Leftover celery stir-fry

Leftover celery stir-fry

Leftover celery stir fry

Last weekend I was a little worried about what leftover celery recipes would show how versatile celery can be; not another cream of celery soup (though I love it) or coleslaw.  Like the rest of the wealthy world I’m a cookbook junkie. Because buying them is the same as cooking from them, right? Ergh. I’m as mature as I was, 20 years ago, photocopying endless essays in the corner shop, imagining some Johnny-5 type powers of speed inputting were transmitting themselves up through the photocopier lid as the light slid over the text.

So last Saturday night I sat, cross legged on my childhood bed, glass or 2 of Merlot in hand, surrounded by Thomasina Miers, Jane Grigson, Mandy Aftel and Ching-He Huang (Why yes I rock the party). As I turned the pages of Huang’s ‘Stir Fry’, I realised I’d forgotten how amazing celery is in a stir fry. D’uh you may say. You would be right.

Yet another of my many culinary blind sides has been tofu. I tried it years ago and just no.  Just tasteless and spongy.

In January I was off to Cambridge, leaving from King’s Cross. Happily for me, it was lunchtime. A friend with an unholy knowledge of top restaurants had long advised a meal Supawan, and good god he was right. One bowl of spicy noodles with pork, seafood and tofu (I like neither seafood nor tofu) later, I got it. The soft, slight blandness against stronger flavours such as celery, oyster sauce and chilli. Perfect.

I did think twice about including this recipe as it does call for Shaoshing rice wine, or sherry; I’m sure a white wine vinegar will be nice, though not quite the same flavour. But £3 is £3, whichever way you cut it. I’d love to hear what would be a cheap alternative.

Your leftover celery can be less than sterling for this recipe, but with a little crunch is best. The peppery celery blends with the peanuts and Chinese flavours for a meal that, well – well I ate the entire portion. For two. By myself.

By Sunday afternoon I had got through Huang, Miers, 2 Grigsons and half of Aftel. Happily, osmosis hasn’t ever quite worked as well as the unadulterated luxury of quiet, good wine and good books.

 

Leftover celery stir-fry

Adapted from 'Stir-Fry' by Ching-He Huang, p150
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 packet smoked tofu
  • pinch sea salt
  • grinding pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour I used plain & it was fine
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Shaosing rice wine
  • 2 large leftover celery sticks
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce/shoyu
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • pinch dry chilli flakes
  • small handful roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Jasmine rice, to serve

Tools

  • Knife & chopping board
  • Garlic crusher optional
  • Saucepan, for rice
  • Wok/large frying pan

Instructions

  • Put rice on to cook as per packet instructions.
  • Slice celery on the diagonal. Dice the tofu and sprinkle with seasoning and place to one side
  • Finely chop or crush the garlic
  • Place the wok on a high heat until smoking and add the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and toss for a few seconds ONLY. Add the tofu and leave for a minute to set and brown. Toss the tofu and garlic a couple of times, leaving around 30 seconds between, until the tofu is browned.
  • Add the rice wine or dry sherry, then the celery and cook for just under a minute until softened but still crisp.
  • Season with soy sauce, oyster sauce and chilli flakes and mix well.
  • Add the peanuts and sesame oil. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with the jasmine rice.

Leftover Celery Salad

Leftover Celery Salad

Leftover celery salad

Love it, hate it; celery is a backbone of many recipes because of its strong flavour. But if you’ve bought a head of celery for your Bolognese or Jambalaya, what to do with all the leftovers?

If you really hate celery, you can slice and freeze it; this means one head will last you months, saving you money and food waste.

For the celery lovers out there, this salad will make you v happy. A simple blue cheese dressing + green stuff + walnuts (toasted if you can be bothered) will plough through two sticks of celery per person. If you’d like to make a nod to a classic Waldorf salad, chuck in an eating apple, diced. Got some avocado that wants eating up? It would be perfect in this. It’s a nod to American chop salads and, really what got me into eating salads for lunch because I found that I was full and had energy for the afternoon ahead.

Punchy and strong, this is what my 80s childhood iceburg, cucumber and tomato salads weren’t, and I hope you enjoy this.

Leftover celery salad

Chop up that peppery celery and mix it with other strong flavours to make the perfect, waste busting, light lunch
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings: 1
Author: Ann Storr

Ingredients

  • 2 stalks leftover celery ideally not too soft yet - if it is, you'll want to cook it up
  • 2 handfuls lettuce or salad leaves, washed and dried
  • 100 grams or so other stuff- I used cucumber, but chuck in any greens, avocado...
  • 50 grams walnut pieces you can use walnut halves but pieces are much cheaper

Blue cheese dressing

  • 2 heaped tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 50 grams blue cheese

Tools

  • Baking tray
  • Scales (or you can eyeball, it is a salad)
  • Colander & salad spinner/clean tea towel
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk

Instructions

  • Optional: Turn the oven to 180C and place the walnuts on a baking tray. Place in the warmed oven and toast for about 8 minutes, keeping a close eye on the time. Once toasted, remove from the oven place to one side.
  • If preferred/you're pushed for time, don't toast your nuts
  • Whisk the blue cheese and mayo together in a bowl. I like to leave some lumps as I like texture in a salad, you may prefer it smooth, up to you
  • Cut the celery up and mix with the veg. Mix the dressing into the veg and taste for seasoning, adding salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Add the walnuts and eat!

Leftover porridge bread

Leftover porridge bread

Leftover Porridge Bread

My eldest brother and I share a love of baking (and eating bread), and I’ve learned a lot from him.  He’s bought me endless books because, chez Storr, all the best presents are rectangles. Learning that a loaf of bread requires only a ratio was eye-opening. So I could use up that remaining 165 grams of brown flour and yesterday’s porridge and top it up with strong bread flour?! Hell. Yes.

If you’ve got 250g of porridge or 100g it doesn’t matter: just make sure that the total weight of porridge & flour is 700g.  That’s it. The amount of salt and yeast will stay the same, the water might vary a little. Got 250 grams of porridge? You might want to go up to a total weight of 800 grams of porridge and flour (8 grams of yeast 16 of salt). It’s that simple. And – poof! – you’ve made something delicious out of a food you were about to waste.

Some people might query adding eggs, flour and fat to what is a cheap ingredient.  Those oats have been sown (ahem). You’ve spent money on them. Soil has been fertilised and petrol burned to transport. So have fun and use that claggy old porridge that you cared to buy and cared to cook to be the inspiration for tomorrow’s lunch. Or toast.

 

Leftover Porridge Bread

Turn cold, claggy, leftover porridge into soft buns
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Proving time3 hrs
Total Time35 mins
Keyword: eating on a budget
Servings: 12 buns

Ingredients

  • up to 200 grams leftover porridge
  • up to 600 grams strong white bread flour (flour + porridge weighs 700 grams)
  • 7 grams fast action yeast
  • 14 grams salt
  • around 400 ml water or milk (it will vary depending on how much porridge goes into your dough)
  • optional: 1 egg

Tools

  • Scales
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring jug
  • Clean tea-towel
  • Roasting tin or oven dish
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Dough scraper or large knife
  • Wire cooling rack

Instructions

  • Weigh the porridge. Then add enough strong bread flour to take the porridge + flour to 700 grams. So, 150 grams porridge + 550 grams flour, for example.
  • Mix the flour, salt and yeast together in the large mixing bowl. Crumble the porridge into the bread flour so that there are no lumps.
  • If using an egg, whisk it into 200ml of the milk/water. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture. Give the ingredients a good mix with a metal spoon. or your hands. It should be quite a wet dough. Add more milk/water until you have a dough where all the flour is fully saturated.
  • Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured or wet surface * and *gently* knead it: push it away from you, pick that end up, pop it back on top, turn the dough 45 degrees and go again. Do this for about 10 minutes, or until you hear pops and crackles coming from the dough - that's the carbon dioxide forming.
  • Cover the dough with a clean, damp tea towel. Leave it to one side for about an hour. The dough need to double in size; in my cold kitchen takes about 2 hours.

Forming the buns

  • Lightly flour the counter and turn the dough out.
  • Weigh the dough; it should weigh around 1.2 kg, ish. Buns are around 100g and I like to weigh the dough. You can just eyeball 12 buns but I find it quicker to just through bits of dough into the scale and make sure that I will have buns of an equal size.
  • Line the oven tin with a piece of greaseproof paper.
  • Lightly flour your counter. Place each piece of dough on the flour. Once you have pieces of dough ready and waiting, take one and form it into a roll by turning it around your hands into a round ball. Tuck each ball into the tin, around 3cm apart.
  • When all the rolls are in the tin, cover with the clean tea towel and leave to rise again for about another half an hour.
  • Turn the oven to 180 degrees.
  • When the rolls have doubled in size, place them gently in the oven and bake for around 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
  • When they are cooked, gently slip them out of the tin and leave to cool.

Storage

  • I keep my rolls in a very un-sexy giant tupperware. They will keep fine for a couple of days.
  •  If you want fresh rolls every day, split the rolls and place in the freezer; they will defrost more quickly if you freeze them with the cut in place.
  • * Experienced bakers like to use the wet method where you knead over a wet surface rather than a floured. This is a great technique but takes a little practice.

Leftover porridge muffins

Leftover porridge muffins

Leftover Porridge Muffins

During the ‘lean years’, childcare took most of my 3 figure a month salary. The nursery was necessary but so expensive. I couldn’t not work.  Life was dull. It was 2008. Food prices rose every week. One night, my ex and I went on a rare night out with child-free friends. This may or may not have been the night I found buttons in my purse rather than cash.

I started telling a friend about these amazing leftover porridge muffins that I’d read about and made for my family – “I don’t even waste porridge!”. “But porridge is so cheap!” he replied.  I talked about food waste but really, I was embarrassed to say that I didn’t have the money to be scraping any food in the bin – that I could see the money going into the bin. I couldn’t articulate that any saving like this, where old sad breakfast becomes warm and tasty tea-time, was necessary. I felt humiliated. I didn’t need to, but being skint is humiliating – if you’re there right now, I’m sorry, it’s shit.

As with the porridge pancakes you’ll be amazed at the softness. Use whatever chocolate, fruits or nuts you like/have handy; these are a template to hoover up little leftovers sitting around the cupboard.  I have used milk chocolate because my eldest has a sweet tooth to rival Winnie the Pooh. This batch were walnut and dried raspberry, which I loved.

Those skint years? The nursery was later closed for ‘financial irregularities’. I now have a talented friend who cuts hair for a good price. I no longer wear the maternity coat. I earn better money doing work that I love.  I still don’t waste leftover porridge.

Leftover Porridge Muffins

Based on Oatmeal Muffins by Molly Wizenburg & Amanda Blake Soule
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins

Ingredients

  • around 150 grams leftover porridge
  • around 225 grams plain flour
  • 75 grams sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 100 grams chocolate, nuts, or dried fruit
  • 1 large egg
  • 120 ml milk
  • 30 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Tools

  • scales
  • mixing bowl
  • measuring jug
  • muffin tin
  • muffin papers
  • whisk/fork
  • ideally, balloon whisk
  • teaspoon/measuring spoon
  • saucepan/oven-proof bowl

Instructions

  • Turn the oven on to 180 degrees. Place the butter in an ovenproof bowl and leave to melt as the oven warms up. Remove from the oven once melted and leave to cool
  • Line a 12 muffin tin with liners or lightly grease
  • Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and add-ins together in a large bowl
  • Crumble the porridge through the flour mixture to avoid lumps
  • Whisk the egg, milk and butter together
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry; using a balloon whisk or spoon, mix together with between 8 and 12 strokes
  • Add spoonfuls of batter evenly to the muffin wells and bake for between 15 and 20 minutes
  • Serve warm

Storage

  • These really are best eaten warm and on the day. 
  • Warmed through, and maybe split with a little salted butter, they are good the next day or two - just store them in an airtight container.
  • If you can't eat 12 muffins at once, freeze when at room temperature for up to 3 months.

Leftover porridge pancakes

Leftover porridge pancakes

Leftover Porridge Pancakes

Okay, I hear that, for many of you, scraping up leftover porridge is a step too far. If it does then I suggest, gently, that you don’t have to worry about money. I’m sure you budget, but you don’t panic about the 10p going in the bin. I only had those worries for a couple of years, I was lucky. I don’t worry any longer. But I sure as shit won’t forget it.

Even if you don’t worry about 10p going into the bin, then what about the wasted oats that a farmer or its robots have sown? That farmers have harvested, milled and transported? The milk that the oats have simmered in and the effort it took to feed the cows so they were able to be milked? The honey or syrup that you chose so carefully or quickly from the cupboard? Yeah, don’t be dick. Don’t waste the porridge.

These are my favourite pancake recipe these days.  The oats make the pancakes light, smooth and creamy.  You do need to spend a second to make sure that there are no lumps or oats, so just crumble the leftover porridge though the flour. Then it’s the same as you’d make any American pancake, drop scone or griddle cake.

I made far too much batter for these last week so I wedged some foil on the jug, strapped it into the front seat and took my porridge pancake batter with me to a friends. Luckily her four kids and one of mine made short work of the pancakes.

I love these with a fried egg on top and, sue me, loads of ketchup. Or just butter and Marmite. Marmite with everything. I know. I don’t care. I hope you enjoy your porridge pancakes.

 

Leftover porridge pancakes

Perfect for slightly jammy, syrup-y smooshed up porridge leftovers - these soft, light pancakes will warm your heart, save you pennies and avoid food waste.

Ingredients

  • around 50 grams leftover porridge
  • around 100 grams plain white flour
  • around 125 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 15 grams melted butter & more for cooking

Tools

  • Measuring jug
  • Scales
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Non-stick or cast-iron frying pan
  • Flipper
  • Spatula

Instructions

  • Weigh your leftover porridge; you don't want more than 50% leftover porridge as it will make the pancakes too soft; if you have more than about 75 grams of leftover porridge, double up the recipe for more, or look at my other leftover porridge recipes
  • Add the salt, sugar and baking powder to the flour
  • Add the flour mixture to the porridge; using your hands or a spoon (preferably hands), rub the porridge through the flour to make sure that there aren't any lumps
  • Milk: how much you need again depends on the ratio of porridge to flour. Start with around 75 ml and whisk the egg into the milk
  • Pour the egg/milk mixture into the porridge mixture and whisk. You want a batter that's quite thick, like white sauce. 
  • I use the pan I'm cooking in to melt the butter; pour the melted butter into the pancake batter, so that the pan is already warm
  • If you need more milk, add it now. You can always add more - sometimes I make one pancake and realise that the batter is too think and pour a little more milk in. Go with a little less milk than you need until you are happy
  • I pour all the mixture back into the measuring jug and pour straight into the pan from there
  • Scrape the sides of the jug until there's nothing left - even a tiny pancake will make someone happy

Cooking the pancakes

  • Turn the pan on to medium hot
  • Add a pinch of butter
  • When the butter sizzles, pour some batter into the pan - around 10cm pancakes are easiest to manage
  • As the pancakes cook, I like to move them a little - ease the spatula under each pancake and just wriggle it around
  • You may need to turn the heat down and up as you go. The pancakes are ready to flip when you see lots of little bubbles
  • Once flipped, the pancake will only need about another minute
  • Place the pancakes on a plate or in a dish and serve warm

Storage

  • Pancakes are best eaten ASAP but you can store these in a lidded container in the fridge, for up to 5 days - I mean they will be edible but stale. Best is to keep the uncooked batter and cook as required. Batter will keep for up to 3 days, absolutely fine

Blood orange & lemon jellies

Blood orange & lemon jellies

Home made gelatine jellies

Using up leftover gelatine wasn’t the easiest of challenges. I wasn’t about to start investigating the heritage of American jelly salads, though I’m sure they’re dear to people’s hearts. Our gelatine recipe choices are sweet, fun – and there’s no avoiding some sugar. Tamar Adlar does have set jelly salads in her latest book, though they’re more sun ripened tomatoes in aspic than tuna in pineapple jelly.  I’ll try them in the summer when it’s not stormy and not horizontal rain and bedsocks in the day.

Making these home-made jelly sweets was easy and fun. I tried using a shop-bought juice but the flavour, to me, was too dull and flat. I wanted something sharper and with the 10930825 lemons I had leftover from a Hubbub pancake day workshop, the decision was easy. Any leftover, sharp fruit or fruit juice would be excellent but I’d default to freshly squeezed or pulped if poss.

These jellies aren’t as set as a haribo but that’s what I like. They’re oddly satisfying. One or two after lunch and my sweet tooth is satisfied.  Are they good for gut health? A lot of wellness bloggers are talking about gelatine and gut health. I dunno, and I eat for joy and fun not wellness bullshit. These little guys used my citrus, they used my lovely Reduction Raider gelatine and they are tasty.

Note: don’t try to make these like fruit pastilles and roll in sugar; the sugar causes the set to melt and isn’t pretty. Like a sticky blood bath TBH.

So a little grown up sweetie, a hot cuppa and we have a zero waste, low-ish sugar, sweet. Which is hot pink. HOT PINK. You’re welcome.

 

 

 

 

Citrus jellies

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 pint freshly squeezed citrus/grapefruit (you need something with bite - orange juice won't cut it)
  • 8 leaves leaf gelatine
  • 90 grams caster sugar

Tools

  • Measuring jug
  • Bowl
  • Scissors
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Cake tin or plastic pot

Instructions

  • Cut the gelatine strips into pieces. Place them in the bowl and cover with cold water for 5 minutes
  • Whilst the gelatine softens, warm the juice and sugar in the saucepan. 
  • Use the whisk to make sure that the sugar is dissolved. Taste the juice. If it's super sharp you might want to add a little more.
  • After 5 minutes, squish the water out of the gelatine. Place it into the warm juice and whisk, baby.
  • When the gelatine has fully disolved, pour the mixture into the tub/tin. Leave to cool to room temperature then refrigerate.
  • When set, cut into little pieces and enjoy!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com