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Leftovers menu and how to avoid waste

Sat, 19 December, 2020

As usual at this time of year we have lots of leftover food, probably more than usual unless we managed to wisely adjust our shopping to the small-scale Christmas Day and no-parties Boxing Day. Let’s try not to waste any – here’s a run down the leftovers’ menu and a bunch of no-recipe advice on how to avoid waste.

Freeze, freeze, freeze – that’s the main simple recommendation. Judging by the popularity of my smaller bird recipes, people wisely chose to cook partridge and duck instead of a twelve-pounder turkey. But if you have cooked poultry left over, bring it back to room temperature, strip the meat and freeze it in sensible portions. It will be a fantastic sandwich fodder in a couple of weeks’ time. Boil the carcasses for stock if you’re dedicated (I’m ashamed to admit I won’t bother this year), and if you want to use up the meat for dinners, all it takes is chopping it up, adding cheese or sliced vegetables and wrapping up in pastry or tortillas.

Lamb pastillas are my favourite processing leftovers recipe and it works for any meat, not just lamb. Likewise stuffed peppers or scaccia, make filling out of cooked meat and stuff whatever you have at hand.

Rissoles with cheese and apple, chicken Caesar salad made with turkey are both classics, but you could also take recipes for pork griot or beef tacos and reinvent them with your leftovers. Too much cheese? Make a batch of blue cheese and oats biscuits for snacking on New Year’s Eve. Or have the spicy cheesy lentil bake one night in the week.

There will be no gatherings or firework parties on the 31st December but Netflix and socially distanced Jools Holland’s Hootenanny. You could make a tray of glazed crispy bacon to nibble, and some ham or kale crisps. Although, I know - that Quality Street tin won't eat itself.

We should welcome the New Year with hope. It can still get worse before it gets better but better it will get, I am absolutely sure. And that’s what I wish you all. Thank you for visiting my pages in such droves this year, please come back and bring friends, neighbours and relations in 2021!

Better New Year everybody!