(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

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

(Bread sauce scraping) Christmas bake

(Bread sauce scraping) Christmas bake

The winter is finally setting in; the cold wind on my fingers and condensation on the single glazed windows means it’s time to use your oven for cooking.

I started thinking about how to make the most out of bread sauce a few weeks back and, I confess, I’ve found it hard.  The bread that’s in the sauce changes so much from its original state.

So I thought – sauce spreads, that’s why we like it – it eases down chunks of meat and veg.   White sauce is gloopy (my brain is the stuff of legends).

When you’re looking at the unfinished bowls from Christmas dinner on the table or in your fridge, break up any roast spuds and parsnips, and have some slices of leftover turkey, ham or stuffing to hand.  Layer them.  pour over any leftover gravy, or stock if you’ve no gravy.  Warm up the bread sauce if you have to, add a little milk to loosen, if you have to.  Push the sauce to cover your dish.  Then store it in the fridge to feed hungry people another day, or label and pop in the freezer where skint, cold January you will be very happy to remember the Christmas bake, nestled in your freezer.

(Bread sauce scraping) Christmas bake

Serves 2, heartily

Ingredients

around 150 grams leftover roasties and parsnips
around 100 grams leftover meat
Handful of sprouts
100ml of leftover gravy/fresh stock/mixture of both
150 grams leftover bread sauce
A little extra milk, if needed

Tools

Knife, chopping board
Oven proof dish
Jug if needed to make stock

Time

About ten minutes to assemble
35 minutes to bake

Prep

Break the potatoes and parsnips into smaller pieces, around 5mm wide
Same with the meat/stuffing
If the bread sauce is very thick, then loosen with some more milk until it’s spreadable/like double cream

Method

Turn the oven to 180C
Place a layer of veg in the ovenproof dish
Then a layer of meat
So on and so forth until used up, ending with a layer of veg
Pour the stock/gravy over
Smooth the bread sauce over the filling
Bake for around 35 minutes

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

(DO NOT BIN) scrapings of bread sauce

(DO NOT BIN) scrapings of bread sauce

Okay I’m sorry if I’m skipping you guys to the end, mentally.  But bread sauce.  It’s a funny thing, isn’t it?

I didn’t eat bread sauce until I was 23.  My dad is a Yorkshireman, and we never, ever, ate turkey for Christmas.  So I learnt these traditions via my ex and his family who love their turkey, their bread sauce and cranberry sauce.

The name of it just sounded so gross – sauce made out of bread?!  But like Yorkshire puddings (served before the main roast, alone with only a pool of rich gravy, thank you very much) or a plate of thickly sliced bread placed in the middle of the table, bread sauce is a thrifty and delicious way to stretch expensive meat further.

But chucking it?!  No way!  If something is just, almost just, bread and milk – well, there’s loads we can do.

I made these fritters for breakfast one morning.  I said “Would you like a fritter?” “Hmmmmm, K” (she’s 13).    I stood at the cooker, cooking more.  She sat and ate, just a foot away from me.  “IS THIS A SPROUT, MOTHER?”  “Well, it’s Christmas leftovers babes”.  Reader, she ate the sprout.  And the sprout was good.

May I suggest that, when you’re clearing the table after Christmas dinner and you’re looking at the bread sauce, please please don’t just scrape it into the bin.  Wheat and milk are resource heavy to farm, so please don’t think that they’re nothing it’s just a small thing.  It’s not you know it’s not.  Squish all of those bits and scrapings into one happy fritter and trick *all* the haters into loving the leftover.

Leftover bread sauce fritters

Serves 4

Ingredients

Around 100 grams leftover bread sauce
Enough milk to take it to 300ml ml
2 eggs
Around 150 grams of leftover sprouts, carrots, ham, turkey – little bity pieces
225g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
30g unsalted butter + more for frying

Prep

Turn oven to 100C
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl
Melt the 30g of butter in the microwave or on the hob and set aside
Shred/finely chop the meat and veg leftovers

Tools

Scales
Mixing bowls
Measuring jug
Fork
Balloon whisk
Frying pan
Teaspoon
Oven-proof dish

Time

10m prep
20m cooking

Method

Add leftover bread sauce to jug and loosen with a little milk so there’s no lumps
Top with milk until you have 300ml
Whisk together
Crack the eggs in and whisk until fully mixed
If you’re using a big jug, add the flour mixture straight in and beat until smooth
If you don’t have a massive measuring jug, pour the liquid into the bowl and beat until there are no lumps remaining
Stir through your leftover veg and/or meat
Stir the melted butter through
** Put frying pan on the hob and add a pinch of butter – sort of 2 peas worth
Put the heat to medium hot
When the butter sizzles, pick the pan up and swirl it around so the butter is all over the bottom
Pour the batter on – enough so the fritter is about 6-7cm across (I can only cook 3 a time in my large pan)
Turn the heat to medium
The fritters are ready to turn when little bubbles appear on the surface
TIP: I loosen the fritters away from the surface of the pan as they cook, which makes them much easier to turn and less likely to catch
Using your flipper, flip them!
Mine are rarely perfect circles, so don’t worry about that
Cook for about a minute. They’re done when they are golden on the bottom
Place in the oven-proof dish, pop in the oven and start from **, until you have used all of your mixture
Serve with a little pat of butter and, of course, an egg on top

Leftovers?
Store in a lidded container in the fridge. Use as soon as possible for the best taste, but they keep okay for up to 3 days
Reheating: if there’s meat in there, I wouldn’t reheat.  If veggie, go for it.

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