(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

(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 of) Red Wine Risotto

(Half a glass of) Red Wine Risotto

Leftover wine means risotto.  I so rarely make it because (cough) I don’t like to have leftover wine, and I certainly don’t like sacrificing a hefty glass to the cooking pan.  A bottle of wine isn’t a cheap thing for most of us; I hover around spending around £7 per bottle and I intend to drink my wine!  But when drinking it isn’t on the cards, let’s not waste our precious my precious wine.

Oh, to live in Italy or France where 4 euro wine is good!  Anyway, this price point reminds us to not leave half empty glasses of wine. or be like Marina O’Loughlin and not pour hulking great glasses in the first place.  If you’re tidying up after a boozy lunch or lovely party DON’T throw every half glass leftover; freeze it if you need to and know that this risotto can be filling up your bowl with all its warming and cosy goodness.

This red wine risotto can use up frozen red wine if you have some lurking.  I served it to my friend Lucy with a hefty stir through of Stilton and some leftover sprouts; both optional, but if you’re feeding a lotta people on Boxing Day or after, this is a thrifty and delicious way to nail those tricky leftovers.

(One glass of leftover) Red Wine and Stilton Risotto

Serves 2, heartily

Ingredients

50 grams unsalted butter
1 medium onion (around 100 grams)
200 grams risotto rice
250ml red wine
250ml chicken/veg stock/water
Around 100g blue cheese (optional)
Around 50 grams grand padano/any Italian hard cheese
Leftover greens (totally optional)

Tools

Knife, chopping board
Large frying pan
Wooden spoon
Grater

Time

About three quarters of an hour

Prep

If using frozen wine, defrost
Finely dice the onion
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 onion 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
Turn up the heat and pour in the wine; let is cook nice and hot for a couple of minutes
Heat back down to medium and add some stock/water and stir
Keep on adding the stock/water 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 instruction
When you’re happy, stir through the grated hard cheese, and a little of the blue cheese, if using
If you’ve got some greens or sprouts to use up, stir them through, too
Serve with extra blue cheese and  sprouts if you like

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

Leftover Green Pepper Jambalaya

Leftover Green Pepper Jambalaya

Okay so a lot of you love green peppers, but I know that there’s a tonne of you out there who are like me – green pepper is a pain in the arse rather than a veg that you love.
Creole and cajun cuisine has always interested me, and I don’t really know why. I think because the flavours and layers and history are fascinating – how French, African-diaspora, American and English histories combine.  I started cooking some Louisiana style food when the StorrCupboard babies were small, having photocopied (yes it was 2006…) most of a little book from my South London library.
It may be incidental, but there’s a lot of baked goods in creole and cajun cooking.  And whiskey.  And fat.
So I won’t ever understand marshmallows and sweet potato, or frito pie, or pumpkin pie.  But a chunky cornbread?  Jambalaya?  These foods enabled people on limited means to eat joyfully, making the most out of bits and bobs and, as I’ve talked about, that’s how I managed to feed my family when times were lean. And a small amount of leftover meat can be used perfectly. So … yes please.
Your leftover green pepper is one of the essentials in building your jambalaya.  Like onion, carrot, garlic and celery in French or Italian cuisine, green pepper, onion, celery and garlic is what you need for cuisine from the Deep South.  The bitterness that some of us (cough) struggle with is essential.  In a dish like this, rich with smoked sausage, chicken and fish, and filling with rice, the bitter note is perfect and stops it from being too rich.
Note: if you have access to amazingly diverse food shops, Andouille sausage is ideal.  If not, Tolouse, or a Polish smoked sausage.   I had only fancy fresh hot-dog sausages that have been in the UK supermarkets for the past couple of summers, and they were great.
With the meat, it’s about weight. I went for white fish as there are many ethical problems with prawns eaten in the UK, and they are hellish expensive.  Mussels would work, or salmon – this is a dish where the rice and the veg pad out and showcase the meat.  Keep the ratios the same and make it the dish that you love.

 

Jambalaya

Serves 4-6
Adapted, barely, from Felicity Cloake, Guardian.

Ingredients

3.5 teaspoons cajun spice mix
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 smoked sausages
4bone-in chicken thighs
1 onion (150g)
1 green pepper (300g)
1 celery stick (70g)
3 cloves garlic (10-15g)
4 spring onions (70g)
800 ml Chicken or pork stock
Few drops Tabasco sauce
300g long grain rice
300g fish (I used coley fillets)

Tools
Sharp knife
Chopping board
Large saucepan pan
Lid for the pan
Wooden spoon
Slotted spoon/flipper
Plates

Optional tools
Measuring spoons

Time
20 minutes prep
1.5-2 hour cook

Level
Medium

Prep
If using frozen fish, remove from freezer
Slice the sausages into 2cm-ish slices
Finely dice the onion, celery and green pepper
Crush/finely chop the garlic

Method
Pour the oil into the pan and add the sausage until it sizzles – quite hot, not max
Brown both cut sides and remove
Repeat with the chicken
Turn the heat to medium and allow to cool for a minute
Add onion, green pepper, celery and garlic to the pan and cook until tender (about
10 minutes); some people like to place a lid on the pan (I find it helps)
When tender, add the garlic and and stir around for a minute
Add the spice mix and stir well to make sure that the veg is well coated in spice mix
Return the chicken to the pot, pour in the stock and the Tabasco
Simmer for 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender then add the rice
Simmer for another 10 minutes
Next, stir the rice once, place the lid on and leave for 15 minutes
After the 15 minutes are up, remove the chicken and set aside
Turn the heat to low
Add sausage and fish to the rice mixture
Stir the rice around the meat and fish once, replace the lid and leave to steam
As soon as you can, shred the meat off the bones
Stir the chicken through the rice mixture

Storage/further meals
Store in a lidded container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days
Reheat CAREFULLY until piping hot
You can freeze, in a lidded container, for a month or so

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

ann@storrcupboard.com