6 New Year (or any time) Resolutions to help you Love your Leftovers

6 ways to make the most of leftover food

I love leftovers, they inspire me, and every day I eat really well by using scraps, trimmings and remains creatively. 

As I  have said before, using leftovers tackles not only the waste of money and resources but also of good eating opportunities.

So, here are 6 rules you might like to adopt this year which are certain to help you make the best of whatever leftover food you have.

1.  Act Quickly with Leftovers

       Deal with leftovers before they have deteriorated – eat, cook and eat, cook and freeze or just freeze but don’t ignore them.

2.   Be a Leftovers Collector

       Group together similar scraps and leftovers in the freezer till you have enough to make something delicious.  Here are some of my freezer collections and what I do with them…

Bread Scraps 

These are great for bread pudding, French toast pancakes, stuffing, bread sauce, and lots of exciting things such as Curried Cashew Fritters.  

spicy roasted cashew fritter made with leftover bread
Loads more ideas where they came from!

Raw Meat Trimmings   

When there are enough I make stock, soup, add them to stir fries, risotto, pasta dishes etc.  Sometimes if the meat is all of good quality I make burgers, not necessary beef burgers, however.  Here is a great recipe using pork trimmings ...

BBQ Pork Burgers

2 rashers bacon – I like smoked
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dark brown sugar
½ tsp salt
500g good quality pork scraps – minced or fairly finely chopped
1 tbsp oil
BBQ sauce

~   Coarsely chop the bacon and cook, preferably in its own fat, till crisp.  Drain on kitchen roll.
~   Mix together the next 3 ingredients.
~   Form the chopped meat into two or three burgers.  People sometime ask me what I add to burgers to keep them together eg. egg or breadcrumbs but the answer is Nothing. Just munge it lovingly together and all should be well.
~   Rub the burgers with the sugar mix.
~   Brush with a little oil and grill or pan fry till crisp and golden and cooked through – it’s a bit risky under cooking pork.
~   Brush with a little BBQ sauce for the last minute of cooking.
~   Serve on buns drizzled with more BBQ sauce and a great addition is a spoonful of coleslaw on each burger.

Seafood Bits and Pieces - raw and/or cooked  

Fish pie is the obviousest thing to make once there are enough, topped with mashed potato or scraps from my pastry collection.  Less obvious but a really gorgeous use of varied fish scraps is my Seafood Chowder.

rich creamy seafood chowder made from trimmins and leftovers

sugary duck shaped cookie made from pasty scraps

Pastry scraps 

Here are lots of things to do with pastry scraps from crunchy pie topping to Napoleons, Tatins, Turnovers and more.

3.     Be Prepared for Cooking Spontaneously

        Keep a well-stocked store cupboard.  I don’t just mean flour, sugar, oil, salt, pepper and so on although they are crucial but also the flavourings, seasonings and accoutrements you most like to add to a dish. I always have chorizo, black garlic, panko crumbs, chilli pickle, balsamic glaze and one or two other oddments so that I can eat really well whenever I want to.

4.     Be Selfish!

          If your leftover is too small to share and unsuitable for freezing then have yourself a Cook’s Treat, it’s traditional!  There are loads of great ways to enjoy yourself with a little something from simply scraping the bowl to this idea if you have one or two livers just removed from a fresh chicken.

Luxurious Chicken Livers on Toast for the Cook

 ~   Season and sauté in butter till brown outside and pink in the middle.
~    Flame carefully with a touch of Brandy and add enough cream to make a sauce.
~    Mash all together and eat on toast as a lovely sudden lunch.

(Of course you could collect all your chicken livers in the freezer, so long as they are not from a frozen chicken, till there are enough to make a pâté.)

5.     Be Creative with Leftovers

          Leftovers are ideal for playing with as, in the unlikely event that you mess up, well - it was only a leftover so hasn't cost you much. The  more you know, however, the more confidently creative, and less wasteful, you can be so ...

6.      Keep Learning more about Cooking

            Learn about proper storage, learn about best before dates vs. use by dates, learn what goes with what so that if two or more complimentary scraps occur simultaneously you will know what to make.  Above all, however, Learn To Cook, it has one of the greatest boons my life.

Oh, and here's another good idea!  Allow me to present my book on leftovers ...

Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers

ultimate leftovers food handbook

In Other News ...

I should just like to make my annual joke! 

happy new year joke

Xmas leftovers ~ too busy eating!

We’re stuffed and we haven’t managed to eat everything even though we've been training for weeks and gave it our best shot.  Here is a portrait of our leftovers …

I have of course written about seasonal leftovers before and with so much chocolate, brandy and other goodies to get through I'm a bit busy!

Today we went for a lovely Boxing Day Walk from Bedruthan Steps to Mawgan Porth and back, took a few pictures and discovered that my real man is a bit of a pin-head!

All the best for the rest of the festive season – I’ll get back to real blogging in the New Year.

How to Make The Best Yorkshire Puddings Ever ~ for 26½p!

This is just a quickie because I keep seeing all sorts of tricky recipes for Yorkshire puddings and yet the way I make them is a doddle – a quick, easy, amazingly cheap and delicious doddle so I thought I ought to get it out there.  I have mentioned this recipe before but it deserves another airing so here it is.


Less than 30p the lot (see below)!

My Lovely Yorkshire Pudding Batter – makes 6 large individual puds

Before we start there are four important things about making Yorkshires …

1.        You MUST use plain flour and no raising agent or it won’t work!  Strange but true.
2.        Make the batter at least an hour before you need it
3.        The oil in the pan must be seriously hot before you add the batter.
4.        A draught will kill a Yorkshire pud so do not open the oven for at least 10 minutes.
1 heaped tbsp plain flour
a little salt
1 large-ish egg
a little milk

gorgeous easy to make cheap homemade yorkshire puddings
Please pin - so you don't forget!
~   Beat together the flour, salt and the egg till smooth.
~   Whisk in enough milk to make a runny batter, almost as runny as single cream.
~   Set aside for an hour or more (overnight in the fridge is fine too).
~   When ready to cook preheat the oven to 400˚F/200˚C/180˚C Fan/Gas 6.
~   Put ½ a teaspoon of oil into each little muffin cup in a muffin pan for individual yorkies or a little more oil in one dish and put in the oven for a few minutes till hot.
~   The batter will have thickened whilst resting so whisk in a little more milk till the batter is runny again.
~   Pour the batter into the pan and immediately put into the oven.
~   Do NOT open the door for about 10 minutes and even then do so gently and with caution.
~   They are ready when seriously puffed up and deep golden.
~   Serve immediately to appreciate them at their wonderful best.

Two Good Yorkshire Pudding Ideas ...

~   I like to use little silicon muffin cases for individual puds as they don’t stick and they give the puddings a pretty frilly edge (but it does ruin them for other baking so set aside some especially for this).

~   It’s a good idea to put a baking tray in the oven when preheating and stand the puddings on it to ensure you have a crispy bottom.

*** See below for more about useful cooking tips.

Incredibly Good Value!
1 egg say 20p,  1 tablespoon of flour say 1½p, 60ml (approx.) milk say 5p, a pinch of salt say 0p!  =  26½ p – ta da!  

Gravy, incidentally! 

If you happen to need a good and very easy real grave recipe to go with your Yorkshires see here. 

I can think of lots of good things to do with this batter and it is a great way to use up Leftovers – my favourite ingredients!  

Toad in the Hole 

See here for my Toad in the Hole Recipe.

Fruity Clafouti


Add any bits and pieces you fancy to the puds - here I've tried Toasted Pecans with Maple Syrup, Granola with Honey and a melting chocky centre.


Leftover Yorkshire Puds 

These are unlikely, I know, but they make a great breakfast! Reheat for just a few minutes in a hot oven (NOT the microwave or they'll go flabby) and serve with honey or syrup.


Not such a short post after all and I'm sorry if you've read it all before but for those who haven't - woo hoo!

*** These are just two of the 500+ good ideas, tips and "hacks" in my book 500+ Truly Useful Cooking Tips ...


6 Easy No-Churn Christmas Ice Cream Recipes ~ for a refreshing change!

Add to Pinterest for easy reference!

Among all the rich, heavy, wintery rib-sticking traditional Christmas desserts ice cream can be quite a refreshing relief!

For years (and years and years) I have used a gobsmackingly easy method to make lush, rich, creamy dairy ice cream without having to do all sorts of irritating things.  

      ~   No fiddly custard making involved.
      ~   No ice cream machine needed.
      ~   No mashing of ice cream necessary whilst freezing.

I have been so pleased with this way of making ice cream that I wrote a book ...


Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine gives over 100 ice cream recipes plus ancillary recipes for sauces, syrups, inclusions etc. and some sexy presentation ideas. 

Once you have this method under your belt, understand the importance of sugar in the recipes (including in the form of alcohol, happily) and how to use it properly, plus how to marble, ripple and add inclusions then creating your own ices is easy peasy.

As an early Christmas prezzie for you here are 6 Christmassy ice cream recipes from the book.  In all cases quantities make about 6-8 portions.

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

This is my absolutely favourite Christmas Pud ice cream recipe ever and is one of my most asked for recipes. 

225g cooked Christmas Pud
30g butter
30g dark brown sugar,
finely grated zest and juice of 1 orange
50ml brandy
500ml double cream
200g condensed milk

~   Crumble the Christmas pud with your fingers.
~   Lick fingers.
~   Wash fingers.
~   Melt together the butter and the sugar and then stir in the crumbled pud, the orange juice and zest and the brandy.
~   Bring slowly to a simmer, stirring a lot, and then cool completely.
~   Fold into the whipped cream together with condensed milk.
~   Freeze.

Buttered Rum & Ginger Ice Cream

50g butter
50g light brown sugar
2 tablespoons of syrup from the stem ginger jar
50ml golden or dark rum
5 pieces of stem ginger – finely chopped
500ml double cream
200g condensed milk

~   Put the butter, sugar, ginger syrup and rum in a small pan and heat together over low heat stirring till everything has melted together
~   Stir in the chopped ginger and simmer gently for 3 or 4 minutes.
~   Cool completely.
~   Whisk the cream till thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk.
~   Fold in the ginger and its sauce.
~   Freeze.

Brandied Mincemeat Ice Cream

500ml double cream
200g condensed milk
350g mincemeat
50ml brandy

~   Stir the brandy and the mincemeat together vigorously till completely mixed.
~   Whip the cream till thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk.
~   Fold in the mincemeat and brandy mixture.
~   Freeze.

This is pretty served in a pie crust!

Marzipan Ice Cream

200g white marzipan
500ml double cream
50ml Amaretto or brandy
200g condensed milk

~   Coarsely grate the marzipan and then heat gently with the cream till melted.  Cool to completely cold.
~   Whisk together the marzipanned cream and the liqueur to thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk plus any inclusions.
~   Freeze.

Toasted almonds or, even better, crushed almond praline are good added to or sprinkled on this.

Brandied Cherry & White Chocolate Ice Cream

The dried cherries, having soaked up the alcohol, become juicy and squidgy and remain juicy and squidgy even in the midst of the sweet cold creaminess. 

white-chocolate-ice-cream500ml double cream
200g condensed milk
45g white chocolate
225g dried cherries
Brandy or Cherry Brandy to cover the cherries

~   At least 24 hours in advance of making this ice cream you must soak the cherries - put them into a small container and pour over enough brandy or cherry brandy to cover them.  I can’t give exact quantities but too much brandy is not a problem really, it will still be delicious after the cherries have been removed from it.
~   Melt the chocolate as instructed here.
~   Whisk the cream together with 50ml of liquor drained from the soaking cherries.
~   Fold in the melted chocolate, condensed milk and macerated cherries.
~   Freeze

PS. Remember to drink any leftover liqueur – it is Christmas!

Alcoholic by Necessity Trifle Ice Cream

Alcohol is necessary to soak the fruit in this so that it doesn't freeze solid in the ice cream.  

Sherry is traditional for trifle but you need a spirit for the fruit so may I suggest … brandy?  The sherry can be used in the cream. 

410g-ish tin of fruit in juice
50ml brandy or other suitable liqueur
200g trifle sponges or other plain cake - crumbled
50ml sweet sherry
500ml double cream
200g condensed milk

~   Drain the fruit and discard or drink the juice.
~   Toss together the fruit and brandy or other liqueur and set aside overnight to soak.
~   The next day mix in the sponge cake.
~   Whisk the sherry and cream till thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk and then the fruit, sponge and alcohol mixture.
~   Freeze.

Both Rumtopf Ice Cream and Blue Cheese & Port Ripple (which I have taken the liberty of serving on top of a a baked pear) are  good for Christmas too but they need ancillary recipes which I don’t have space to go into here.  Consider them a teaser!

Some people, I must admit, have been put off by the idea of using condensed milk in ice cream – well more fool them! 

This is very much a proven method.  When I worked in the Caribbean the rich visitors to the island were very pernickety and naturally, in all that lovely hot sunshine, ice cream desserts were much in demand. Unable to get hold of either an ice cream machine or a good quality ready-made product I created my own ice creams, using this method, and they were popular as ****! (*see below).  

Talking of Books ...

I would (of course) just like to mention my Christmas book Easy Festive Food for a Stress-Free Christmas!

Catering for Christmas can be time consuming, tiring and a bit stressy, so I thought I’d offer some suggestions to make it quicker, easier, more relaxed and perhaps more impressive!

This book does not contain all the information and directions that you can find everywhere in books, magazines and on the net such as roasting times or mince pie recipes. This contains a collection of useful ideas and recipes that as a professional chef I have used over the years to delight guests and customers without knackering myself!

Included are  ...

The Turkey Dinner & Alternatives!
Making the Best Gravy Ever is Really Easy!
Vegetable and Side Dishes!
Christmas Desserts
Sautéed Grapes, for instance!
Coffee & Accompaniments e.g. Chocolate Clotted Cream Truffles!
What to do with Christmas Leftovers

I have also added every useful idea, hint and tip I can think of!

(* = heck)

Glazed Shallots with (or without!) Red Wine & How to Use Them

Recently my romantic darling brought me home a small bag of shallots which were reputedly almost past their best before date. 

I removed the plastic bag so they could breath put them in my basket of various onions and forgot about them for about a week. When I remembered them they were still in prime condition so I decided to glaze them.

Glazed Shallots

~   Don’t peel the shallots just remove any loose papery skins.
~   Put the shallots into a small pan, cover with boiling water and simmer for 2-3 minutes. This has two useful effects:
1.         the skin is now easier to remove and doesn’t make you cry.
2.         the shallots are slightly cooked so the rest of the process takes less time.
~   Drain and rinse.
~   Now peel them. If you cut off the stalk end and squeeze gently from the root end the shallot should slide out but this is a tiny weeny bit wasteful and it could shoot across the room and take someone's eye out!
~   Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan large enough to hold the shallots in one layer and sauté them, shaking and tossing from time to time till they are turning golden.
~   Add a light sprinkling of caster sugar, a little salt and enough hot water to just cover.
~   Simmer till tender when pierced with a sharp knife. If you run out of water before they are tender add a little more, if they are tender before you run out of water increase the heat and continue to cook, shaking the pan till there is just a little sticky goo left.
~   It’s a nice idea to add either a glass of “leftover” red wine or a splash of balsamic vinegar towards the end of cooking and simmer till it is reduced to almost nothing.  I chose red wine this time.

Nice pinnable image, don't you think!!

The first thing I made with my glazed shallots was a rather lovely pizza using my easy and delicious homemade pizza dough. Instead of a tomato sauce on the base I used an abstemious amount of balsamic glaze and the topping was simply glazed shallots, lovely St. Agur cheese and lots of black pepper.


Then, last night, I made myself a delicious dinner using a small piece of fillet steak which had been reduced from £2.50 to £1.53 so I’m not being extravagant here. I cut it into strips and sautéed half of them with some of the shallots, made a quick pan sauce with red wine and served it on top of fried mash.  Awfully good and I think this must have cost me about 90p or so!


The other half of the steak?  I marinated ready for a Bulgogi tomorrow night. 

I still had four shallots and two halves plus a small piece of St. Agur.

What would you do?  I made a ...

Shallot & Blue Cheese Butter

I creamed the cheese with about twice as much softened butter, added the shallots, coarsely chopped, plus a little salt (the cheese and the butter being already salty) and a lot of pepper. This will be great on steak, in jacket potatoes or to make hot flavoured bread, like garlic bread only different. 

Flavoured butters are an excellent way of using up small quantities of all sorts of leftovers; (see here for lots of ideas for flavoured butter) and this is a good way to store it 

~   Spread a square of clingfilm or baking parchment onto the counter.
~   Scrape the soft and tasty butter into sausage about 25mm/1" from and parallel to one edge.
~   Lift that edge and use the film or parchment to roll and shape the butter into a cylinder.
~   When satisfied roll the butter in the rest of the clingfilm or parchment and twist the ends to secure.
~   Chill or freeze until needed.
~   Use a hot knife to slice cold or frozen butters.

By the way, if you are thinking that a bag of cheap shallots isn’t that romantic – think again, he also bought me this!
... and three of these!