Leftover lard popcorn

Leftover lard popcorn

How to use leftover lard to make popcorn

It’s half term here in the UK and that means hungry kids who want something to eat *now*. Healthy-ish snacks that don’t rinse your bank account, are cheap and easy to smuggle into a cinema or pack into a picnic are what we all need. Using the leftover lard as the fat to make a bowl of home-made popcorn is a delicious and super cheap for you, me, EVERYBODY (sorry, went a bit ‘Blues Brothers’ there).

An ex’s mum taught me how to make popcorn. The transformation from hard yellow seeds to soft and puffy creamy things *still* excites me. My ex would buy those pre-made tubs that you microwave yourself. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! ALL THAT FAKE BUTTER? WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY!” and there would definitely be a tut, and there would possibly be a cuff around the ear. So, she taught me how. One kernel first, to make sure that the oil is at the correct heat.

If you have a big, Asian/African supermarket near you, then you should be able to get a kilo for around £2.35; my 100g then costs me 24p.  A supermarket 50g is around a quid so, not as good value but still masses better than anything ready-made.

A tablespoon of fat, 100 grams of popping corn and cheap snacks are yours. I often make a batch during the week to add a small pot to my daughter’s packed lunch, which costs me all of 2p.

Make sure that you’re ready to make your popcorn, with everything to hand, as it can burn ever so quickly. And it stinks.

If you’re vegan or veggie, of course you can use a plant-based oil like ground nut or sunflower; olive oil will burn too quickly and, I think, isn’t the right flavour for popcorn. If you’re an omnivore then scoop out pennies worth of lard. Get a movie, snuggle under a blanket with the kiddos and enjoy the umami flavour that using leftover lard or schmaltz and bring to a lovely big bowl of salty popcorn.

 

 

Home made popcorn using leftover lard

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Snack
Keyword: eating on a budget, family recipies
Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon leftover lard you can use plant based oils
  • 100 grams popping corn
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar & salt optional!
  • 25 grams unsalted butter

Tools

  • 1 saucepan with lid
  • 1 scales
  • 1 knife
  • measuring spoons/teaspoon & tablespoon
  • 1 large bowl for eating!

Instructions

  • Turn heat to medium and add the lard (or oil) to the saucepan
    Place ONE kernel of popping corn into the fat and keep an eye on it; after about 3-5 minutes the corn will pop
    Only once the first kernel has popped, add the rest of the popping corn to the pan and immediately place the lid on the pan
    Listen to the popping; it should rumble happily away. As soon as the popping is only every couple of seconds, remove from the heat
    Pour the corn into a waiting bowl
    Take the butter and swirl it around the hot popcorn pan; pour all over the popcorn, sprinkle with salt and butter and enjoy!

Storage

  • Popcorn is best eaten fresh but it will keep for up to 3 days in a lidded, airtight storage container

Notes

Me

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Mashed potato cakes

Mashed potato cakes

How to use leftover mash to make potato cakes

When I was little, if my mum was boiling potatoes, I’d ask her to do extra. I didn’t see any joy in a boiled potato, (well, unless it counts as a vessel for melted butter). But, I knew that too many boiled potatoes meant leftover potatoes and that meant Welsh potato cakes.

I think, when I went to uni, one of my godmothers gave me one of those cookbooks that you write in. The first recipe I called home for was the potato cake. All best writing in the cookbook; almost 20 years on and now it’s all scribbles of recipes that I’ve written here and there; a cut-out of the first recipe my ex and I fell in love with, and over; his mum’s chocolate cake (“butter or margerine”), when I made a turnip curry and that was, genuinely, nice enough to write down.

By total fluke, my dad decided to make these recently. He’d never known about mum’s recipe, and found on online. His recipe was to pan fry, which I did using dripping from their pot. I found it harder to get the crust that I love, so, I prefer to stick with baking.

I love these. They are utterly special to me.

Leftover Mash Potato Cakes

Serves 4

Ingredients

225 leftover mash
100 grams plain flour + more for dusting
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 egg
Milk – around 50ml but how much you need depends on your mash – this needs to feel quite firm but not rigid
1/2 tbsp sugar *
Pinch salt

* optional; it’s in the original, and how I like the taste,but feel free to leave out if you prefer.

Tools

Essential

Scales
Mixing bowls, small and large
Sieve
Fork (to whisk eggs)
Potato masher
Wooden spoon
Baking tray(s)
Silicone scraper
Large kitchen knife
Cooling rack

Helpful

Measuring teaspoons

Time

20m prep
20-25m to bake

Prep

Dust the baking sheet lightly with flour
Place butter in an ovenproof dish and melt in the heating oven (PUT A TIMER ON!) OR// melt in a saucepan on the hob
Lightly beat egg
Turn oven to 220 degrees
In a small bowl, mix flour(s), baking powder and salt together
Sprinkle a small amount of flour onto a baking tray.

Method

Mash all your leftover roots with potato masher until combined and smooth
Sift the flour mixture over the mashed veg
Use wooden spoon to mix them together
Add in egg, stir to combine
Pour over melted butter and combine
Flour a work surface and scoop the dough out
Using a rolling pin or patting with your hands (less washing up…), roll the dough until it’s about 3cm thick
Either way, pat the dough into a circle
Take a sharp knife, cut the dough half, and then quarters. Cut into halves again – you should have 8 triangles
Place a little flour onto your fish slice thing and gently move each cake onto the tray
When all the cakes are on the tray(s), put in the oven and bake for about 20m
They are cooked when puffed up, golden and slightly firm to the touch
Either serve straight away, or leave to cool on a cooling rack, with a knob of butter melting on top

Storage/further meals

Leave to cool and keep in a sealed container in the fridge; if you know you’re unlikely to eat within a couple of days I’d freeze them as I don’t think they keep well
Frozen, you have *months*

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Whey risotto

Whey risotto

How to use leftover whey

Hello StorrCupboard lovers! May I cast you back to the deep days of the lovely smooshy time between Christmas and New Year, when no-one knows what day it is and you’re eating about 5 meals a day? Remember that I had about 12 pints of whole, organic milk sitting in my fridge, about to go off?

We’re all trying to reduce our plastic waste. I ditched having milk delivered with my veg box and went to glass bottles on the doorstep; I do love picking them up in the morning in my raggedy dressing gown.  I also love not having 6 or 7 plastic bottles in my recycling bag on a Thursday morning. I can still support farmers and get unhomogenised milk which is important to me.  And delicious.

So I made my paneer and my ricotta, whoop!  But – gallons of whey! Eh? I 100% hadn’t realised that would happen. So, my lovely band of Grammers came to my aid…

Whey is the most heavenly addition to a risotto. Simply use half whey half stock. Boom. That’s it. Simple. Nothing more to add!

So … leftover milk made ricotta which made leftover whey. That whey has now inspired 3 meals.  To me, this is how my best cooking works – I see what’s there and it sparks me to try something new, something unusual. What do you do to get inspired in the kitchen?

 

Leftover Whey Risotto

Serves 2, heartily

Ingredients

50 grams unsalted butter
1 medium leek, white and green parts (around 100 grams)
200 grams risotto rice
250ml whey
250ml chicken/veg stock/water
100 grams peas
Around 50 grams grand padano/any Italian hard cheese

Tools

Knife, chopping board
Large frying pan
Wooden spoon
Grater

Time

About three quarters of an hour

Prep

Finely dice the leek
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 leek 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
Heat back down to medium and add some stock and stir
Keep on adding the stock and whey 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 instructions
If you’re using peas, stir through with a couple of minutes left to go
When you’re happy, stir through the grated hard cheese,

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

Whey fermented beetroot

Whey fermented beetroot

Leftover whey for lacto-fermentation

Hello StorrCupboard lovers! May I cast you back to the deep days of the lovely smooshy time between Christmas and New Year, when no-one knows what day it is and you’re eating about 5 meals a day? Remember that I had about 12 pints of whole, organic milk sitting in my fridge, about to go off?

We’re all trying to reduce our plastic waste. I ditched having milk delivered with my veg box and went to glass bottles on the doorstep; I do love picking them up in the morning in my raggedy dressing gown.  I also love not having 6 or 7 plastic bottles in my recycling bag on a Thursday morning. I can still support farmers and get unhomogenised milk which is important to me.  And delicious.

So I made my paneer and my ricotta, whoop!  But – gallons of whey! Eh? I 100% hadn’t realised that would happen. So, my lovely band of Grammers came to my aid…

This takes a couple of weeks to come to fruition but the prep takes minutes.  I’m a newbie to the fermenting world; as I’ve said before, despite loving food working in food and constantly thinking about what food is coming next, I can confess to some neophobia.  But 2019 is the year that, quite frankly, I’m just plain bored with being too scared to try things (in food and, erm, life!).  Some of my challenges are: fermented beetroot, putting my mug on Insta stories and driving on the continent (if we can still bloody well get there).

You don’t need a fancy jar for this, I just had one and want to get busy with some fermenting.  If you like gherkins and mayo, just buy the biggest jars you can find and clean them out when you’ve eaten up the content.  Fermented beetroot? My18 year old self is just plain confused, but trying new food and new recipes is, I think, important. It keeps me on my toes and open to trying new things, from a single anchovy on a slice of thickly buttered bread to the very first time I tried a steaming bowl of french onion soup, aged 8, on holiday with my family. It was probably a Knorr packet soup, but I was in heaven and I’ve never looked back. Who knows? maybe it’ll be the same with my lacto-fermented beetroots.

 

Lacto-fermented beetroots

450 grams chopped veg
500ml whey mixed with 1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon spices

Notes

On veg: if you can get it from a veg box, a farmers market or greencgrocer, do – the veggies won’t have been tumbled and washed so much, which will help your ferment to get … lively

On salt: don’t use the big bags of table salt as the iodine used to treat it may kill the ferment.  Maldon or whatnot is what you need here

On spices: I used bay leaves and fennel fronds as they were to hand; also chilli flakes, black or white peppercorns, dill seeds, fennel seeds or coriander seeds

Tools

Scales
Measuring jug
Large jar (big enough for your veg)
Cabbage leaf or pickle weight

Method

Day 1

Chop up the veg into equal sized pieces
Place herbs or spices in the jar and push down
Add veggies to your jar, in equal layers if you’re using a mixture
Leave 4cm clear to the top of the jar
Pour over enough whey to cover, leaving 3cm clear
Place your cabbage leaf or pickle weight to submerge the veg (this is essential as otherwise the veg will *rot*, not ferment)

Seal loosely or cover with a cloth and keep at room temperature for between 2 and 7 days (it’s January as I type, so 7 here!)

Day 2-7

Try the veg; once it tastes tart and the liquid is a little fizzy it’s time to move the jar to the fridge
If you see a little white mould on the liquid simply skim it off – it’s not chucking out time!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Sad salad pack rescue mission

Sad salad pack rescue mission

How to rescue leftover salad packs

I’m not a fan of salad packs – those washed bags of rocket and crunchy slightly meh leaves.  I definitely don’t like a bowl of rocket.  As a dedicated veg box customer these fuckers come my way from time to time.  Supermarket salad packs aren’t great either; the bags are gassed for preservation, with nothing to be said for the way that the leaves are farmed, ‘neutralising’ the soil because the ecosystem has been so depleted through the farming methods required to grow acres and acres of these delicate plants – which shouldn’t need fucking neutralising!  It’s soil!  Aaanyway … the reason your salad pack turns from a bag of scrumptious leaves to green goo as soon as it’s opened is because that gas has now escaped, and those leaves that are quite possibly weeks old are now, you know, too old and they will go off.

The sheer amount of energy that is expended to get these buggers to your supermarket – not to mention the time to take to earn the money to pay for the leaves – means there’s no room to waste your leftover salad pack.

As I said, I’m not a huge fan of the salad pack.  So, this is my thought process: okay, I don’t like this ingredient/I’m stuck.  I don’t want salad.  Why would I want salad?  It’s fucking January, why would ANYONE want a salad in January?! I slam the fridge and sulk and imagine inhaling a bowl of warm pasta, even though I’m not terribly hungry and the salad back is begging to turn a little yellow…

So, I calm down, stop the anxious brain from running and look at it again.

These are leaves.  Little baby leaves.  You know what else is leaves?  Spinach.  You buy spinach leaves, no?  Or bags of frozen spinach?!

So, wash those leaves, pop them in a little pan with a dash of extra water and cook them down for about 5 minutes on a medium heat.  They’ll wilt down and – voila!  Okay okay okay they don’t taste the same as spinach – give your cooked greens a taste and see what you think.  You might want to mix them up with your spinach to, essentially, well, hide the taste.  I won’t judge.  You can even then freeze the cooked greens, perfect if you need a few days’ grace.

To freeze your cooked greens, simply lie a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray; squish up little handfuls of greens and place on the tray, and when you’ve used all the greens, cover and place in the freezer.  Once frozen hard you can pop into a bag and VOILA, frozen greens, ready to heat up and stir through any soup, stew or whatever you like! Leftover salad packs never seemed so versatile!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Learning to love) not keen on ricotta

(Learning to love) not keen on ricotta

Three weeks ago I had a leftover milk glut.  I made lots of things, including paneer and ricotta.  The paneer went into a pea and paneer curry (which I’ll post another time … so many recipes from one milk mistake!).  So, leftover milk lead to me having a dish of home-made ricotta. But, as I confessed last week, I don’t really like ricotta.  Ha!

I know that we can learn to tolerate, like or love many different foods.  What we like is informed by where we’re from, the rules we grow up with, what our friends and family do and don’t like.  And, it’s also a way of explaining who we are to the world – if you eat meat, you don’t eat sugar, you’re plant based or a foodie or a McDonalds lover.

(Interested in learning more?  Read Bee Wilson’s First Bite, it’s fascinating.  Or just this essay – in 1989, a lawyer called Jeffrey Steingarten was approached by Anna Wintour to be American Vogue’s food writer.  He said yes, obvs.  Quite the career change.  Having agreed to take the job, he realised there were many foods and flavours he loathed – clams!  dill (yep, foul stuff TBH)! lard!  He taught himself to like these foods.  Yes he’s unnecessarily rude about Greek food – skip that nonsense and work onwards to how he overturned his tastes and found it much more exciting to eat, especially in restaurants, because he now liked everything on a menu and everything was up for grabs. Hoorah!).

So I took my own, small, ricotta based challenge, sought the help of my lovely Insta helpers and got on it. I did have spinach and ricotta cannelloni, courtesy of Dad Storr.  I can report that I’m Still Not Keen on cooked ricotta, sorry dad (though thank you for lunch).  So I made some more ricotta to further experiment.

Molly Wizenburg’s second book, ‘Delancey’, is where I first learned about making ricotta (though I used Victoria Glass’s recipe).  So, I returned and took some breakfast inspo from Molly.  She writes about smearing fresh ricotta onto hearty toast and adding fruit compote or freshly roasted fruit.  I have no fruit compote and it’s a terrible time of year for fruit, so I went for some heaped teaspoons of my dad’s raspberry jam.  MUCH BETTER, and my dad makes fucking amazing jam.  The sharp jam with the sweetish cheese was just lovely and would be an ace breakfast.

Verdict: good!  I learnt that ricotta is just basically cream cheese, and I like creamy things.  Kinda simple, very quick, and very nice indeed.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com