Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Leftover bacon and sausage chowder

What angel first paired smokey food and milk?  Comfort food of the highest order.  Chowder, an American soup from the east coast, has hundreds of iterations (I once sat with a cookbook devoted to chowder.  Totally ignored the friend who I hadn’t seen for about a year and her new home and hamsters, but I learnt a lot about chowder.  Sorry Becky).
If you can, use whole milk because you want that creaminess.  This is not the place for skimmed milk. The potatoes should be floury ones like maris pipers or king edwards- you want the potato to crumble in, so that you get the starchiness.
If you have time to cut the fat off the bacon and let it melt a little in the pan, then you’ll get more bacon-y flavour in the soup.  Yum.  Seriously – are you still cutting fat off bacon and frying it in olive oil?  STOP!  Snip off that cold fat (what is oil if not fat?) and pop it in the cold pan on a low heat and leeeeave it for about 15 mins.  That fat will, slowly, melt (“render”), and you can cook the onions and other veg for the soup in this fat.  And now you don’t have to buy more oil! So, you haven’t chucked good bacon fat AND you’ve not used unnecesarry olive or sunflower oil, leaving it for another meal – so, that’s basically 2 food waste pitfalls avoided.  Win win!
In this chowder  I used basic veg, but you can add in sweetcorn, peas, diced pepper.  And even my kids eat this for heaven’s sake, so it’s a straight up win for me.  Whatever random bits of cold chicken, chorizo, veg -as long as it tastes good with the soup, it goes in.  Happy days!

 

Leftover sausage and bacon chowder

Ingredients
  

  • 25 grams butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium potato (around 300grams)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stick celery
  • around 350 ml milk - ideally whole milk as this is creamy soup
  • leftover sausages and bacon
  • sweetcorn & peas optional
  • salt & pepper

Tools

  • Scales
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Large saucepan with lid
  • Potato masher/fork
  • Wooden spoon

Instructions
 

Prep

  • Optional: cut the fat off the bacon and place into a cool saucepan. Once it sizzles a little add some extra oil
  • Chop your veg. Crumble the sausage into small pieces.

Main

  • Once the fat is warm/butter is melted, add the onion and cook on a moderate (middle) heat for about 10m. You don’t want the onions to brown, you want them to go translucent and soft enough to be squashed by the back of your wooden spoon
  • When the onions are cooked, add your diced potato, carrot and celery. Season. Place the lid on.
  • Turn the heat down a little so that the veggies ‘sweat’ and get a little soft. This takes around 10m.
  • Now that the chopped veggies are ready, pour the milk over and bring to the boil.
  • DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PAN! Milk can boil over v quickly!
  • As soon as it’s boiling turn the pan down so it’s simmering (that is, little bubbles are popping up but it’s not boiling hard)
  • Timer on for 15m; keep checking the the veggies are done by pulling a couple out and checking if they are soft. Depending on how large/small you’ve cut them, this could take anything between 15 & 25m**
  • If using peas/sweetcorn, add them now.
  • Add the crumbled meat, boil it through and serve with lots of buttered bread.
  • ** If you’re making the soup in advance, turn the heat off and leave to cool. Do not add the meat and store separately. When you’re ready to eat, heat the soup; as it comes to boil add the meat and let the soup boil for a minute or so, to make sure that the meat is fully hot. Do not reheat.

Storage

  • I wouldn't re-heat this as it'll be the third time around for the meat. 

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Leftover Easter Egg Hot Chocolate

Easter chocolate is its own kind of hell. Lots of little bits and bobs. Lots of little leftovers. Everywhere. From school (when the fuck did teachers start spending their own salaries on chocs for kids??), to grandparents, friends and uncles who know that the biggest Easter eggs are the best Easter Eggs. Of course I give my kids unnecessary Easter Eggs – how could I not?

I was thinking about what you all would love for a little Easter goodness and thought back to last year’s recipes. They’re solid, especially the cheesecake (if I ever meet Ottolenghi…).  But you need more! Happily for us all, Sue Quinn recently published ‘Cocoa: An Exploration of Chocolate, with Recipes’. She kindly gifted me a copy and I spent one afternoon and one Sunday morning reading her words and recipes.

So, how will Sue and I help you to quickly dispatch the Cadbury’s mini eggs and cream eggs and smarties eggs that no-one wants because smarties are smarties and not eggs? Well, first off, your quick quick recipe is for this Spanish inspired hot chocolate. I added more cocoa to counteract the sweetness in milk chocolate and all those shells.

You can dip churros in these, if you like (read: I am not about to make these right now); Sue recommends dipping in salty toast soldiers (oh god). I sipped a little of mine, with extra milk, and intend to drink the whole pot. Like a lady of leisure I shall sip my chocolate, maybe in a bubble path, and thank every last person who gave my children so much chocolate.

 

Leftover chocolate hot chocolate

Barely adapted from 'Cocoa', by Sue Quinn, published by Hardie Grant 2019

Ingredients
  

  • 45 grams cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons cornflour
  • pinch sea salt flakes
  • 500 ml milk
  • 25 grams caster sugar
  • 100 grams leftover chocolate if using a bar of chocolate, grate it; if using up lots of little Easter chocolates, with their hard sugar shells, grind in a food processor/pestle and mortar/bashing them with a rolling pin, between 2 clean tea towels
  • 1 star anise/sprinkle of fresh nutmeg, or a cinnamon stick... Use what you like!
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tools

  • scales
  • saucepan
  • whisk
  • measuring jug
  • grater/food processor/rolling pin (see note, above)
  • wooden spoon

Instructions
 

  • Combine the cocoa powder, cornflour and salt in a small bowl
  • Place the milk, sugar, spice and vanilla in a small pan and almost bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour enough of the hot liquid into the cocoa powder mixture to make a paste; stir until smooth.
  • While the pan is off the heat, add the chopped chocolate and cocoa paste to the milk. Stir until the chocolate has melted and everything is well combined. Taste - you may want to add more sugar, as I was conservative.
  • Return the pan to a low heat and stir until thick and creamy - use a whisk if you need to get rid of any lumps. Remove any whole spices.
  • If you're planning to use this as hot chocolate you'll need to add additional hot milk or water

Storage

  • This will keep for around a week in the fridge, in a lidded container

(Learning to love) not keen on ricotta

(Learning to love) not keen on ricotta

Three weeks ago I had a leftover milk glut.  I made lots of things, including paneer and ricotta.  The paneer went into a pea and paneer curry (which I’ll post another time … so many recipes from one milk mistake!).  So, leftover milk lead to me having a dish of home-made ricotta. But, as I confessed last week, I don’t really like ricotta.  Ha!

I know that we can learn to tolerate, like or love many different foods.  What we like is informed by where we’re from, the rules we grow up with, what our friends and family do and don’t like.  And, it’s also a way of explaining who we are to the world – if you eat meat, you don’t eat sugar, you’re plant based or a foodie or a McDonalds lover.

(Interested in learning more?  Read Bee Wilson’s First Bite, it’s fascinating.  Or just this essay – in 1989, a lawyer called Jeffrey Steingarten was approached by Anna Wintour to be American Vogue’s food writer.  He said yes, obvs.  Quite the career change.  Having agreed to take the job, he realised there were many foods and flavours he loathed – clams!  dill (yep, foul stuff TBH)! lard!  He taught himself to like these foods.  Yes he’s unnecessarily rude about Greek food – skip that nonsense and work onwards to how he overturned his tastes and found it much more exciting to eat, especially in restaurants, because he now liked everything on a menu and everything was up for grabs. Hoorah!).

So I took my own, small, ricotta based challenge, sought the help of my lovely Insta helpers and got on it. I did have spinach and ricotta cannelloni, courtesy of Dad Storr.  I can report that I’m Still Not Keen on cooked ricotta, sorry dad (though thank you for lunch).  So I made some more ricotta to further experiment.

Molly Wizenburg’s second book, ‘Delancey’, is where I first learned about making ricotta (though I used Victoria Glass’s recipe).  So, I returned and took some breakfast inspo from Molly.  She writes about smearing fresh ricotta onto hearty toast and adding fruit compote or freshly roasted fruit.  I have no fruit compote and it’s a terrible time of year for fruit, so I went for some heaped teaspoons of my dad’s raspberry jam.  MUCH BETTER, and my dad makes fucking amazing jam.  The sharp jam with the sweetish cheese was just lovely and would be an ace breakfast.

Verdict: good!  I learnt that ricotta is just basically cream cheese, and I like creamy things.  Kinda simple, very quick, and very nice indeed.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Leftover milk) ricotta

(Leftover milk) ricotta

The fresh milk-using-up-debacle continued with the fresh hell that is a ball of ricotta.

Last June, I was at a food event, chattering away over good wine and amazing nibbles (the struggle is real, I know).  Mid-convo, someone tapped me on the shoulder “We went to school together” – “No we didn’t” I replied without even thinking. I’m a real charmer.  I have a familiar face, so I’m often asked if I was at another party (sadly not), if I was at another event (possibly). She persisted – “I was – the year above you” “What, did you go to St Greg’s” I rolled me eyes “YES!” and low, dear readers, I was mortified. The most Marvellous Victoria Glass wrote a food waste book last year; quite why 2 food waste writers went to the school I don’t know.  We did do home ec (as it was then), but it was hardly the hotbed of food education.

When I put out my plea, Victoria suggested rictotta from her book, ‘Too Good to Waste’.  It’s too hard!  I worried “Piece of piss” she said – and she was right!

The ricotta is a doddle to make – but now I have to think of ways to cook it.  Because I made it.  And I, weirdly, don’t love it. But I know I’m in the minority here.  And I’m determined to overcome this one.  I don’t *have* to, but I’ve found a love of olives, stronger cheeses and spicey curries through determination and, really, I just want to be able to be more greedy.

Note: you can only make ricotta if you have whole milk; there isn’t enough fat in other milks.  Preachy time – I try to buy food in its least fucked around with form.  That is, of course, a fairly impossible branding standard to explain.  So I buy cheese not sliced or grated cheese; whole milk which I can water down if I need to; tins of tomatoes rather than a jar of sauce.  After years of skintness I know that I saved money because sour milk can mean soda bread, but a jar of mouldy sauce just has to go in the bin.  So, can I tempt you to buy whole milk? And go nuts and stretch to organic unhomogenised if you can.  Not everyone can.  Money is tight.  If you can, just try it.

I think it’s the idea of cheese and pudding.   So next week, you will have three ideas for using your leftover ricotta.  You’re

(Leftover milk) ricotta
From ‘Too Good to Waste’ by Victoria Glass

Ingredients

1 litre whole milk (it has to be whole milk!)
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
60 ml white wine/distilled malt vinegar

Tools

Saucepan
Thermometer
Wooden spoon
Slotten spoon
Fine mesh sieve
Bowl
Cooking muslin
Lidded container for storage

Time

About an hour and a half (though an hour is leaving cheese to drain)

Method

Pour the milk into a good sized saucepan and heat until it reaches 93 C/200 F, just before it boils
Stir in the vinegar and take the pan off the heat
Leave to stand for 15 minutes

Line the sieve/fine mesh strainer with 2 layers of muslin/cheesecloth and set over the bowl
Using your slotted spoon, collect the curds that have formed and transfer them to the sieve
Leave to drain for an hour
After the hour is up, tie the muslin and squeeze out the remaining liquid
Leave for around another 30 minutes to drain again
Place in lidded container until ready to serve

Storage/further meals

When ready to serve, peel off the muslin
Ricotta will last for up to week in the fridge

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(Forgot to cancel) freezing milk

(Forgot to cancel) freezing milk

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I had a few problems with milk over the Christmas period.

Over autumn, I moved to glass milk bottle milk deliveries, in a bid to cut  down on my single-use plastic.  I love having the glass bottles and teaching my kids how to just push the foil lid just so.  As much as I enjoy the chink of the glass bottles, the online system for reminders is hopeless; by that I mean it doesn’t exist.  So, Christmas comes, the hot chocolate loving milk guzzling kids left and I had 12 pints of milk to get through.  And they were starting to go off.

First off I grabbed a sharpie and labelled which day the bottles had come on; this way I knew which bottles to prioritise.  And then I hit insta.

Freezing milk used to be a weekly activity for me, as I’d get it delivered with my veg box.  But, thanks to insta user Sarah Leigh Mitchell, I learnt that you *can* freeze in glass – you just need to shake up the milk beforehand, empty a little to leave room for expansion and bob’s your uncle.

I was a little unsure of freezing a bottle that might (hopefully) have been washed and used hundreds of times, but you can always pour into a plastic bottle.

If, like me, you buy whole milk, then KUDOS BECAUSE IT’S DELICIOUS and gives you more leeway in terms of using it up (you cannot use semi skimmed or skimmed milk to make cheese etc).  Also, be warned that it can go a strange shade of yellow when you freeze it.  This is because the fat slightly separates.  There’s nothing wrong with the milk at all, don’t panic!

To defrost your milk, simply take it out of the fridge a day or so before you think you’ll want to use it.  If the plastic milk bottle is still sealed, then you can float it in a bowl/sink of cold water to speed up the defrosting.  Then use as normal.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

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