(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 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

Leftover roast (turkey, chicken, pork …) noodles

Leftover roast (turkey, chicken, pork …) noodles

(This is an updated post from last year)

Sometimes even a small amount of leftover meat can be enough to feed a few people. So let’s look at a second option for your leftover roast turkey, goose, ham or whatever you and yours enjoyed for your Christmas feast!

When you’ve finished with your roast pork or whatnot, deal with the meat.  My dad’s job, every Sunday, was to get all the leftover meat off the bones and get it into the fridge.  This meant it was safely stored and ready to be re-used in another meal.  Well, I mean, roast beef sandwiches, chicken sandwiches and never anything with leftover lamb – my mum always bought the smallest amount because none of us were a fan or leftover meat.

A small amount of meat can feel like a right pain in the arse because it’s not very much. It feels like you may as well just chuck it.  But, and whilst the numbers are tricky to pin down on how much carbon it takes to produce that 50g of pork.  But, let’s think about about the the feed that was grown to feed the pigs, the petrol used to take the meat from the abbatoir to the pack-house and then onwards to you.

This recipe makes a virtue out of a small amount of meat because you fry them until they are crunchy and flavoursome with some Chinese 5-spice.  A few bundles of egg noodles, some stock and a load of veg – broccoli, greens, spring onions and ribbons of carrots.  So it’s cheap but with loads of flavour and varying textures.  Personally I don’t like peppers or baby corn in a stir fry, but this is your dinner not mine.

So a few shard of meat, a nest of noodles and a handful of veg and a leftover-busting meal is yours, in a matter of minutes.  Happy eating x

 

 

 

Crunchy pork & noodles

Adapted from River Cottage ‘Love your Leftovers’
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 onion (around 55 grams) cut into half moons
1 inch ginger (around 15 grams), grated or finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 medium carrot (apx. 200g)*
1/2 head cabbage, shredded (apx. 200g)*
1 courgette (apx. 200g)*
1/2 head broccoli (apx. 200g)*
200-400g shredded cold roast meat
2 bundles of noodles
Sesami oil Sunflower/ground nut oil
1⁄2 tsp Chinese 5 spice mix
Salt
Fish sauce
Tamari or Teriyaki sauce
Chilli sauce/fresh chilli

* So, 800g veg that you like/have gotta eat up

Tools

Sharp knife
Chopping board
Heat-proof bowl
Wok
Colander
LOTS of bowls

Optional tools

Tongs
Speed peeler
Grater
Garlic crusher (if you like using them)

Time

about 20m to chop 15 m to cook

Prep

Pull the meat into shreds
Chop onion in half. Peel the skin off and cut into thin slices
Finely chop garlic
Grate the ginger (skin on or off)
If using broccoli, put a small pan of water on to boil. Add a little salt
Break the broccoli into florets. Peel the thick skin off the stalks and off the base. Cut into thin slices
Once water is boiling, chuck the broccoli in
Cook it for 2 mins and then drain into a waiting colander/sieve
Peel carrots and courgettes into long ribons using the peeler. Put to one side
Shred the cabbage
Boil a kettle; place the noodle nests in a heatproof bowl. Cook per the packet instructions
Drain noodles and set aside

Method

With the wok on the hob, place the heat to medium hot. Pour in 1 tsp sesami oil
When the oil is hot, chuck the meat in. Gently stir it around – you want it to be crispy and crunchy, not burnt. This will take between 5 and 7 mins. DO NOT WANDER OFF! Stir stir stir
When it looks golden and crisp, shake over the Chinese 5 spice. Stir around for another 30 seconds Be careful that the spices don’t burn! Tip into a waiting bowl
Pour another teaspoon of sesame oil into the wok. Wait for the oil to heat up. Once hot, add the onions and again, stir them – you want them to brown not burn
Throw in the garlic and ginger and VERY careful not to burn. Tip out
Pour in the stock/leftover gravy and some tamari. If you have fish sauce, then add a drop. Taste it: you might want some chilli, some more tamari or some sweetness. Use your judgement|When the liquid is hot, add the drained noodles to the pan, along with the peeled veg. Stir the noodles and veg to coat everything
Give everyone a portion. Pop the crunchy meat on top
Eat, messily, wearing an apron (is that just me?)

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Cheeseboard clearing) CHEESE SCONES!

(Cheeseboard clearing) CHEESE SCONES!

The summer at the end of uni I worked at a school outfitters; the chap in the menswear department bought himself a cheese scone from the bakery on the corner every day; I’d worked at that bakery, too, three years before.  His elevenses scone was his daily break from the double breasted blazers and cricket whites.

I’d never understood cheese scones; for me a scone meant studded with sultanas and a solid 5mm of butter.  But cut forward to the skinto years and cheese cones were my way of making soup for supper feel less meagre; a warm scone, rich with melted cheese makes a fridge-forage soup a feast.

Note: I don’t use cutters because I didn’t have any during the skint years and I learnt how to shape dough.  Squash and pat your scone dough into a round and then divide into 8 long triangles – cut the circle into half, then quarters and so on.  These will be gorg and happy leftover busting.

Note 2: if you have any cheesey milk, yoghurt of cream, this is the *perfect* way to use them up.  There’s cheese in there already, right?  So your cheesy milk has a perfect home here!

(Cheeseboard busting) cheese scones

Makes 8

Ingredients

225 grams plain flour + more for dusting
1 tablespoon baking powder
75 mixed leftover cheese
1/2 teaspoon mustard
125 – 150 ml milk/mixture of milk, yoghurt and cream

Tools

Scales
Measuring jug
Mixing bowl
Grater

Time

About twenty – thirty minutes to assemble
20 minutes to bake

Prep

Grate or crumble cheese
Gently flour the tray

Method

Turn the oven to 220C
Mix the flour, baking powder, mustard powder and salt together
Sift or whisk together
Rub the butter in
Stir in the cheese
Pour in the milk/milk mixture – the dough needs to hold together and be quite damp but precisely how much you need depends on the milk, the flour and the cheese
Pat the dough into a circle and if you like use a rolling pin to level it out
Using a large knife, cut the circle down the middle, now quarters and again – you should you eight thin triangles
Place on the floured baking tray and bake until bubbling and golden

Storage

If not eating within a day, best to freeze and eat within a couple of months

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(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