Fishfinger rice bowl

Fishfinger rice bowl

Fishfinger rice bowl

Sometimes I think of a leftover recipe. I imagine different reactions:
younger me “Cold fish and RICE?  ARE YOU ON DRUGS? Where’s the white sauce?!”
My parents: “Gosh, it is interesting how you combine different things isn’t it?”
My brothers: “Oh, yeah, well done”.

They aren’t the leftover lovers though!  Two leftover fish fingers are too good to waste, and this, to me, was surprisingly good.

The leftover friend’s super star, a rice bowl is a fab way to use up those odds and sods from the bottom of your fridge.  Any leftover greens, some salad: whatever.  Bet you’d buy it in M&S  or Pret without thinking, so have a go and make your own!  Okay, M&S and Pret wouldn’t be using fishfingers, but you might have some white fish or some chicken mixed with your rice and salad, so why not a fishfinger?

Cuisines across the world batter or egg & bread fish, so mixing up a fishfinger with a little boiled rice isn’t as mad as it might sound.  I mean, okay, I wouldn’t pay to eat it in a restaurant or claim that it’s authentic cuisine (well, it’s authentic Ann Storr but that’s not always a good thing TBF). With some salad, some chilli  – well, to me it’s a damn sight tastier than a coffee shop equivalent.  And no single-use plastic packaging. With this second, more photogenic rock around the block I used Thai sticky rice, which I prefer in this dish, and it was easier to eat with chopsticks (because yes I’m sure this is super, super authehtic Thai (side eye emoji).

If you take lunch into work, store the fish separately so that the crumbs don’t go soggy (bawk).  A little teryaki sauce is all that this needs to give you a filling and tasty lunch.  Or, if you don’t have any in the fridge, some tamari or soy sauce.

Nice rice, some veg, some fish: quick lunch​​

 

Fishfinger Rice Bowl

Yes I sort of hate me too.

Ingredients

  • 60 grams rice I used Thai, but whatever you have/like
  • 2 leftover fishfingers
  • Salad that you like
  • Teriyaki

Instructions

  • Cook the rice per packet instructions. Leave to cool.
  • If you're planning on eating this later, make sure that the rice is 100% room temperature before packing the salad as otherwise it'll steam slightly. If in doubt, pack a few small containers and combine when you're ready to eat.

Classic American/Scotch Pancakes

Classic American/Scotch Pancakes

Scotch pancakes with worrisome milk

Pancakes are a useful recipe to have always in the back of your mind for leftover milk, yoghurt, cream or even porridge. They are cheap, they are healthy. If you are so inclined, you can start experimenting with mixes of wholegrain flours and oats.

I took a picture with golden syrup drizzling down in honour of my eldest, who can think of little finer than a brand new tin of syrup, looking almost red and daring you to dunk a finger. We both, usually, do.

If your milk is on it’s best before, or near it – never pour it down the drain. The stats are staggering: 3 1/2 million litres are wasted in UK homes every year. 7% of all the milk that we produce. So play your part, testing your milk and trusting your senses over an over-cautious jet printed date.

A fried egg, some butter and loads of marmite or ketchup is what I love most of all. Either way, make sure there’s never a leftover, leftover.

 

Scotch pancakes

You can use all plain flour, or a mixture of lots of scraps. I wouldn't go over 50% of wholewheat flours mind, or they'll be heavy AF. Don't miss out the melted butter, there's a softness that seems a pity to waste.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 225 grams plain flour or use a mixture of plain and wholegrain
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder or just weigh 20 grams, that's what I do...
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml worrisome milk
  • 30 grams unsalted butter & more for cooking

Tools

  • scales
  • mixing bowl
  • measuring jug - really big one if possible
  • whisk
  • frying pan
  • pastry brush
  • spatula
  • flipper

Instructions

If you have a digital scale and a 1 litre mixing jug...

  • Place the jug on the scale and pour in the milk and crack in the eggs. Whisk. Set the scale back to zero. Then carefully add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Remove from the scale and whisk until you have a good batter.

If you don't...

  • Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a measuring jug, whisk together the milk and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk until you have a thick batter.

Either way

  • Turn the heat on under your pan to medium-hot and add the 30 grams of butter. Once it's melted, pour it into the batter and mix well.
  • When the pan is nice and hot, add just a pinch of butter and let it sizzle. If you can't get it to coat the base of the pan nicely, then use a pastry brush.
  • Pour in the batter, probably making neater circles than I have ever managed. Don't crowd the pan - around 3 or 4 to a large pan at a time.
  • When you see lots of little bubbles rising up, take your spatula and flip the pancakes over. They should only take a minute more to cook through.
  • Keep going until all the batter is used, using your spatula to leave a clean-enough bowl behind. 

Storage

  • Leftover pancakes will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. Reheat in a dry frying pan.

Leftover Mushrooms with Scrambled Eggs

Leftover Mushrooms with Scrambled Eggs

Leftover mushrooms

90% of the mushrooms we eat in the world are good old button mushrooms. Cheap, easy to cultivate all year round, a nice little package. They’re the 3rd most chosen veg, after potatoes and tomatoes. So why, then, when I was at Wellness HQ in Tunbridge Wells (giving the first EVER StorrCupboard talk), did everyone tell me that leftover mushrooms were a problem?

I think it’s because mushrooms are so easy but, because of their strong flavour and hard shape, we get used to thinking “mushrooms are only for breakfast” or “mushrooms go with steak”. So when I say to people “how about mushrooms on toast for lunch?” I often get an “ohhhhhh, yeah of COURSE” reaction. We have our habits that make life more simple. But sometimes those habits leave us blindsided and not seeing the ingredient sitting in front of us.

This recipe is barely adapted from the latest Honey & Co cookbook. If you’ve not heard of the Honies but you like good food, then you’re in for a treat. Sarit and Itamar’s Palestinian and Israeli cooking is superb, their recipes a delight. I don’t know them but a few weeks ago I was having a coffee in the deli and saw them leaving with trays and boxes of food for some lucky customer. They are always hugging and the love they have for each other seems to come across in their food. These indulgent mushroom eggs are heavenly. Don’t miss out the cinnamon. It sounds odd if you’re not used to it but the warmth of the cinnamon is just lovely. And if you can afford a tenner on a lunch and you can get to Fitzrovia then good god do it. The cookies are to die for.

Leftover mushrooms can be the springboard ingredient to a full-flavoured, incidentally vegetarian feast.

Leftover mushrooms with scrambled eggs

Adapted, barely, from 'Honey and Co at Home', p27
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 25 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large leek or a couple of shallots, or a few spring onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • around 250 grams mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 small bundle fresh thyme twigs, tied together with string
  • 4 eggs
  • 50 grams Italian hard cheese
  • 50 ml cream or milk
  • freshly ground black pepper

Tools

  • Knife and chopping board
  • Mixing bowl
  • Cheese grater
  • Large frying pan/wok
  • Measuring jug
  • Garlic crusher (optional)

Instructions

Prep

  • Slice the mushrooms into similar sized slices. Clean and halve the leek, and cut into 5mm-ish slices. If using spring onions, cut into rounds or if using shallots cut into dice. Crush the garlic with a little salt or a garlic crusher.
  • Measure the milk or cream. Add the eggs and cheese and a little seasoning. Whisk together and set to one side.

Cooking

  • Turn the heat to about medium and add the oil and butter. Once the fats are foaming add the mushrooms, leek/onion and garlic, turn the heat to high and mix well. Next add the salt, pinch on cinnamon and thyme bundle and mix well. 
  • Season with plenty of black pepper. Stir off and on for about 10 minutes, until a lot of water has evaporated from the mushrooms. Once they are cooked through and wilted remove the thyme. 
  • If you're cooking for a crowd or in advance, then leave the mushrooms at this stage and only add the eggs when you are almost ready to eat.
  • When you are almost ready to eat, if you need to heat the pan back up, do it. If the pan is still warm, pour the egg/cream/cheese mixture into the mushrooms. Allow the eggs to set for a minute and then stir again.
  • Repeat this until the eggs are cooked to the set that you like (I'm on the dry end of the spectrum...)

Storage

  • If you don't eat them all, store them in a lidded container for up to 5 days. Reheating isn't a great idea as they will go rubbery. Stir them through some rice or whack in a sandwich with plenty of sriracha.

Leftover Green Beans with Pasta and Pesto

Leftover Green Beans with Pasta and Pesto

I love green beans but they are a problematic veggie. We’re so used to having them week in and out when, really, they need a lot of warmth to grow. We don’t have a lot of warmth in the UK. So, if you’re going to be buying a packet of green beans that have been flown in from Kenya, then for fuck’s sake do not waste a single one.

This is a riff on a classic late-spring Italian recipe; green beans with pasta, potatoes and pesto. That’s it. It’s real cucina-di-povera. Yes it’s double carb but just, you know, don’t be greedy. If you can be bothered, cut the potatoes and beans so that they are a similar length to the pasta.

If you have an errant salad pack or bag of baby leaf spinach sitting in your fridge, then make your own pesto! Okay it’s not a stunning jar of authentic basil/pine nut/parmesan pesto but, remember the roots of pesto: people making the most of what they have around them every day.

A handful of green beans can be the inspiration behind tonight’s supper, and I hope you enjoy making sure there’s never a leftover, leftover.

 

Leftover Green Beans with Pasta and Pesto

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • leftover green beans
  • 200 grams short pasta, such as fusilli or penne you can use anything, it's just nice to have the food a similar size
  • 200 grams salad potatoes
  • few tablespoons pesto

Tools

  • Scales
  • Slotted spoon/tongs
  • Knife & chopping board
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Colander/sieve
  • Spoon
  • Mixing bowl

Instructions

Optional: make the pesto using this recipe

  • Rinse the potatoes and place in the pan and cover with cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Cover with the lid and bring to the boil
  • If your potatoes are lots of different sizes, or you just need to cook very quickly, you can cut them into smaller pieces.
  • Whilst the potatoes are cooking, cut the green beans to a similar length to the pasta.
  • Check for 'done-ness' - depending on the size they'll be ready in anything between 20 and 30 minutes.
  • When they are soft, remove from the boiling water with a slotted spoon/tongs and place in the bowl. Do not drain the water. Stir pesto through the potatoes whilst warm.
  • Get the water boiling again and cook the pasta; check it 2 minutes before the packet suggests as sometimes they aren't quite accurate.
  • When the pasta is done, again remove with a slotted spoon and add to the pesto and potatoes.
  • Boil the beans in the potato pasta water. Remove when done, around 4 minutes.
  • Add more pesto if you wish (I like a lot) and serve.

Storage

  • This will keep in a lidded container, in your fridge, for up to 5 days, although it'll be better within a day or two of cooking.

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 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.