(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

(Half a glass) Red Wine Vinegar

(Half a glass) Red Wine Vinegar

Last night, I sat with darling friends, set the world to rights over prosecco, pizza, red wine and Galaxy.  At half twelve we inched ourselves towards bed, half full wine glasses left on the side.  This was, of course, a happy coincidence/this is a way I like to spend Saturday nights.

Cooking with red wine doesn’t have to be all full bowls of risotto and bowls of ragu and mushrooms.  How about a nice salad?  Mmmmmmm red wine salad?  Doesn’t that sound lush?  Or how about making your own red wine vinegar? It’s simple – just leave your leftover red wine out in a jar, and cover it with some clean, thin fabric so that fruit flies don’t die a happy death in your wine.

Now you have a nice, home made wine vinegar to dress your salad!  That sad salad pack that’s sitting in your fridge? This home-made red wine vinegar will make sure that that it doesn’t get wasted.  The red wine vinegar does take a couple of weeks to ferment, but you’re saving time, saving money and saving food waste. So let the wine do its own magic, banishing food waste, one delicious meal at a time.

(A glass of leftover) Red Wine Vinegar

Ingredients

Leftover red wine

Tools

Jam jar
Muslin

Time

A couple of weeks

Prep

Sterilise the jar

Method

Pour the wine into a jar
Cover with a muslin
Leave for about 2 weeks
Vinegar!

Storage/further meals

Store in a cool, dark place

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Half a glass of) Red Wine Risotto

(Half a glass of) Red Wine Risotto

Leftover wine means risotto.  I so rarely make it because (cough) I don’t like to have leftover wine, and I certainly don’t like sacrificing a hefty glass to the cooking pan.  A bottle of wine isn’t a cheap thing for most of us; I hover around spending around £7 per bottle and I intend to drink my wine!  But when drinking it isn’t on the cards, let’s not waste our precious my precious wine.

Oh, to live in Italy or France where 4 euro wine is good!  Anyway, this price point reminds us to not leave half empty glasses of wine. or be like Marina O’Loughlin and not pour hulking great glasses in the first place.  If you’re tidying up after a boozy lunch or lovely party DON’T throw every half glass leftover; freeze it if you need to and know that this risotto can be filling up your bowl with all its warming and cosy goodness.

This red wine risotto can use up frozen red wine if you have some lurking.  I served it to my friend Lucy with a hefty stir through of Stilton and some leftover sprouts; both optional, but if you’re feeding a lotta people on Boxing Day or after, this is a thrifty and delicious way to nail those tricky leftovers.

(One glass of leftover) Red Wine and Stilton Risotto

Serves 2, heartily

Ingredients

50 grams unsalted butter
1 medium onion (around 100 grams)
200 grams risotto rice
250ml red wine
250ml chicken/veg stock/water
Around 100g blue cheese (optional)
Around 50 grams grand padano/any Italian hard cheese
Leftover greens (totally optional)

Tools

Knife, chopping board
Large frying pan
Wooden spoon
Grater

Time

About three quarters of an hour

Prep

If using frozen wine, defrost
Finely dice the onion
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 onion 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
Turn up the heat and pour in the wine; let is cook nice and hot for a couple of minutes
Heat back down to medium and add some stock/water and stir
Keep on adding the stock/water 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 instruction
When you’re happy, stir through the grated hard cheese, and a little of the blue cheese, if using
If you’ve got some greens or sprouts to use up, stir them through, too
Serve with extra blue cheese and  sprouts if you like

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

(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

(Half a leftover) Smothered Cabbage

(Half a leftover) Smothered Cabbage

Some things just go together; pork and greens are a perfect example of this.  A tiny amount of pork, saved from the bin, is all you need to give that leftover cabbage some pep in its step.

This recipe was inspired by an amazing food writer and cook, Edna Lewis.  She lived in Freetown, Virginia, which was a community of people who had emancipated themselves from slavery.  This community included her grandparents, themselves emancipated slaves.  Her recipes show a deft experience of working with excellent produce and how to make every meal into a feast.  That skill comes from experience and a respect for food and not wasting it, a skill that you, me and more people are now re-learning.  If you’re interested in reading about seasonal, delicious and thrifty food, and the relationship of this pioneering African-American woman and community, hunt it out, curl up in a chair and learn,

I experimented with this recipe, using half groundnut oil and half sesame oil to make it veggie and vegan friendly.  It was okay but a little greasier.  The taste was less mellow and reminiscent of nutty seaweed from Chinese takeaways – one of my favourite choices when I spurge on a takeaway. Not bad, just different.

If you cook roast pork you must MUST save the fat, precisely for recipes like this.  You’re making the most of the joint and saving money; this is the recipe to convince you.

(Three ways with half a) Leftover Smothered Cabbage

Adapted barely, from ‘The Taste of Country Cooking’, Edna Lewis, p139
Serves 2-4 as a side dish

Ingredients

1/2 a leftover cabbage (around 350 grams)
1 tablespoon of leftover pork fat OR half a tablespoon each groundnut oil and sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon nice vinegar (red wine, white wine or apple cider)
Salt and black pepper

Tools

Frying pan with a lid
Scales
Knife and chopping board
Measuring spoons
Tongs/fork

Time

About half an hour to prep and mix

Prep

If necessary, cut your leftover cabbage into quarters
Cut out the stalk by placing on the diagonal
Cut into chunks around 1cm wide

Method

Heat the fat/oils in the frying pan until quite hot
Add the cabbage and let it sear (go a bit brown) but don’t let it burn
After about 3-4 minutes when the sides are browned, sprinkle over the vinegar and place the lid on the pan
Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
Season well with salt and pepper
Eat!

Storage/further meals

This is best eaten fresh, if possible
But, if you can’t eat it all, allow to cool to room temperature then cover
Keep to up to 5 days in your fridge

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Three ways with half a) Cabbage and coconut soup

(Three ways with half a) Cabbage and coconut soup

A few years ago I was working at a summer show – you know, loads of tents and you can walk around, buy some nice food and a pint of Pimms (what?) and maybe watch a dog show.  There will be burgers, samosas and some quinoa salad to buy.

I was working with a new colleague and, it’s a funny one, working these events – you spend a day, or two, or three, with one other person who you may or may not ever speak to again. Quickly you know about intimacies you’d never share with someone who might be at a neighbouring desk.  But you don’t want to embarrass yourself.

So picking up a savoy cabbage so firm and fresh that the leaves squeaked, and I muttered “Oh GOD it’s so fresh you can HEAR IT” whilst holding it to my ear … so I embarrassed myself.  Oh lord.  Luckily only people who love food can stand in a tent and sell it for days and hours a week, so he got it and laughed.

But not every cabbage comes to us so fresh that you can barely snap the outer leaves off.  I know that there’s often a half eaten, ever so slightly browning cabbage in my large crisper drawer.

This recipe, which I’ve tweaked ever-so-slightly, is another light lunch lovely.  Cabbage and coconut!  It’s such a wonderful combination.  I think that the addition of tamari/dark soy or fish sauce is essential if you’re not going to use any stock.  It’s creamy, it’s flavoursome and cheap as all hell.  Add in a few handfuls of coriander if you like, and def any little odds and sods of greens that are hanging about.  Don’t waste your greens; they are cheap but they are too good to be wasted.  Get on it!

(Three ways with half a leftover) Cabbage and coconut soup

Adapted, barely, from Henrietta Clancy, ‘Just Soup’, p28
Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1/2 medium cabbage: about 300 grams with the stalk, 250 grams after removing the stalk
1 tablespoon ground nut oil
1 small onion (about 55 grams), chopped into dice
1 garlic clove, chopped/minced/grated
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
400 ml can coconut milk
100 ml water/stock
Squeeze of lime/lemon
Optional: coriander, peas, broccoli, green beans – any nice greens that need eating up

Tools

Knife, chopping board
Saucepan with lid
Immersion blender (optional)

Time

About half an hour

Prep

If using frozen peas, leave to defrost
Remove the stalk of the cabbage – if necessary cut into quarters and remove the stalk by cutting it out on the diagonal
Mince or grate the garlic

Method

Heat the oil in the saucepan and when it’s warm, add the diced onion
Cook on a medium/low heat until the onion is see-through – at least 10 minutes
DON’T LET IT BROWN
Only when the onion is soft enough to be squashed with your wooden spoon add the cabbage, garlic and chilli flakes
Stir them around for a minute or so
Add the coconut milk and water and bring to the boil
Simmer for 10 minutes
If you like, blend a little
If adding more greens, do this now
Squeeze over the lime or lemon
Taste; I recommend a good few shakes of soy/tamari and a pinch of fish sauce

Storage/further meals

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