Leftover bolognese

Leftover bolognese

Leftover Bolognese Sauce

Ragu, or Bolognese, was Monday night supper. After school mum or I would fry up a double pack of Sainsbury’s mince plus one bottle of Ragu sauce. Monday night meant spag bol because it was efficient. Parmesan or cheddar on top. Lots. It fitted in, we ate, it was simple. These days I slowly cook everything, and I learnt from one of my brothers to add a good slug of milk before the tomatoes. Simmer it for hours. Cover it in cheese.

If you’re a Ragu fan, a lentil demon or a slow cooked beef and pork mince cook, when there’s just a couple of spoonfuls leftover it’s tempting to scoop it into the bin/your mouth. Still both wasteful, still both

We’ve talked about this before but it’s worth remembering – carbs and veg have been used to pad out meat for generations. So, make a little extra tomato sauce, stir that little spoonful or two of Bolognese through it and you’re there. This isn’t the fanciest idea in the world, but it’s the price of a tin of tomatoes for dinner for two. And lots of parmesan, or ‘Italian hard cheese’ or cheddar. And never a leftover.

Leftover Celery Stuffing

Leftover Celery Stuffing

Leftover Celery Stuffing

Stuffing, like Christmas turkey, pop music and Bonfire Night, did not occur in my childhood. “Tasteless” my parents would say and I didn’t even understand what it was. What how when and why was something stuffed? It was only a Christmas day with my then-in-laws coming that I realised I needed to learn, because they needed bird, stuffing, bread sauce – all the things I didn’t grow up eating.

I mixed and mashed herbs and chestnuts and dried fruits, pushing the fruity mixture into the chicken. I got it. Like pasta, Yorkshire puddings and a million other delicious carbs, stuffing has been used to bulk out expensive meat and veg.

This recipe is barely adapted from a Jane Grigson. I dialled the butter down a little, and, when I make it again, I’ll add in double the parsley, if I have it. Any herbs like parsley, tarragon, fennel fronds will all go in fine here. Even carrot tops, when they come in season in a few weeks, will work. Wild garlic, in the spring would be immense. Other than that, a batch of this stuffing will clear out your freezer of breadcrumbs, so it’s a double win.

The original recipe made mounds of stuffing; I’ve got my leftovers in the freezer, ready for a lazy Sunday lunch. Got loads of celery? Make a double batch and freeze, extending your celery for another week or month, ready to feed lots of family or friends, on your zero waste, leftover loving celery stuffing.

Leftover Celery Stuffing

Barely adapted from Jane Grigson 'Good Things'
Author: Ann Storr

Ingredients

  • 150 grams onion around a medium size but anything between 100 and 180 grams will be fine...)
  • 150 grams celery
  • 50 grams unsalted butter
  • 250 grams fresh breadcrumbs
  • grated zst & juice of half a lemon
  • 4 tablespoons parsley/tarragon/chervil/wild garlic
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper

Tools

  • Scales
  • Chopping board and knife
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk/fork (for the egg)
  • Optional: tray for baking stuffing, if not stuffing a chicken/turkey extra sunflower/ground nut oil for cooking

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in the saucepan
  • Dice the onion and celery and add to the pan. Cook the onion and celery over a low heat for about 20 minutes until they are soft and translucent - do not let them brown.
  • Whilst the celery and onion are cooking, finely chop the herbs and whisk the egg. 
  • When the food is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Mix all the ingredients together. Season to taste.
  • Either stuff in the bird or roll into satsuma sized balls and bake, basting with oil from the roasting bird or, for vegetarians, a vegetable oil

Leftover celery stir-fry

Leftover celery stir-fry

Leftover celery stir fry

Last weekend I was a little worried about what leftover celery recipes would show how versatile celery can be; not another cream of celery soup (though I love it) or coleslaw.  Like the rest of the wealthy world I’m a cookbook junkie. Because buying them is the same as cooking from them, right? Ergh. I’m as mature as I was, 20 years ago, photocopying endless essays in the corner shop, imagining some Johnny-5 type powers of speed inputting were transmitting themselves up through the photocopier lid as the light slid over the text.

So last Saturday night I sat, cross legged on my childhood bed, glass or 2 of Merlot in hand, surrounded by Thomasina Miers, Jane Grigson, Mandy Aftel and Ching-He Huang (Why yes I rock the party). As I turned the pages of Huang’s ‘Stir Fry’, I realised I’d forgotten how amazing celery is in a stir fry. D’uh you may say. You would be right.

Yet another of my many culinary blind sides has been tofu. I tried it years ago and just no.  Just tasteless and spongy.

In January I was off to Cambridge, leaving from King’s Cross. Happily for me, it was lunchtime. A friend with an unholy knowledge of top restaurants had long advised a meal Supawan, and good god he was right. One bowl of spicy noodles with pork, seafood and tofu (I like neither seafood nor tofu) later, I got it. The soft, slight blandness against stronger flavours such as celery, oyster sauce and chilli. Perfect.

I did think twice about including this recipe as it does call for Shaoshing rice wine, or sherry; I’m sure a white wine vinegar will be nice, though not quite the same flavour. But £3 is £3, whichever way you cut it. I’d love to hear what would be a cheap alternative.

Your leftover celery can be less than sterling for this recipe, but with a little crunch is best. The peppery celery blends with the peanuts and Chinese flavours for a meal that, well – well I ate the entire portion. For two. By myself.

By Sunday afternoon I had got through Huang, Miers, 2 Grigsons and half of Aftel. Happily, osmosis hasn’t ever quite worked as well as the unadulterated luxury of quiet, good wine and good books.

 

Leftover celery stir-fry

Adapted from 'Stir-Fry' by Ching-He Huang, p150
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 packet smoked tofu
  • pinch sea salt
  • grinding pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour I used plain & it was fine
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Shaosing rice wine
  • 2 large leftover celery sticks
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce/shoyu
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • pinch dry chilli flakes
  • small handful roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Jasmine rice, to serve

Tools

  • Knife & chopping board
  • Garlic crusher optional
  • Saucepan, for rice
  • Wok/large frying pan

Instructions

  • Put rice on to cook as per packet instructions.
  • Slice celery on the diagonal. Dice the tofu and sprinkle with seasoning and place to one side
  • Finely chop or crush the garlic
  • Place the wok on a high heat until smoking and add the vegetable oil. Add the garlic and toss for a few seconds ONLY. Add the tofu and leave for a minute to set and brown. Toss the tofu and garlic a couple of times, leaving around 30 seconds between, until the tofu is browned.
  • Add the rice wine or dry sherry, then the celery and cook for just under a minute until softened but still crisp.
  • Season with soy sauce, oyster sauce and chilli flakes and mix well.
  • Add the peanuts and sesame oil. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with the jasmine rice.

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!

Lemon Heart Vinegar

Lemon Heart Vinegar

Leftover lemon heart vinegar

I started obsessing about food waste when my kids were little and I was determined to give them as much organic produce as possible. Not everyone’s priority or privilege. I got by on spending around £60 a week on food and honestly, I was proud that I did manage.  Family or friends would raise their eyebrows and roll their eyes when I talked about my veg box, but I knew I was giving us good food. I learned to ignore the eye rolls. Using every scrap of a leftover lemon, half a sausage or pot of sour yoghurt made sure we could eat home-cooked food and I’m grateful that I learned to cook at home and school.

Lemons are so normal in our fridges but travel from Spain, Italy, Israel and, TBH, who knows where, just so we can put a little wedge in our gin & tonic or have a sweet and sour pancake. Leftover lemons deserve more than going hard inside your fridge door – let’s use every last scrap.

I came across this recipe in the James Beard Waste Not Cookbook. I have a growing collection of food waste books which makes me happy. Some focus on the scraps and others on how to cook one meal and then use those leftovers. For me it’s a mixture of both.

This ‘recipe’ is great and so thrifty. A 50p bottle of white vinegar. Lemon rinds. That’s it. You likely will use about 10 pence worth of vinegar in this recipe. You can use your leftover lemon vinegar in dressings, marinades or even mixed with sugar syrup and lightly poured over ice cream (especially good for those of us who don’t have the sweetest tooth).

The eco-cleaners out there know that distilled white vinegar is *the* hot cleaning product. I use mine in place of laundry detergent and for cleaning my bathroom (along with washing up liquid and bicarbonate of soda). Eco often means cheap because a spangly new product isn’t necessarily going to do a better job than some cheap bicarb (I say this as a person whose mum bought her a ££dress££ on Sunday and I enjoyed every second). 50p well spent, no?

Using every last scrap of your food saves you money which sometimes means you can buy that nice dress (over time), or, for me, means I can buy the organic butter or lemons. Every purchase we make is a choice, one way or another. Every leftover we make the most of helps the planet one little choice at a time.

 

 

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

Home made chips with leftover lard

Home made chips with leftover lard

Cheap as chips homemade chips with leftover lard

Talking about cooking with animal fat is a bit fraught, I know. My mum’s dripping pot lived in the fridge, ready for Sunday’s roasties and Yorkshire puddings. Every Sunday she would pour another layer of hot fat, sizzling over the cold layers. Then, the following Sunday mum would scoop out another tablespoon to get the roasties going. Best was seeing the 12 mini Yorkshire pudding tins coming out, the black base spitting with a pea sized glob of sizzling fat.

My parent’s fridge is smaller now it’s just them and the dog at home. The pea-green pot is still there. Recently I used some of mum’s dripping to slow cook some onions for pot of beans. The layers were like marble, a history of weekly roasts, different cuts and types of meat (pork and beef and everything all mixed up).

I use my leftover animal fat a lot in cooking; a few weeks back I roasted a giant, 3kg piece of pork belly; that left 300ml pork fat. A bottle of sunflower oil is £1.30 in Sainsbury’s, so, to me, I’ve saved myself £1.30.

Jay Rayner has talked about the wonders of dripping chips and here is my nod to them. I challenge you to find a more comforting tea – chips, beans and an egg. Almost veggie, very thrifty – and using your leftover lard.

Leftover lard chips

Serves 4

Ingredients

Around 600 grams potatoes
Around 50 grams lard
Salt

Tools

Scales
Sharp knife
Chopping board
Large bowl
Colander
Saucepan
Oven tray
Flipper

Time

About an hour

Prep

Preheat the oven to 220C
Cut the potatoes into chip shapes
Place in the large bowl and cover with cold water
Soak for 5 minutes

Method

Put the baking or roasting tray in the oven and add the lard so it gets nice and hot
Place a large pan of salted water on to boil
When the water is boiling, carefully add the chips
Boil for 5 minutes then drain
Remove the tray from the oven and carefully add the drained chips, turning in the oil to coat
Return to the oven and check after 15 minutes, then 10 and then every few  – exactly how long the chips will take to cook will vary, depending on the type of potatoes you use. They should take around 35 minutes all told
Eat, golden brown and hot!

Storage

I’m not a fan of leftover chips but you can keep in the fridge for up to five days, reheating them in the oven

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

ann@storrcupboard.com