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

Jam-Jar Scraping Thumbprint biscuits

Jam-Jar Scraping Thumbprint biscuits

Thumbprint cookies are a traditional American biscuit, and are a perfect way to use up those scrapings of jam.  Yes, English bakers will call for jam tarts, but they are a little trickier, as you need to make and roll out pastry.  These are easier to make with kids.  And, for those of us who don’t adore jam, the ratio of sweet jam to creamy, plainer biscuit, is better.

This cookie dough benefits from sitting in the fridge overnight, if  you can.

You can see here that I’ve used strawberry, raspberry and marmalade: because you only need a teaspoon for each biscuit it’s a great recipe for using up ‘odds and sods’ of jam. Okay, it’s not the tag line of the century!  But making a tea-time treat out of food that you were about to chuck will give you a wonderful feeling of pride.  Happy baking!

(Too much leftover) Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Makes 16-20

Ingredients

35 grams unsalted butter, softened
50 grams caster sugar
1 egg yolk
110g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

Tools

Essential

Scales
2 baking trays
Greaseproof paper
Scissors
Dessert spoon
Large mixing bowl
Whisk/fork
Wire cooling rack
Teaspoons
Knife
Chopping board

Time

30m prep
50 minutes making and chilling
A few hours – overnight chilling, if possible
20m baking

Level

Medium

Prep

Remove butter from the fridge
Line the baking sheets/trays with greaseproof paper
Preheat the oven to 180C

Method

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and egg yolk
Mix in flour a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms
Chop the dough into half, then each length into 8-10 pieces each
Roll dough into 5cm balls
If dough is too soft, chill for 15 to 20 minutes.  If possible, chill overnight
When ready to bake, place balls 8cm apart on lined baking trays
Use your thumb to make a thumbprint in the centre of each cookie
Fill the hole with 1/2 teaspoon of jam
Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes – check after 8.  If they’re not ready, leave them in
Use your flipper to wriggle onto wire cooling racks
DON’T EAT STRAIGHT OUT OF THE OVEN THE SUGAR WILL BURN YOUR MOUTH TO HOLY HELL.

But, you know, enjoy!

 

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Jam-Jar Scraping Blondies

Jam-Jar Scraping Blondies

Three jars of jam, all a bit sticky and maybe just a teeny bit  … no, not mouldy?  Maybe a little?  Or just you’ve looked at it for so long that you’re sick of the sight and need some more shelf or fridge space.  Cooking the jam into something new will make you forget all those sticky, slightly gross jars, and hey – it’ll also give you some cheap, reusable food storage – win win!

Seriously.  Jam jars are one of your cheapest and best storage options. Quarter of an onion?  In the jar!  Herby oil?  In the jar!  Fat from your roast chicken . In! The!  Jar!  Just don’t forget to add the sharpie to write what’s in the jar and when you put it in the fridge and you will be a happy leftover lover.

As per the jar instructions; jams made with a lot of sugar can be stored in a cupboard after opening.  Home made or ‘conserves’ need to be stored in the fridge after opening.

 

Have you tried blondies? This recipe takes hardly any time to put together and is utterly customisable, making it perfect for any jam, peanut butter or nuts that are hanging around your kitchen.  One saucepan, one bowl and into one tin.  And eaten within one hour, I bet. Or if you have a tail end of peanut butter and chocolate sauce?  Heaven.  Maybe some almonds?  Go for it!  Like flapjacks, blondies are wonderful for using up bits and bobs in the cupboard into a delicious pan of wonderousness.

Jam ripple blondies

Based on Smitten Kitchen’s blondies

Ingredients

115 grams unsalted butter
190 grams sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon course sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon pouring salt
190g plain flour
Around 3 tablespoons jam but less is fine, just use up what you’ve got

Tools

Essential

Scales
8 inch cake tin
Greaseproof paper
Scissors
Saucepan/bowl
Dessert spoon
Large mixing bowl
Whisk/fork
Wire cooling rack

Helpful

Skewer Sieve
Measuring spoons

Time

15-20m prep
20m baking

Level

Medium

Prep

Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave and put to one side
Line your cake tin with greaseproof paper

Method

Turn the oven to 170C
Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and add the sugar
Beat together until smooth
Add the egg and vanilla and beat until fully mixed
Sift in or add the flour (sifting will give a lighter texture but you’ll still have lovely blondies if you don’t have a sieve)
Gently stir together with a balloon whisk/wooden spoon
Pour into the cake tin
Drizzle the jam all over the mixture and use a skewer/sharp knife to gently swirl around
Bake for around 20-25m
The blondies should be lightly browned on the edges but looking a little under-baked at the middle; if you’re teasing with a skewer, it should have mixture on it
Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin before turning out on to the wire rack
Cut into about 16 pieces

These freeze *really* well

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

One sad jacket potato cake

One sad jacket potato cake

Aren’t jacket potatoes great?  My life, in all seriousness and smallness, was changed when my ex’s mum stared at my gormless face as she pulled teeny, tiny jacket potatoes out of the oven.  “It’s a way of cooking, not a size” she tutted.  What a revelation: now jacket potatoes could be part of my meal, not the backbone to carry beans and cheese/cheese and sweetcorn/tuna mayo.  Though I love these, maybe a little too much – but now I could have jacket potatoes more often.

 

With lucky timing for comfort food padding as we all contend with the Beast from the East, let’s get using up our jacket potatoes that might be sitting around, needing some love.  There’s got to be more ideas that a bubble or a hash, love them as I do… well, time for some StorrCupboard magic.

 

(Note: this Rachel Roddy pizza is a brilliant vessel for a solitary spud.  It does, I think, need a fresh pizza base, so I didn’t post it as an option that everyone would try.  And I pointed you guys to a pizza last week. So consider this a double carb bonus  … Also: the mixed root veg cakes from a few weeks back are traditionally plain potato cakes, and would work well, too).

So, I know that this isn’t super quick but we are talking potatoes here. So, this is relative…

Bahahaaaa I haven’t told my kids there’s mash potato in their cake!  Think carrot cake: that’s not weird is it?  And a drizzle cake is *supposed* to be dense, zingy and this one certainly is.

 

This recipe calls for mash, but that’s not essential – just mash up your leftover jackets.  I didn’t have quite enough potato, so added some extra flour, and it just fine (I don’t need cake to be gluten free, but some GF flour would be fine, too).

 

I had one blood orange, one lemon and two limes in the fridge, so that’s why my cake is a pretty pink colour.  And tastes great.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Leftover yoghurt smoothie

Leftover yoghurt smoothie

I hate strawberry yoghurt.  The strawberry selection pack from 1980s Sainsbury’s was the worst pudding option (aside from my dad announcing “fwesh fwuuut” knowing the sighs and eye-rolls from us – we’d be hoping for Angel Delight or tinned fruit salad).  It’s nothing-y.  It’s boring.  Or peach?!  Vile vile.  Too sweet.
I’ll eat it because it’s there, but there are better ways to turn this “meh” into “a-meh-zing” (sorry).
I love yoghurt smoothies.  To make this just blend 1 pot of yoghurt (about 120g), 200g frozen smoothie pack/your favourite smoothie fruits & milk to dilute (around 100ml, but it depends on the thickness of the yoghurt and the milk).  You can’t really taste the yoghurt so it’s a great way of using up/disguising a flavour that’s your most hated/least loved.
When choosing fruit think about flavours that will go nicely – berries with berries,berries with bananas – TBF, bananas with most fruit yoghurts.  It’s just going to be a happy, fruity, creamy drink.  Like Yop.  Homemade Yop.
An immersion/stick blender is your friend, and only about a tenner to buy.  Any manky bananas/grapes/kiwis etc can be made into a smoothie in minutes, without the outlay into a juicer etc. As it’s small, you can store it in a drawer.  Soup, smoothies and smooth pasta/pizza sauces: you won’t regret it.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Brown Banana Bites

Brown Banana Bites

In a previous life I was lucky enough to go on a work jolly to South California (I KNOW). It was, pretty much, the only one over the course of eleven under-paid years, and it was amazing.  Beach motel: check.  Early morning beach walk and watching dolphins frollic in the sea: check.  Putting on half a stone in a week: check.

Not kidding.  Half a stone.  In a week.

 

On the plus side, I learnt that frozen bananas on a stick is a real thing in SoCal.  Be still my British heart.  I thought it was all ‘Arrested Development’ nonsense.

 

These little banana bites are quite messy to make but that’s half the fun.  It’s a good way to use up leftover birthday cake sprinkles, a couple of discarded biscuits or hundreds and thousands.  Use whatever chocolate you like.  I didn’t use coconut oil because it’s damned pricey and I don’t really like it TBH, so I went for butter.  Budget-conscious vegans could use groundbut (i.e., flavourless) oil and it’ll be fine.

 

Crunchy, smooth and not too sweet. Yum.​​

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

ann@storrcupboard.com