Whey risotto

Whey risotto

How to use leftover whey

Hello StorrCupboard lovers! May I cast you back to the deep days of the lovely smooshy time between Christmas and New Year, when no-one knows what day it is and you’re eating about 5 meals a day? Remember that I had about 12 pints of whole, organic milk sitting in my fridge, about to go off?

We’re all trying to reduce our plastic waste. I ditched having milk delivered with my veg box and went to glass bottles on the doorstep; I do love picking them up in the morning in my raggedy dressing gown.  I also love not having 6 or 7 plastic bottles in my recycling bag on a Thursday morning. I can still support farmers and get unhomogenised milk which is important to me.  And delicious.

So I made my paneer and my ricotta, whoop!  But – gallons of whey! Eh? I 100% hadn’t realised that would happen. So, my lovely band of Grammers came to my aid…

Whey is the most heavenly addition to a risotto. Simply use half whey half stock. Boom. That’s it. Simple. Nothing more to add!

So … leftover milk made ricotta which made leftover whey. That whey has now inspired 3 meals.  To me, this is how my best cooking works – I see what’s there and it sparks me to try something new, something unusual. What do you do to get inspired in the kitchen?

 

Leftover Whey Risotto

Serves 2, heartily

Ingredients

50 grams unsalted butter
1 medium leek, white and green parts (around 100 grams)
200 grams risotto rice
250ml whey
250ml chicken/veg stock/water
100 grams peas
Around 50 grams grand padano/any Italian hard cheese

Tools

Knife, chopping board
Large frying pan
Wooden spoon
Grater

Time

About three quarters of an hour

Prep

Finely dice the leek
If using a stock cube, prep the stock

Method

Heat the butter in the saucepan and when it’s a little frothy, add the diced onion
Cook on a medium/low heat until the onion is see-through – at least 10 minutes but give it 20 if you can
DON’T LET IT BROWN
Only when the leek is soft enough to be squashed with your wooden spoon add the risotto rice
Stir it around and make sure it’s all covered with the butter
Heat back down to medium and add some stock and stir
Keep on adding the stock and whey and giving the odd stir until the rice has a nice texture; not too soft but I’m not keen on too much of a bite.  Some brands of rice might take 20 minutes, some 30, so follow pack instructions
If you’re using peas, stir through with a couple of minutes left to go
When you’re happy, stir through the grated hard cheese,

Storage/further meals

Lots of people worry about storing leftover rice; billions of people all over the world eat leftover rice, so just be careful and you’ll be fine
Allow to cool to room temperature then cover
You can keep for 5 days in the fridge as long as kept cold and covered
Only reheat what you need at any one time

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Sad salad pack chicken stew

Sad salad pack chicken stew

This stew is just yum.  Just. Yum.  It was inspired by the wonderful Victoria Glass, from her amazing ‘Too Good to Waste’ book.  Her stew uses sweet flavours – sweet potatoes and red peppers.  Lovely, but I wanted super super simple.  The leek is great and don’t miss it out if possible as it adds a gentleness that is just delicious.

Using chicken thighs is really cheap, and much better for a stew than breast meat.  On my insta stories I showed how to render the fat from the skins; you just leave them cooking verrrrrrrrry slowly and the fat will leach out.  And then you, dear cook, get to eat it all.  Yum.

Then the leaves – just stir them in and watch them wilt down.  Supper in one pot – what’s not to love?

Leftover salad pack Chicken Stew

Inspired by Victoria Glass, Too Good to Waste, p25

Serves 4

Ingredients

800 grams chicken thighs (4 chunky ones or a packet of 8)
1 onion (around 80 grams)
1 leek (around 100 grams)
1 carrot
1 stalk of celery
3 potatoes (around 500 grams)
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 litre chicken stock
Any leftover salad pack leaves that you need to eat up!

Tools

Heavy saucepan
Tongs, if you have them
Knife
Chopping board
Jug

Time

About half an hour;  active time and 45 minutes simmering – so about an hour and a half all told

Prep

Pull the skins off the chicken thighs
Finely dice the onion
Wash the leek and slice in half lengthways
Cut the leek into half moons
Dice the carrot and the celery
Peel and crush the garlic

Method

Place the skins in a cold frying pan and turn the heat to medium; sprinkle over a little salt . Turn them every couple of minutes and press the skins into the pan

When they are crispy and crunchy, remove and either scoff them or use them to add crunch to a salad another day

Turn the heat up and brown the chicken all around; you may have to do this in batches

As the chicken pieces are ready, place them on a plate and leave them to one side.  Keep cooking until you have them all finished up

Place the onion and leek into the hot fat and sweat for about 10 minutes, until soft

When they are soft, add in the carrots and celery and sweat until soft

When the veggies are soft, scrape them out and leave to one side

Add in a little more fat and turn the heat up

Pop your potatoes into the hot fat and brown on all sides

When the potatoes are brown, turn the heat down and add in the crushed garlic and stir around the hot fat for one minute

Once the garlic is cooked, return all the veggies and chicken pieces to the pan

Pour over the chicken stock, bring to the boil.  Turn the heat down and leave to simmer.  You may need to rotate the pieces from time to time

When the chicken is cooked through, stir in the leaves.  They should only take a minute or two to wilt

Storage

Leave to cool to room temperature; if the leaves were on the wonk, freeze any leftovers.  If you were just bored of them, you should have up for 5 days to eat the stew.  Only reheat what you want at each meal.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Half a pot of ricotta) chicken meatballs

(Half a pot of ricotta) chicken meatballs

On my leftover ricotta quest, as discussed, once I realised that a. it’s just soft cheese, and b., it’s a common Italian ingredient, well, friends, my life got a lot easier.

I bought the Rachel Roddy books last year and have been lucky enough to meet her a couple of times.  She’s as generous, friendly and kind as she sounds from her books and Guardian column, and she has kindly allowed me to reproduce one of her recipes here.

And wow, these meatballs.  Mamma mia (I didn’t know people really say that in Italy – they do!).  Like fluffy little pillows, oh man!  I served them with fresh bread and peas.  The meatballs are a little wet, so take your time when shaping them – that’s why Rachel recommends having wet hands, as it helps the mixture to not stick.

I had to make the meatballs a couple of hours before supper, and left them in the fridge, between making and serving for supper.  They were just as good as the few I pan fried with the courgettes and tomatoes for my lunch.

These chicken balls are heavenly – light and tender, perfect for using your leftover ricotta, and warming your favourite people on a cold, January night.

Chicken balls with ricotta and lemon (for leftover ricotta)

Reproduced with permission from Rachel Roddy, ‘Two Kitchens’, Headline, p236

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the meatballs

300 grams minced chicken breast
200 grams ricotta
grated zest of 1 large unwaxed lemon
60 grams soft white breadcrumbs
50 grams Parmesan, grated
a pinch of dried oregano
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt & freshly ground black pepper

To cook and serve

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
a sprig of rosemary
200 ml white wine, or 500 ml tomato sauce, or 1 litre broth

Tools

Large mixing bowl
Couple of little bowls
Scales
Teaspoon/measuring spoons
Grater
Immersion blender (if you need to make breadcrumbs)
Large frying pan
Grater
Tray
Baking parchment/paper

Time

About half an hour; you can leave the cold meatballs, covered, in the fridge to cook later in the day

Prep

Make breadcrumbs

Method

In a bowl, mix together the chicken, ricotta, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, oregano and eggs using your hands, and season well with salt and pepper. With wet hands, shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls, and place them on a tray lined with baking parchment

In a large frying pan over a medium-low heat, warm the olive oil and fry the garlic and whole spring of rosemary until fragrant, then remove from the pan. Add the chicken balls and fry gently, turning them until they are brown on all sides

If you are using white wine, add it to the pan, where it will sizzle, then let the meatballs simmer for 10 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time so they don’t stick.  By the end of cooking they should be tender but cooked through, in a slightly thickened sauce.

If you are using tomato sauce or broth, warm the sauce in a pan large enough to accommodate both it and the meatballs. Once the sauce or broth is almost boiling, drop the balls into it, making sure they are submerged.  Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and poach for 15 minutes, by which time the meatballs should be cooked through by still tender.

Storage

These are best eaten on the day; any leftovers, as ever, cool to room temperature, cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Half a pot of ricotta) cookies

(Half a pot of ricotta) cookies

A quick google search for baking with leftover ricotta pairs it with lemon; I wanted something a little more tea-time-y, for the kids (ahem) to attack after school.

Naturally, Italian recipes are where I should have headed to, straight away, when I was staring at the ricotta and wishing it away.  When faced with a leftover or an ingredient that you get a “NO” about, well, give it to someone who’ll like it at work, or think about what cuisine it comes from/is associated with.  So leftover lamb is great with Middle Eastern spices; leftover nuts work well in Far-Eastern and African cuisines; and ricotta – well, Italian, d’uh.

These cookies are like little cake bites; so soft and fluffy and not too sweet.  If you love lemon, go ahead and add a grating of fresh unwaxed zest if you like.  I like these comforting with vanilla, perfect with a cup of tea, 4pm, when I step away from the laptop and fart around the house/pretend the kids aren’t staring at the screen/ignore the plaintive looks of the dog.

(Leftover ricotta) cookies

Makes millions (about 30)

Ingredients

115 grams soft unsalted butter
100 grams caster sugar (though really any aside from dark brown will work)
1 egg
215 grams ricotta
100 grams ground almonds
150 grams plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Tools

Large mixing bowl
Scales
Teaspoon/measuring spoons
Baking trays
Greaseproof paper
Electric hand whisk/whisk and strong arms!
Flipper for taking the cookies off the baking trays
Wire cooling rack

Optional: Jug/bowl with water/flour – for making it easier to shape the cookies

Time

If the butter is already room temperature, then about 15 minutes to mix and another 15 or so to bake
Longer if you need to leave your butter to soften
You can leave the mixture in the fridge if you’d want to say make the dough earlier and bake later

Prep

Leave butter to come to room temperature
Line your tins with greaseproof paper

Method

Turn the oven to 180C
Mix the butter, ricotta, sugar, vanilla and egg until combined
Mix in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt
Don’t over mix! This is quite a wet dough, don’t worry!

If you want to leave the mixture to rest, cover and place in the fridge.  Bake within 3 days

Using a teaspoon, scoop out mixture
If possible, shape into rounds – you might find it easier to have floured, or very wet hands, to do this
When placing on the tray leave around 5 cm between cookies to allow for spreading
Bake for between 12 and 20 minutes and check – this really depends on your oven and whether the dough has been in the fridge.  I had to rotate my trays 180 degrees to make sure my cookies were golden all the way round
They will be soft, so leave for a minute to harden before transferring to the cooling rack
Enjoy!

Storage

They’ll be safe to eat for even after 5 days, though stale

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(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

Leftover roast (turkey, chicken, pork …) sarnie

Leftover roast (turkey, chicken, pork …) sarnie

(This is an updated post from last year)

Okay yes it’s a sandwich BUT, it’s to illustrate a point… and yes it’s a horrible photo, but I’ve been learning a lot and I hate to make food to just photograph it.

A lot of people aren’t keen on freezing cooked meat.  Once it’s been cooked, you have killed off potentially dangerous bacteria.  Take your leftover turkey and slice it.  Once it’s totally cool, place it in freezer bags or containers.  If you want to have a couple of slices here and there for sandwiches, or noodle bowls or salads, place sheets of greaseproof paper between the slices of turkey as they freeze.  If you’re short of space (I have two kids one dog and a three drawer freezer), you can take the frozen pieces and transfer them to a bag which can squish into smaller spaces.

The meat can be defrosted by sitting on a cooling rack or plate and eaten within a day. This turkey had been in my freezer for two months before I added it to an avocado baguette.  And it was great and cheap and easy.

Got questions?  Please just get in touch ann @ storrcupboard.com

Happy food-waste-busting!

 

 

 

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

ann@storrcupboard.com