Leftover Easter Egg Salted Nut Bark

Leftover Easter Egg Salted Nut Bark

Leftover Easter Egg Salted Nut Bark

Remember when chocolate pretzels came to the UK? I do. I begged my mum to buy them, and eventually she relented. What was this foul salty, salty biscuit combo? Bah, be GONE. I didn’t hear about chocolate and salt again until The Great Salted Caramel Revolution of 2006. Now even Cadbury’s are at it.

One recipe that caught my StorrCupboard leftover radar on my first flick through of Sue’s ‘Cocoa’ book was the chocolate bark. Leftover Easter chocolates and crisps and nuts all used up all at once?! Making a virtue of the hot mess of all those random chocolates? Luckily, I have embraced salt & chocolate. It works because the salt sharpens the other flavours that make up our experience of chocolate. And this works for leftover Easter chocolate (or Christmas, when some weirdos don’t want to eat the strawberry creams or pralines) because you are melting and mixing chocolate and using strong flavours to top the bark.

But, why are we talking about using up all this cheap chocolate? Surely it’s just full of sugar, fat and crap? Well yes – but there’s a lot more to the cost of cocoa that the price of your egg or chocolate bar. Farmers in countries such as Guyana and Equatorial Guinea earn around 78 American Cents a day or less. About 90p a day. Cocoa farming is a difficult skill and farmers are not fairly paid; most are too poor to ever have even tasted chocolate. The situation is too complex for me to write about here but respect the farmer’s work and don’t waste the food. I highly recommend Sue’s book to learn more about the problem. Yf you have a deeper interest, the amazing ‘Bread, Wine, Chocolate’ by Simran Sethi is excellent.

Salty. Crunchy. Easy. A zero-food-waste hoover. Make your chocolate bark to mix up the chocolates you don’t like and respect the work of each farmer along the way.

Leftover Chocolate Bark

Melt up all those annoying chocolates that you don't really like to make this zero waste bark.
Recipe from 'Cocoa' by Sue Quinn, Hardy Grant, p 232

Ingredients

  • at least 100 grams chocolate

Potential toppings; use a total of 10 grams to every 100 grams of chocolate

  • peanuts/any nuts/crisps
  • salt crystals/crushed peppercorns/chilli flakes
  • chopped dried fruit
  • chopped biscuits/biscuit crumbs/dried cake crumbs

Instructions

  • Butter or dampen the baking tray and line with greaseproof paper
  • Chop the chocolate roughly and place into the heatproof bowl
  • Place the saucepan on the hob and bring about 5cm of water to a simmer; place the bowl on the pan and make sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water (lift the bowl up and see if it's wet). If it is, just pour a little water down the sink.
  • Gently stir the chocolate as it melts
  • As the chocolate melts, chop up any of the toppings you're going to use
  • Once the chocolate is melted, pour it into the lined tray and spread it around using your wooden spoon. If you have an off-set spatula, if can help.
  • Sprinkle the toppings over and place in the fridge to set (takes a couple of hours). When totally set cut into shards.

Storage

  • Store at room temperature in a lidded container.

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Easter chocolate is its own kind of hell. Lots of little bits and bobs. Lots of little leftovers. Everywhere. From school (when the fuck did teachers start spending their own salaries on chocs for kids??), to grandparents, friends and uncles who know that the biggest Easter eggs are the best Easter Eggs. Of course I give my kids unnecessary Easter Eggs – how could I not?

I was thinking about what you all would love for a little Easter goodness and thought back to last year’s recipes. They’re solid, especially the cheesecake (if I ever meet Ottolenghi…).  But you need more! Happily for us all, Sue Quinn recently published ‘Cocoa: An Exploration of Chocolate, with Recipes’. She kindly gifted me a copy and I spent one afternoon and one Sunday morning reading her words and recipes.

So, how will Sue and I help you to quickly dispatch the Cadbury’s mini eggs and cream eggs and smarties eggs that no-one wants because smarties are smarties and not eggs? Well, first off, your quick quick recipe is for this Spanish inspired hot chocolate. I added more cocoa to counteract the sweetness in milk chocolate and all those shells.

You can dip churros in these, if you like (read: I am not about to make these right now); Sue recommends dipping in salty toast soldiers (oh god). I sipped a little of mine, with extra milk, and intend to drink the whole pot. Like a lady of leisure I shall sip my chocolate, maybe in a bubble path, and thank every last person who gave my children so much chocolate.

 

Leftover chocolate hot chocolate

Barely adapted from 'Cocoa', by Sue Quinn, published by Hardie Grant 2019

Ingredients

  • 45 grams cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons cornflour
  • pinch sea salt flakes
  • 500 ml milk
  • 25 grams caster sugar
  • 100 grams leftover chocolate if using a bar of chocolate, grate it; if using up lots of little Easter chocolates, with their hard sugar shells, grind in a food processor/pestle and mortar/bashing them with a rolling pin, between 2 clean tea towels
  • 1 star anise/sprinkle of fresh nutmeg, or a cinnamon stick... Use what you like!
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tools

  • scales
  • saucepan
  • whisk
  • measuring jug
  • grater/food processor/rolling pin (see note, above)
  • wooden spoon

Instructions

  • Combine the cocoa powder, cornflour and salt in a small bowl
  • Place the milk, sugar, spice and vanilla in a small pan and almost bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour enough of the hot liquid into the cocoa powder mixture to make a paste; stir until smooth.
  • While the pan is off the heat, add the chopped chocolate and cocoa paste to the milk. Stir until the chocolate has melted and everything is well combined. Taste - you may want to add more sugar, as I was conservative.
  • Return the pan to a low heat and stir until thick and creamy - use a whisk if you need to get rid of any lumps. Remove any whole spices.
  • If you're planning to use this as hot chocolate you'll need to add additional hot milk or water

Storage

  • This will keep for around a week in the fridge, in a lidded container

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 Celery Stuffing

Leftover Celery Stuffing

Leftover Celery Stuffing

Stuffing, like Christmas turkey, pop music and Bonfire Night, did not occur in my childhood. “Tasteless” my parents would say and I didn’t even understand what it was. What how when and why was something stuffed? It was only a Christmas day with my then-in-laws coming that I realised I needed to learn, because they needed bird, stuffing, bread sauce – all the things I didn’t grow up eating.

I mixed and mashed herbs and chestnuts and dried fruits, pushing the fruity mixture into the chicken. I got it. Like pasta, Yorkshire puddings and a million other delicious carbs, stuffing has been used to bulk out expensive meat and veg.

This recipe is barely adapted from a Jane Grigson. I dialled the butter down a little, and, when I make it again, I’ll add in double the parsley, if I have it. Any herbs like parsley, tarragon, fennel fronds will all go in fine here. Even carrot tops, when they come in season in a few weeks, will work. Wild garlic, in the spring would be immense. Other than that, a batch of this stuffing will clear out your freezer of breadcrumbs, so it’s a double win.

The original recipe made mounds of stuffing; I’ve got my leftovers in the freezer, ready for a lazy Sunday lunch. Got loads of celery? Make a double batch and freeze, extending your celery for another week or month, ready to feed lots of family or friends, on your zero waste, leftover loving celery stuffing.

Leftover Celery Stuffing

Barely adapted from Jane Grigson 'Good Things'
Author: Ann Storr

Ingredients

  • 150 grams onion around a medium size but anything between 100 and 180 grams will be fine...)
  • 150 grams celery
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 250 grams fresh breadcrumbs
  • grated zst & juice of half a lemon
  • 4 tablespoons parsley/tarragon/chervil/wild garlic
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper

Tools

  • Scales
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk/fork (for the egg)
  • Optional: tray for baking stuffing, if not stuffing a chicken/turkey extra sunflower/ground nut oil for cooking

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in the saucepan
  • Dice the onion and celery and add to the pan. Cook the onion and celery over a low heat for about 20 minutes until they are soft and translucent - do not let them brown.
  • Whilst the celery and onion are cooking, finely chop the herbs and whisk the egg. 
  • When the food is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Mix all the ingredients together. Season to taste.
  • Either stuff in the bird or roll into satsuma sized balls and bake, basting with oil from the roasting bird or, for vegetarians, a vegetable oil

Leftover porridge bread

Leftover porridge bread

Leftover Porridge Bread

My eldest brother and I share a love of baking (and eating bread), and I’ve learned a lot from him.  He’s bought me endless books because, chez Storr, all the best presents are rectangles. Learning that a loaf of bread requires only a ratio was eye-opening. So I could use up that remaining 165 grams of brown flour and yesterday’s porridge and top it up with strong bread flour?! Hell. Yes.

If you’ve got 250g of porridge or 100g it doesn’t matter: just make sure that the total weight of porridge & flour is 700g.  That’s it. The amount of salt and yeast will stay the same, the water might vary a little. Got 250 grams of porridge? You might want to go up to a total weight of 800 grams of porridge and flour (8 grams of yeast 16 of salt). It’s that simple. And – poof! – you’ve made something delicious out of a food you were about to waste.

Some people might query adding eggs, flour and fat to what is a cheap ingredient.  Those oats have been sown (ahem). You’ve spent money on them. Soil has been fertilised and petrol burned to transport. So have fun and use that claggy old porridge that you cared to buy and cared to cook to be the inspiration for tomorrow’s lunch. Or toast.

 

Leftover Porridge Bread

Turn cold, claggy, leftover porridge into soft buns
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Proving time3 hrs
Total Time35 mins
Keyword: eating on a budget
Servings: 12 buns

Ingredients

  • up to 200 grams leftover porridge
  • up to 600 grams strong white bread flour (flour + porridge weighs 700 grams)
  • 7 grams fast action yeast
  • 14 grams salt
  • around 400 ml water or milk (it will vary depending on how much porridge goes into your dough)
  • optional: 1 egg

Tools

  • Scales
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring jug
  • Clean tea-towel
  • Roasting tin or oven dish
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Dough scraper or large knife
  • Wire cooling rack

Instructions

  • Weigh the porridge. Then add enough strong bread flour to take the porridge + flour to 700 grams. So, 150 grams porridge + 550 grams flour, for example.
  • Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in the large mixing bowl. Crumble the porridge into the bread flour so that there are no lumps.
  • If using an egg, whisk it into 200ml of the milk/water. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture. Give the ingredients a good mix with a metal spoon. or your hands. It should be quite a wet dough. Add more milk/water until you have a dough where all the flour is fully saturated.
  • Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured or wet surface * and *gently* knead it: push it away from you, pick that end up, pop it back on top, turn the dough 45 degrees and go again. Do this for about 10 minutes, or until you hear pops and crackles coming from the dough - that's the carbon dioxide forming.
  • Cover the dough with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave it to one side for about an hour. The dough need to double in size; in my cold kitchen takes about 2 hours.

Forming the buns

  • Lightly flour the counter and turn the dough out.
  • Weigh the dough; it should weigh around 1.2 kg, ish. Buns are around 100g and I like to weigh the dough. You can just eyeball 12 buns but I find it quicker to just through bits of dough into the scale and make sure that I will have buns of an equal size.
  • Line the oven tin with a piece of greaseproof paper.
  • Lightly flour your counter. Place each piece of dough on the flour. Once you have pieces of dough ready and waiting, take one and form it into a roll by turning it around your hands into a round ball. Tuck each ball into the tin, around 3cm apart.
  • When all the rolls are in the tin, cover with the clean tea towel and leave to rise again for about another half an hour.
  • Turn the oven to 180 degrees.
  • When the rolls have doubled in size, place them gently in the oven and bake for around 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
  • When they are cooked, gently slip them out of the tin and leave to cool.

Storage

  • I keep my rolls in a very un-sexy giant tupperware. They will keep fine for a couple of days.
  •  If you want fresh rolls every day, split the rolls and place in the freezer; they will defrost more quickly if you freeze them with the cut in place.
  • * Experienced bakers like to use the wet method where you knead over a wet surface rather than a floured. This is a great technique but takes a little practice.

Leftover porridge muffins

Leftover porridge muffins

Leftover Porridge Muffins

During the ‘lean years’, childcare took most of my 3 figure a month salary. The nursery was necessary but so expensive. I couldn’t not work.  Life was dull. It was 2008. Food prices rose every week. One night, my ex and I went on a rare night out with child-free friends. This may or may not have been the night I found buttons in my purse rather than cash.

I started telling a friend about these amazing leftover porridge muffins that I’d read about and made for my family – “I don’t even waste porridge!”. “But porridge is so cheap!” he replied.  I talked about food waste but really, I was embarrassed to say that I didn’t have the money to be scraping any food in the bin – that I could see the money going into the bin. I couldn’t articulate that any saving like this, where old sad breakfast becomes warm and tasty tea-time, was necessary. I felt humiliated. I didn’t need to, but being skint is humiliating – if you’re there right now, I’m sorry, it’s shit.

As with the porridge pancakes you’ll be amazed at the softness. Use whatever chocolate, fruits or nuts you like/have handy; these are a template to hoover up little leftovers sitting around the cupboard.  I have used milk chocolate because my eldest has a sweet tooth to rival Winnie the Pooh. This batch were walnut and dried raspberry, which I loved.

Those skint years? The nursery was later closed for ‘financial irregularities’. I now have a talented friend who cuts hair for a good price. I no longer wear the maternity coat. I earn better money doing work that I love.  I still don’t waste leftover porridge.

Leftover Porridge Muffins

Based on Oatmeal Muffins by Molly Wizenburg & Amanda Blake Soule
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins

Ingredients

  • around 150 grams leftover porridge
  • around 225 grams plain flour
  • 75 grams sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100 grams chocolate, nuts, or dried fruit
  • 1 large egg
  • 120 ml milk
  • 30 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Tools

  • scales
  • mixing bowl
  • measuring jug
  • muffin tin
  • muffin papers
  • whisk/fork
  • ideally, balloon whisk
  • teaspoon/measuring spoon
  • saucepan/oven-proof bowl

Instructions

  • Turn the oven on to 180 degrees. Place the butter in an ovenproof bowl and leave to melt as the oven warms up. Remove from the oven once melted and leave to cool
  • Line a 12 muffin tin with liners or lightly grease
  • Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and add-ins together in a large bowl
  • Crumble the porridge through the flour mixture to avoid lumps
  • Whisk the egg, milk and butter together
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry; using a balloon whisk or spoon, mix together with between 8 and 12 strokes
  • Add spoonfuls of batter evenly to the muffin wells and bake for between 15 and 20 minutes
  • Serve warm

Storage

  • These really are best eaten warm and on the day. 
  • Warmed through, and maybe split with a little salted butter, they are good the next day or two - just store them in an airtight container.
  • If you can't eat 12 muffins at once, freeze when at room temperature for up to 3 months.