(Bread sauce scraping) Christmas bake

(Bread sauce scraping) Christmas bake

The winter is finally setting in; the cold wind on my fingers and condensation on the single glazed windows means it’s time to use your oven for cooking.

I started thinking about how to make the most out of bread sauce a few weeks back and, I confess, I’ve found it hard.  The bread that’s in the sauce changes so much from its original state.

So I thought – sauce spreads, that’s why we like it – it eases down chunks of meat and veg.   White sauce is gloopy (my brain is the stuff of legends).

When you’re looking at the unfinished bowls from Christmas dinner on the table or in your fridge, break up any roast spuds and parsnips, and have some slices of leftover turkey, ham or stuffing to hand.  Layer them.  pour over any leftover gravy, or stock if you’ve no gravy.  Warm up the bread sauce if you have to, add a little milk to loosen, if you have to.  Push the sauce to cover your dish.  Then store it in the fridge to feed hungry people another day, or label and pop in the freezer where skint, cold January you will be very happy to remember the Christmas bake, nestled in your freezer.

(Bread sauce scraping) Christmas bake

Serves 2, heartily

Ingredients

around 150 grams leftover roasties and parsnips
around 100 grams leftover meat
Handful of sprouts
100ml of leftover gravy/fresh stock/mixture of both
150 grams leftover bread sauce
A little extra milk, if needed

Tools

Knife, chopping board
Oven proof dish
Jug if needed to make stock

Time

About ten minutes to assemble
35 minutes to bake

Prep

Break the potatoes and parsnips into smaller pieces, around 5mm wide
Same with the meat/stuffing
If the bread sauce is very thick, then loosen with some more milk until it’s spreadable/like double cream

Method

Turn the oven to 180C
Place a layer of veg in the ovenproof dish
Then a layer of meat
So on and so forth until used up, ending with a layer of veg
Pour the stock/gravy over
Smooth the bread sauce over the filling
Bake for around 35 minutes

Storage/further meals

If you’re not planning to eat this dish within 3 days I’d play it safe and pop it in the freezer

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(DO NOT BIN) scrapings of bread sauce

(DO NOT BIN) scrapings of bread sauce

Okay I’m sorry if I’m skipping you guys to the end, mentally.  But bread sauce.  It’s a funny thing, isn’t it?

I didn’t eat bread sauce until I was 23.  My dad is a Yorkshireman, and we never, ever, ate turkey for Christmas.  So I learnt these traditions via my ex and his family who love their turkey, their bread sauce and cranberry sauce.

The name of it just sounded so gross – sauce made out of bread?!  But like Yorkshire puddings (served before the main roast, alone with only a pool of rich gravy, thank you very much) or a plate of thickly sliced bread placed in the middle of the table, bread sauce is a thrifty and delicious way to stretch expensive meat further.

But chucking it?!  No way!  If something is just, almost just, bread and milk – well, there’s loads we can do.

I made these fritters for breakfast one morning.  I said “Would you like a fritter?” “Hmmmmm, K” (she’s 13).    I stood at the cooker, cooking more.  She sat and ate, just a foot away from me.  “IS THIS A SPROUT, MOTHER?”  “Well, it’s Christmas leftovers babes”.  Reader, she ate the sprout.  And the sprout was good.

May I suggest that, when you’re clearing the table after Christmas dinner and you’re looking at the bread sauce, please please don’t just scrape it into the bin.  Wheat and milk are resource heavy to farm, so please don’t think that they’re nothing it’s just a small thing.  It’s not you know it’s not.  Squish all of those bits and scrapings into one happy fritter and trick *all* the haters into loving the leftover.

Leftover bread sauce fritters

Serves 4

Ingredients

Around 100 grams leftover bread sauce
Enough milk to take it to 300ml ml
2 eggs
Around 150 grams of leftover sprouts, carrots, ham, turkey – little bity pieces
225g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
Pinch salt
30g unsalted butter + more for frying

Prep

Turn oven to 100C
Mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl
Melt the 30g of butter in the microwave or on the hob and set aside
Shred/finely chop the meat and veg leftovers

Tools

Scales
Mixing bowls
Measuring jug
Fork
Balloon whisk
Frying pan
Teaspoon
Oven-proof dish

Time

10m prep
20m cooking

Method

Add leftover bread sauce to jug and loosen with a little milk so there’s no lumps
Top with milk until you have 300ml
Whisk together
Crack the eggs in and whisk until fully mixed
If you’re using a big jug, add the flour mixture straight in and beat until smooth
If you don’t have a massive measuring jug, pour the liquid into the bowl and beat until there are no lumps remaining
Stir through your leftover veg and/or meat
Stir the melted butter through
** Put frying pan on the hob and add a pinch of butter – sort of 2 peas worth
Put the heat to medium hot
When the butter sizzles, pick the pan up and swirl it around so the butter is all over the bottom
Pour the batter on – enough so the fritter is about 6-7cm across (I can only cook 3 a time in my large pan)
Turn the heat to medium
The fritters are ready to turn when little bubbles appear on the surface
TIP: I loosen the fritters away from the surface of the pan as they cook, which makes them much easier to turn and less likely to catch
Using your flipper, flip them!
Mine are rarely perfect circles, so don’t worry about that
Cook for about a minute. They’re done when they are golden on the bottom
Place in the oven-proof dish, pop in the oven and start from **, until you have used all of your mixture
Serve with a little pat of butter and, of course, an egg on top

Leftovers?
Store in a lidded container in the fridge. Use as soon as possible for the best taste, but they keep okay for up to 3 days
Reheating: if there’s meat in there, I wouldn’t reheat.  If veggie, go for it.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

(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

(Couldn’t drink the last) half glass of red wine

(Couldn’t drink the last) half glass of red wine

Yeah yeah I know “WHO has leftover wine?”.  Not often me TBF.  But it has been known – a big party here, a “I *really* shouldn’t have that last glass” after a pleasantly boozy Sunday lunch and knowing that there’s a big meeting on Monday morning. So, sometimes, and especially those of us who enjoy our wine, do have leftovers.

Okay, this isn’t a recipe but – leftovers are sometimes the one thing you need to give you an idea for tomorrow’s dinner.  Knowing that a hefty glass of red is tucked away in my freezer is all I need to think about cooking a bolognese, or poach some pears, or make a hearty onion soup or gravy.  Over Christmas we don’t always want or need to be cooking though!  So pour that wine into a tupperware or ice-cube trays and save it for a quiet day when a sauce can bubble and pop.

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

ann@storrcupboard.com

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