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.

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 sausage and bacon wraps

Leftover sausage and bacon wraps

Leftover sausage and bacon wraps

At home we’re trying this whole “don’t just eat it because it’s there” thing.  Not easy when it’s so easy just to eat those last two sausages, last rasher of bacon, just sitting there, just in reach, so easy to just eat them … but we were good, we didn’t. Food waste is also eating food that we don’t need, a luxury that most of the world hasn’t long been able to achieve.
But 2 sausages and 1 rasher of bacon?  Cold bacon?  Ergh. Or maybe … some perfect salty, rich flavours that can stretch to feed 2 hangry adults or 4 modest appetites…
Using some Mexican inspired flavours, I though about refried beans. Refried beans were so surprisingly tasty to me when I got over my jitters and tried them.  The name is misleading, a mis-translation. In my local Asda, a tin of refried beans is £1.50, and a tin of pinto beans is 55p. It won’t surprise you to know I went for the pinto beans. Buy ready made if you like – we all need different shortcuts in life, and you’d be horrified to see the inside of my car, etc etc.
The garlic-y, soft beans are a great foil to the salty meat.  Toast your wrap, chuck in whatever salads you have, crumble over a little of the meat, some Tabasco or chilli flakes to taste and you’re done. Go crazy and add some sour cream.  Living on the edge, stopping food waste and saving money, whoop!

Refried beans

Adapted, barely, from Wahaca by Thomasina Miers, p148-9
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 can pinto or black beans
  • 1 medium onion (about 200 grams)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 25 + 10 grams unsalted butter or lard * 25 grams for cooking, 10 for serving
  • few fresh bay leaves
  • salt & pepper
  • * if cooking with lard, still use 10 grams of butter to serve, not additional lard

Tools

  • sieve/colander
  • frying pan
  • chopping board and knife
  • food processor or immersion blender & bowl

Instructions

  • Drain and rinse the beans. Place in bowl or food processor and blitz, adding a little water to loosen up.
  • Finely dice the onion.
  • Heat the fat in your frying pan. When it starts to foam, add the onion and season well. Let it cook until really soft - about ten minutes. When the onion is nearly ready, finely slice the garlic.
  • When the onions are done, add the garlic and stir, making sure that it doesn't burn - not too hot. After about a minute, add the pureed beans and bay leaf and stir well. Season heartily, as beans like a lot.
  • Stir regularly over the ten minutes to keep the texture nice and avoid sticking to the pan. Add a little more water - you're looking for a puree that falls off your spoon.
  • When you're ready to serve, stir through the 10 grams of butter. Spread over your wrap.

Storage and other uses

  • Drizzle with sour cream and serve with tacos.
    Store in a lidded container in the fridge for up to five days.

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Easter chocolate is its own kind of hell. Lots of little bits and bobs. Lots of little leftovers. Everywhere. From school (when the fuck did teachers start spending their own salaries on chocs for kids??), to grandparents, friends and uncles who know that the biggest Easter eggs are the best Easter Eggs. Of course I give my kids unnecessary Easter Eggs – how could I not?

I was thinking about what you all would love for a little Easter goodness and thought back to last year’s recipes. They’re solid, especially the cheesecake (if I ever meet Ottolenghi…).  But you need more! Happily for us all, Sue Quinn recently published ‘Cocoa: An Exploration of Chocolate, with Recipes’. She kindly gifted me a copy and I spent one afternoon and one Sunday morning reading her words and recipes.

So, how will Sue and I help you to quickly dispatch the Cadbury’s mini eggs and cream eggs and smarties eggs that no-one wants because smarties are smarties and not eggs? Well, first off, your quick quick recipe is for this Spanish inspired hot chocolate. I added more cocoa to counteract the sweetness in milk chocolate and all those shells.

You can dip churros in these, if you like (read: I am not about to make these right now); Sue recommends dipping in salty toast soldiers (oh god). I sipped a little of mine, with extra milk, and intend to drink the whole pot. Like a lady of leisure I shall sip my chocolate, maybe in a bubble path, and thank every last person who gave my children so much chocolate.

 

Leftover chocolate hot chocolate

Barely adapted from 'Cocoa', by Sue Quinn, published by Hardie Grant 2019

Ingredients

  • 45 grams cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons cornflour
  • pinch sea salt flakes
  • 500 ml milk
  • 25 grams caster sugar
  • 100 grams leftover chocolate if using a bar of chocolate, grate it; if using up lots of little Easter chocolates, with their hard sugar shells, grind in a food processor/pestle and mortar/bashing them with a rolling pin, between 2 clean tea towels
  • 1 star anise/sprinkle of fresh nutmeg, or a cinnamon stick... Use what you like!
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tools

  • scales
  • saucepan
  • whisk
  • measuring jug
  • grater/food processor/rolling pin (see note, above)
  • wooden spoon

Instructions

  • Combine the cocoa powder, cornflour and salt in a small bowl
  • Place the milk, sugar, spice and vanilla in a small pan and almost bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour enough of the hot liquid into the cocoa powder mixture to make a paste; stir until smooth.
  • While the pan is off the heat, add the chopped chocolate and cocoa paste to the milk. Stir until the chocolate has melted and everything is well combined. Taste - you may want to add more sugar, as I was conservative.
  • Return the pan to a low heat and stir until thick and creamy - use a whisk if you need to get rid of any lumps. Remove any whole spices.
  • If you're planning to use this as hot chocolate you'll need to add additional hot milk or water

Storage

  • This will keep for around a week in the fridge, in a lidded container

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

Chop up that peppery celery and mix it with other strong flavours to make the perfect, waste busting, light lunch
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time15 mins
Servings: 1
Author: Ann Storr

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!

Leftover porridge pancakes

Leftover porridge pancakes

Leftover Porridge Pancakes

Okay, I hear that, for many of you, scraping up leftover porridge is a step too far. If it does then I suggest, gently, that you don’t have to worry about money. I’m sure you budget, but you don’t panic about the 10p going in the bin. I only had those worries for a couple of years, I was lucky. I don’t worry any longer. But I sure as shit won’t forget it.

Even if you don’t worry about 10p going into the bin, then what about the wasted oats that a farmer or its robots have sown? That farmers have harvested, milled and transported? The milk that the oats have simmered in and the effort it took to feed the cows so they were able to be milked? The honey or syrup that you chose so carefully or quickly from the cupboard? Yeah, don’t be dick. Don’t waste the porridge.

These are my favourite pancake recipe these days.  The oats make the pancakes light, smooth and creamy.  You do need to spend a second to make sure that there are no lumps or oats, so just crumble the leftover porridge though the flour. Then it’s the same as you’d make any American pancake, drop scone or griddle cake.

I made far too much batter for these last week so I wedged some foil on the jug, strapped it into the front seat and took my porridge pancake batter with me to a friends. Luckily her four kids and one of mine made short work of the pancakes.

I love these with a fried egg on top and, sue me, loads of ketchup. Or just butter and Marmite. Marmite with everything. I know. I don’t care. I hope you enjoy your porridge pancakes.

 

Leftover porridge pancakes

Perfect for slightly jammy, syrup-y smooshed up porridge leftovers - these soft, light pancakes will warm your heart, save you pennies and avoid food waste.

Ingredients

  • around 50 grams leftover porridge
  • around 100 grams plain white flour
  • around 125 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 15 grams melted butter & more for cooking

Tools

  • Measuring jug
  • Scales
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Non-stick or cast-iron frying pan
  • Flipper
  • Spatula

Instructions

  • Weigh your leftover porridge; you don't want more than 50% leftover porridge as it will make the pancakes too soft; if you have more than about 75 grams of leftover porridge, double up the recipe for more, or look at my other leftover porridge recipes
  • Add the salt, sugar and baking powder to the flour
  • Add the flour mixture to the porridge; using your hands or a spoon (preferably hands), rub the porridge through the flour to make sure that there aren't any lumps
  • Milk: how much you need again depends on the ratio of porridge to flour. Start with around 75 ml and whisk the egg into the milk
  • Pour the egg/milk mixture into the porridge mixture and whisk. You want a batter that's quite thick, like white sauce. 
  • I use the pan I'm cooking in to melt the butter; pour the melted butter into the pancake batter, so that the pan is already warm
  • If you need more milk, add it now. You can always add more - sometimes I make one pancake and realise that the batter is too think and pour a little more milk in. Go with a little less milk than you need until you are happy
  • I pour all the mixture back into the measuring jug and pour straight into the pan from there
  • Scrape the sides of the jug until there's nothing left - even a tiny pancake will make someone happy

Cooking the pancakes

  • Turn the pan on to medium hot
  • Add a pinch of butter
  • When the butter sizzles, pour some batter into the pan - around 10cm pancakes are easiest to manage
  • As the pancakes cook, I like to move them a little - ease the spatula under each pancake and just wriggle it around
  • You may need to turn the heat down and up as you go. The pancakes are ready to flip when you see lots of little bubbles
  • Once flipped, the pancake will only need about another minute
  • Place the pancakes on a plate or in a dish and serve warm

Storage

  • Pancakes are best eaten ASAP but you can store these in a lidded container in the fridge, for up to 5 days - I mean they will be edible but stale. Best is to keep the uncooked batter and cook as required. Batter will keep for up to 3 days, absolutely fine