Squashed strawberry Bellini

Squashed strawberry Bellini

Squashed Strawberry Bellini

I confess, this was a spur of the moment deal. It had been a long week (month/year). The strawberry sauce was almost finished. I was running a bath
Of course the real deal is a white peach Bellini at Harry’s Bar in Venice. Jesus, I love white peaches. My parents would buy crates for them on summer holidays, and we’d eat 3 or 4 a day. Your squashed strawberry sauce mixed with a little prosecco, cava or crement is all you need to tackle food waste.
If you’re having friends round, you could have mixed berry bellinis. Remember, this is all relay race cooking: your leftover inspires the next meal or drink. Cheers to zero food waste.

 

Squashed Strawberry Sauce

Makes enough for 4 to enjoy, heartily, on ice-cream

Ingredients

  • 600 g strawberries the more bruised the better
  • 200 g icing sugar

Tools

  • Scales
  • Immersion blender
  • Fine mesh sieve
  • Mixing bowl
  • Sieve for icing sugar
  • Balloon whisk

Instructions

  • Remove the green tops (hulls) from the strawberries
  • If there are moudly bits, cut those off
  • Leave bruised fruit, that’s okay
  • Blend until smooth
  • Pour through the fine-mesh sieve into a bowl
  • Sift in icing sugar (don’t be tempted to skip this; you’ll spend longer whisking the lumps of icing sugar out...)
  • Whisk until the sugar is fully mixed
  • Pour into a jug

Storage

  • Your strawberry sauce will keep, covered, in the fridge, for a few days: they *were* manky berries, but the sugar is now going to preserve them.
  • Not sure it’s safe? Dip your finger in and taste it! If it tastes okay it is okay. If it feels a little fizzy on your tongue then congrats, you’re making your own alcohol. Chuck it!

Crispy chicken skin chow mien

Crispy chicken skin chow mien

Crispy chicken skin chow mien

So you’ve rendered the fat from your chicken skin, but maybe you want something a little more adventurous than just, you know, eating it? Remember, relay race – what ideas do you get from this crunchy, deeply savoury, salty goodness?

Learning more about Chinese cuisine is where I’m at, and my kids love the noodles and rice that are part of it. This chow mien went down a treat. Stir fries are a perfect salty/sweet/fatty meal and perfect for mid week cooking. You do need to be ready, pay attention and be ready to bin any garlic that is burned.

You can use any green veg in this, really. If you don’t have much chicken skin, you can always add any leftover meat you might have hanging around, or some egg or cashew nuts. It’s a template to get you using up those random bits in your fridge for a healthy, thrifty, leftover busting dinner.

 

Crispy Chicken Skin Chow Mien

Adapted from 'Stir Fry' by Ching-He Huang
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 75 grams frozen greens/spinach, defrosted

OR

  • 150 grams fresh greens (spinach, chard, kale)
  • 100 grams brocolli
  • pinch Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 50 ml vegetable/chicken stock/water
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu/light soy sauce
  • pinch soft brown sugar
  • leftover crispy chicken skin

For the noodles

  • 150 grams dried noodles
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Tools

  • Chopping board & knife
  • Wok
  • Measuring jug
  • Measuring spoons/teaspoon & tablespoon
  • Saucepan & colander/sieve

Instructions

  • If you haven't done so yet, defrost your greens or de-stem fresh greens by yanking off the core, chopping the leaves. Wilt in a hot wok for one minute and set aside.
  • Finely chop the garlic and ginger.
  • Cook the noodles to packet instructions. Once you have drained them, stir the sesame oil through and set to one side.

The stir fry

  • Heat the wok until smoking and add the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for 5 seconds then add the broccoli. Stir fry for one minute before adding some water around the rim of the pan to allow the broccoli to steam. Add the cooked/defrosted greens and stir fry for one minute, and then add the Chinese 5 spice.
  • Add the chicken/veg stock and noodles and toss together for one minute. Add the hoisin sauce and shoyu/light soy sauce and soft brown sugar. Place in bowls, add the crispy chicken skin and serve immediately.

Storage

  • If you don't eat this immediately, remove chicken skin and store separately. It won't keep well so honestly I'd just eat it. The noodles will keep fine for a few days in a lidded container. You can eat them cold or reheated.

Crispy chicken skin – with extra rewards…

Crispy chicken skin – with extra rewards…

Crispy chicken skin with benefits

I was veggie for 8 years. I most missed roast chicken, picking at all the good bits with my dad, like little Henry VIIIs at the end of Sunday lunch.

Rediscovering the joys of crispy chicken skin has been a joy of my later adult life. If a recipe calls for chicken thighs, I’ll always, always strip the skin off to render the fat. It takes a little time but you don’t have to pay any attention. Slowly the fat will melt into the pan, leaving you with crispy chicken skin that you can, if you’re me, enjoy just with some salt and a cold drink. If you feel so inclined, crumble it through some popcorn.

The benefits? Now you have chicken fat to cook with. Think relay race: what does that chicken fat inspire you to cook? It will only keep for a week or so, in a lidded jar in the fridge. Maybe you’ll make pasta; maybe a stew. The point is that from one packet of chicken thighs, you have the stew you were going to cook, some crispy skin and some fat. One meal, one snack and one store cupboard ingredient, and never a leftover, leftover.

Crispy chicken skin with benefits

Rendering fat from meat is a zero-waste and tasty way to make the most your chicken

Ingredients

  • chicken skin
  • salt go crazy with smoked salt if you have it...

Tools

  • frying pan
  • tongs
  • jar/little pot for storing leftover fat

Instructions

  • Place the chicken skins in the frying pan and salt them well. Turn the heat to medium and gently cook the skins through.
  • It will take about 20-30 minutes to get the skins crispy, gently pulling the skin so that it's as thin as possible.
  • When you are happy with the crispiness, eat. You can store them but they are best served warm, maybe with a little extra salt.

The fat

  • Pour the fat into a jar and store in the fridge. It will keep for around a week or so. Use the chicken fat instead of any butter or vegetable oil if you're making a soup or stew.

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 Soy Pork

Leftover Green Beans with Soy Pork

Leftover Green Beans with Soy Pork

This Chinese recipe for green bean stir fry shows one of the food rules I like to teach: pork and green stuff work well together. Every culture pairs them (bacon and cabbage! Ham and peas! Frisee lettuce and lardons!). Sweet and/or bitter greens both work well against strong flavoured, fatty pork. Hell, that’s why I love adding peas to chowder

Stir Fry is an excellent book to learn about Chinese cuisine; it’s simple and the recipes work. I avoided cooking Chinese food for a long time as I couldn’t afford all the flavours and vinegars. Living on a budget means not having a larder stuffed so you can cook Italian, Japanese, Ghanaian or Nordic cuisine on any given day. Right now, greens are great and I know I’m cooking a lot of Chinese cuisine. This means I can justify the rice wines and whatnot. I know that I’ll use up the little bottles before moving on to different flavours – and not necessarily replacing the oyster sauce or rice vinegar when I finish it.

Inspiration isn’t easy to come by when you’re buying the same veg week in, week out. Starting with using up half a packet of green beans in a new way is a great place to start. Or try a veg box; or buy two things from a farmers market; or take a punt on a large £1 scoop of a veg you might not usually try. You might be surprised. You’ll never know unless you try, right?

If you like the look of this recipe but don’t have green beans, then use runner beans, or maybe even some sliced hardy greens or peas. I don’t know if that’s authentic, but it’ll use up those veg or that meat, it’ll get everyone fed and it’ll taste great.

Leftover green beans with soy pork

Adapted, barely, from 'Minced Soy Pork', Ching-He Huang, 'Stir Fry', p173

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red chilli (optional, if cooking for kids)
  • 200 grams minced pork
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce/tamari sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaohsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • around 200 grams leftover green beans cut into 2.5 cm slices
  • 50 ml water
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce/shoyu
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour, blended with 1 tablespoon cold water
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Tools

  • knife and chopping board
  • wok
  • measuring jug
  • ramikin/little bowl
  • measuring jug

To serve

  • jasmine rice or noodles

Instructions

Prepare the noodles or rice

  • Cook as per packet instructions
  • If you haven't already, blend the cornflour and water.

Prep

  • Cut the beans into 2.5cm slices. Slice the garlic and chilli, if using.

Method

  • Heat the wok over a high heat until smoking and add the oil. Add the garlic and chilli (if using) and toss for a few seconds to release the flavour. Add the pork and let it settle in the wok for about 30 seconds to brown and sear and then stir for 1 minute.
  • Add the five spice powder and season with the dark soy/tamari. Toss until the pork turns rich brown and then season deglaze the wok with the Shaohsing rice wine/sherry.
  • Add the beans and toss for 2 minutes. Add the water and bring to the boil, then season with the light soy sauce and stir in the blended cornflour. Add a twist of black pepper and season with the toasted sesame oil

Storage

  • You can stir in a lidded container, in the fridge, for up to 5 days.