Using up left-overs

The rainy summer has meant I spent far too much on ordering food online, so now am having an ‘austerity kick’ and using up left-overs in the fridge, rather than throwing them away. Harking back to my childhood, when nothing was ever thrown away, I’ve come up with

Bubble and Squeak 

A tasty way of using up mashed potato and any green vegetable (i.e.cabbage, brussels sprouts etc.) Use it as accompaniment for a main course, or serve with a fried or poached egg on top as an inexpensive supper dish

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 25g/1oz butter
  • OR/ in the old days you would have used a tablespoon of dripping – use this if you have it as it has a special taste
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 225–250g/8–9oz leftover green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, leeks, kale, spinach, chard,etc.
  • roughly equal amount of leftover cooked mashed potato
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • optional – small handful chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary or parsley

Heat the oil, butter or dripping in a non-stick pan. Fry the onion until softened, then add vegetables and potatoes. Season well with salt and pepper and add the herbs, if using.

Fry potatoes and veg. undisturbed for 2–3 minutes allowing a golden brown crust to form on the bottom of the veg, then turn them over and leave to brown on the other side – keep doing this for about 10 – 15 minutes, the idea being to get lots of crispy fried bits spread around the mixture.

  1. Using a potato masher or thick wooden spoon press the mixture into the pan to create a big potato cake, then slide out or upturn the pan onto a serving plate.

  2. Serve as a side dish with a main course, or with a fried or poached egg on top.

Soup
If you have stock available, use this.  Otherwise a tin of vegetable soup, or chicken or beef consommé makes a good base. Or use a veg. or meat stock cube.
Chuck in any left-over veg.  add herbs such as parsley, chillies if you like, salt and pepper and blitz with a blender to make a lovely smooth and comforting bowl that costs very little to make.

Poor Knights of Windsor

This dish is often called ‘Eggy Bread’, and is centuries old. Known by different names in other countries, such as French Toast, it’s a good way of using up stale white bread.

It’s slices of thick bread soaked in milk and eggs, and fried in butter, often flavoured with sugar and cinnamon and served with jam.  Some old recipes suggest adding sherry when soaking!

As children, living near Windsor, we knew the dish as Poor Knights…., legend had it it was an inexpensive dish that was eaten by poor alms knights’ or ‘military knights’ at Windsor Castle, who had lost their estates during fighting (or other reasons).  They have existed for over 500 years at Windsor Castle; originally there were 26 of them and their job was to represent the 26 Knights of the Garter, if any couldn’t attend religious services.

Nowadays they are retired army officers, living in the grounds of Windsor Castle, some in that lovely row of cottages opposite St.George’s Chapel.  Today one of their main functions is to participate in parades, as well as doing volunteering jobs in and around the castle.

Ingredients  (per person) 
  • 1 egg
  • At least 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 thickish slice of bread
  • A small knob of unsalted butter
  • A trickle of sunflower oil
  • Sugar, for sprinkling (or optional jam)

Summer Pudding

This is another way of using left-over white bread and soft fruit

  • 750g/1lb 14oz mixed summer fruit (such as strawberries, raspberries, red, white and blackcurrants, tayberries, loganberries, blackberries or blueberries)
  • 185g/6½oz caster sugar
  • slices of good-quality white bread, slightly stale  – enough to line the pudding basin and put a lid on it.

Well-greased 1.5 – 2 litre pudding basin

If using red, white or blackcurrants the easiest way to separate them from their stalks is to hold the tip of each stalk between finger and thumb and slide it between the prongs of a fork, pushing the fork down and pulling off the berries as it goes.

If needed, rinse the fruit then place in a large pan together with the sugar. Cook gently over medium heat for 3–5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the juices begin to run (be careful not to overcook, losing the fresh flavour of the fruit), then remove the pan from the heat.

Leave until ready, then trim one slice of bread to fit the base of the pudding basin, and cut slices in half to line the side of the basin, overlapping them at the straight edge with the rounded side down, and sealing well by pressing the edges together. Fill any gaps with small pieces of bread, so that no juice can get through when you add the fruit.

Pour the fruit and juice in, then cover the pudding with the remaining bread and place a small plate or saucer (one that will fit exactly inside the rim of the bowl) on top. Place a weight – or some heavy object such as a jar of jam, heavy tin, etc. on top of that and leave in the fridge overnight.  The idea is to press down on the pudding so juices run out and soak the bread.

Before serving, loosen the pudding all round using a palette knife, and turn it out onto a serving dish. Serve with cream or custard.

The Motorway services station that bucks the trend

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a fan of fast-food, nor motorway service stations.  However, there is one exception :  Tebay Motorway Services on the M6, the services station owned by a Cumbrian farming family.  Their unique vision, centred around their incredible Motorway Services Station, was recently featured in a TV documentary series.

Their vision is the foundation of everything that Tebay services is today.  .

They still farm lamb, Herdwick mutton and native-breed beef in the place where it all began, and motorists can buy meat in their on-site butchers shop. . Their Farm surrounds Tebay Services; and their livestock can be spotted in the pastures adjoining the buildings.

As they say, “our Farmshop brings together thousands of the finest foods, crafts and clothes from our locality, our region and further afield. We champion a wide community of farmers and makers and nurture a team of dedicated colleagues who share our commitment to handmade and authentic produce.

Our Kitchen serves tasty food, made from scratch just as you would make it at home. Our chefs use locally sourced real ingredients, including our home-reared beef and lamb.”.  This video gives you more insight into this :-

So if you are travelling on the northern section of the M6, as the Michelin food guide would say, it is “well worth a detour”.

 

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