3 September 2016

What to do with the Most Wasted Foods in the UK

I have just read another article in the Huffington Post about food waste in the UK.

According to point 8 in the article the most-wasted foods and drinks are bread, potato, milk, fizzy drinks, fruit juice and smoothies, poultry, pork, ham and bacon, cakes and pastries. Well, let me tell you something …

… actually several somethings.


See here for 7 Interestingly Different Ideas for Leftover Bread, for instance this Melted Onion Panade.

melted onion panade made from leftover bread

krumplinudli, potato dumplings, noodles, leftover mashed potato

8 ideas for leftover baked potatoes are here  and how to make wonderfully named and delicious Krumplinudli from mashed potato is here.


Interestingly milk seems to last way, way longer than its Use By date to no detriment whatsoever.  See here for details and you might think again before throwing the stuff away!

~   Leftover milk can be frozen – it is not great for drinking once thawed but is fine in recipes which is easier if you freeze in ice cubes.
~   Make milkshakes – especially useful if you also have “leftover” ice cream!
~   Add to mashed potatoes
~   Make rice pudding
~   Poach some fish in it.
~   Turn leftover milk into buttermilk for baking by stirring 1 tablespoon of lemon juice into 240ml milk.

If your milk has separated, lucky you – it is surprisingly easy to make lovely cheese, see here

homemade cheese, leftover milk

Fizzy Drinks

~   Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays and use them to cool down further fizzy drinks without diluting them!
~   Make Sorbet - partially freeze the fizzy beverage then either break up the crystals with a fork or similar or run through the food processor. Add a little suitable alcohol (it must be a spirit and use 50ml per 250ml of fizz) such as rum with coke or Cointreau with fizzy orange and re-freeze.
~   Rumour has it that using soda drinks in baking works but I haven’t tried it. If you have let me know how it went!

Fruit Juice

~ Freeze, as above, as ice cubes for the same reason.
~ Mix in a little icing sugar and use to glaze cakes.
~ Toss summer fruit in a few spoonsful of orange or other suitable juice 30 minutes before serving.
~ Cocktails - many cocktails include fruit juice, see here and have fun!
~ Make a delicious sauce for your dinner! See point 8 here for deglazing a pan and use whatever juice goes well with your meat or fish eg. apple juice with pork, cranberry with turkey, lemon with fish etc. 

Tomato juice is a rather special case, I suggest you either add it to soups and stews or make a …

Bloody Mary `

Per person

90ml tomato juice
45ml Vodka
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce
black pepper
a stick of celery with leaves

tomato juice, bloody mary recipe, vodka cocktail, leftover fruit juice

~ Fill a tall glass with ice.
~ Mix together the tomato juice, vodka and lemon juice and season to taste (as us food writers say) with the Worcester sauce, Tabasco and black pepper.
~ Pour over the ice and bung in the celery!


I’m afraid I am flummoxed with this one, other than freeze it, and don’t think I am alone. Here are someone else’s ideas but they are somewhat tongue in cheek!

Poultry, Pork and Ham

Throwing away leftover meats of any kind is absurd, there’s so many ways to use them; sandwiches, stir fries, soups, salad, risotto, pasta, pizza and so on. Why anyone would chuck it is beyond me –

As a taster, so to speak, here is a lovely way to use up ham – Haluski. 
haluski, leftover ham, noodles,

Bacon – a rather special meat!

See here for an utterly wonderful use for leftover bacon – Bacon Salt which is great for making all sorts of dishes bacony! I am absolutely delighted with this.

leftover bacon, bacon salt, seasoning salt

Cakes – ridiculous, who throws away cake?

Good ideas are – add crumbled cake to ice cream, trifle, make cake pops, cake truffles (details in The Leftovers Handbook) or make cake croutons (dice the cake, toss in melted butter and then bake in a medium oven till crisp and golden) to serve with desserts.
cake croutons, leftover cake, ice cream and chocolate sauce

Although it’s not quite time yet, Christmas Cake makes wonderful ice cream – see here.


Now this is a tricky one, especially without knowing what sort of pastries, but if I had such a thing leftover I would probably freeze it and have a think. Or maybe eat it and have a coffee.

Do croissants qualify as pastries? They make lovely French Toast (much better than made with bread), good in bread pudding of the custardy sort, as are Danish pastries, and they also make great croutons.

homemade soup, croissants, leftover croissants, croissant croutons

Now then, don't you wonder what ideas I have for the other 450 potential leftovers in my book The Leftovers Handbook?

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26 August 2016

8 Lovely Ways to Make Little Ice Cream Go A Long Way

I was going to call this post Leftover Ice Cream but that sounds like an oxymoron. That is what it's about though!

A few years ago I wrote a book, The Leftovers Handbook, in which I explained that for my purposes the term ‘leftovers’ covers a variety of situations which are:

leftovers definition types reference book

It is the Snippet situation to which I am referring here and these are my suggestions …

ice cream coffee affogato

1.   Affogato

This is a cross between a drink and a dessert. Affogato is Italian for “drowned” and in the foodie world usually refers to ice cream ‘drowned’ in coffee, in which case its full name is Affogato al Caffe.

Per person ...

1 scoop chosen ice cream
1 shot /30 ml espresso or strong coffee or whatever your choice is
1 tablespoon brandy or some other spirit or liqueur – also optional
2 amaretti or something suitable and crumbly – optional

~   Chill serving dish(es).
~   Put a scoop of chosen ice cream into each dish and return to the freezer for a few minutes.
~   Brew coffee or espresso.
~   Have ready chosen liqueur if using.
~   Crumble the crumbly thing if using.
~   Remove ice cream from freezer and swiftly and immediately pour optional liqueur and coffee over it.
~   Sprinkle with optional crumbly thing and serve.

2.   Ice Cream Truffles

This is a good way to use up bits of leftover ice cream and impress people at the same time.

~   Have equipment and ingredients other than ice cream ready before you start.
~   Work quickly.
~   Get ice cream out of the freezer and scoop into small balls.
~   Immediately coat in something delicious and complimentary eg. cocoa, hot chocolate, crushed biscuits, ground caramel, chopped nuts, sprinkles, grated chocolate and so on.
~   Immediately refreeze till needed.

To be even more impressive serve with a little dish of chocolate sauce for dipping purposes.

ice cream truffles chocolate sauce

3.   Profiteroles

I used to have a husband that called these “poovy boirays” – no idea why, bless him. Traditionally, of course, these little choux pastry puffs are filled with cream and topped with chocolate but why not replace the cream filling with ice cream and drizzle the tops with a complimentary sauce?

4.   Ice Cream Sandwich

~   Choose a very crisp and crumbly cookie/biscuit or one that is soft and cakey as these will both be edible from the freezer. Chewy biscuits might freeze too hard.
~   If purpose baking cookies slightly undercook to keep the texture right when     frozen, and …
~   … sandwich whilst still warm with very cold ice cream which will slightly melt and soak into the cookie before setting solid in the freezer – even more goo-some!

~   Fill generously.

Here’s one I made earlier.

ice cream sandwich cookies biscuits fruit

5.   Ice Cream Cake

This is a kind of last minute thing.

~   Shortly before serving use a softened complimentary ice cream to fill and top a cake.
~   Pop back in
to the freezer for a few minutes for the ice cream to firm up.
~   Slice and serve.

ice cream cake

 6.   Milkshakes – of course

Basic milkshake per person ...

2 scoops vanilla ice cream
250ml milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract – the real thing

~   Blend together in a liquidiser or food processor.
As I say, it is basic but of course you can do what you like with it, e.g.
~   Use different flavour ice cream.
~   Add honey, maple syrup, flavoured syrups or whatever would go well with the ice cream flavour.
~   Add fresh fruit.
~   Add fresh herbs or maybe a bit of chilli (particularly good with mango and/or lime).
~   Use less or more milk depending on how thick or runny you want it.
~   Top with whipped cream and/or chopped nuts, grated chocolate etc.
~   Add an appropriate alcohol – best if it’s a spirit, lager probably wouldn’t be that yummy!

leftover ice cream fruit

7.   Ice Cream Soda - or Float which is also known as a Spider in Australia! 

As with the other suggestions the ingredients will be dictated by the type of ice cream you are using.

~   Put a spoonful or two of your chosen sauce or syrup into a tall glass.
~   Loosen it with a splash of your chosen soda.
~   Stir in a spoonful or two of milk or cream.
~   Add a couple of scoops of your chosen ice cream.
~   Top up with more of your chosen soda; hopefully the mixture should fizz and froth delightfully.
~   Top with whipped cream and your chosen decoration be it a flake, sprinkle or a cherry on top.
~   Serve with both a straw and a long spoon.

8.   Ice Cream Cocktails

Basically blend together complimentary liqueurs, fruits, sauces and ice cream and give it a suggestive name such as Lose Your Cherry (vanilla ice cream, cherry brandy and cream soda) or Fuzzy Navel (peach ice cream, , peach schnapps and orange juice).

This is an Ice Cream Mojito – mint ice cream, a good sloosh of golden rum topped up with soda water and garnished with a sprig of mint.
ice cream cocktails mojito recipe

So now, if your little darlings are about to go back to school, leaving you with the responsibility of using up leftover ice cream you now have some ideas for what to do with it.

easy no churn dairy ice cream recipes

If however you haven’t got any leftover ice cream and would like to make some I have written a book on an easy peasy no-churn method which makes deliciously smooth and luxurious ice cream.  In the book I give 60+ recipes plus every piece of information I can think of to help readers create their own gorgeous ice creams.

In Other News ...

1.   Firstly I'd be flattered if you've noticed but I haven’t posted for ages because, all of a sudden, I seem to have become very busy.  Part of this is working in a pub during high season in Cornwall, part due to sorting books for Cornwall Hospice Care and partly because I have just discovered Slideshare!

This is a part of Linkedin where you can post a slideshow to make a point, promote yourself or just because you want to!  I’ve done two and for some reason I really enjoy it which is just as well because they really do take up some time.

Here are the two I have done so far ..

genius soup recipe

slideshow of the fundamentals of good cooking

My next task is to find out how to actually embed the slideshow in my blog post!

2.   Some generous git has given me these and now I have to do something with them!  I think I shall have to refer to my post on apples! 

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24 July 2016

There is No Excuse for Discarding One's Banana!

Have you read the recent furore about banana wastage in the UK?  

Apparently we, as a nation, throw away 162,000,000 bananas annually. In many cases this is because they either a bit green or a bit brown, neither of which is a valid reason to discard one’s banana. 

Over Ripe Bananas

As bananas ripen and become sweeter they develop brown spots on their skin which merely indicated the degree of ripeness. It has even been argued that a riper (and therefore browner skinned) banana is the healthier choice.

Sainsbury's have been encouraging people to make banana bread or cake with overripe bananas and give a recipe on their site but as one of the ingredients is “sponge mix” I’d rather give my own here. 

Caribbean Banana Lime Bread ~ with optional rum!

225g soft light brown sugar
110g soft butter
285g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
generous pinch of salt
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas – mashed fairly smoothly although a few lumps are fine
juice of 1 lime
85ml milk
an additional 45g light brown sugar
30g butter
1 tablespoon of rum – optional

~   Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Lightly grease a loaf tin -  20cm x 12.5cm is ideal.
~   Stir two teaspoons of lime juice into the milk.
~   Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
~   Sift together the next three ingredients.
~   Beat the eggs into the butter mixture together with a spoonful or two of the flour mixture (which should stop it curdling although it doesn’t really matter if it does!).
~   Add the mashed bananas, the lime zest and the milk and lime juice mixture and beat in.
~   Fold in the rest of the flour mix.
~   Decant the cake batter into the loaf tin an bake for about an hour till risen and golden brown.
~   When ready cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before turning out carefully.
~   Whilst it is cooling over low heat stir together the 45g light brown sugar, 30g butter, the rest of the lime juice and the optional rum to form a syrup.
~   Carefully turn the cake out and then sit it back on the cooling rack over a plate or a tray to catch drips.
~   Carefully spoon the syrup over the warm cake.
~   Leave to cool.

A sprinkle of toasted coconut is a lovely finish to this cake and if using desiccated coconut please see here for an easy way to make it much, much nicer!

Green Bananas

There is nothing wrong with these and here are two options for dealing with them …

1.   Wait till they ripen.  This can be speeded up by putting them in a brown paper bag together with a ripe apple or orange or a ripe banana.  The ripe fruit releases a gas called ethylene which will encourage the unripe fruit to get on with it.
2.   Cook them. Green bananas are very popular in the Caribbean (here’s a pic of some growing in our garden when we lived in the BVI) and a simple way is to boil them and serve as a side dish to savoury dishes.  Just peel (you will need a knife as they don’t peel easily when under ripe) and cook in boiling salted water for 10-15 minutes. 

Banana Chips

Peel under ripe bananas with a knife, cut into wedges or thin fries and and deep fry at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.) till crisp and golden.  Drain well, season with salt and maybe a little chilli powder and serve.

For more complicated green banana dishes look at some Caribbean food sites such as Caribbean Pot or Eat Like a Jamaican.

Now then, here is the Banana section of my book The Leftovers Handbook (sorry it's a bit out of focus - the real book isn't!)  ...

As it happens I cannot abide bananas (although I will work with them!) yet I came up with over 20 good ideas for bananas, including overripe bananas, in The Leftovers Handbook.  Just think of all the ideas I have come up with for the other 450 or so ingredients in the book.  For a great preview just click here.


Well, that’s about that for this post but here are a couple of pleasant banana related images.

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19 July 2016

My Definition of the Verb "to frazzle"

I have been frazzling things in the kitchen for years but whilst preparing this post I looked up “frazzle” in the dictionary for the correct meaning; apparently the primary definition is ...

“to put in a state of extreme physical or nervous fatigue”

I probably did frazzle some of the kitchen staff, including myself on occasion, but that’s not what I mean.

The other definition I found is ...

“cause to shrivel up with burning”

I might have done this too once or twice but I wouldn’t recommend it.

My own personal definition of frazzle is ...

“to fry shreds of an ingredient till crisp”

This sort of frazzling is a great way of using up and enhancing a little bit of this or that to create a snack, cook’s treat, garnish or component of a dish.

I was prompted to write post this by a couple of experiments we did in the pub kitchen where I am now employed making desserts – firstly we sliced a Chantenay carrot lengthways and deep fried it.  Drained, cooled and salted the slices were both pretty and delicious.  

Yesterday, as I peeled a whole case of apples to make loads of apple crumble (the season is upon us – yikes!), I wondered what would happen if we deep fried some of the peelings.  So we did and they were crisp and lovely with caster sugar and a pinch of cinnamon, I think they will be showing up quite a lot on the menu.

I don’t think I have frazzled either of these in the past and have no photos of the above experiments but I have frazzled the following ...

Sweet Potatoes 

To frazzle these I first peel the sweet potato and then using the potato continue peeling until I have a pile of sweet potato ribbons. More ideas for delicious sweet potatoes here.

These make a lovely crunchy garnish for creamy leek dishes (see a few ideas here). Cut a leek into long thin strips, rub a little cornflour (aka corn starch in the US) through them to help them go crips and deep fry for a few minutes till golden. Lift out of the oil with a skimmer and drain on kitchen roll. Sprinkle with a little crunchy sea salt.

Sage and Parsley

Just drop clean and dry sage leaves or parsley sprigs into hot fat for literally a few seconds, 2 or 3 will probably do it. Drain on kitchen roll and sprinkle with sea salt. Bacon and pork, savoury apple dishes, onions, butternut squash and blue cheese will all benefit from a sage garnish, and the parsley is a great garnish for fish dishes in particular and most other savoury dishes too.

Frazzled Onions which I usually call Onion Grass on menus. 

This is a quicker, easier and in my opinion nicer alternative to making onion rings. 
~   Peel halve and thinly slice onions into half-moons.
~   Toss together with seasoned flour – the easiest way to do this is in a bag.
~   Shake off excess and deep fry the onions.
~   Drain well and season.


Fry coarsely chopped, julienned or shredded (or any other shape) chorizo in a little olive oil till crisp.  Remove from the oil and set aside on paper towel to cool and crisp. Sprinkle on salads, soups, pasta dishes, fish and anything else that takes your fancy.

DON’T throw the oil away it will be infused with chorizo and great for drizzling on things such as soup or fried eggs, for instance.  Seehere for lots more on chorizo including purpose made chorizo oil. 


Pretty well the same goes with Prosciutto and here is one way I have used it. 

Chicken and Duck Skin – Grattons and Gribenes

These are delicious crispy morsels made from duck or chicken skin. See here for how to make them and use to garnish soups, salads, pâtés and general duck dishes or just to nibble on.


Leftover pancakes are great cut into strips, fried till crisp and used to garnish whatever you fancy.

This is just one good way to use up scraps, bits and pieces and leftovers – I have written a book containing literally hundreds of good ideas, suggestions, recipes and tips ~ click here to be taken to a great new style of preview by amazon!

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while, by the way, my computer has been having a problem but he’s OK now.

OK - that's all for now, enjoy the sunshine! Let me know if you think of anything else that could do with a damn good frazzling!

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23 June 2016

Oops Moments in the Kitchen!

How to Salvage Cooking Disasters and Other Tips

As you know I am dead keen on everyone in the Whole Wide World learning to cook (or at least those who have access to food, I’m afraid that many people have much bigger problems to cope with) and to that end I have written a book of over 500 handy tips containing all the useful information I could think of to help with every aspect of cooking.

Whilst obviously I am not going to reproduce the entire book here I thought it would be useful, as a taster so to speak, to post some ways to salvage a tricky situation in the cooking department.

So – taken directly from ...

cooking tips techniques hacks
Read more here ...

... and in no particular order:

Cheese Problems
mouldy cheese tips

Too Salty?
how to remedy an over salted dish

Lumpy Mash

how to remedy lumpy mashed potato

Dish too Spicy
too spicy - what to do

Meat Overcooked
how to remedy overcooked meat

Overdone Rice
what to do with overcooked rice

Cooked the Veggies Too Long?

how to remedy overcooked vegetables

Sauce Broken ~ instead of being smooth and creamy it is watery with bits of fat floating in it.
how to bring a sauce back together

No Self Raising Flour
how to make baking powder

Melted Chocolate has gone all strange and lumpy aka has seized.
how to rememdy split melting chocolate

Sadly Sunken Cake
how to cope with a sunken cake

To read the other 490 or so tips buy the book, it’s only £2.82 for digital and bit more in paperback. The eBook has colour pics but the paperback has nicer fonts – tricky choice, I know!

500+ Truly Useful Cooking Tips & Techniques also contains absolutely essential information, good ideas you should do, things you MUST NOT DO, storage tips, kitchen equipment info, conversion charts and miscellaneous stuff such as how to separate eggs without resorting to the popular plastic bottle “hack”.

I even enclose one or two helpful suggestions from other people in the know, eg. ...

Eltham ordinances

In Other News ...

Nothing I can think of.  I’ve just voted in the referendum, I wonder what will happen next! 

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