(DO NOT BIN) scrapings of bread sauce

(DO NOT BIN) scrapings of bread sauce

Okay I’m sorry if I’m skipping you guys to the end, mentally.  But bread sauce.  It’s a funny thing, isn’t it?

I didn’t eat bread sauce until I was 23.  My dad is a Yorkshireman, and we never, ever, ate turkey for Christmas.  So I learnt these traditions via my ex and his family who love their turkey, their bread sauce and cranberry sauce.

The name of it just sounded so gross – sauce made out of bread?!  But like Yorkshire puddings (served before the main roast, alone with only a pool of rich gravy, thank you very much) or a plate of thickly sliced bread placed in the middle of the table, bread sauce is a thrifty and delicious way to stretch expensive meat further.

But chucking it?!  No way!  If something is just, almost just, bread and milk – well, there’s loads we can do.

I made these fritters for breakfast one morning.  I said “Would you like a fritter?” “Hmmmmm, K” (she’s 13).    I stood at the cooker, cooking more.  She sat and ate, just a foot away from me.  “IS THIS A SPROUT, MOTHER?”  “Well, it’s Christmas leftovers babes”.  Reader, she ate the sprout.  And the sprout was good.

May I suggest that, when you’re clearing the table after Christmas dinner and you’re looking at the bread sauce, please please don’t just scrape it into the bin.  Wheat and milk are resource heavy to farm, so please don’t think that they’re nothing it’s just a small thing.  It’s not you know it’s not.  Squish all of those bits and scrapings into one happy fritter and trick *all* the haters into loving the leftover.

Leftover bread sauce fritters

Serves 4

Ingredients

Around 100 grams leftover bread sauce
Enough milk to take it to 300ml ml
2 eggs
Around 150 grams of leftover sprouts, carrots, ham, turkey – little bity pieces
225g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
30g unsalted butter + more for frying

Prep

Turn oven to 100C
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl
Melt the 30g of butter in the microwave or on the hob and set aside
Shred/finely chop the meat and veg leftovers

Tools

Scales
Mixing bowls
Measuring jug
Fork
Balloon whisk
Frying pan
Teaspoon
Oven-proof dish

Time

10m prep
20m cooking

Method

Add leftover bread sauce to jug and loosen with a little milk so there’s no lumps
Top with milk until you have 300ml
Whisk together
Crack the eggs in and whisk until fully mixed
If you’re using a big jug, add the flour mixture straight in and beat until smooth
If you don’t have a massive measuring jug, pour the liquid into the bowl and beat until there are no lumps remaining
Stir through your leftover veg and/or meat
Stir the melted butter through
** Put frying pan on the hob and add a pinch of butter – sort of 2 peas worth
Put the heat to medium hot
When the butter sizzles, pick the pan up and swirl it around so the butter is all over the bottom
Pour the batter on – enough so the fritter is about 6-7cm across (I can only cook 3 a time in my large pan)
Turn the heat to medium
The fritters are ready to turn when little bubbles appear on the surface
TIP: I loosen the fritters away from the surface of the pan as they cook, which makes them much easier to turn and less likely to catch
Using your flipper, flip them!
Mine are rarely perfect circles, so don’t worry about that
Cook for about a minute. They’re done when they are golden on the bottom
Place in the oven-proof dish, pop in the oven and start from **, until you have used all of your mixture
Serve with a little pat of butter and, of course, an egg on top

Leftovers?
Store in a lidded container in the fridge. Use as soon as possible for the best taste, but they keep okay for up to 3 days
Reheating: if there’s meat in there, I wouldn’t reheat.  If veggie, go for it.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Couldn’t drink the last) half glass of red wine

(Couldn’t drink the last) half glass of red wine

Yeah yeah I know “WHO has leftover wine?”.  Not often me TBF.  But it has been known – a big party here, a “I *really* shouldn’t have that last glass” after a pleasantly boozy Sunday lunch and knowing that there’s a big meeting on Monday morning. So, sometimes, and especially those of us who enjoy our wine, do have leftovers.

Okay, this isn’t a recipe but – leftovers are sometimes the one thing you need to give you an idea for tomorrow’s dinner.  Knowing that a hefty glass of red is tucked away in my freezer is all I need to think about cooking a bolognese, or poach some pears, or make a hearty onion soup or gravy.  Over Christmas we don’t always want or need to be cooking though!  So pour that wine into a tupperware or ice-cube trays and save it for a quiet day when a sauce can bubble and pop.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Three ways with) Half a Cabbage ‘Slaw

(Three ways with) Half a Cabbage ‘Slaw

Cabbage. Crunchy when fresh and boiled to smithereens by my grannie.  Like cauliflower, it’s a veg that grows beautifully, easily and plentifully in the UK; this, plus shitty ways of cooking and farming for yield over flavour, makes cabbage a veg that lots of people don’t like.  Think school dinner halls.

My friend Rachel said that half a cabbage is one of her food waste problems; after one stir fry, what’s a savvy cook to do?  Watching half a sad cabbage turn, slowly inevitably, a bit brown and speckled, from day one to day five, is not a good feeling.  Let’s get this chopped up and saved from food waste hell.

The simplest way to dispatch your leftover cabbage is to shred that baby up, grate in the rest of your fridge bottom leftovers and make this simple sweet and sour dressing, perfect for putting some pep in your step.  It’s a quick and healthy lunch, and if you want to shove some protein in there, you are winning at life, my friend (I know, I hate me, too).

Leftover cabbage slaw

Serves 2

Ingredients

About 1/4 leftover cabbage – white, savoy or red
Similar weight of any other leftover veggies from the fridge – carrot, beetroot, radish, cucumber, brocolli

Dressing

50 ml white wine/cider vinegar
juice of one lemon or lime
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
2 tablespoons ground nut oil
Sriracha/Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste

Tools

Knife – I use a bread knife for cabbage
Chopping Board
Grater
Mixing bowl
Jam jar

Time

About 10 mins if you’re hand with the knife or 20 minutes if you’re a little slower

Prep

Mince the garlic

Method

If your cabbage is in halves, cut it into quarters
Cut out the stalk and discard
Using the bread knife, cut the cabbage into strips around 5mm thick
If using broccoli heads, grate that whole guy; save the stalks for a pasta sauce or a ragu base
Carrots, beetroot, kohlrabi?  Grate from fresh
Radishes?  Slice finely
Cucumbers?  Cut into thick chunks

Dressing

Mix the vinegar, lime juice, sugar, soy sauce sauce and garlic until the sugar dissolves
Pour in the oil and sprinkle on sriracha/tabasco
Screw on the jam jar lid and shake until combined

Only mix the slaw and dressing when you’re about to eat
If you’re making a load for your lunches, DO NOT MIX AND THEN TAKE TO WORK (vom emoji)
Take the dressing in the *tightly* done up jam jar and the salad in a separate tupperware

Storage/further meals

How long you can keep the slaw depends on how long your cabbage has been sitting around
If it’s a bit manky, it’ll stay a bit manky
If it’s super fresh, then you’ve got a few days on your side
Try one piece before tucking into lunch

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Roasted too many) Parsnip & Pea Soup

(Roasted too many) Parsnip & Pea Soup

Sunday roasts aren’t the mainstay of British dinner table as they once were, but we all like to push the boat out sometimes, don’t we?  Roasts, with stacks of veg, some meat, boats of gravy and, of course, leftover roasties.  And, at this time of year, roast parsnips.

Yes, parsnips are available all year from supermarkets, but they’re one of the few veggies that benefit from a frost; the cold brings out the natural sugars.  I wait for them to come in my veg box, and, honestly, they’re not my total favourite veg.

Root veg are cheap and that’s part of the reason why we get in the habit of cooking too much – we don’t worry about chucking some cheap veg in the bin. Isn’t it better that someone isn’t, momentarily, disappointed about a lack of a sweet, golden, roasted parsnip, than thinking about, over the year, how many parsnips and carrots and potatoes we all just scrape into the bin?

No more..

Peas, like parsnips, are sweet and starchy. Half an onion, some oil and some stock – you’ve got a simple, light, waste-busting lunch in minutes.

(Roasted too many) Parnsip & Pea soup

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

25 grams butter
1 onion/leek (about 85g)
50 grams leftover roast parsnips
150 grams frozen peas
500mp veg or chicken stock
Salt & pepper

Tools

Knife
Chopping Board
Saucepan with lid
Immersion blender

Time

About half an hour

Prep

Dice the onion
Chop up the parsnips a little
Heat/make the stock

Method

Melt the butter in the saucepan and add the diced onion/leek
Sweat verrrrry slowly so that they go see-through, not brown.This will take around 15 minutes, at least
When the onion/leek is soft, add the parsnips, peas and stock
Bring to the boil and let boil for a couple of minutes
Take off the heat and blend
Reheat for serving

Storage/further meals

How long you can keep the soup depends on how long your parsnips have been sitting around
A day or two = you can keep this for a few days, in the fridge, covered
Three days?  I’d eat it sooner or freeze as soon as it’s room temperature

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Seriously?!) Leftover Oil Pasta

(Seriously?!) Leftover Oil Pasta

We all love those jars of sun-dried tomatoes and roasted peppers.  Hey, I even sometimes make them (I know I’m fucking insufferable sometimes).

What about all that oil though? Okay, it’s probably not the *best* olive oil but so what?  The tomatoes or peppers have been marinading that oil for months, and there’s probably some herbs and maybe garlic in there. So even though it’s sunflower or vegetable oil in there – well, do you ever cook with those?  Of course you do!  So don’t chuck it down the sink or into the bin!

Third mug of tea in hand, I sat at my darling sister in law’s kitchen table on a cold morning as she cooked and I confess – I shouted, I yelped at her, the upturned jar of oil in her hand:
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THAT?!?!”
“Eh?” she said
“I’d use that for dinner!” We smiled at each other and she promised to not bin any more (I’m holding her to it).

Think about it – when we cook, we’re trying to get nice flavours together.  The nice flavours are already together!  So just use it and don’t chuck it, please!

So, the most simple, most easy way, to make the most out of your herb-y, tomato-y, garlic-y oil, is to stir it through some pasta.  Cook some garlic in the oil, if you like; add some cooked veg, if you like.  But a very cheap lunch could be yours, full of flavour and taking 10-15 minutes to cook.

(PS Apols if instructions on how to cook pasta seem too preachy, but I learnt this way from Rachel Roddy‘s amazing books, and means that you won’t end up with lumps of pasta that are impossible to un-glue).

Pasta with leftover sundried tomato oil

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

Oil from your jar of sundried tomatoes
50 – 100 grams pasta
Optional:
Garlic
Any olives/sundried tomatoes/little peppers from the jar
Herbs

Tools

Colander
Saucepan with lid
Sieve, if you want to get little bits out of the oil
Heatproof jug
Optional: frying pan

Time

However long it takes to cook pasta + about 5-10 minutes

Prep

Sieve oil if you like
If using any of the optional ingredients, get them all chopped up

Method

Put your pasta water on
When the water is boiling add salt and then the pasta
Put the pinger on for 2 minutes fewer than the packet directs
When the pinger goes off, save a a small jug of pasta water (around 50-80 millilitres) in your heatproof jug/little bowl
Try the pasta – you want it a little underdone because it’s going to cook more with the courgettes
When it’s ready, strain the pasta in the waiting colander
While the pasta is draining, take the garlic and stir it into the pan with the leftover oil
After about 30 seconds you should smell the garlic
Stir the pasta into the pan with the oil and add any optional tomatoes, herbs etc
Pour in about a tablespoon (15ml) of pasta water and some salt and pepper
Stir these together
If the pasta is a little too sticky, then pour in a little more water until you have the consistency you like
Serve with lots of cheese!

Storage/further meals

As you have used a good amount of pasta water, you shouldn’t have a solid lump of pasta in the bottom of a serving bowl/saucepan
Place any leftovers in a lidded container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days
Reheat in microwave or in a pan using a little water/chicken stock, or use a lot of chicken stock to make this the starter for a lovely chicken noodle soup with a chicken stock cube/fresh if you’re so inclined
Or a pasta and peas

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Slightly Soft) Roasted Leftover Pear, Stilton & Walnut salad

(Slightly Soft) Roasted Leftover Pear, Stilton & Walnut salad

Pears are a tricky beast. Buy a bag of 6, and how many do you really eat, every time?  3?  4?  All?!  GTAF.  I make like Nigel Slater and put four in a bowl to ripen, give those round little bottoms a little squeeze a couple of times a day, until they are perfectly ripe and giving and juicy etc etc.  But then it’s 3 days later, the washing mountain is building, the kids homework is beyond late and I remember that the kids don’t really like pears.  My once perfectly sweet bowl of pears are threatening to turn themselves into Lambrini Perry, scrumpy edition.

So, how to avoid the pitfalls of the mushy pear?  Once they’re fermenting in the bowl, they are, well, fermenting and there’s fuck all you can do about it.  (I am, right now, imagining my GCSE English teacher, Mr Lanaway, admonishing me for an over-reliance on swearing in my work.  I feel expressing the frustration of wasting £2.50 and a contribution to our food waste mountain is judicious, sir. Ahem).

Anyway.  Back to pears.  Once they are ripe PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE.  THE FRIDGE.  Right at the front SO YOU DON’T FORGET TO EAT THEM OKAY?

If your pears are a teeny bit mushy without being the whole hoopla rank, then just cook them.  Yes!  Cook them!

I am not a blue cheese fan.  Indeed, I used to sit on the cold – real October cold – pavement outside my dad’s favourite cheese shop, holding my nose and bawking.  I once asked a cheesemonger for a cheese “that isn’t really festy”.  I then told *these* little lines to The Cheese Buyer of Neal’s Yard. FFS.

Anyway.  If you’re looking to use up your roasted pears AND start sampling the delights of blue cheese, may I recommend this warm salad?  The cheese melts onto the nuts and pears, which does the job of making pears in salad less odd AND the cheese less intense.  If you think pears in salad is weird – remember StorrCupboard lovers! – tomatoes are fruits, so, you know, get over it and try it.  Or wait until my 2 other recipes come out 🙂

Warm, roasted leftover pears with toasty walnuts and melty cheese?  You are so welcome.

(Slightly Soft) Pear, Stilton & Walnut Salad

Serves 1-2

Ingredients

NOTE – this is more of a method than a *recipe* – so if you have 35 grams or 75 grams of nuts or cheese, get ’em used up x

2 pears – anything from *will NEVER ripen & I’m going on holiday tomorrow” to “oh god I’d better eat them even though they’re the wrong side of soft”
1/2 tablespoon of fat; I used pork fat for umami/keeping it cheap, but ground nut or vegetable oil would be great.  Avoid olive, too strong
around 50 grams of walnuts or pecans
around 50 grams of Stilton or other blue cheese
Few handfuls of salad leaves

Tools

Colander/sieve
Baking tray
Teaspoon
Scales
Chopping board
Knife
Mixing bowl
Tea towel/kitchen paper

Time

10 minutes prep
30 minutes to roast pears
5 more minutes to mix

Prep

Preheat the oven to 180C
Cut your pears in half and remove the core; chop into about 3 pieces, for even cooking
*I don’t peel the pears as I think that the skin provides a nice texture, but it’s up to you*
Place on the baking sheet and drizzle the oil all over
Roughly chop the blue cheese

Method

Place the oiled pears in the oven
Wash the salad leaves and leave to drain; either spin or pat dry with a clean tea towel
Place the salad leaves in a mixing bowl
After 20 minutes, add the nuts to the tray and coat in the oil
TIMER ON; check after 5 minutes
The nuts are done when they smell all toasty; take them out a little too soon rather than burnt
When the nuts are golden brown and the pears a little caramelised, remove from the oven
Stir the cheese into the pears and nuts on the tray
Mix the warm pear-cheese-nut goo into the salad leaves
Eat!

Storage
You can store the roasted pears for between 1 and 5 days, depending on how ripe they were when you roasted them.  You can roast alongside the nuts but do not store together, because the nuts will go soggy (insert joke here).
To serve from cold, bring to room temperature for a couple of hours before serving, if possible.  Warm through in the oven or in a microwave, if you like.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com