(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

(Slightly Soft) Leftover Pear & Vanilla crumble

(Slightly Soft) Leftover Pear & Vanilla crumble

So roasted pears with cheese and nuts isn’t for everyone – fair enough!  As I said, a younger me would not have touched it with a bargepole. What else to do with 2, 3, or 4 too soft pears?

In The Fruit Testing Fruit Demolishing Toddler Years, my resident Fruit Bat would try every single apple/pear/plum.  She left me with bowlfuls of fruit that hadn’t passed her test, stacking up in the fridge, the places where her little teeth had bitten into them browning and softening.  And now her sister wouldn’t eat it.  And they were spoiling because the skin was damaged.  And I couldn’t afford to waste a single fruit.

So often, the humble crumble would come to my rescue.  Two apples and two pears? In.  Three plums and one stick of rhubarb – oh, that’s my *favourite*.

But … just pear?  I hate to say it, but I prefer it to apple crumble!  Sorry mum.  With some vanilla essence. or half a vanilla pod if you’re feeling fancy/flush, the whole bowlful is light and floral.  And with heart-stopping pours of double cream, you’ll love your leftover pear crumble.

TIP: if you don’t have the time to eat all your soft pears before they go off, and you know that you won’t get through the crumble, make the crumble and freeze it!  easy preserving!

(Slightly Soft) Pear & Vanilla crumble

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

3-4 pears
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
175 grams plain flour or half and half wholemeal + plain
125 grams butter/hard vegan alternative
75 grams sugar (I used dark brown but any will do)
Pinch of salt

LOADS of cream/ice cream to serve

Tools

Teaspoon
Scales
Chopping board
Knife
Mixing bowl
Oven proof bowl
Tea towel/kitchen paper

Time

20-30 minutes prep
40 minutes to bake

Prep

Mix flour, sugar and salt
Turn the oven to 180C

Method

If you want, sift the flour, salt and sugar together
Cut the butter/vegan alternative into chunks around 1cm
Rub the butter into the flour mixture until it looks sandy (I have hot hands so it’s never perfect)
ONLY WHEN THE CRUMBLE IS READY peel, quarter and core the pears
Place the pears in your oven proof dish
Sprinkle over the vanilla extract
Gently sprinkle the crumble mixture over the top – don’t pat down, else you’ll have a shortbread top
Place in the oven and bake
Check after 30 minutes; it’s ready when the juice bubbles up from underneath

Storage
You can store the crumble for a few days in your fridge
If you don’t have the time to eat the pears, freeze the crumble in the dish and eat within three months

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Pumpkin seed flapjacks

Pumpkin seed flapjacks

Flapjacks are the leftover hoarders friend.  Clear out your nuts!  Your dried fruit and even your old cereal!

Now, some CRAZY people out there will tell you to put flour in your flapjacks.  NEVER EVER EVER DO THIS.  Those grim flapjacks that you get at dodgy train station coffee shops, with a best before end date set for 2 days after the apocalypse?  They have been padded out with flour, because it is cheaper than oats.  They also break the oats down which means that you don’t get the rich, lovely flavour of oats + golden syrup + butter.  If you want to go vegan you can use coconut oil.

Now cheap doesn’t mean bad, my leftover loving friends.  Not at all.  But don’t fuck with my flapjacks.  Or my crumble.  Or my marmite on toast. Thank you love you mean it.

If you’re going to go rogue and start clearing out loads of old nuts and fruits, just keep the ratio the same: you need 450 grams dry ingredients. I’d try to keep the bulk of the grain to oats, but chuck in jumbo oats, old cereal, whole nuts, ground nuts, dried fruit, chocolate.  REJOYCE in the lack of food waste with your StorrCupboard busting flapjacks and a nice cuppa.

What else do you do with your leftover pumpkin seeds?  Do you prefer to go sweet or savoury?  I

Leftover Pumpkin Seed flapjacks

Makes around 16 large/25 smaller

Ingredients

300 grams rolled (porridge) oats
100 grams leftover pumpkin seeds, roasted (just don’t add the spice mix)
50 grams sesame seeds (optional; just use 50 grams of oats if you have a nut allergy/don’t want to use)
75 grams sugar (caster, soft brown – whatever)
150 grams golden syrup
Good pinch of salt

Tools

Colander/sieve
Baking tray
Teaspoon
Scales
Large saucepan
Square baking tin
Greaseproof paper
Wooden spoon

Time

30 minutes to clean and bake the pumpkin seeds if your seeds are raw
40 minutes to make and bake
Around 10 minutes to cool before slicing

Prep

Preheat the oven to 180C
Wash any pumpkin skin off your seeds
Line your baking tin with greaseproof paper

Method

Place the seeds on the tray and stir the oil
Place in the oven
PUT A TIMER ON!  Check after 15 minutes
Listen – can you hear a little pop? They’re done.
While the seeds are cooking, melt the butter, golden syrup and sugar together
As soon as the pumpkin seeds are cooked, mix them into the oats, sesame and salt together
Pour the dry ingredients into the wet
Stir well, making sure that every little oat is drenched in syrup
Pat the flapjacks into the corners of the pan and a flat top but not too firmly – you’ll never get them out!
Bake for about 25 minutes until bubbling and golden
Leave to cool in the tin, and cut into squares

Storage
Keep in a lidded, airtight container for up to a week.  If they last that long.  (They might last longer than a week but they’ll taste stale TBH)

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Spiced pumpkin seeds

Spiced pumpkin seeds

So… I’m going to say something a little controversial … I don’t think that chucking some watery pumpkin flesh is the end of the world.  Carving pumpkins aren’t grown to taste good.  In comparison: I buy a real Christmas tree and it gets chipped, and back into the soil.  So enjoy your pumpkin and don’t worry too much when it goes a bit mouldy.

Seriously – I worry more about wasted meat, wasted dairy, plastic and petrol than (okay millions of) pumpkins. Better to buy a biodegradable pumpkin than plastic tat that will take hundreds of years to degrade.  None of us are angels, and I’m not going to sit through bowls of watery pumpkin soup.  Squirrels and birds will love your old pumpkin; if your garden is big enough, or you can leave it in some woodland, go for it.  I’m hoping to give mine to some local sheep!  But, if you’ve got a recipe to challenge me?  I’d love to hear it!

But the seeds – those are tasty and well worth cooking up.

Give them a rinse, pop them in the oven and stir some spice through as soon as they’re out of the oven.  Warm, crunchy, good for you and so more-ish.  The spice isn’t essential but so worth it.  I used regular mild curry powder, but ras-al-hanout is amazing if you have it.  Or even just plenty of salt!

Warm, rich, crunchy and sweet, you’ll cook your seeds with every squash, pumpkin or butternut squash that comes into your house.

Spiced pumpkin seeds

Makes as many pumpkin seeds as you need to cook up!

Ingredients

Leftover pumpkin seeds
Salt
2 tablespoons neutral oil (ground nut, sunflower, light olive oil)
1 teaspoon spice – cumin, ras al hanout mix, peri peri – anything warm and delcious

Tools

Colander/sieve
Baking tray
Teaspoon

Time

5 minutes clean
25 minutes to bake
Around 10 minutes to cool before slicing

Prep

Preheat the oven to 180C
Wash any pumpkin skin off your seeds and leave to dry

Method

Place the seeds on the tray; if they are still very wet place in the oven for 5 minutes WITHOUT OIL
If dry, stir the oil
Place in the oven
PUT A TIMER ON!  Check after 20 minutes
Listen – can you hear a little pop? They’re done.
Remove from the oven and stir in the spices – make sure that the spices are cooked through
Eat!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Bought-too-many-herbs corn bread

Bought-too-many-herbs corn bread

I love cornbread, corn chips, corn crackers, corn fed chicken and sweetcorn.  Big bowls of polenta (grits) all rich with corn, butter and cheese, topped with heaps of veg or ragu/bolognese.  It’s the warm flavour of corn that does it for me.  So, for my final ‘good god either I don’t have enough herbs or I have too many’, I offer you: herby cornbread.
Sometimes cooking a dish that you can freeze for another day is the perfect way to use up a leftover; maybe it’s leftover because you ran out of time this week, or the herbs are going off more quickly than you expected.  Or, maybe, you’re just sick of the sight of the fucking herbs/veg/meat sitting there. looking a bit manky and beaten up.
Cornbread pairs really well with chilli, ribs and barbeque.  It’s also amazing toasted, buttered, and topped with a fried egg.  If you won’t eat the whole loaf in a day or so, get it frozen!  Slice it, freeze it, label it – and, hey!  Maybe breakfast could be cornbread and eggs rather than toast and marmite?  (Though I love toast and marmite tbf).
NOTE: do not use quick cook polenta; it’s milled the wrong way for this.  A bag of cornmeal/polenta will set you back 80p, and it’s amazing in cakes and bread.  If you bake homemade pizza, you can use it to dust the bottom of the tin, so it won’t go to waste.

(Bought too many herbs) cornbread

Based on Smitten Kitchen’s Sourcream cornbread with Aleppo

Makes 1

Ingredients

125 grams plain flour
145 grams course cornmeal/polenta (NOT QUICK COOK!)
10 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
up to 50 grams mixed, fresh herbs
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
225 ml sour cream *
150ml whole milk *
2 tablespoons neutral oil (ground nut, sunflower, light olive oil)

* If you buy a 300ml tub of sour cream and you might not use it all, just shove it in and use less milk; if you can only afford/want to get a 150ml tub, then add more. Sure, the consistency will be a little different, but variety is the spice of life, no?

Tools

Scales
2 mixing bowls
Teaspoons
Balloon whisk
Measuring jug
Chopping board
Sharp knife
Greaseproof paper
Scissors
Large loaf tin/7 inch round tin
Skewer

Time

15-20 minutes to weigh and mix
22-25 minutes to bake
Around 10 minutes to cool before slicing

Prep

Preheat the oven to 180C
Line your loaf or cake tin with greaseproof paper
Finely chop/process your herbs

Method

Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg, sour cream, milk and oil
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones using your balloon whisk, mixing until just barely combined
Spread the batter in your prepared and bake for 22 to 25 minutes
A skewer pushed into the middle of the cake should come out clean

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Bought-too-many-herbs garlic bread

Bought-too-many-herbs garlic bread

“There’s no such thing as too much butter” said a friend to me one boozy evening.  I texted him a picture of the garlic bread I’d just made, after a couple of glasses of pinot.  “Okay”, he said “maybe you have a point”.
Dear leftover lovers I have refined for you my butter to bread ratios, and I bring you a herby garlic butter to make fabulous use of that handful of herbs.
Garlic bread, in its full 80s/90s glory, has to be made with a supermarket baguette, all bleached white.  You need to squash up your garlic for this recipe, so use a crusher or grate it on the ‘thin cheese’ side of your box grater.  You *don’t* want to bite into chunks of garlic (shudder).
Think your kiddos might balk at this amount of greenery in the garlic bread?  Add more butter and garlic so that the ratio is more to their liking.  If you have a food processor, you can cut the herbs teeny tiny, which might help.
Any herb-garlic butter you don’t use now can be wrapped and frozen for another time; you can stir it through pasta, use it in a jacket potato or to melt over a perfectly cooked steak.

(Bought too many herbs) garlic bread

Serves 4

Ingredients

15g herbs (parsley, coriander, chives) after removing stalks
7g garlic (roughly x2 cloves)
75g unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Half a big baguette

Tools

Grater/crusher
Chopping board
Bread knife
Bowl

Time

15 minutes to mix
15 minutes to bake

Prep

Take the butter out of the fridge – if you can, n hour or so before using but even 10 minutes is helpful, but not essential
Turn the oven to 220C

Method

Take your herbs and
EITHER
Gather them into a little bundle and, using your knife, chop them.  As the bundle flattens and spreads, gather it up again and chop again.  And again!
OR – process quickly in a blender/immersion blender so finely chopped but not into a paste
Garlic: either grate it using the thin cheese side of your box grater, or use your garlic crusher, or squash to a paste with the side of your knife
Place the garlic, herbs, butter and salt into a mixing bowl
Get your hands right in there and squish that shit together so you’ve got a nice even mixture
When you’re happy with the mixture, wash your hands!
Take your bread knife and cut slices into the baguette around 2cm wide – like a garlic bread from the supermarket
Take a loaded teaspoon sized scoop of butter and squish it into each cut into the bread
Keep going until the garlic herb butter is evenly spread out
When all the butter has been used, place the bread on a tray and into the oven
Check after 10 minutes; you want the bread to be golden and crunchy, the butter all melted
You might need a little more time; if the top is golden but the butter not melted, just turn the heat off and leave the bread in – the leftover heat will do the job
Eat …. enjoy!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com