Whey risotto

Whey risotto

How to use leftover whey

Hello StorrCupboard lovers! May I cast you back to the deep days of the lovely smooshy time between Christmas and New Year, when no-one knows what day it is and you’re eating about 5 meals a day? Remember that I had about 12 pints of whole, organic milk sitting in my fridge, about to go off?

We’re all trying to reduce our plastic waste. I ditched having milk delivered with my veg box and went to glass bottles on the doorstep; I do love picking them up in the morning in my raggedy dressing gown.  I also love not having 6 or 7 plastic bottles in my recycling bag on a Thursday morning. I can still support farmers and get unhomogenised milk which is important to me.  And delicious.

So I made my paneer and my ricotta, whoop!  But – gallons of whey! Eh? I 100% hadn’t realised that would happen. So, my lovely band of Grammers came to my aid…

Whey is the most heavenly addition to a risotto. Simply use half whey half stock. Boom. That’s it. Simple. Nothing more to add!

So … leftover milk made ricotta which made leftover whey. That whey has now inspired 3 meals.  To me, this is how my best cooking works – I see what’s there and it sparks me to try something new, something unusual. What do you do to get inspired in the kitchen?

 

Leftover Whey Risotto

Serves 2, heartily

Ingredients

50 grams unsalted butter
1 medium leek, white and green parts (around 100 grams)
200 grams risotto rice
250ml whey
250ml chicken/veg stock/water
100 grams peas
Around 50 grams grand padano/any Italian hard cheese

Tools

Knife, chopping board
Large frying pan
Wooden spoon
Grater

Time

About three quarters of an hour

Prep

Finely dice the leek
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 leek 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
Heat back down to medium and add some stock and stir
Keep on adding the stock and whey 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 instructions
If you’re using peas, stir through with a couple of minutes left to go
When you’re happy, stir through the grated hard cheese,

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

Whey fermented beetroot

Whey fermented beetroot

Leftover whey for lacto-fermentation

Hello StorrCupboard lovers! May I cast you back to the deep days of the lovely smooshy time between Christmas and New Year, when no-one knows what day it is and you’re eating about 5 meals a day? Remember that I had about 12 pints of whole, organic milk sitting in my fridge, about to go off?

We’re all trying to reduce our plastic waste. I ditched having milk delivered with my veg box and went to glass bottles on the doorstep; I do love picking them up in the morning in my raggedy dressing gown.  I also love not having 6 or 7 plastic bottles in my recycling bag on a Thursday morning. I can still support farmers and get unhomogenised milk which is important to me.  And delicious.

So I made my paneer and my ricotta, whoop!  But – gallons of whey! Eh? I 100% hadn’t realised that would happen. So, my lovely band of Grammers came to my aid…

This takes a couple of weeks to come to fruition but the prep takes minutes.  I’m a newbie to the fermenting world; as I’ve said before, despite loving food working in food and constantly thinking about what food is coming next, I can confess to some neophobia.  But 2019 is the year that, quite frankly, I’m just plain bored with being too scared to try things (in food and, erm, life!).  Some of my challenges are: fermented beetroot, putting my mug on Insta stories and driving on the continent (if we can still bloody well get there).

You don’t need a fancy jar for this, I just had one and want to get busy with some fermenting.  If you like gherkins and mayo, just buy the biggest jars you can find and clean them out when you’ve eaten up the content.  Fermented beetroot? My18 year old self is just plain confused, but trying new food and new recipes is, I think, important. It keeps me on my toes and open to trying new things, from a single anchovy on a slice of thickly buttered bread to the very first time I tried a steaming bowl of french onion soup, aged 8, on holiday with my family. It was probably a Knorr packet soup, but I was in heaven and I’ve never looked back. Who knows? maybe it’ll be the same with my lacto-fermented beetroots.

 

Lacto-fermented beetroots

450 grams chopped veg
500ml whey mixed with 1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon spices

Notes

On veg: if you can get it from a veg box, a farmers market or greencgrocer, do – the veggies won’t have been tumbled and washed so much, which will help your ferment to get … lively

On salt: don’t use the big bags of table salt as the iodine used to treat it may kill the ferment.  Maldon or whatnot is what you need here

On spices: I used bay leaves and fennel fronds as they were to hand; also chilli flakes, black or white peppercorns, dill seeds, fennel seeds or coriander seeds

Tools

Scales
Measuring jug
Large jar (big enough for your veg)
Cabbage leaf or pickle weight

Method

Day 1

Chop up the veg into equal sized pieces
Place herbs or spices in the jar and push down
Add veggies to your jar, in equal layers if you’re using a mixture
Leave 4cm clear to the top of the jar
Pour over enough whey to cover, leaving 3cm clear
Place your cabbage leaf or pickle weight to submerge the veg (this is essential as otherwise the veg will *rot*, not ferment)

Seal loosely or cover with a cloth and keep at room temperature for between 2 and 7 days (it’s January as I type, so 7 here!)

Day 2-7

Try the veg; once it tastes tart and the liquid is a little fizzy it’s time to move the jar to the fridge
If you see a little white mould on the liquid simply skim it off – it’s not chucking out time!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Sad salad pack chicken stew

Sad salad pack chicken stew

This stew is just yum.  Just. Yum.  It was inspired by the wonderful Victoria Glass, from her amazing ‘Too Good to Waste’ book.  Her stew uses sweet flavours – sweet potatoes and red peppers.  Lovely, but I wanted super super simple.  The leek is great and don’t miss it out if possible as it adds a gentleness that is just delicious.

Using chicken thighs is really cheap, and much better for a stew than breast meat.  On my insta stories I showed how to render the fat from the skins; you just leave them cooking verrrrrrrrry slowly and the fat will leach out.  And then you, dear cook, get to eat it all.  Yum.

Then the leaves – just stir them in and watch them wilt down.  Supper in one pot – what’s not to love?

Leftover salad pack Chicken Stew

Inspired by Victoria Glass, Too Good to Waste, p25

Serves 4

Ingredients

800 grams chicken thighs (4 chunky ones or a packet of 8)
1 onion (around 80 grams)
1 leek (around 100 grams)
1 carrot
1 stalk of celery
3 potatoes (around 500 grams)
1 sprig of rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 litre chicken stock
Any leftover salad pack leaves that you need to eat up!

Tools

Heavy saucepan
Tongs, if you have them
Knife
Chopping board
Jug

Time

About half an hour;  active time and 45 minutes simmering – so about an hour and a half all told

Prep

Pull the skins off the chicken thighs
Finely dice the onion
Wash the leek and slice in half lengthways
Cut the leek into half moons
Dice the carrot and the celery
Peel and crush the garlic

Method

Place the skins in a cold frying pan and turn the heat to medium; sprinkle over a little salt . Turn them every couple of minutes and press the skins into the pan

When they are crispy and crunchy, remove and either scoff them or use them to add crunch to a salad another day

Turn the heat up and brown the chicken all around; you may have to do this in batches

As the chicken pieces are ready, place them on a plate and leave them to one side.  Keep cooking until you have them all finished up

Place the onion and leek into the hot fat and sweat for about 10 minutes, until soft

When they are soft, add in the carrots and celery and sweat until soft

When the veggies are soft, scrape them out and leave to one side

Add in a little more fat and turn the heat up

Pop your potatoes into the hot fat and brown on all sides

When the potatoes are brown, turn the heat down and add in the crushed garlic and stir around the hot fat for one minute

Once the garlic is cooked, return all the veggies and chicken pieces to the pan

Pour over the chicken stock, bring to the boil.  Turn the heat down and leave to simmer.  You may need to rotate the pieces from time to time

When the chicken is cooked through, stir in the leaves.  They should only take a minute or two to wilt

Storage

Leave to cool to room temperature; if the leaves were on the wonk, freeze any leftovers.  If you were just bored of them, you should have up for 5 days to eat the stew.  Only reheat what you want at each meal.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Salad pack pesto

Salad pack pesto

Salad packs are easy to grab in the supermarket and easy to forget about, honestly.

If you’re not keen on cooking up your greens, then how about making a waste-busting pesto?  My dearest friend Chloe has lived in Italy for 15 years, and I’m not sure how she’d feel about this recipe…

Pesto pasta is a simple tea for many families so having a jar in the fridge is quite normal for all of us.  I prefer home made pesto because I like mine a little chunky and funky.  I made mine with my hand held immersion blender, but if you have a food processor it’s quicker.

I love mixing my pesto in a salad, and because it’s full of nuts and cheese, I find it really filling and a great work lunch.  Enjoy making your leftover loving salad pack pesto!

Salad pack pesto

Ingredients

around 50 grams leftover salad pack, any sort
around 50 grams nuts – whole or ground almonds if they need eating up
150 ml oil (any)
75 grams hard cheese – Italian hard cheese or a hard goat cheese
2 cloves of garlic
Salt

Tools

Scales
Immersion blender or food processor
Jar for storing

Time

About 10 minutes with a food processor, 20 minutes without

Method

Processor method

Pulverise leaves until they are chopped but not goo-ey
Remove and then chop the nuts until they are ground down

Immersion blender method

Squash up the leaves, going up and down and clearing the leaves as and when you need to
Remove and next it’s the nuts; again jiggle it up and down (or use ground almonds)

Both methods

Add to the leaves
Grate the cheese and garlic in the bowl, sprinkle over the salt, and pour over the oil
Mix and taste, adding in more garlic/salt/cheese until you are happy

Storage/further meals

If your leaves are a little old, then I’d get that pesto eaten toot suite
If you can’t get that pesto stirred through pasta or salad soon and the leaves were old, SCRAPE that shit straight into some silicone ice cube trays.]
If your leaves weren’t terribly old your pesto will keep for a while but is best eaten within a couple of days

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Sad salad pack rescue mission

Sad salad pack rescue mission

How to rescue leftover salad packs

I’m not a fan of salad packs – those washed bags of rocket and crunchy slightly meh leaves.  I definitely don’t like a bowl of rocket.  As a dedicated veg box customer these fuckers come my way from time to time.  Supermarket salad packs aren’t great either; the bags are gassed for preservation, with nothing to be said for the way that the leaves are farmed, ‘neutralising’ the soil because the ecosystem has been so depleted through the farming methods required to grow acres and acres of these delicate plants – which shouldn’t need fucking neutralising!  It’s soil!  Aaanyway … the reason your salad pack turns from a bag of scrumptious leaves to green goo as soon as it’s opened is because that gas has now escaped, and those leaves that are quite possibly weeks old are now, you know, too old and they will go off.

The sheer amount of energy that is expended to get these buggers to your supermarket – not to mention the time to take to earn the money to pay for the leaves – means there’s no room to waste your leftover salad pack.

As I said, I’m not a huge fan of the salad pack.  So, this is my thought process: okay, I don’t like this ingredient/I’m stuck.  I don’t want salad.  Why would I want salad?  It’s fucking January, why would ANYONE want a salad in January?! I slam the fridge and sulk and imagine inhaling a bowl of warm pasta, even though I’m not terribly hungry and the salad back is begging to turn a little yellow…

So, I calm down, stop the anxious brain from running and look at it again.

These are leaves.  Little baby leaves.  You know what else is leaves?  Spinach.  You buy spinach leaves, no?  Or bags of frozen spinach?!

So, wash those leaves, pop them in a little pan with a dash of extra water and cook them down for about 5 minutes on a medium heat.  They’ll wilt down and – voila!  Okay okay okay they don’t taste the same as spinach – give your cooked greens a taste and see what you think.  You might want to mix them up with your spinach to, essentially, well, hide the taste.  I won’t judge.  You can even then freeze the cooked greens, perfect if you need a few days’ grace.

To freeze your cooked greens, simply lie a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray; squish up little handfuls of greens and place on the tray, and when you’ve used all the greens, cover and place in the freezer.  Once frozen hard you can pop into a bag and VOILA, frozen greens, ready to heat up and stir through any soup, stew or whatever you like! Leftover salad packs never seemed so versatile!

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Half a pot of ricotta) chicken meatballs

(Half a pot of ricotta) chicken meatballs

On my leftover ricotta quest, as discussed, once I realised that a. it’s just soft cheese, and b., it’s a common Italian ingredient, well, friends, my life got a lot easier.

I bought the Rachel Roddy books last year and have been lucky enough to meet her a couple of times.  She’s as generous, friendly and kind as she sounds from her books and Guardian column, and she has kindly allowed me to reproduce one of her recipes here.

And wow, these meatballs.  Mamma mia (I didn’t know people really say that in Italy – they do!).  Like fluffy little pillows, oh man!  I served them with fresh bread and peas.  The meatballs are a little wet, so take your time when shaping them – that’s why Rachel recommends having wet hands, as it helps the mixture to not stick.

I had to make the meatballs a couple of hours before supper, and left them in the fridge, between making and serving for supper.  They were just as good as the few I pan fried with the courgettes and tomatoes for my lunch.

These chicken balls are heavenly – light and tender, perfect for using your leftover ricotta, and warming your favourite people on a cold, January night.

Chicken balls with ricotta and lemon (for leftover ricotta)

Reproduced with permission from Rachel Roddy, ‘Two Kitchens’, Headline, p236

Serves 4

Ingredients

For the meatballs

300 grams minced chicken breast
200 grams ricotta
grated zest of 1 large unwaxed lemon
60 grams soft white breadcrumbs
50 grams Parmesan, grated
a pinch of dried oregano
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt & freshly ground black pepper

To cook and serve

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
a sprig of rosemary
200 ml white wine, or 500 ml tomato sauce, or 1 litre broth

Tools

Large mixing bowl
Couple of little bowls
Scales
Teaspoon/measuring spoons
Grater
Immersion blender (if you need to make breadcrumbs)
Large frying pan
Grater
Tray
Baking parchment/paper

Time

About half an hour; you can leave the cold meatballs, covered, in the fridge to cook later in the day

Prep

Make breadcrumbs

Method

In a bowl, mix together the chicken, ricotta, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, oregano and eggs using your hands, and season well with salt and pepper. With wet hands, shape the mixture into walnut-sized balls, and place them on a tray lined with baking parchment

In a large frying pan over a medium-low heat, warm the olive oil and fry the garlic and whole spring of rosemary until fragrant, then remove from the pan. Add the chicken balls and fry gently, turning them until they are brown on all sides

If you are using white wine, add it to the pan, where it will sizzle, then let the meatballs simmer for 10 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time so they don’t stick.  By the end of cooking they should be tender but cooked through, in a slightly thickened sauce.

If you are using tomato sauce or broth, warm the sauce in a pan large enough to accommodate both it and the meatballs. Once the sauce or broth is almost boiling, drop the balls into it, making sure they are submerged.  Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and poach for 15 minutes, by which time the meatballs should be cooked through by still tender.

Storage

These are best eaten on the day; any leftovers, as ever, cool to room temperature, cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com