Leftover Easter Chocolate Eton Mess

Leftover Easter Chocolate Eton Mess

Make Eton Mess with leftover Easter eggs

My mum makes amazing meringues. I do not. This is my gift to you!

Meringues aren’t the easiest thing to make. I have struggled. The egg whites to perfect stiff peaks, and then a little sugar and a little more and a little more and … fluff. Flump. Glossy failure. I would scrub the bowls I’d wash the whisk but every single goddam time my stiff peaks would turn into soft swirls.

My mum once went to the effort of writing out, step by step, every step. Both my mum and ex mother in law makes perfect pavlovas. I cried, I swore, this was not fair!

After we eliminated EVERY variable, we worked it out: I prefer unrefined cane sugar. It’s a bit heavy for meringues. So, no fancy-ass sugar and your meringue woes may be over.

So, for those of us who make a pert meringue and have annoying little chocolates hanging about after Easter, or Christmas, make this fabulous cream-rich, fruit spiked Eton Mess.

 

 

Easter Egg Eton Mess

Based on Sue Quinn, 'Cocoa', p138

Ingredients

  • 150 grams leftover Easter Chocolate
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 200 grams egg whites

To serve

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 25 grams sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the rhubarb

  • 250 grams rhubarb
  • 40 grams caster sugar

Tools

  • scales
  • small heatproof bowl and small pan
  • large bowl
  • electric whisk/stand mixer
  • baking tray
  • greaseproof paper
  • foil
  • chopping board and sharp knife
  • wire cooling rack

Instructions

For the meringue

  • Preheat the oven to 120C. Line the baking tray with greaseproof paper. Set to one side.
  • Chop the chocolate and place in the small bowl. Place about 5cm of water in the saucepan and bring to simmering. Fit the bowl onto the saucepan and stir until the chocolate has melted. Once melted put to one side.
  • Take your bowl and make sure it is scrupulously clean. With your whisk, beat the eggs until stiff peaks form. Once you have stiff peaks, gradually add the sugar, around a tablespoon at a time, until you have stiff peaks again.
  • Pour the sauce over the meringue. Scoop the meringue onto the baking sheet; bake for around an hour, until the top is crisp. Place on the cooling rack.

For the rhubarb

  • Increase the oven heat to 180C.
  • Cut the rhubarb into pieces are 7cm long. Place in the baking dish and sprinkle with the sugar. Wrap the dish with the foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender but still holds its shape. When cooked, remove the foil and place on one side.

Finishing the Eton Mess

  • Pour the cream, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk until it holds its shape.
  • Crumble the meringue, and stir the cream and fruit together. Enjoy!

Storage

  • This really doesn't keep. Scoff!

Leftover Easter Chocolate Buns

Leftover Easter Chocolate Buns

Make soft, cinnamon buns with leftover Easter eggs

Twirly, rich, and more-ish. My long-time readers will know that my family love a cinnamon bun. So, oh darling Sue, what joy was this! Chopping up leftover easter eggs and folding into a buttery dough? Thank *you*!

I started doing Sunday brunch a couple of years ago; kids were getting up later, I’d stopped dragging them and me to church, and gave us all some breathing space on a Sunday morning.  We’d had some long, lazy Sunday mornings with American friends. So, to make these for Easter, when my church going days are behind me feels … odd. There’s a lot about my life that is very different now to 2, 4, 5 years ago: almost taking a decent photo; self-employment and single-parenthood. I have new traditions to create, away from the ones I simply inherited without thinking.

When I make buns, I make a double or triple batch and freeze the spares. V smug but also, really it just makes me happy. And, a lot of times, it saves me money. And means more buns more often.

Lazy brunch with much coffee – a tradition I picked up from a friend, the foods I’ve learned are from ex-partners and family. But this is a little one that I like, and suits me very well indeed.

 

Chocolate Buns

Adapted from 'Cocoa' by Sue Quinn
Pistachios are really expensive; go for hazelnuts or walnuts if that’s better on your budget. As you’re using nuts and whatnot, every weird and wonderful type of chocolate in your Easter stash will be perfect here.
Servings: 7 buns

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 50 grams unsalted butter plus more/the wrapper, for greasing
  • 400 grams strong white bread flour plus more for dusting
  • 4 grams yeast OR one sachet if you bake a lot, buy a tin as the tin is recyclable
  • 8 grams salt you can do 3/4 teaspoon but I find it easier to just use the scales
  • 1 egg (if you don't have large just use a little more milk or a dash of water)
  • vegetable oil for oiling the dough

For the filling

  • 80 grams pistachios
  • 50 grams dark brown sugar
  • 80 grams leftover Easter chocolate
  • 80 grams unsalted butter

Tools

  • scales
  • measuring jug
  • small and large mixing bowls
  • small whisk or fork
  • dough scraper/spatula
  • clean tea towel
  • square oven proof tin
  • greaseproof paper
  • scissors

Instructions

Making the dough

  • Place the butter in the saucepan and melt over a low heat. Once it's melted, remove from the heat. Pour in the milk, stir together and put to one side.
  • Set aside a couple of tablespoons of the egg/milk mixture for glazing
  • In your mixing bowl, mix the flour, yeast and salt. 
  • Whisk the egg and pour into the flour, and then the butter/milk mixture. Mix together. 
  • Lightly flour your work surface and turn the dough out, using your spatula to scrape out every last scrap! 
  • Use your spatula to clean out the bowl and pour in the vegetable oil. Set to one side.
  • Take the dough and knead for 8-10 minutes, pushing it away from you and pulling it back. The dough is a little sticky, but should become more smooth as your knead it. Add a little flour if you need to.
  • Once you're done, smooth the dough into a round and return it to the bowl, coating it in the oil. Cover it with the tea towel and leave to rise for about 2 hours.

Make the filling

  • Aside from the butter, mix all of the filling ingredients together.
  • Take the tray and line it with your greaseproof paper.

When the dough has risen...

  • Flour the work surface and gently press it down to let the air out. Roll out into a rectangle roughly 35 x 25 cm, making sure that the edges and the middle are the same thickness.
  • With the dough parallel to the edge of the work surface, spread the butter evenly over the top. I find this murder, so just dot over lumps if you find it easier. Sprinkle over the filling and press down on it gently. 
  • Working with the long side, carefully roll the dough into a sausage shape, like a Swiss roll.
  • Using a large knife or sharp dough scraper, cut into 10 equal sized pieces. Arrange in the lined tray, equally spaced. Place your clean tea towel on top.
  • If you want to have these for brekkie/brunch, now place these in the fridge and leave to prove overnight. Otherwise leave for 30 minutes.
  • *** If you want to freeze these, now is the time!  ***

Baking

  • When you are ready to want to bake, turn the oven to 180C.
  • Take the leftover milk/egg mixture. Take your pastry brush and glaze the top of the risen buns.
  • Place the buns in the warm oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and gorgeous. 
  • After removing from the oven, leave for 5 minutes before sliding out of the tray. Pull apart when cool enough to handle.

Storage

  • Best to freeze these when uncooked. If you've cooked them all, place in an airtight container and eat asap!

 

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Easter chocolate is its own kind of hell. Lots of little bits and bobs. Lots of little leftovers. Everywhere. From school (when the fuck did teachers start spending their own salaries on chocs for kids??), to grandparents, friends and uncles who know that the biggest Easter eggs are the best Easter Eggs. Of course I give my kids unnecessary Easter Eggs – how could I not?

I was thinking about what you all would love for a little Easter goodness and thought back to last year’s recipes. They’re solid, especially the cheesecake (if I ever meet Ottolenghi…).  But you need more! Happily for us all, Sue Quinn recently published ‘Cocoa: An Exploration of Chocolate, with Recipes’. She kindly gifted me a copy and I spent one afternoon and one Sunday morning reading her words and recipes.

So, how will Sue and I help you to quickly dispatch the Cadbury’s mini eggs and cream eggs and smarties eggs that no-one wants because smarties are smarties and not eggs? Well, first off, your quick quick recipe is for this Spanish inspired hot chocolate. I added more cocoa to counteract the sweetness in milk chocolate and all those shells.

You can dip churros in these, if you like (read: I am not about to make these right now); Sue recommends dipping in salty toast soldiers (oh god). I sipped a little of mine, with extra milk, and intend to drink the whole pot. Like a lady of leisure I shall sip my chocolate, maybe in a bubble path, and thank every last person who gave my children so much chocolate.

 

Leftover chocolate hot chocolate

Barely adapted from 'Cocoa', by Sue Quinn, published by Hardie Grant 2019

Ingredients

  • 45 grams cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons cornflour
  • pinch sea salt flakes
  • 500 ml milk
  • 25 grams caster sugar
  • 100 grams leftover chocolate if using a bar of chocolate, grate it; if using up lots of little Easter chocolates, with their hard sugar shells, grind in a food processor/pestle and mortar/bashing them with a rolling pin, between 2 clean tea towels
  • 1 star anise/sprinkle of fresh nutmeg, or a cinnamon stick... Use what you like!
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tools

  • scales
  • saucepan
  • whisk
  • measuring jug
  • grater/food processor/rolling pin (see note, above)
  • wooden spoon

Instructions

  • Combine the cocoa powder, cornflour and salt in a small bowl
  • Place the milk, sugar, spice and vanilla in a small pan and almost bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour enough of the hot liquid into the cocoa powder mixture to make a paste; stir until smooth.
  • While the pan is off the heat, add the chopped chocolate and cocoa paste to the milk. Stir until the chocolate has melted and everything is well combined. Taste - you may want to add more sugar, as I was conservative.
  • Return the pan to a low heat and stir until thick and creamy - use a whisk if you need to get rid of any lumps. Remove any whole spices.
  • If you're planning to use this as hot chocolate you'll need to add additional hot milk or water

Storage

  • This will keep for around a week in the fridge, in a lidded container

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

University is supposed to be when you learn to tackle difficult problems, meet exciting people and have adventures. I started every other weekend on the Virgin West Coast from Manchester to London, reading ‘Heat’ and eating a brie wrap from O’Brien’s in Piccadilly.  I had to visit the boyfriend I’d stumbled across at 17 and sort of ended up with. He reminded me to come. He couldn’t come up, of course. Too busy. He and I would spend the weekend walking around the shops, I’d study at the desk in the Volkswagen garage where he worked and, sometimes, I’d even go to my family.

My ex didn’t like how my parents and I ate. We’d go to a fab local, family Italian for pizza instead. I’d watch the pizza chef shape the dough, somehow never managing to get his fingers stuck or pull holes in the dough. It was there that his faddy eating gave me a gift: I learnt about Bolognese pizza.

I don’t know if this recipe is authentically Italian; I know it’s a perfect home for your leftover Bolognese. If you can be bothered to cook the mushrooms then do, it’s heaven. I’d imagine that, using the right ingredients, this pizza is easily adaptable to a vegan diet.

The restaurant has long since closed, along with the Sicilian café where I learnt to adore arancini, how to empty a slop bucket and the rules of scopa. Thankfully I’ve not seen that ex in 16 years, almost to the day, now I come to think of it. Some things haven’t changed.  I spend every other weekend packing up and driving to my parent’s house, so my children can be with their dad. I’m still packing up and tidying up and buggering off for a weekend. But when I can, a pizza feast with every buggering daft leftover, plenty of wine and beer, daft kids and best friends clears out my fridge and warms my heart.

 

Leftover Bolognese Pizza

Got two spoonfuls of leftover bolgonese? Use this topping to make a zero-food waste pizza. Pizza base based on Rose Prince. 
The time this takes is anything from overnight -  20 minutes - if you want to make your own dough, you're looking at around 8 -24 hours. Pre-made base? 20 minutes. The choice is yours.
Servings: 1 pizza
Author: Ann Storr

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons leftover bolognese this can be a traditional, vegan, anything
  • 50 grams Parmesan/Italian hard cheese
  • 50 grams mushrooms
  • oil to cook mushrooms
  • 1 sprig each thyme and rosemary (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • white wine a splash (optional)
  • Optional Chilli flakes

Pizza base

  • 1 bought base OR
  • 540 grams plain flour + more for dusting
  • 5 grams yeast if you're using those little sachets and will otherwise bin the 2 grams, just use it all
  • 10 grams salt
  • 250 ml milk (full fat, preferably)
  • 150 ml water
  • polenta or more flour, for dusting baking sheets

Tools

  • Scales
  • Baking tray/pizza stone if you have one (I don't)
  • Cheese grater

If making pizza dough

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Clean tea towel

If cooking mushrooms

  • Frying pan
  • Measuring jug
  • Knife

Instructions

If making pizza dough from scratch, the day/8 hours before ...

  • Mix the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Pour in the milk and water. Combine.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured counter. Shape the dough into a round.
  • Clean the mixing bowl with a dough scraper and pour in a little oil. Return the dough to the bowl and turn around in the oil a couple of times so that the dough is covered. Take your clean tea towel and cover.
  • You can either leave the dough to rise in your fridge for up to 24 hours or for about 6 hours; if the dough reaches double size more quickly than you like, just gently deflate it ("knock it back") and return to the bowl.

Cooking the mushrooms (these can be cooked ahead and left to one side)

  • Slice the mushrooms and turn the pan to about medium. Pour in a few tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms. Stir every couple of minutes to evaporate all water. Season well.
  • When the mushrooms are nearing done, crush/finely slice the garlic
  • Optional: add in the whole springs of rosemary and thyme and stir around. After a couple of minutes, add in the garlic and stir - don't allow the garlic to burn
  • Optional: if you have some white wine open or in the freezer, add it now and allow to cook off

Rolling out fresh pizza dough

  • When you're ready to eat, turn your oven to full blast. If you like, leave baking sheets in the oven to get nice and hot, which helps to make a crispier base. If making these with little ones/you're new to pizza, don't worry so much (as the burns up my wrists tell ...)
  • Grate the cheese, find the mushrooms and oil
  • Lightly dust your counter with flour. Using a large knife or dough scraper, cut the pizza dough into 4 pieces. Shape each quarter into a ball and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. 
  • Roll out one base at a time (this topping is enough for one pizza only). I allow the dough to fall over the side of the counter as gravity help to stretch the gluten structures
  • Dust a baking sheet with polenta or flour (polenta helps to get a crispier base but isn't essential). 
  • Place the dough on the tray, not minding about holes here and there. If you like, stretch the dough into corners of the tray
  • Spread the bolognese around the dough, using your hands if the dough rips (if your bolognese is v dry, it might -don't worry). Add the mushrooms, dust with cheese. Take the olive oil, use your thumb as a light stopper and drizzle oil over the top - if your sauce is quite dry, be generous with the oil
  • Bake for between 7 & 10 minutes, depending on your pizza base and oven Add chilli flakes if you like (I do)

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 Stuffing

Leftover Celery Stuffing

Leftover Celery Stuffing

Stuffing, like Christmas turkey, pop music and Bonfire Night, did not occur in my childhood. “Tasteless” my parents would say and I didn’t even understand what it was. What how when and why was something stuffed? It was only a Christmas day with my then-in-laws coming that I realised I needed to learn, because they needed bird, stuffing, bread sauce – all the things I didn’t grow up eating.

I mixed and mashed herbs and chestnuts and dried fruits, pushing the fruity mixture into the chicken. I got it. Like pasta, Yorkshire puddings and a million other delicious carbs, stuffing has been used to bulk out expensive meat and veg.

This recipe is barely adapted from a Jane Grigson. I dialled the butter down a little, and, when I make it again, I’ll add in double the parsley, if I have it. Any herbs like parsley, tarragon, fennel fronds will all go in fine here. Even carrot tops, when they come in season in a few weeks, will work. Wild garlic, in the spring would be immense. Other than that, a batch of this stuffing will clear out your freezer of breadcrumbs, so it’s a double win.

The original recipe made mounds of stuffing; I’ve got my leftovers in the freezer, ready for a lazy Sunday lunch. Got loads of celery? Make a double batch and freeze, extending your celery for another week or month, ready to feed lots of family or friends, on your zero waste, leftover loving celery stuffing.

Leftover Celery Stuffing

Barely adapted from Jane Grigson 'Good Things'
Author: Ann Storr

Ingredients

  • 150 grams onion around a medium size but anything between 100 and 180 grams will be fine...)
  • 150 grams celery
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 250 grams fresh breadcrumbs
  • grated zst & juice of half a lemon
  • 4 tablespoons parsley/tarragon/chervil/wild garlic
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper

Tools

  • Scales
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk/fork (for the egg)
  • Optional: tray for baking stuffing, if not stuffing a chicken/turkey extra sunflower/ground nut oil for cooking

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in the saucepan
  • Dice the onion and celery and add to the pan. Cook the onion and celery over a low heat for about 20 minutes until they are soft and translucent - do not let them brown.
  • Whilst the celery and onion are cooking, finely chop the herbs and whisk the egg. 
  • When the food is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Mix all the ingredients together. Season to taste.
  • Either stuff in the bird or roll into satsuma sized balls and bake, basting with oil from the roasting bird or, for vegetarians, a vegetable oil