Friday, 21 December 2012

Cooking using left overs

If there’s one time of year when we’re likely to end up with a fridge full of leftovers, it has to be Christmas! The excesses of the holiday season mean that even the most-organised shoppers will tend to find themselves laden with extra ‘bits’ that they’re not sure what to do with. However, there’s no need to create waste; simply get creative in the kitchen and transform these bits into tasty new meals!

Turkey tends to be the obvious food that is available in abundance after Christmas day. But there are plenty of ways to use up the delicious and nutritionally valuable meat. Try making a fresh turkey and vegetable soup with plenty of sustaining root vegetables and starchy tubers such as sweet potatoes or regular white potatoes. You can use the turkey carcass to make an incredible stock, by simmering it with fresh herbs, a couple of onions and carrots and plenty of water to cover. Try cooking it very gently overnight and you’ll be rewarded with an incredible and highly nutritious, fresh stock in the morning, which you can then strain and use or freeze.

For turkey pieces, try making a traditional Coronation turkey dish with fresh cream, curry powder and almonds, or serve thick slices in fresh bread sandwiches, covered in melted cheese and caramelised onion for a decadent treat. If you’re feeling healthy, turkey also works very well in a salad with hearty leaves, sweet cherry tomatoes and a basic dressing made from oil, vinegar and lemon.

With leftover vegetables, such as the much-maligned Brussels sprouts, find new ways to fry them up and make them into high-flavour side-dishes. For example, Brussels Sprouts taste wonderful if they’re halved and sautted with bacon, butter and finely sliced onions   they will be crunchy, delicious and packed with vitamins and minerals. For parsnips and carrots, try cutting them into thin batons and roasting them in the oven with a healthy drizzle of olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Serve these roasted ‘chips’ with a home-made mayonnaise. And indeed, if you’re going to the trouble of making your own mayo  finely chop red cabbage, onions and carrots to make a fresh coleslaw. This will make a wonderful accompaniment to any leftover meats you are serving cold in the buffet.

If you have leftover potatoes, there are also plenty of innovative ways to use them up. Try frying them up with onions and corned beef to make corned beef hash, or mash with sweet potatoes, butter and cream for a delicious puree. Left over potato also combines very well with flaked salmon and can be fried into fishcakes with plenty of seasoning and served with sour cream and chives.

If you have left over pannetone, you’ll know that it tends to go stale very quickly. So take advantage and make a deliciously decadent pannetone bread and butter pudding, by combining slices of the sweet bread with raisins, sweet spices, Demerara sugar and milk beaten with eggs. Cream can also be used for real luxury and you’ll simply need to bake it in the oven to create a lavish dessert. If you have left over cranberries, try making them into a home-made sauce, or even whizzing up (de-stoned) in the blender with sweet pineapple and mint leaves for a very healthy smoothie.

There are plenty of ways to use up your leftovers when you start to think about it and be creative. Never be afraid just to combine a range of ingredients into a salad either, or throw together a buffet to use all the little bits up. It’s far better than allowing things to go to waste! And you’ll find plenty of recipes too that make the most of your Rangemaster and leftovers in one swoop  look online and find new cooking ideas on forums and cookery blogs to get you started and inspired!