Yesterday was the 29th February – an extra day to the year when I hope you did something special. A whole 24 hours that you didn’t have last year and won’t the next. And to celebrate ours – the SUN shone and I (with the help of the hens) planted over 100 snowdrops in the garden. My mum gave birth to me in a nursing home rather than a hospital, in a ground floor birthing room and she said that once I was with her, she looked out of the window to the garden, the lawn of which was covered in snowdrops. Thus she always thought of me when she saw them – and I always think of her. I am hoping for a carpet of them next year – if they are not washed away in the floods!
Looking back over the recipes you and I have done together over the many weeks, it occurred to me that there are probably little jars/packets/leftover veg and fruit lurking about in the back of a cupboard and fridge, so today I’m going to give you some little ideas about what to do with them in this age of cutting down waste.
In no particular order (other than popping into my mind!) . . . .
Salad onions: Blanch whole for 2 minutes and drain. Heat a griddle pan and chargrill for a few minutes each side and serve with a honey and lemon dressing as a side dish
Kale: Make Kale crisps by preheating the oven to 150oC, Toss Torn Kale with a little oil and season and roast in a single layer for about 20 minutes until crisp
Most vegetables can be roasted so just toss any sad looking potatoes/parsnips/carrots/sprouts/whatever in a little olive oil and put in the oven at 180oC till crisp
Herbs: (of course, you can also freeze herbs but they want to be at their best for this and here we are using up the little bits found at the back of the fridge!)
- Shallow fry whole sage leaves for 2 – 3 minutes till crisp. Drain on kitchen paper, toss with sea salt and pepper and scatter over soups and pasta dishes.
- Fry as above, cool, finely chop and beat into softened butter with a little sea salt. Wrap in cling film and chill and use slices to stuff fish, top chicken or melt over filled pasta
- Roughly chop sage, mix with breadcrumbs then fry in butter until golden. Season and scatter over cauliflower cheese or steamed green veg,
- Finely chop some capers and mix with chopped coriander, parsley and mint (there are always some of these hiding in my fridge drawer),olive oil, lemon zest and chilli flakes. Serve with grilled meat and fish or roast vegetables.
- Crush cooked peas with a little butter, lemon juice and chopped mint. Season and spoon over toast and top with crumbled feta
Cheese: (again, big lumps can be grated and frozen)
- Finely grate and add to shortcrust pastry with a pinch of smoked paprika and use to make a tart case for a savoury quiche
- stir fry left over brussels sprouts with pancetta or chopped bacon and scatter with grated cheese to serve
- Finely slice and toss into a leafy salad with slices of crisp green apple and add a mustardy vinaigrette
- Blend a 1/4 can with half a banana, a dollop of yogurt and some berries for a quick smoothie
- Try a new gravy: stir a few spoonfuls into roast chicken cooking juices along with a chopped chilli, a squeeze of lime juice and some coriander
- Use instead of an oil in a marinade
Black Pudding (yes, Alice, some people do like it!)
- Add va va voom to eggs on toast by sprinkling over fried and crumbled black pudding
- Toss slices through cubed roast potatoes for the final 5 minute cooking time. Serve with white fish, wilted spinach and aioli
- Mix with caramelised onions and sage to stuff chicken or serve with firm fish such as monkfish
Any fruits can be poached and whizzed up with leftover yogurt/cream/custard (is there ever such a thing as leftover custard!?) to make fool – and to give a nice contrasting crisp topping crush the broken bits of biscuits at the bottom of the box.
Oranges, limes and lemons can be zested (and frozen) and either sliced and frozen for drink additions or squeezed and the juice saved in ice cube trays.
ps if any of you have any left over tips you want to pass on, leave a comment on the website and I’ll pass them on to everyone else. Equally, if you want to know what to do with something you have, leave me a note and I’ll send some suggestions.