(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

Double boozy brandy butter ice-cream

Double boozy brandy butter ice-cream

Brandy butter is a mainstay of Christmas cooking for a lot of us; I made two huge jars this year because one is never enough.  But two is too many; so here is my fourth way with your leftover brandy butter.  If you’re new from the Evening Standard, welcome!  I hope that you find loads of useful recipes for your Christmas leftovers.

Discovering no-churn ice-cream was huge for me; when leftover cream sits in the fridge it can be a bore and a pain. Plus the dairy industry uses a whole heap of emissions and

I now keep a tine of condensed milk in the kitchen; it’s cheap and means that I now never, ever waste cream.  If you don’t have any boozy cream then you must add a slug of brandy, whiskey or vanilla extract to your cream.  Plain cream makes for a flat ice-cream and, well, I have a whole portion to work through (I’m thinking a hot fudge sauce or an expresso poured over will get that one going).

If (if!) you have annoying leftover chocs, you can chop them up and add them in; I went for pounding some salty peanuts and sprinkling them on top.  Or do both!  A true, proper, leftover busting recipe.

Brandy butter double boozy no-churn ice-cream

Inspired by Nigella’s No Churn Coffee Ice -Cream
Makes 1.5 pints/800ml

Ingredients

250 ml cream – you can mix up boozy Xmas creams and plain cream
175ml condensed milk
If using plain cream, add a good tablespoon of whiskey/brandy/vanilla essence
To serve: pounded peanuts, finely chopped choc or chocolate sauce

Tools
Measuring jug
Large bowl
Electric whisk/stand mixer OR Balloon whisk and strong arms
Freezer proof container with lid

Time
10m prep
6 hours (at least) to freeze

Method

Place the creams and condensed milk in the large bowl
Whisk together until there’s lot of little bubbles and the mixture is light and airy
Crumble in the brandy butter and stir
Pour into container
Place lid on and put in freezer

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Bread sauce scraping) little baked pockets

(Bread sauce scraping) little baked pockets

These are my biggest experiment and I’d love to know what you think. Bread sauce, reimagined, 3 ways, baby.

I thought about scones and I thought about their non-buttery brother soda bread and I thought fuck it – let’s try something different.

These are funny things .- halfway between a pitta and a cracker. They are best when warm – slice into each little pocket and stuff in any scraps of cheese that have been hanging around.  The cheese goes a little melty and against the little cracker pocket it’s perfect.

The cumin seeds are optional; bread sauce is traditionally made by simmering bread and milk with an onion that has been studded with a couple of cloves.  Cloves, cumin and hard cheese are a fab combination, so if you feel like getting creative with your leftovers (and maybe avoiding a trip to the shops) try these!

(Bread sauce scraping) Cumin Pockets

Makes around 12, depending on the size of your cutter

Ingredients

around 150 grams leftover bread sauce
225 grams plain white flour + more for rolling out
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
50 grams unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Around 1 tablespoon milk

Tools

Scales
Measuring spoons/teaspoon
Bowl
Greaseproof paper
Baking sheets
Rolling pin or wine bottle
Optional: biscuit cutter (I use an egg-poaching ring) or sharp knife

Time

About twnety minutes to assemble and an additional 15-18 minutes to bake

Prep

Take the butter out of the fridge to soften

Method

Turn the oven to 180C and line the tray(s) with baking paper
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and cumin seeds together
Rub in the butter
When the butter is rubbed in, stir the bread sauce in
You should have a fairly soft dough
Flour your kitchen surface and roll out the dough until its around 5mm thick
Either cut out circles or us a sharp knife to cut squares/triangles (I usually do this – saves time)
Reshape any off cuts of dough and re-roll/cut
Place the pockets on the lined tray and brush with a little milk
Bake for around 15-18 minutes until golden
Once baked and golden and puffy removed from the oven
Carefully, cut into them and liberally stuff with cheese and allow the cheese to melt; enjoy!

Storage/further meals

Eat when warm and stuffed for best flavour; reheat as necessary.  Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Half a glass) Red Wine Vinegar

(Half a glass) Red Wine Vinegar

Last night, I sat with darling friends, set the world to rights over prosecco, pizza, red wine and Galaxy.  At half twelve we inched ourselves towards bed, half full wine glasses left on the side.  This was, of course, a happy coincidence/this is a way I like to spend Saturday nights.

Cooking with red wine doesn’t have to be all full bowls of risotto and bowls of ragu and mushrooms.  How about a nice salad?  Mmmmmmm red wine salad?  Doesn’t that sound lush?  Or how about making your own red wine vinegar? It’s simple – just leave your leftover red wine out in a jar, and cover it with some clean, thin fabric so that fruit flies don’t die a happy death in your wine.

Now you have a nice, home made wine vinegar to dress your salad!  That sad salad pack that’s sitting in your fridge? This home-made red wine vinegar will make sure that that it doesn’t get wasted.  The red wine vinegar does take a couple of weeks to ferment, but you’re saving time, saving money and saving food waste. So let the wine do its own magic, banishing food waste, one delicious meal at a time.

(A glass of leftover) Red Wine Vinegar

Ingredients

Leftover red wine

Tools

Jam jar
Muslin

Time

A couple of weeks

Prep

Sterilise the jar

Method

Pour the wine into a jar
Cover with a muslin
Leave for about 2 weeks
Vinegar!

Storage/further meals

Store in a cool, dark place

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Half a leftover) Smothered Cabbage

(Half a leftover) Smothered Cabbage

Some things just go together; pork and greens are a perfect example of this.  A tiny amount of pork, saved from the bin, is all you need to give that leftover cabbage some pep in its step.

This recipe was inspired by an amazing food writer and cook, Edna Lewis.  She lived in Freetown, Virginia, which was a community of people who had emancipated themselves from slavery.  This community included her grandparents, themselves emancipated slaves.  Her recipes show a deft experience of working with excellent produce and how to make every meal into a feast.  That skill comes from experience and a respect for food and not wasting it, a skill that you, me and more people are now re-learning.  If you’re interested in reading about seasonal, delicious and thrifty food, and the relationship of this pioneering African-American woman and community, hunt it out, curl up in a chair and learn,

I experimented with this recipe, using half groundnut oil and half sesame oil to make it veggie and vegan friendly.  It was okay but a little greasier.  The taste was less mellow and reminiscent of nutty seaweed from Chinese takeaways – one of my favourite choices when I spurge on a takeaway. Not bad, just different.

If you cook roast pork you must MUST save the fat, precisely for recipes like this.  You’re making the most of the joint and saving money; this is the recipe to convince you.

(Three ways with half a) Leftover Smothered Cabbage

Adapted barely, from ‘The Taste of Country Cooking’, Edna Lewis, p139
Serves 2-4 as a side dish

Ingredients

1/2 a leftover cabbage (around 350 grams)
1 tablespoon of leftover pork fat OR half a tablespoon each groundnut oil and sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon nice vinegar (red wine, white wine or apple cider)
Salt and black pepper

Tools

Frying pan with a lid
Scales
Knife and chopping board
Measuring spoons
Tongs/fork

Time

About half an hour to prep and mix

Prep

If necessary, cut your leftover cabbage into quarters
Cut out the stalk by placing on the diagonal
Cut into chunks around 1cm wide

Method

Heat the fat/oils in the frying pan until quite hot
Add the cabbage and let it sear (go a bit brown) but don’t let it burn
After about 3-4 minutes when the sides are browned, sprinkle over the vinegar and place the lid on the pan
Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
Season well with salt and pepper
Eat!

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
Keep to up to 5 days in your fridge

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