Delicious Ideas for Leftover Polenta


One of our supermarket bargains this week was a few pieces of oxtail which I braised in red wine and ate with a dish of Polenta of which, being as I am the only person in this house weird enough to eat Polenta, I had a fair bit leftover. No worries – there are so many great things to do with the scraps.


How to Make Polenta

Before we start, for how to make polenta see here, you will have to scan down a bit past all the pretty pictures of Caribbean Full Moon Party! In the same post is how to make Mozzarella Stuffed Polenta Cakes.

Polenta Pizza Base

Whilst still warm spread the polenta out thinly to use as an alternative pizza base.  Top and bake as usual.

Polenta Tart Case

Set aside leftover polenta till cool enough to handle and then with lightly greased hands press the polenta into a loose bottomed tart case pressing against the sides and into corners.  Either bake empty (no need to weight and bake blind as it won’t puff up) then cool and fill or add a chosen filling, brush the edge of the tart case with olive oil and bake in a hot oven till the crust is golden and the filling cooked.   Here’s one made earlier with wine glazed shallot filling.


For the following ways to use up leftover polenta firstly, using a wet spatula, spread the unused polenta in an oiled to about15 mm thick.  Leave till cold and if poss leave a bit longer to allow it to dry out a bit.

Polenta Chips, Polenta Croutons and Pretty Shapes

Cut cold polenta into shapes or chips or croutons and coat in flour or dry cornmeal to help form a crispy crust.  Deep fry a few pieces at a time - do not overcrowd the pan, the oil needs to stay good and hot - and when crisp and golden, lift out carefully and drain on kitchen roll whilst frying the rest. 

Crostini, Bruschetta and General Nibbly Things

As above but instead of deep frying brush with olive oil and season and grill OR season and coat in a little dry cornmeal and  shallow fry till crisp and golden.  Sprinkle with sea salt for a crunchy snack or add a delicious topping  and flash under the grill or into a hot oven to heat through. 

Cutting out pretty shapes results in a few odd pieces and trimmings so here’s what to do with them …

Polenta Hash

~   Heat a little olive oil in a shallow pan.
~   Add the polenta and fry till hot with crispy areas.
~   Add anything you like – leftover veg, meat, fish, herbs, spices etc.
~   Continue cooking gently a few minutes more till heating through, crisp and golden.


Polenta Gratin

This is one of my favourite ways to use up polenta trimmings; toss the bits of pieces of polenta with soft buttery cooked leeks and pile into a buttered dish.  Crumble over some blue cheese, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake till hot and bubbling.  A glass or red wine is de rigueur here.

Polenta Topping

Scatter bits and pieces of polenta on top of a savoury stew, hotpot or casserole, cover the dish with foil and bake till hot through.  Uncover and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese if suitable, return to the oven till crisp and bubbling.  For a posh do use slices of polenta, cut into pretty pieces and laid slightly overlapping. 

Leftovers Cookbook ...

I have so many ideas for leftovers that I wrote Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers which has ideas, recipes, handy hints, cook's treats, storage guidance and food pairing suggestions  for over 450 possible leftovers and scraps.

Oh and I'd just like you to have a look at this this delicious recipe for Orange and Ginger Polenta Cake (you'll have to scroll down a way) which, whilst it doesn't use leftover polenta, is well worth knowing about!


Clotted Cream ~ it's not just for Cream Teas, You Know!

I am lucky enough to live in the beautiful county of Cornwall and everywhere we go we see tea rooms, cafes, pubs and hotels offering cream teas and so they should!! If you’ve got it flaunt it! 

Clotted cream is so gorgeous, however, that it is a good idea to use it in other ways too. Such as …

Clotted Cream Truffles

These are very easy!

200g dark chocolate
200g clotted cream
50g cocoa 

~  Melt the chocolate in accordance with the instructions for melting chocolate here.
~  Stir till smooth and then stir in the clotted cream.
~  Cool then chill.
~  Put the cocoa into shallow dish.
~  Divide the chilled goo into equal pieces, roll into balls and drop into the cocoa.
~  Roll the truffles in the cocoa to coat.
~  Lick your hands – they will be deliciously mucky.
~  Store the truffles in the fridge till needed.


recently had an inspiration and made some of these with Lindt’s lovely Salted Caramel Chocolate and they are so good, but I think next time, which won’t be long, I might roll them in crushed caramel - here's How to Make Caramel

You can, of course, coat your truffles with anything you fancy; chopped chocolate, toasted coconut, coffee granules, pretty sprinkles, cinnamon sugar or vanilla sugar, chopped nuts, etc.

Clotted Cream Ice Cream

Makes not quite enough!

You will be gobsmacked, in a good way, by the easy-peasiness of this recipe!

250 ml Cornish clotted cream 
250 ml single cream 
200 g condensed milk 

~   Slowly whisk together the two creams till merged and then up the speed and whisk till thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk.
~   Freeze

Take this ice cream out of the freezer for a few minutes before you need it so that it can "temper" or warm up a bit. Ice creams without the addition of alcohol, syrup or other sugary addition often need to soften a bit before serving. 


This is based on my very simple, no-churn, egg free way of making ice cream which you can read more about here ~ Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine.

Thunder & Lightning!

Thunder & Lightning is, oddly enough, the Cornish name given to a combination of clotted cream and golden syrup. It is often served on toast or make Thunder & Lightning Ice Cream by simply rippling some golden syrup through the above ice cream before freezing.


Add Clotted Cream to ...


Top a bowl of soup with clotted cream or purée a spoonful into soup as in this Mushroom, Garlic & Clotted Cream Soup.  


Rich Creamy Scrambled Eggs

See here for how to make delicious creamy scrambled eggs  but add clotted cream at the end of cooking instead of butter or double cream 


~   See here for how to make perfect mashed potato and replace the butter and milk with a good dollop of clotted cream. Or try …

~   Jacket Potatoes filled with a spoonful of clotted cream instead of the more usual butter or sour cream – works really well!



It is normal to stir a knob of butter into risotto just before serving but serving but how about a spoonful of clotted cream instead? 

Here's how to make risotto.

Garlic Mushrooms 

Sauté mushrooms in a little garlic or other flavoured butter and then finish them off by stirring in some clotted cream. 

Something for the Gentlemen! 
This is an odd one … clotted cream is pleasant with crushed anchovies or anchovy paste (Gentleman’s Relish) on toast! 


I’ll be honest, I don’t like porridge (it’s the texture) but for some reason I always feel that it should be served with a little Drambuie stirred in, sprinkled with soft light brown sugar and topped with clotted cream. What do you think? If not, how about Thunder and Lightning Porridge?


A dollop of clotted cream together with whatever other pancake topping you fancy. 



These are delicious sandwiched with clotted cream and served with summer fruits.

Here a basic easy meringue recipe with lots of variations, all of which would be happy filled with clotted cream!

Rice Pudding 

Just stir in some clotted cream with the jam. 


The Perfect Cream Tea

Indubitably the jam should go on first when making a cream tea but this has been long disputed by our neighbours in Devon. Read how to make a cream tea correctly here together with scientific proof that jam first is the way to go!


Quick, Easy, Wonderful Summer Desserts ~ Fruit Fools & Messes

I recently made us some Strawberry Fool and it occurs to me that this is such a quick, easy and utterly delicious thing to do with fruit I really should write about it, so here goes!

A fruit fool is simply fresh fruit, crushed or simmered with a little sugar as appropriate, folded into whipped cream. Some modern recipes replace up to half of the whipped cream with thick Greek yogurt and this works very well but is not quite the traditional fool of old. Other recipes use half cream and half custard (I’d use the ready-made here, which is unlike me, unless you are very keen!) and I believe originally fools were custard based, however  it’s all up to you, it’s your fool!

How to Make a Fruit Fool

~ Before you start set aside a few of the choicest pieces of fruit to decorate the dish.
~ Depending on the fruit you are using crush, macerate or simmer the fruit with sugar as needed till soft and syrupy.
~ Taste the fruit and add more sugar if necessary. If too sweet add a squeeze of lemon juice.
~ If you’ve cooked the fruit allow to cool completely and utterly before proceeding.
~ Use an approximately equal volume of cream as crushed or puréed fruit.
~ Whip the cream (together with any additions as suggested below) till it looks like this.
~ Fold the fruit and whipped cream (together with any additions) –you can either fold in completely or make pretty folds and swirls.

Here is how I made the fool we ate earlier …

Strawberry Fool

Serves 3-4 

300g strawberries 
1½ tbsp caster sugar
300ml double cream 

~ Hull the strawberries, slice and mix with the sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes up to 24 hours (the longer time should be in the fridge), which will result in soft strawberry pieces in a syrup.
~ Lightly mash together the fruit and its syrup.
~ Whip the cream and fold in the fruit and any juices.
~ Divide between pretty glasses and chill till needed.

A lovely addition to strawberry fool is a spoonful of Rumpot which should be whipped in with the cream! If you have no Rumpot, make some now. It does take a lot of planning ahead, but I promise you won't regret it!


Now is the Perfect Time to Make a Mess! 

Eton Mess, that is, see end of post for how to make this utterly delicious dessert with little further ado.

Fruit Fool Ideas 

As I said, this recipe/method works brilliantly for so many fruits, here are some ideas to get you started.

berries-for-fruit-foolSummer Berry Fool

Exactly as above but use a mixture of berries.

Raspberry Fool 

Same again but with raspberries which may need a little more sugar.


Blueberry Fool  

Blueberries need a little cooking and they also taste particularly well with lemon so put the berries and the sugar in a small pan with a squeeze of lemon and cook gently till they start to burst. At this stage you can either crush them for a chunky fool or purée for a smooth finish. Cool then fold into the whipped cream.

A great addition to this is to swirl in a couple of tablespoons of lemon curd after folding the fruit and cream together.


Blackberry & Apple Fool

Cook the blackberries to a mush, sweeten appropriately and cool completely. Fold together with the cream and then swirl through a few spoonsful of apple sauce – recipe here


Banana Fool

Simply mash ripe bananas with sugar, or honey, to taste and fold into the whipped cream. A dash of rum whipped in with the cream would be a good idea.

Coffee Banana Fool

Ripple through some coffee syrup.

Chocolate Banana Fool

As above but ripple through some chocolate sauce – the dark Chocolate Caramel Sauce here is perfect for this.  Probably a good idea to top with grated chocolate too!

Caramelised Banana Fool

20g butter
30g light brown sugar
3 bananas, sliced
a drip or two of vanilla extract
½ tablespoon dark Rum
300ml double cream

~ Melt together the butter and sugar in a frying pan.
~ Slice the banana, add to the pan and cook gently till soft, turning the slices now and then till soft.
~ Turn up the heat and cook, stirring, so that the bananas break down and start to caramelise.
~ Stir in the vanilla and, away from the heat, add the rum.
~ Cool completely.
~ Whip the cream and fold in the caramelised banana goo.

Rhubarb Fool

Prepare the rhubarb and cut into thin slices. Put into a pan with a spoonful each of sugar and water and cook till utterly tender. In this case drain off any excess juices, if watery. Taste and sweeten, rhubarb can be quite sharp. Fold together with the cream.

Ginger goes well with rhubarb so maybe fold in a little syrup from the stem ginger jar and/or some finely chopped stem ginger.


Peach Fool

Peel and dice peaches and cook in a pan over medium (add a spoonful of water to get them started), stirring often, till broken down into a chunky sauce. Taste and add sugar as you wish. Cool completely before folding together with the cream.

Peach Melba Fool

Make peach fool and then ripple through some raspberry coulis – recipe here towards end of the post. 

Gooseberry Fool

This is a very traditional and old-fashioned fool, but the basics are the same. Top and tail the gooseberries, simmer for about 10 minutes together with a couple of spoonsful of water and a fairly generous amount of sugar as they can be very sharp. When the fruit has burst simmer a little longer to cook off excess juices. Purée the fruit and juices and then strain to remove pips. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Cool then chill. Fold into the whipped cream.


Gooseberry & Elderflower Fool

Quite simply stir a little elderflower cordial into the fruit purée before folding into the cream. Clean elderflowers would be a great garnish for this.


Mango Fool

Purée ripe mango together with either a little fresh lime juice or, my preference, a splash of rum. Fold into the whipped cream.

Serve your fools in a large glass bowl or pretty individual glasses or maybe crisp tart cases. Garnish with fresh and appropriate fruits or chopped nuts, grated chocolate, crushed caramel or even crushed biscuits. 

So that’s the idea – let me know what foolish things you make! 

Oh, and here’s a slightly different fool …

Boodle’s Orange Fool

Serves 6

This recipe originates from Boodle’s Club in Pall Mall, London which was founded in 1762 and named after its head waiter, Edward Boodle, which is quite an accolade. This is their recipe ...

6 trifle sponges or ladyfingers 
zest and juice of 2 oranges 
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp Grand Marnier – optional in inauthentic but nice 
30g caster sugar 
300ml double cream 

~ Cut the sponges into 1cm cubes and arrange prettily in 6 glasses or one glass bowl.

~ Stir together the citrus zests and juices and Grand Marnier if using, keep stirring till the sugar has dissolved.
~ Whip the cream to just thickening and then slowly drizzle in the fruit juice mixture, whisking as you go.
~ Pour over the sponge pieces and chill for at least 2 hours but more is good as it allows the juices to soak into the sponges.
~ Garnish with a slice of orange, or a twist of orange zest or even some crystallised orange zest

Eton Mess

Eton Mess is named after a strawberry dessert traditionally served at Eton on 4th June at the annual cricket match held between Eton College and Harrow School.
Basically you fold broked or coarsely crushed meringut into Strawberry Fool  Bought in meringues are fine for this but homemade meringues are even finer – here is my Simple Fail-Proof Meringue Recipe.

As I say this is traditionally strawberry based but there is no reason to make any kind of mess you like from a fruit fool of your choice.


To be perfectly frank with you this is the photo I have used on the cover of my book Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine and actually depicts Eton Mess Ice Cream, but you get the gist!!!

Classic Coleslaw Recipe and How to Make it Your Own!

Isn’t coleslaw lovely – almost a miracle!


Even at its most basic, just shredded cabbage, onion and mayonnaise coleslaw is delicious. It is also quick, cheap, easy, healthy and if you use light mayonnaise (and personally, so far as Hellman’s is concerned, I can taste very little or perhaps no difference) not too fattening either.  So, finding myself in possession of a surplus of cabbage I recently made myself some …


Very Basic Coleslaw 

300g finely shredded cabbage – red or white or both
1 medium sized onion – red or white or both
1 carrot – coarsely grated
3 tbsp mayonnaise
salt and black pepper to taste

~   Finely shred or chop the cabbage.
~   Similarly cut the onion and add to the cabbage together with the carrot.
~   Add the mayonnaise and stir and toss all together till everything is coated with mayo.
~   Taste and season. 

Here is a romantic portrait of my finished coleslaw!


I really enjoy this simple salad but there are so many delicious ways vary it, for instance use a flavoured mayonnaise – see here for 38 Delicious Mayonnaise Variations all of which work well in coleslaw. 

Or try half mayonnaise and half sour cream in the above recipe plus a teaspoon of white wine vinegar and a teaspoon of caster sugar to dress the slaw.

It is also possible, of course, to make coleslaw with no mayonnaise whatsoever.

No-Mayo Coleslaw

If you don’t like mayonnaise, can’t eat eggs, are vegan or just fancy a change here are some ideas.

~   Try dressing your coleslaw with a vinaigrette, lots of vinaigrette and dressing ideas here.

~   Sour cream dressing – mix together 240g sour cream, 1 tbsp cider vinegar plus salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste. I would also advise using a lot of onion in the coleslaw when using this dressing or adding finely chopped red onion to the sour cream.

Spicy Peanut Coleslaw Dressing

60ml runny honey
60ml vegetable oil
60ml rice vinegar
1 rounded tablespoon peanut butter – smooth or crunchy
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tsp of sweet chilli sauce
salt to taste, depending on the peanut butter you use

~  Whisk all together except the salt.
~  Taste and seaon.
~  Dress your slaw.

Or try ...

Now then, whichever dressing you use, make this slaw your own …

Great Coleslaw Additions

Try adding one, two or even more of the following …

~   Lemon or lime juice which brightens the taste
~   A couple of teaspoons of delicious vinegar such as cider vinegar
~   A teaspoon of sugar
~   A little whole grain mustard
~   A little horseradish sauce
~   Spring onions (scallions) cut finely on the diagonal make a tasty and pretty addition
~   Coarsely grated apple – leave the skin on if you like, especially if it is pretty, and toss with a little lemon juice to stop it browning
~   Coarsely grated mature cheddar goes well in an apple coleslaw
~   Finely shredded raw beetroot which makes lovely pink coleslaw – see here for beetroot coleslaw
~   Fresh fennel bulb, shredded – garnish with some of the pretty fronds. This is an excellent accompaniment to fish dishes
~   Fresh herbs
~   Shredded chorizo
~   Adding shredded ham with thinly sliced red and/or yellow pepper and shredded Asiago cheese added to your mayonnaise based coleslaw makes the Italian dish - Insalata Capricciosa
~   Hot sauce, sweet chilli sauce or chipotle paste
~   Nuts or seeds, roasted, salted or otherwise
~   A little dried fruit – cranberries, for instance, at Christmas
~   Olives - best stoned and chopped.