Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Leftover bacon and sausage chowder

What angel first paired smokey food and milk?  Comfort food of the highest order.  Chowder, an American soup from the east coast, has hundreds of iterations (I once sat with a cookbook devoted to chowder.  Totally ignored the friend who I hadn’t seen for about a year and her new home and hamsters, but I learnt a lot about chowder.  Sorry Becky).
If you can, use whole milk because you want that creaminess.  This is not the place for skimmed milk. The potatoes should be floury ones like maris pipers or king edwards- you want the potato to crumble in, so that you get the starchiness.
If you have time to cut the fat off the bacon and let it melt a little in the pan, then you’ll get more bacon-y flavour in the soup.  Yum.  Seriously – are you still cutting fat off bacon and frying it in olive oil?  STOP!  Snip off that cold fat (what is oil if not fat?) and pop it in the cold pan on a low heat and leeeeave it for about 15 mins.  That fat will, slowly, melt (“render”), and you can cook the onions and other veg for the soup in this fat.  And now you don’t have to buy more oil! So, you haven’t chucked good bacon fat AND you’ve not used unnecesarry olive or sunflower oil, leaving it for another meal – so, that’s basically 2 food waste pitfalls avoided.  Win win!
In this chowder  I used basic veg, but you can add in sweetcorn, peas, diced pepper.  And even my kids eat this for heaven’s sake, so it’s a straight up win for me.  Whatever random bits of cold chicken, chorizo, veg -as long as it tastes good with the soup, it goes in.  Happy days!

 

Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Ingredients

  • 25 grams butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium potato (around 300grams)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • around 350 ml milk - ideally whole milk as this is creamy soup
  • leftover sausages and bacon
  • sweetcorn & peas optional
  • salt & pepper

Tools

  • Scales
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Large saucepan with lid
  • Potato masher/fork
  • Wooden spoon

Instructions

Prep

  • Optional: cut the fat off the bacon and place into a cool saucepan. Once it sizzles a little add some extra oil
  • Chop your veg. Crumble the sausage into small pieces.

Main

  • Once the fat is warm/butter is melted, add the onion and cook on a moderate (middle) heat for about 10m. You don’t want the onions to brown, you want them to go translucent and soft enough to be squashed by the back of your wooden spoon
  • When the onions are cooked, add your diced potato, carrot and celery. Season. Place the lid on.
  • Turn the heat down a little so that the veggies ‘sweat’ and get a little soft. This takes around 10m.
  • Now that the chopped veggies are ready, pour the milk over and bring to the boil.
  • DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PAN! Milk can boil over v quickly!
  • As soon as it’s boiling turn the pan down so it’s simmering (that is, little bubbles are popping up but it’s not boiling hard)
  • Timer on for 15m; keep checking the the veggies are done by pulling a couple out and checking if they are soft. Depending on how large/small you’ve cut them, this could take anything between 15 & 25m**
  • If using peas/sweetcorn, add them now.
  • Add the crumbled meat, boil it through and serve with lots of buttered bread.
  • ** If you’re making the soup in advance, turn the heat off and leave to cool. Do not add the meat and store separately. When you’re ready to eat, heat the soup; as it comes to boil add the meat and let the soup boil for a minute or so, to make sure that the meat is fully hot. Do not reheat.

Storage

  • I wouldn't re-heat this as it'll be the third time around for the meat. 

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 bolognese

Leftover bolognese

Leftover Bolognese Sauce

Ragu, or Bolognese, was Monday night supper. After school mum or I would fry up a double pack of Sainsbury’s mince plus one bottle of Ragu sauce. Monday night meant spag bol because it was efficient. Parmesan or cheddar on top. Lots. It fitted in, we ate, it was simple. These days I slowly cook everything, and I learnt from one of my brothers to add a good slug of milk before the tomatoes. Simmer it for hours. Cover it in cheese.

If you’re a Ragu fan, a lentil demon or a slow cooked beef and pork mince cook, when there’s just a couple of spoonfuls leftover it’s tempting to scoop it into the bin/your mouth. Still both wasteful, still both

We’ve talked about this before but it’s worth remembering – carbs and veg have been used to pad out meat for generations. So, make a little extra tomato sauce, stir that little spoonful or two of Bolognese through it and you’re there. This isn’t the fanciest idea in the world, but it’s the price of a tin of tomatoes for dinner for two. And lots of parmesan, or ‘Italian hard cheese’ or cheddar. And never a leftover.

Leftover celery stir-fry

Leftover celery stir-fry

Leftover celery stir fry

Last weekend I was a little worried about what leftover celery recipes would show how versatile celery can be; not another cream of celery soup (though I love it) or coleslaw.  Like the rest of the wealthy world I’m a cookbook junkie. Because buying them is the same as cooking from them, right? Ergh. I’m as mature as I was, 20 years ago, photocopying endless essays in the corner shop, imagining some Johnny-5 type powers of speed inputting were transmitting themselves up through the photocopier lid as the light slid over the text.

So last Saturday night I sat, cross legged on my childhood bed, glass or 2 of Merlot in hand, surrounded by Thomasina Miers, Jane Grigson, Mandy Aftel and Ching-He Huang (Why yes I rock the party). As I turned the pages of Huang’s ‘Stir Fry’, I realised I’d forgotten how amazing celery is in a stir fry. D’uh you may say. You would be right.

Yet another of my many culinary blind sides has been tofu. I tried it years ago and just no.  Just tasteless and spongy.

In January I was off to Cambridge, leaving from King’s Cross. Happily for me, it was lunchtime. A friend with an unholy knowledge of top restaurants had long advised a meal Supawan, and good god he was right. One bowl of spicy noodles with pork, seafood and tofu (I like neither seafood nor tofu) later, I got it. The soft, slight blandness against stronger flavours such as celery, oyster sauce and chilli. Perfect.

I did think twice about including this recipe as it does call for Shaoshing rice wine, or sherry; I’m sure a white wine vinegar will be nice, though not quite the same flavour. But £3 is £3, whichever way you cut it. I’d love to hear what would be a cheap alternative.

Your leftover celery can be less than sterling for this recipe, but with a little crunch is best. The peppery celery blends with the peanuts and Chinese flavours for a meal that, well – well I ate the entire portion. For two. By myself.

By Sunday afternoon I had got through Huang, Miers, 2 Grigsons and half of Aftel. Happily, osmosis hasn’t ever quite worked as well as the unadulterated luxury of quiet, good wine and good books.

 

Leftover celery stir-fry

Adapted from 'Stir-Fry' by Ching-He Huang, p150
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 packet smoked tofu
  • pinch sea salt
  • grinding pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour I used plain & it was fine
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Shaosing rice wine
  • 2 large leftover celery sticks
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce/shoyu
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • pinch dry chilli flakes
  • small handful roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Jasmine rice, to serve

Tools

  • Knife & chopping board
  • Garlic crusher optional
  • Saucepan, for rice
  • Wok/large frying pan

Instructions

  • Put rice on to cook as per packet instructions.
  • Slice celery on the diagonal. Dice the tofu and sprinkle with seasoning and place to one side
  • Finely chop or crush the garlic
  • Place the wok on a high heat until smoking and add the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and toss for a few seconds ONLY. Add the tofu and leave for a minute to set and brown. Toss the tofu and garlic a couple of times, leaving around 30 seconds between, until the tofu is browned.
  • Add the rice wine or dry sherry, then the celery and cook for just under a minute until softened but still crisp.
  • Season with soy sauce, oyster sauce and chilli flakes and mix well.
  • Add the peanuts and sesame oil. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with the jasmine rice.

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.