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

Whey fermented beetroot

Whey fermented beetroot

Leftover whey for lacto-fermentation

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…

This takes a couple of weeks to come to fruition but the prep takes minutes.  I’m a newbie to the fermenting world; as I’ve said before, despite loving food working in food and constantly thinking about what food is coming next, I can confess to some neophobia.  But 2019 is the year that, quite frankly, I’m just plain bored with being too scared to try things (in food and, erm, life!).  Some of my challenges are: fermented beetroot, putting my mug on Insta stories and driving on the continent (if we can still bloody well get there).

You don’t need a fancy jar for this, I just had one and want to get busy with some fermenting.  If you like gherkins and mayo, just buy the biggest jars you can find and clean them out when you’ve eaten up the content.  Fermented beetroot? My18 year old self is just plain confused, but trying new food and new recipes is, I think, important. It keeps me on my toes and open to trying new things, from a single anchovy on a slice of thickly buttered bread to the very first time I tried a steaming bowl of french onion soup, aged 8, on holiday with my family. It was probably a Knorr packet soup, but I was in heaven and I’ve never looked back. Who knows? maybe it’ll be the same with my lacto-fermented beetroots.

 

Lacto-fermented beetroots

450 grams chopped veg
500ml whey mixed with 1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon spices

Notes

On veg: if you can get it from a veg box, a farmers market or greencgrocer, do – the veggies won’t have been tumbled and washed so much, which will help your ferment to get … lively

On salt: don’t use the big bags of table salt as the iodine used to treat it may kill the ferment.  Maldon or whatnot is what you need here

On spices: I used bay leaves and fennel fronds as they were to hand; also chilli flakes, black or white peppercorns, dill seeds, fennel seeds or coriander seeds

Tools

Scales
Measuring jug
Large jar (big enough for your veg)
Cabbage leaf or pickle weight

Method

Day 1

Chop up the veg into equal sized pieces
Place herbs or spices in the jar and push down
Add veggies to your jar, in equal layers if you’re using a mixture
Leave 4cm clear to the top of the jar
Pour over enough whey to cover, leaving 3cm clear
Place your cabbage leaf or pickle weight to submerge the veg (this is essential as otherwise the veg will *rot*, not ferment)

Seal loosely or cover with a cloth and keep at room temperature for between 2 and 7 days (it’s January as I type, so 7 here!)

Day 2-7

Try the veg; once it tastes tart and the liquid is a little fizzy it’s time to move the jar to the fridge
If you see a little white mould on the liquid simply skim it off – it’s not chucking out time!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Sad salad pack rescue mission

Sad salad pack rescue mission

How to rescue leftover salad packs

I’m not a fan of salad packs – those washed bags of rocket and crunchy slightly meh leaves.  I definitely don’t like a bowl of rocket.  As a dedicated veg box customer these fuckers come my way from time to time.  Supermarket salad packs aren’t great either; the bags are gassed for preservation, with nothing to be said for the way that the leaves are farmed, ‘neutralising’ the soil because the ecosystem has been so depleted through the farming methods required to grow acres and acres of these delicate plants – which shouldn’t need fucking neutralising!  It’s soil!  Aaanyway … the reason your salad pack turns from a bag of scrumptious leaves to green goo as soon as it’s opened is because that gas has now escaped, and those leaves that are quite possibly weeks old are now, you know, too old and they will go off.

The sheer amount of energy that is expended to get these buggers to your supermarket – not to mention the time to take to earn the money to pay for the leaves – means there’s no room to waste your leftover salad pack.

As I said, I’m not a huge fan of the salad pack.  So, this is my thought process: okay, I don’t like this ingredient/I’m stuck.  I don’t want salad.  Why would I want salad?  It’s fucking January, why would ANYONE want a salad in January?! I slam the fridge and sulk and imagine inhaling a bowl of warm pasta, even though I’m not terribly hungry and the salad back is begging to turn a little yellow…

So, I calm down, stop the anxious brain from running and look at it again.

These are leaves.  Little baby leaves.  You know what else is leaves?  Spinach.  You buy spinach leaves, no?  Or bags of frozen spinach?!

So, wash those leaves, pop them in a little pan with a dash of extra water and cook them down for about 5 minutes on a medium heat.  They’ll wilt down and – voila!  Okay okay okay they don’t taste the same as spinach – give your cooked greens a taste and see what you think.  You might want to mix them up with your spinach to, essentially, well, hide the taste.  I won’t judge.  You can even then freeze the cooked greens, perfect if you need a few days’ grace.

To freeze your cooked greens, simply lie a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray; squish up little handfuls of greens and place on the tray, and when you’ve used all the greens, cover and place in the freezer.  Once frozen hard you can pop into a bag and VOILA, frozen greens, ready to heat up and stir through any soup, stew or whatever you like! Leftover salad packs never seemed so versatile!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Learning to love) not keen on ricotta

(Learning to love) not keen on ricotta

Three weeks ago I had a leftover milk glut.  I made lots of things, including paneer and ricotta.  The paneer went into a pea and paneer curry (which I’ll post another time … so many recipes from one milk mistake!).  So, leftover milk lead to me having a dish of home-made ricotta. But, as I confessed last week, I don’t really like ricotta.  Ha!

I know that we can learn to tolerate, like or love many different foods.  What we like is informed by where we’re from, the rules we grow up with, what our friends and family do and don’t like.  And, it’s also a way of explaining who we are to the world – if you eat meat, you don’t eat sugar, you’re plant based or a foodie or a McDonalds lover.

(Interested in learning more?  Read Bee Wilson’s First Bite, it’s fascinating.  Or just this essay – in 1989, a lawyer called Jeffrey Steingarten was approached by Anna Wintour to be American Vogue’s food writer.  He said yes, obvs.  Quite the career change.  Having agreed to take the job, he realised there were many foods and flavours he loathed – clams!  dill (yep, foul stuff TBH)! lard!  He taught himself to like these foods.  Yes he’s unnecessarily rude about Greek food – skip that nonsense and work onwards to how he overturned his tastes and found it much more exciting to eat, especially in restaurants, because he now liked everything on a menu and everything was up for grabs. Hoorah!).

So I took my own, small, ricotta based challenge, sought the help of my lovely Insta helpers and got on it. I did have spinach and ricotta cannelloni, courtesy of Dad Storr.  I can report that I’m Still Not Keen on cooked ricotta, sorry dad (though thank you for lunch).  So I made some more ricotta to further experiment.

Molly Wizenburg’s second book, ‘Delancey’, is where I first learned about making ricotta (though I used Victoria Glass’s recipe).  So, I returned and took some breakfast inspo from Molly.  She writes about smearing fresh ricotta onto hearty toast and adding fruit compote or freshly roasted fruit.  I have no fruit compote and it’s a terrible time of year for fruit, so I went for some heaped teaspoons of my dad’s raspberry jam.  MUCH BETTER, and my dad makes fucking amazing jam.  The sharp jam with the sweetish cheese was just lovely and would be an ace breakfast.

Verdict: good!  I learnt that ricotta is just basically cream cheese, and I like creamy things.  Kinda simple, very quick, and very nice indeed.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Forgot to cancel) freezing milk

(Forgot to cancel) freezing milk

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I had a few problems with milk over the Christmas period.

Over autumn, I moved to glass milk bottle milk deliveries, in a bid to cut  down on my single-use plastic.  I love having the glass bottles and teaching my kids how to just push the foil lid just so.  As much as I enjoy the chink of the glass bottles, the online system for reminders is hopeless; by that I mean it doesn’t exist.  So, Christmas comes, the hot chocolate loving milk guzzling kids left and I had 12 pints of milk to get through.  And they were starting to go off.

First off I grabbed a sharpie and labelled which day the bottles had come on; this way I knew which bottles to prioritise.  And then I hit insta.

Freezing milk used to be a weekly activity for me, as I’d get it delivered with my veg box.  But, thanks to insta user Sarah Leigh Mitchell, I learnt that you *can* freeze in glass – you just need to shake up the milk beforehand, empty a little to leave room for expansion and bob’s your uncle.

I was a little unsure of freezing a bottle that might (hopefully) have been washed and used hundreds of times, but you can always pour into a plastic bottle.

If, like me, you buy whole milk, then KUDOS BECAUSE IT’S DELICIOUS and gives you more leeway in terms of using it up (you cannot use semi skimmed or skimmed milk to make cheese etc).  Also, be warned that it can go a strange shade of yellow when you freeze it.  This is because the fat slightly separates.  There’s nothing wrong with the milk at all, don’t panic!

To defrost your milk, simply take it out of the fridge a day or so before you think you’ll want to use it.  If the plastic milk bottle is still sealed, then you can float it in a bowl/sink of cold water to speed up the defrosting.  Then use as normal.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Leftover salty nut butter

Leftover salty nut butter

My kids love a bowl of peanuts and a fizzy drink.  There aren’t always a whole heap of leftovers nuts but this year, for some reason, we didn’t get through so many.

Method

The easiest way to get through your leftover salty nuts – peanuts, almonds, any nuts you can name – get them in a bowl, get your immersion blender and pulverise.  You’ll have to go nice and steady and don’t be tempted to add any oil to get things moving.  Just steady, giggle the immersion blender around and then some fresh, peanut or mixed nut butter will be yours!

What will you make with yours?  I’m thinking some fun recipes would be good?

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

ann@storrcupboard.com