lid
Optional: pan and steamer
Saucepan
Balloon whisk
Scales
Serving bowl
Heatproof jug
Ovenproof dish

Time

About  an hour and a quarter (though around 35 minutes of that is the baking time)

Prep

Place the milk in a saucepan with any aromatics
Gently heat until about blood temperature and then leave for at least 5 minutes or up to a day
Remove any onion flavourings after half an hour

Method

Turn the oven to 180C

Make the mash

Steam or boil your potatoes with plenty of salt
Once they are cooked through, mash with plenty of butter
Only add enough milk to make the mash the right consistency for you; you can use more if you like
If you have a potato ricer or mouli, this is the time to break it out – you want a really creamy mashed potato.  No lumps thanks.

Make white sauce

Strain any aromatics from your milk
Place a saucepan on the hob and melt the butter
Add the flour and, using the balloon whisk or a fork, mix the flour 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
Bring gently to the boil and, once it’s popping gently, turn the heat down and stir occasionally for 5 minutes
Add in the cheese/cheeses and mustard (if using)

Steam the cauliflower for about 15 minutes, so that it’s not fully raw

Mix the half-cooked cauli and cheese sauce together

Assemble the dish

Squash the mash around the edge of your oven-proof dish
Next, pour in the cauliflower cheese
If using the tomatoes, make a well in the middle and pour in
Cover with a thin layer of grated cheese

NOTE – if freezing the whole dish, leave it to cool, cover, label then freeze

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is cooked through

Storage/further meals

If you’re not planning to eat this dish within 3 days I’d play it safe and pop it in the freezer

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Cheeseboard clearing) CHEESE SCONES!

(Cheeseboard clearing) CHEESE SCONES!

The summer at the end of uni I worked at a school outfitters; the chap in the menswear department bought himself a cheese scone from the bakery on the corner every day; I’d worked at that bakery, too, three years before.  His elevenses scone was his daily break from the double breasted blazers and cricket whites.

I’d never understood cheese scones; for me a scone meant studded with sultanas and a solid 5mm of butter.  But cut forward to the skinto years and cheese cones were my way of making soup for supper feel less meagre; a warm scone, rich with melted cheese makes a fridge-forage soup a feast.

Note: I don’t use cutters because I didn’t have any during the skint years and I learnt how to shape dough.  Squash and pat your scone dough into a round and then divide into 8 long triangles – cut the circle into half, then quarters and so on.  These will be gorg and happy leftover busting.

Note 2: if you have any cheesey milk, yoghurt of cream, this is the *perfect* way to use them up.  There’s cheese in there already, right?  So your cheesy milk has a perfect home here!

(Cheeseboard busting) cheese scones

Makes 8

Ingredients

225 grams plain flour + more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
75 mixed leftover cheese
1/2 teaspoon mustard
125 – 150 ml milk/mixture of milk, yoghurt and cream

Tools

Scales
Measuring jug
Mixing bowl
Grater

Time

About twenty – thirty minutes to assemble
20 minutes to bake

Prep

Grate or crumble cheese
Gently flour the tray

Method

Turn the oven to 220C
Mix the flour, baking powder, mustard powder and salt together
Sift or whisk together
Rub the butter in
Stir in the cheese
Pour in the milk/milk mixture – the dough needs to hold together and be quite damp but precisely how much you need depends on the milk, the flour and the cheese
Pat the dough into a circle and if you like use a rolling pin to level it out
Using a large knife, cut the circle down the middle, now quarters and again – you should you eight thin triangles
Place on the floured baking tray and bake until bubbling and golden

Storage

If not eating within a day, best to freeze and eat within a couple of months

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Scraggy) cheeseboard end potted cheese

(Scraggy) cheeseboard end potted cheese

Lots of people say “no such thing as leftover cheese’ but sometimes just looking at those same leftovers over and over again just sucks all enthusiasm from me.  Especially as the lone adult in my home, well, it can be a struggle.

In the summer I went on a picnic; it was during the heatwave and I bought a load of cheese.  Cut to a couple of hours of unattended food and some pricey cheese later and fuck – there was no way I could let that go to waste.

When my girls were little, we’d listen to audiobooks and I loved ‘The Wind in the Willows’.  We had a recording of the Alan Bennett National Theatre version, with Richard Briers and lovely songs.  When Ratty talks about his picnics on the river there’s bloater paste and lots of potted shrimp and cheese; we’d never heard of it.

So, faced with £15 of grotty, separated cheese I made potted cheese!  This is super quick and means that your cheese is preserved for another meal – especially great for skint January. You can use it in cheese sauce, too, here’s to fighting food waste with every meal.

Potted cheese

Makes one jar

Ingredients

250 grams leftover cheese
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature – in 90 grams and 25 grams set aside
optional, but lovely: 2 tbsp sherry (or madeira or port) – don’t buy it!
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp mustard powder or prepared mustard
A splash of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Melted clarified butter (optional)

Prep

Melt the 25 grams of butter and clarify – melt it gently until the fat and the milk solids separate.  Skim off the butter fat; save the milk solids for some lovely pancakes.

Tools

Scales
Mixing bowls/food processor
Saucepan
Jar with lid

Time

About 20 minutes

Method

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

ann@storrcupboard.com