Leftovers and Lunches

Leftovers are something I am passionate about. Loathe to throw food away, I love to try and breathe new life into leftovers, which usually end up as my workday lunches.

So, with the scraps of the festive season that were left in my fridge and freezer, I spent last week creating some rather impressive dishes, even if I do say so myself.

Bubble and Squeak
Bubble and Squeak is probably the most obvious of all leftovers. A mash up of vegetables, squodged into patties and fried until crisp on the outside and satisfyingly squidgy on the inside.

My version consists of leftover roast potatoes, carrots and sprouts, with an extra flavour boost from the bacon and chesnuts that I fry my Christmas day sprouts with.

1) If you have a food processor, throw in all your leftover veg and pulse until you have a coarse mixture (you don’t want it to be completely smooth). If you don’t, chop everything roughly then use a potato masher to combine.
2) Form the mixture into burger sized patties and chill, to firm them up. I don’t use anything to bind mine, but if you feel the need, you can add an egg.
3) When you’re ready to cook them, warm a large knob of butter in a pan with a splash of oil. You want the pan to be hot so the patties crisp up in the butter. Like pancakes, I always find the first one or two don’t go particularly golden, so don’t be disappointed if your first couple are a little anemic looking.
4) Serve hot, straight from the pan with some leftover Christmas ham and a fried egg.

This works well as breakfast, lunch and dinner, so get stuck in!

Brocolli, Kale and Blue Cheese Soup
Cheese is one of those omnipresent ingredients in my fridge. I must admit, I’m not the biggest fan of blue cheese, but as an important part of my festive cheese board, I had a small block left in the fridge.

Seeing as its January, I’m trying to eat more vegetables and take my own lunch into work, so with a tree of broccoli and half a bag of kale in the veg drawer, soup seemed the obvious choice.

My recipe is simple:
1) Soften a leek in a good knob of butter and a glug of olive oil.
2) Chop the broccoli (stalk included) and add to the pan along with some minced garlic. Soften for a few minutes.
3) Throw in the kale to wilt.
4) Cover the veg with good vegetable or chicken stock, then bring to the boil.
5) Once boiling, turn down the temperature. Crumble in the blue cheese, cover with a lid and simmer for around 20 mins.
6) After around 2o mins, test that the veg is cooked, then whizz in a blender and enjoy!

My veg made around 4 portions of soup, so I froze 1/2 and took the rest to work for lunch.

Cheese Fondue
Like the blue cheese, I also had a lump of camembert and a sliver of nutty French comté cheese left over from Christmas. It was calling out for a fondue, which I dutifully made for a lazy Sunday evening meal.

1) Remove the rind from the camembert, then chop both cheeses into cubes. The ratio you use is entirely up to you, but I prefer more camembert to give that gooeyness.
2) To a pan, add a large glass of white wine and the cheese, then season with sea salt, rosemary and minced garlic.
3) Allow the cheese to melt. Slowly. Then give it a gentle stir to combine all the ingredients.
4) Light a tealight and warm up your fondue pot before decanting the gooey cheese and taking to the table.

I served mine with crusty bread, crackers, bitter chicory and my balsamic onion chutney. Indulgent… yes. Calorific… yes. Delicious… absolutely. Not one for the January dieters, but definitely one for food lovers.

 

Turkey Curry
Curry is one of my staple dishes. A lot of curry is consumed in my house, so when leftover roast Turkey was available, the first thing that came to my mind was Turkey curry.

My parents were having friends over one night so rather than opting for a takeaway, I took to the kitchen. I made two curries, a Korma for the mild option, and a Madras for the spice lovers.

This is the Korma recipe, which comes from The Curry Guy, whose restaurant inspired Indian recipes taste and look phenomenal, and work every time.

1) Prepare the base curry sauce for however many people you’re catering for. Keep the sauce on the heat as you need it to be warm.

2) For the Korma, heat a mixture of butter and oil in a pan, then add ground cumin seeds, garam masala and a handful of green cardamom pods to fry.
3) When the spices start to release their aroma, add minced garlic and ginger. The Curry Guy’s recipe calls for cashew paste to be added here too, but as I couldn’t find this, I threw in a handful of raw cashew nuts instead.
4) Once everything has been stirred and combined, add your base curry sauce. The pan will bubble and spit as you do this so be careful!
5) Follow this with  a tin of coconut milk, 125ml of double cream andthe cooked Turkey. Stir everything gently to combine. I also added potatoes, spinach and cauliflower to my curries.
6) When your curry has heated through, it’s ready to serve. It’s an unwritten rule in my house that you never eat curry on the day you make it, but leave the flavours to develop and eat it the next day, but whenever you are ready to eat, just sprinkle the top with fresh coriander and take it to the table with rice, naan and whatever accompaniments you fancy.

If you’ve still got some festive leftovers lingering in your fridge and freezer, there really is no excuse not to use them up!

Happy (and frugal) cooking!
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