(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

(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

(Three ways with) Half a Cabbage ‘Slaw

(Three ways with) Half a Cabbage ‘Slaw

Cabbage. Crunchy when fresh and boiled to smithereens by my grannie.  Like cauliflower, it’s a veg that grows beautifully, easily and plentifully in the UK; this, plus shitty ways of cooking and farming for yield over flavour, makes cabbage a veg that lots of people don’t like.  Think school dinner halls.

My friend Rachel said that half a cabbage is one of her food waste problems; after one stir fry, what’s a savvy cook to do?  Watching half a sad cabbage turn, slowly inevitably, a bit brown and speckled, from day one to day five, is not a good feeling.  Let’s get this chopped up and saved from food waste hell.

The simplest way to dispatch your leftover cabbage is to shred that baby up, grate in the rest of your fridge bottom leftovers and make this simple sweet and sour dressing, perfect for putting some pep in your step.  It’s a quick and healthy lunch, and if you want to shove some protein in there, you are winning at life, my friend (I know, I hate me, too).

Leftover cabbage slaw

Serves 2

Ingredients

About 1/4 leftover cabbage – white, savoy or red
Similar weight of any other leftover veggies from the fridge – carrot, beetroot, radish, cucumber, brocolli

Dressing

50 ml white wine/cider vinegar
juice of one lemon or lime
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 garlic clove, minced or crushed
2 tablespoons ground nut oil
Sriracha/Tabasco or other hot sauce to taste

Tools

Knife – I use a bread knife for cabbage
Chopping Board
Grater
Mixing bowl
Jam jar

Time

About 10 mins if you’re hand with the knife or 20 minutes if you’re a little slower

Prep

Mince the garlic

Method

If your cabbage is in halves, cut it into quarters
Cut out the stalk and discard
Using the bread knife, cut the cabbage into strips around 5mm thick
If using broccoli heads, grate that whole guy; save the stalks for a pasta sauce or a ragu base
Carrots, beetroot, kohlrabi?  Grate from fresh
Radishes?  Slice finely
Cucumbers?  Cut into thick chunks

Dressing

Mix the vinegar, lime juice, sugar, soy sauce sauce and garlic until the sugar dissolves
Pour in the oil and sprinkle on sriracha/tabasco
Screw on the jam jar lid and shake until combined

Only mix the slaw and dressing when you’re about to eat
If you’re making a load for your lunches, DO NOT MIX AND THEN TAKE TO WORK (vom emoji)
Take the dressing in the *tightly* done up jam jar and the salad in a separate tupperware

Storage/further meals

How long you can keep the slaw depends on how long your cabbage has been sitting around
If it’s a bit manky, it’ll stay a bit manky
If it’s super fresh, then you’ve got a few days on your side
Try one piece before tucking into lunch

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Brandade

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Brandade

Fourteen years ago, I stood in the Sussex Stationers, Tunbridge Wells and bought my then-boyfriend a copy of ‘The River Cottage Year’.  I so wanted to know about seasonality and what grew when; aged 23 and about to live with the boyf, I wanted to learn about food.  The charts were confounding, and I didn’t need to know about everything in the hedgerow.  But I bought it and cooked him roast guinea fowl for a birthday tea.

It surprised me that many of the recipes weren’t so hard.  I had cooked, off an on, growing up, but with little care. Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup + tuna + mash for tea at uni, that sort of thing.  I did learn to cook a cottage pie when I was 10, but I swear I used a tin of tomatoes.  Smashing up the spuds with the masher was the best part of that operation – the youngest of 4 kids needed to get her tension out somewhere.

Anyway.  I digress.  I love to digress.

Using leftover parsnips in this French based recipe is probably something of an abomination, whoops.  But leftover food is not for wasting.  Parsnips and fish were a common pairing back in The Day, but more often matched with salt cod.  So, I’m not going to recommend that and, unless you live near a big city, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to find it, easily.  Smoked haddock, or pollack – that’s easy.

Mashing your sweet, sticky parsnips with salty, smoked fish is heavenly.  Take a piece of toast, butter it, spread on the brandade and tell me that leftovers are shit.

(Roasted too many) Parsnip Brandade

Adapted from ‘River Cottage Year’, Gill Mellor and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, p49-50
Serves 1 as a main, 4 as a starter

Ingredients

50 grams leftover roasted parsnips
50 grams smoked haddock
Around100 ml milk
Around 50 grams butter
1 clove garlic
Cooking oil

Tools

Saucepan
Scales
Measuring jug
Frying pan
Heat-proof dish
Immersion blender and bowl

Time

About half an hour to prep and mix
15-20 mins to bake

Prep

Pour the milk into saucepan and add the fish
Turn the heat to medium and, after 5 minutes, your fish should be cooked through
Place the parsnips into the bowl of your immersion blender and pulse until smooth
You’ll need to add some of the poaching milk; keep any leftover for a chowder

Method

Take the parsnip puree out of the blender/bowl and put to one side
Place the fish into the immersion blender and pulverise
Add the parnsips and mash until you have the consistency of mashed potato; you might need to add more of the poaching milk
Season with pepper – you probably won’t need any salt, as smoked fish tends to be salty

Scoop into your oven dish and bake for 15-20 minutes

Serve on chunky toast, and maybe some winter salad and def some pickles

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
Parsnips can keep to up to 5 days in your fridge
If your parsnips were 1 day old when you made this, you can keep this dish up to 3 days
If they were more like 4 days old, either eat straight away, or freeze when room temperature
Eat within 3 months of freezing

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

ann@storrcupboard.com