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 Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 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

Ann Storr
Chop up that peppery celery and mix it with other strong flavours to make the perfect, waste busting, light lunch
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 1

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!

Dosas, for every little leftover curry

Dosas, for every little leftover curry

Dosas, a love story

Tomorrow is a big day for StorrCupboard: the first StorrCupboard Food Waste workshop. Quite nervous. I’ve been putting a lot of background work into StorrCupboard so I’m often running to chase my tail. So I’m writing this just ahead of hitting send, on this blustery Sunday morning. Tomorrow I’ll be cooking dosas with 12 members of the public, learning how to be food savvy with the wonderful people of Hubbub charity. I can’t wait and I’m terrified all at once.

Dosas aren’t simple to learn. There’s a practice needed in learning the right grain to achieve and you do need a food processor, sorry. If you like the idea, then a basic gram flour ‘dosa’ will be similar but won’t have the same flavour. But it will allow you to clear your plate.

The batter is lightly fermented, so if gut health and fermentation are of interest to you then it’s well worth having a go. It took me a couple of goes to get anything that I’d even serve to my kids, so there’s been a lot of eating soggy batter!

The ground rice/lentil/fenugreek mixture has to look like thick cream, that’s the only way I can explain it. Then you loosen it, until it’s like English pancake batter – worryingly loose is how I think about it.

I loved learning to make these and pushing myself to keep on experimenting, learning. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

PS this is a lovely piece

 

Dosas

Ann Storr

Ingredients
  

  • 375 grams basmati rice
  • 125 grams urad daal (split, skinless black gram)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil

Tools

  • Sieve
  • Scales
  • Large Bowl
  • Clean tea towel
  • Food Processor
  • Non stick or cast iron frying pan
  • Flipper
  • Ladle or coffee cup
  • Plate

Instructions
 

The night before

  • Wash the rice and urad daal well. Add the fenugreek seeds to the mix and fill enough water in the rice-daal bowl to cover them about 2-inch deep. Soak overnight.

8 hours before you want to cook

  • Drain all the water from the rice mixture. Now put into the food processor and grind - adding very little water if necessary - to a smooth yet slightly grainy paste
  • When you are happy with the texture, put it into a large mixing bowl and add enough water to make a batter. The consistency of the batter should be such that it thickly coats the back of a spoon - to me like English pancake batter
  • Now add salt to taste and keep the dosa batter aside in a warm, dark spot, covered, for 6 to 8 hours. During this time it will ferment

Cooking the dosas

  • Pour a little oil into the pan and tilt it to cover the base
  • Fill the ladle up to the 3/4 level with dosa batter. Gently pour this batter onto the centre of the pan - just as you would for a pancake
  • Now begin to spread the batter in sweeping circular motions to cover the base of the frying pan. The dosa may have little holes- this is normal
  • When the upper surface begins to look cooked (it will no longer look soft or runny), flip the dosa. By this time, ideally, the surface that was underneath should be light golden in colour. Cook for 1 minute after flipping.
  • The dosa is almost done. Fold it in half and allow to cook for 30 seconds more

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Pea fritters

Pea fritters

I love a fritter.  Basically a more filling pancake.  With a poached or fried egg you’ve got a light meal, or as an alternative to chips or a jacket potato with your sausages. Got sweetcorn and peas?  Would totally work – just use the same total weight of veg.

Pea fritters

Serves 4
Based on Jane Baxter for Riverford

Ingredients

100g thawed/leftover peas
75g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 egg
65ml milk
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 red chilli/1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
6 spring onions
1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley or chives (optional)
salt & pepper
Vegetable/sunflower oil for frying

Tools

Scales
Sharp knife
Whisk/fork
Mixing bowl
Measuring jug
Frying pan
Flipper
Skewer

Time

30 minutes

Level

Medium

Prep

If your peas are frozen, leave to defrost
Finely chop the chilli (if using a fresh one)
Slice the dark green tops off the spring onions (if you ever make stock, chuck them in a bag for another day; otherwise chuck). Cut the white and pale green parts of the onion into rounds

Method

Put flour, baking powder and sugar into a bowl
Add egg and beat in
Gradually beat the milk in with a whisk until you get a thick, smooth batter
Melt half the butter in a saucepan
Pour the melted butter into the mixture
Add chilli (optional), herbs (optional), onions and peas to the batter and season well with plenty of salt and pepper
Heat the veg oil and a pinch of the butter in a frying pan until quite hot
Drop tablespoons of mixture into the frying pan and fry over a medium heat for about 2 minutes
You’ll see that the fritter looks a bit set, and a few bubbles will appear: that’s good!
Flip it to the other side; it’ll probably be a bit splatty on the bottom but that’s okay
Cook for another 2-3 minutes
If you’re not sure if it’s cooked, stick the point of a sharp knife or skewer into the middle; if it’s clean it’s cooked, if not, it’s not!
If it’s not cooked and you’re worried that it’s burning, flip back to the first side and give it another minute or so. You might want to turn the heat down
Pop to one side and repeat until you have used all the mixture
Serve with eggs and bacon for brunch, or as an alternative to your mash or jacket potato

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Leftover peas and pasta

Leftover peas and pasta

After all that Easter gluttony, we need some more green goodness. Peas are a huge part of our shopping, our dinners and after school teas.

When I was a kid, one of my brothers and I would eat little pots of frozen peas straight from the freezer (a habit that my youngest has picked up, I’m happy to say).  Peas are so small!  And sweet!  And I usually will just eat them all with a spoon (esp if there’s a little butter and salt on there.

 

But not always, so you can quite often find little Chinese takeaway containers with a couple of handfuls of peas waiting for their starring role…

 

Peas will keep for a couple of days; make sure that they are in a lidded container in the fridge. Do no re-freeze cooked peas.

 

A little pasta; some grated cheese and butter. That’s it.  Cook your pasta as usual; put a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water in a mug then drain the pasta.  Stir the pasta, a little of the water, a teaspoon of butter and the peas together.  If it’s a little dry, add a little more water.  Cover with whatever cheese you have/like and enjoy.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

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