Egg and bacon quiche

Egg and bacon quiche

Egg and bacon quiche.

Okay, there is more than one egg yolk in this dish, but what I want is to inspire you to have a zero waste, adaptable set of recipes.

If you’re veggie, or don’t have bacon, then just leave it out. Add in more onions, or leeks. Or some tuna and sweetcorn.

If the thought of making your own pastry is a little intimidating, then buy a packet of shortcrust or a ready made base. If you can learn to make your own it’ll cost you about 50p in flour and butter, not £1.39.

There are a lot of steps in this recipe. If you’re new to making pastry or quiche, then take it one step at a time. The pastry can be made a day or two in advance, it can be baked and left to one side. GO at your own pace and then enjoy your zero waste egg and bacon quiche.

 

Leftover egg yolk tart

Okay, this is a leftover smashing meal. Good luck!

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 125 grams plain flour + more for rolling out
  • 65 grams unsalted butter

OR

  • 35 + 30 grams lard/unsalted butter, respectively
  • pinch salt

For the leftover egg yolk filling

  • 1-2 leftover egg yolks
  • 1-2 whole eggs
  • 150 ml cream (double or single)
  • 1 onion add in another one or two if not using bacon
  • 100 grams bacon (optional) you could use mushrooms instead
  • 150 grams cheese - cheddar, Gruyere, double Gloucester.... just a melting cheese, it doesn't really matter which one
  • optional: 1 parmesan rind
  • optional: bay leaf, nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper

Tools

  • Scales and mixing bowl
  • Food processor or mixing bowl
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Bowl & cover for pastry
  • Measuring jug
  • Rolling pin
  • Pie dish, ceramic or metal
  • Cheesegrater
  • Baking beans
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Fork
  • Optional saucepan

Instructions

If using bay, parmesan rind ....

  • Place the cream, flavourings and seasoning in a saucepan. Turn the heat to medium. After 5 minutes, turn the heat off and leave them to one side for up to a day.

If making your own pastry, processor method

  • Place flour, salt & butter in the processor. When they look like sand, add a little water and process. Turn out onto a floured surface and squish together. 

If making your own pastry by hand

  • Cut the butter/butter and lard into cubes. Rub the fat into the seasoned flour until it looks like sand.

Both methods

  • Add just enough water to make it come together. This means that, when you squish it about, it doesn't crack and crumble.
  • Place in the bowl, cover and leave for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Make the filling

  • If you're using bacon, cut the fat off and put it in the pan to render. This will give the whole mixture the flavour of bacon.
  • Dice or slice the onion. Put the pan on around medium heat. Add the onions and DON'T LET THEM BROWN. 
  • It'll take at least 15 minutes for the onions to squidge down. Make sure you cannot see any white. 
  • Fry the bacon in with the onions. Grate the cheese.
  • If you've seasoned the cream with parmesan rind and bay, strain the cream into a bowl. Beat the egg yolks and whole egg into the cream. Stir in the cheese.

Bake the pastry

  • Turn the oven to 220C. Place a tray in the oven to heat. 
  • When the pastry is golden and lovely, turn the heat down to 180C. Remove the
  • Flour your counter (if you've been tidy enough to clean it since making the pastry). Take the pastry from the fridge and roll it out. Place it into the tin/dish. Prick it all over with the fork. Place the greaseproof paper over the pastry, cover it with pastry weights..
  • Place the quiche onto the hot tray and bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, mix the onions, bacon and cheese custard mixture. Taste and season further if needed.
  • When the pastry is cooked, carefully remove the hot baking beans and leave them to cool. 
  • Pour the custard into the hot pastry case and return to the oven. Bake for around 30 minutes or until set.

Storage

  • The tart will keep in the fridge for around 5 days. If you want to reheat, it's best to let the tart come to room temperature and then place in a warm oven until warm through. Don't reheat again. And don't microwave! The pastry will go all floppy and foul.

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 schmaltz mashed potato

Crispy schmaltz mashed potato

Crispy schmaltz mash potatoes

Okay, so you could eat these as a side dish. But, for me, these chicken fat rich mashed potatoes, drowned in gravy, are good enough on their own. Maybe some broccoli and peas so that the whole meal isn’t beige.  Don’t skip the rosemary, it’s heavenly, and the perfect way to use up your leftover chicken skin.

 

Schmaltz Mash Potatoes

Adapted, barely, from James Beard 'Waste Not', p83 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 2

Ingredients

For the schmaltz

  • at least 90 grams leftover chicken skin & fat

For the mash

  • 450 grams floury potatoes such as maris piper, king edwards, or 'red'
  • 50 grams butter
  • 75 ml single cream you might need more or less depending on how much chicken skin and fat you have
  • The schmaltz

To serve

  • Chicken gravy
  • One sprig of rosemary

Tools

  • Scales and bowl
  • Small saucepan with lid
  • Large saucepan
  • Measuring jug

Instructions

Make the schmaltz

  • Chop up the skin and fat, and place in the saucepan. Cover with water and put on a medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook at simmering point for an hour.
  • Increase the heat to medium after an hour and continue to cook the mixture until the pieces of skin have browned. This will take around 15 minutes.
  • Strain the schmaltz; if there's any little crunchy bits at the bottom of the pan

Make the mash

  • Peel and boil the potatoes in well-salted water. They are cooked when a knife pushes into one and gives way.
  • Mash the potatoes with all the cream, all the schmaltz and all the butter.
  • Warm up the gravy, finely chop/mince the rosemary, and serve. Add some green veggies on the side, if you like, maybe a fried egg.

Storage

  • The mash will keep for up to five days.

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.

Fishfinger fish cakes

Fishfinger fish cakes

Fishfinger fish cakes

My first job, aged 15 or 16, was washing pots.  I’d make £16 a week for the Saturday lunch session. I took the job over after one of my brothers didn’t want it any more. One Saturday morning I knocked on the fire door, said “I’m Tom’s sister – he’s not doing this any more”.  Barry, the head chef, shrugged and let me in.  It was a small kitchen, just two chefs and me.

I loved it – hot and dirty work, scrubbing pots and heaving trays of dishes in and out of the industrial dishwasher.  The labour of it appealed to me, much more than working in a shop (note: I never got the shop jobs I applied for.  Ever.  Only ever cafe and restaurant jobs).

After a few months, my responsibilities seemed to increase. Barry the head chef taught me how to use the giant food mill to grind potatoes.  Adding poached salmon, herbs, anchovy essence and seasoning.  And, how to shape a fishcake with my hands: using a cutter created waste. I learnt to pat and roll out the mixture, cut it into squares that you smooth and shape into circles with your hands.

After he taught me this, Barry sat in the cupboard that was our staff room, drank a tea, smoked a fag and read the Sun. And I was making the fishcakes.  Which was his job.  But I’ve never used a cutter to make a scone or fishcake, because it’s less wasteful and there’s less washing up.  Okay, maybe you’ve never made a fishcake – great!  But, maybe now is the time to start.  They are cheap, good for you, comforting and delicious.

Fishfingers  – okay they’re hardly poached salmon.  But don’t let that stop you. The crunchy breadcrumbs work well in the fishcakes, and adding more breadcrumbs on the outside of your fishcake adds to the deliciousness, and is a thrifty way to make a small amount of protein go further.

Crunchy fish cakes

Ingredients

  • 400 grams raw potatoes (350 grams cooked)
  • 150 grams cold breaded fish/fishfingers
  • 2 eggs
  • salt & pepper
  • 75 grams plain white flour
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika/ras al hanout optional, but they add a lovely flavour
  • 100 grams breadcrumbs
  • Plenty of vegetable oil for frying

Tools

  • Scales & bowl
  • Chopping board & sharp knife
  • Saucepan
  • Peeler
  • Potato masher/fork
  • Whisk/fork
  • 3 small bowls/plates for egg and breadding
  • 2 large plates
  • Frying pan

Instructions

Prep

  • If starting with raw potatoes, peel and boil/steam/microwave until they are soft through
  • Mash the potatoes well with a masher or fork, and season well with salt and pepper

Combine the fishcakes

  • Lay out the three smaller bowls
  • In the first, add your flour, the second your eggs and third your breadcrumbs
  • Season the flour and the breadcrumbs; if using, add the spice to the breadcrumbs
  • Whisk the egg
  • Break the fish into 1 inch/2cm pieces
  • Place oven to 100C
  • Add the fish to your mashed potatoes and mix through
  • Take a handful of mixture and roll it into a ball. Do that until you have between 6 & 8 fish cakes
  • Flatten each fishcake with the flat palm of your hand and is about 2cm thick
  • Take one fishcake and place it in the flour. Using your right hand, make sure it’s entirely covered
  • Place in the egg. Using your left hand, cover it in egg. Using your left hand still pop the fish into the bowl with the breadcrumbs
  • Using your right hand, press the fishcake into the breadcrumbs so it has a nice crunchy covering and is a little flattened
  • Still using your right hand, place the fishcake onto the waiting plate. Repeat until they are all covered
  • Place enough oil to cover about 2mm in your frying pan and turn the heat to medium

Cook the fishcakes

  • Pop a little leftover lump of breadcrumbs into the pan; when they sizzle, you’re ready
  • Place 2 or 3 fishcakes in the pan and cook until golden (about 7 mins)
  • Once golden flip and repeat
  • Keep the waiting cakes warm into the warm oven
  • Serve with veg/beans