How Two Leftovers Converge into Lunch

I have just eaten (as I start writing) a rather splendid and sudden lunch - it went like this ...
lovely sudden lunch from leftover

1.   I had, outrageously for me, roast rack of lamb for dinner the other day - delicious but I couldn't eat it all
2.   Real man's lunch for the past couple of days has been ham and pease pudding but the pudding outlasted the ham so ...
3.   I made myself some pease pudding curry which I also couldn't eat all of, so ..
4.   I made dal roti.
5.   I filled it with the thinly sliced leftover lamb which I cunningly laid onto the flatbread whilst the second side was cooking, just to warm through slightly
6.   I slid the finished, lamb topped roti onto a plate, added a little salad and Greek yogurt, folded it in half and took a picture.
7.   I then ate it and patted myself on the back - not choking, just congratulating myself.
As we sat down for lunch I proudly exhibited my meal to my darling at which he commented "I have absolutely no idea what that is!" and tucked into his sausage sarnie. 

sausage sandwich
Which reminds me of an odd handy tip; if you slice a sausage diagonally it will go farther when filling a sandwich.  I know mathematically this doesn't work out but it does culinarily. The picture below is of 2 sausages on a stottie and, as readers from Up North will verify, a stottie is fairly large, about 7" or 180mm across.

Speaking of Leftovers ...

Of all the foods in the world leftovers are my favourite ingredient and using them my favourite way to cook. If I find myself with random bits and pieces to use up I am delighted and often inspired; I enjoy the challenge of making them into a good meal and then I enjoy eating it! 

This is a fun and economical way of discovering new ideas and dishes; sometimes the result of playing with leftovers is so pleasing that the end product becomes a regular.

So I wrote a book ...

Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers

a handbook of cooking with leftovers
Read more here.

Man Food ~ Worldwide Pants!

In much of my blogging I talk about the things I do with leftovers and it is possible that there may be some confusion as to where said leftovers come from. 
Well quite a few come from wonderful creative spicy interesting meals that I have cooked myself (ahem) but some come from the HUGE manly dinners I cook my darling every single night.

I don't know if you are familiar with the American comedy "Everybody Loves Raymond", we watched it a lot in the Caribbean.  At the end of each episode the logo of the television company, World Wide Pants, is shown on the screen together with a picture of a meal, presumably cooked by Marie in the programme, being laid down.  

Because of this, when dinner is ready, I often call my real man by shouting out "World Wide Pants".  I don't know what the neighbours think but that is by no means the worst thing I call out to him.
everybody loves raymond logo

Anyhoo here are some pictures of Real Man Food together with ideas of what to do with any leftovers - slim chance though that may be.

1.   Roast Dinner 

traditional roast dinner with yorkshire puddings and homemade gravy
Roast meat of some description, always five lovely homemade Yorkshire puddings (unless I make six), mushy peas, veggies, potatoes and rich homemade gravy. You can see by the knife action that he is eager to get started on it.  A chicken dinner is a little different - homemade bread sauce and stuffing replacing the Yorkshires. 

Leftovers - leftover meat can be used to make pie, shepherds pie, rissoles, sandwiches, salads etc.  Leftover yorkies, if not influenced by gravy etc. are good popped in a hot oven for a few minutes and then eaten for breakfast with honey or maple syrup and butter.

steak and kidney pie

2.   Steak and Kidney Pie

Bought in puff pastry, sorry) with veg and mash. Sometimes its a chicken and leek pie or a minced beef pie.

Leftover mash can be fried and served with breakfast,
add leftover veg to make bubble and squeak or munged with other leftover things (eg. fish for instance) formed into cakes and fried for lunch.  See here for lots of ideas for leftover pastry trimmings.

traditional British fry up

3.   The manly fry up 

This typically includes bacon, sausages, kidneys, black pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms, oven chips, onions rings, peas and 4 slices of bread and butter.  Sometimes the meats are different, maybe a bit of steak or gammon for instance, and occasionally there are beans and an egg but no peas.

Leftovers - I can hardly think of anything to do with leftover chips but if you do have to reheat them DO NOT USE THE MICROWAVE or they will go soggy. Reheat them and onions rings in the oven. Sausages are good in sandwiches (handy sausge sandwich hint here). Any of the other leftovers could be used in a frittata. Crumble black pudding over kedgeree or add to stuffing.

toad in the hole

4.  Toad in the Hole

I have written about this before (including this picture which I am rather pleased with and the incredibly easy peasy Yorkshire pudding recipe) it is served with veg, potatoes and gravy.

This is tricky so far as leftovers are concerned but as there never are any I'm not bovvered.

fluffy homemade dumplings

5.   Mince and Dumplings

This is a real favourite. I have no idea why there are only nine dumplings showing in the picture because without ever measuring the ingredients I always seem to make him 11!  The recipe is here - see how many you make! Veg with this but no potatoes.

Leftovers - there are never any dumplings left but if there were I find the best way to re-use them is to slice in half and fry the dry cut surfaces in butter till crisp and golden and they are heated through.  If there is a lot of mince left I can make him a pie.  If just a little he might have a Sloppy Joe type thing for lunch or sometimes I add some beans, cumin, chilli and something tomatoey to make myself some chilli con carne.

Read More Here

I am so keen on using up leftovers I wrote a book, originally called The Leftovers Handbook it is now in its 2nd edition as Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers.  In it I give all the information, ideas, recipes, handy hints, cook’s treats, storage info, ideas of what goes with what that I can think of for over 450 possible leftovers. 

Delicious things to do with Roasted Carrots

Many years ago, probably when I was in my 40s,  I read "The Man Who Ate Everythingby Jeffrey Steingarten and thought "I want to be just like him when I grow up".  The thing that particularly attracted me was that as he was (and is) a food writer people were always sending him wonderful things to test and write about.  

Well I think it might have started happening to me too - a few weeks ago I was invited up to London (I live in Cornwall) to try a carrot; not just an ordinary carrot mind you, a Chantenay carrot.  I couldn't afford the trip but luckily a few days ago my real man brought home some bargain carrots of the very same race, I think he paid 35p instead of the full price of £1 but there was absolutely nothing wrong with them so I didn't use them for a few days.

Then I roasted them - just topped and tailed, tossed them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and cooked alongside a roasting chicken.  They took about an hour or a bit more and for the first 45 minutes I kept them covered with foil, then uncovered them to caramelise. 

These were so delicious that even my real man liked them, so I got all inspired, did it again and had a play.

My ideas for Roasted Carrots ...

Glazed Roasted Carrots 

To make them even more special just before serving melt in a little honey and butter to make a little glaze.


Warm and Nutty Carrot Salad

This was the second thing I tried - I just tossed some of the smallest  carrots whole together with a few pecans and tender leaves and drizzled with balsamic glaze with is, of course, sweet and so perfect with carrots. This was my first attempt just to see what I thought. I added crunchy sea salt and black pepper, thought WOW and stopped there.  This is really good!


Roasted Carrot Dip 

Purée "leftover" roast carrots with something appropriate to make a dip. I had some leftover sour cream and onion dip and added some parsley but cream cheese, mayonnaise or even hummus would make good alternatives.


Roasted Carrot Vinaigrette

For this I used about 60ml olive oil and 20ml cider vinegar with 5 roasted and puréed Chantenay carrots.  I add a pinch of salt and sweetened with honey; about 2 teaspoons, and prettied it up a bit with some chopped parsley.

This is based on my genius vinaigrette recipe ~ read more, with lots of suggestions, here.


Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup

I use pretty well the same basic recipe for all my soups (and have written a book "SOUP (almost) the Only Recipe You'll Ever Need" about this "genius" recipe) and this was no exception. The basic idea is to cook an onion my favourite way and when tender add a sliced potato or two and just cover with stock or water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer till tender. Add your roasted carrots and cook a few minutes more. Purée, dilute with more stock, milk or cream to your ideal soup consistency then taste and season.  I added a few chunks of roasted carrot and some parsley for added poshness.

In other news ...

Talking of orange coloured bargains - take a look at these; 17 beautiful lilies. still in bud when we bought them, for just £1.  They lasted almost three weeks.


And here for your delectation is a car covered in grass (fake I presume) that I saw in Truro - I cut off the front of the photo to save the driver's privacy.


Shakespeare got it wrong about porridge!


I have received an interesting infographic about porridge!  Click here to see it in all its glory.

I know, I expect we all do, that oats are good for us and seemingly Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and even Tony Blair are porridge fans (although, of course, the last one  may be lying!).  

Well I don't like porridge, so there!  It's not the taste, it's the texture. If you are happy with the mouth feel there are, of course, all sorts of wondrous additions such as maple syrup, jam, honey, butter, clotted cream or whisky that will make it even better. 

Luckily for me I am still able to get my oats (you understand that I had to get that it somewhere, don't you?) in other ways as I do know some fine things to do with leftover (or purpose made) porridge. 

So, although Shakespeare said, amongst many other things: 


it seems he may have been barking up the wrong tree so to speak as cold porridge, used properly, can be a really good thing!

Honey Oatmeal Scones ~ based on an Original Idea by Mrs. Beeton

Quite a while ago now I wrote an article for Vegetarian Living on Mrs. Beeton’s Vegetarian Cooking and this was one of her good ideas.  In my grandmother’s edition Mrs. B says to knead into cold porridge “as much flour as will enable it to be rolled out ¼” thick but that was a bit too basic and heavy for me so here is my version.

300g cold porridge
30g soft butter

1 tbsp honey
self-raising flour
(or plain flour and baking powder in the ratios 100g flour:1 tsp baking powder)

~   Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC/170ºC fan/gas 5.
~   Mix together the first three ingredients and then work in the flour to make a soft, sticky but manageable dough.
~   Knead lightly then roll out on a floured board to a thickness of about 20mm.
~   Cut into rounds or other shapes and lay on a greased baking tray.
~   Brush with milk and bake for 20-25 minutes till risen and golden.


Porridge Hotcakes

These are even better then normal pancakes served with maple syrup, butter and perhaps a tad of smoky bacon.  

See here for the oat pancake recipe and also find out how to make  Dried Cherry Muffins and Chocolate Chip Brownies from leftover Porridge.   Or how about ...

Oaty Banana Cake

120g soft butter
2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
475ml (use a measuring jug) leftover porridge
140g  plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ripe bananas - coarsely chopped

~   Lightly grease a cake tin or loaf pan.
~   Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC/160°C fan/gas 4
~   Cream together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
~   Whisk in the the eggs and the porridge
~ . Sift together the dry ingredients and fold into the batter.
~   Fold in the bananas.
~   Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake till risen, golden and springy to the touch - 35-40 minutes.
~   Cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out.

This is really good drizzled with Sticky Toffee Sauce, the recipe for which is here where you will also discover that I am actually bananaphobic so ... I add chocolate and grated orange zest to the above recipe instead!

Further info and a few other ideas for leftover porridge (and at least 449 other potential leftovers) can be found in Creative Ways to Use Up Lefovers

a leftovers handbook of delicious recipes and ideas
Read More Here

Best eaten "whilst leaning against a pickup"!

I am grateful to the Kitchen Reader for their choice of reading for May:

"Choose any book from the Penguin Books Great Food series"

great food writing from Penguin

I have had the this collection for some while but have been loathe to read any of the books because they are such pretty little things and it seems a shame to risk damage by opening them.  I've done it now though; I chose "Eating with the Pilgrims and other pieces" by Calvin Trillin and I selected it for purely selfish reasons which are that he once said:

"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."

Leftovers and their numerous delicious uses are close to my heart (indeed, I have written a handbook of leftovers and how to use them ~ Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers) and I've been looking for an excuse to quote that for ages!

To the book ...

Calvin Trilling's food writing

Calvin Trillin is a famous and amusing writer who has been contributing to the New York Times since 1963.  He has often been called a "food writer" but disagrees with this saying "I don't cook. I don't know anything about food. I've never reviewed a restaurant." He does, however, appear to know about American food - as do I, a bit!

My first job in the Caribbean was at the Tamarind Club on Tortola (as was my second and my fifth!) but after a few months I had to return to the UK and asked an American friend if she would be interested in taking over the kitchen. She was but told me she was bit dubious about cooking "creatively" because of the Brits. This surprised me as I had been holding back because of the Americans being so narrow in their tastes! I doubt either of us were right. Calvin Trillin makes a fair few digs at English cooks in this little book andI am now going to dig back!

The first essay is "An attempt to Compile a Short History of the Buffalo Wing". Well! For non-Americans who are not in the know this is a "classic" dish of spicy chicken wings which are served somewhat incongruously with celery sticks and a blue cheese sauce.  I have never thought that blue cheese and chicken were a good combo and indeed Mr. Trillin says "I later learned that nobody in Buffalo has figured out for sure what to do with the blue-cheese dressing."  I'm not at all surprised.

In the second and title essay, "Eating with the Pilgrims", he states that the Pilgrims were from East Anglia which was, he says, "glad to see the back of them" and "put on some Brussels sprouts to boil in case any of their descendents craved a veggie in 1981"!  In this essay he is primarily putting forward the case for celebrating Thanksgiving by eating Spaghetti Carbonara rather than turkey. His argument being that it is far more traditional than turkey having been introduced by Christopher Columbus who the Indians, he claimed, called "the big Italian fella". So, as you see, creative and unusual writing.

Next comes a chapter on Barbecued Mutton which is not as strange as it sounds and I do like the sign he mentions seeing outside a barbecued mutton purveyors;

"Mary had a little lamb, won't you have some too?"

In "Missing Links" he writes of boudin (Jim, but not as we know it) by which he means a spicy rice mixture a bit like dirty rice, often containing pork or beef but sometimes based on shrimp or gator, shoved into a sausage skin. The boudin I know is either a dark blood sausage, Boudin Noir which can be likened to black pudding, or bloodless Boudin Blanc which is like guess what?  White pudding! Serving suggestion - the Louisiana Boudin of which he writes is, apparently, best eaten "whilst leaning against a pickup".

Later in the book there is much talk of bagels.

I have always been amused by the American interpretation of dishes eg. apple pie (which we invented before we invented America) a la mode ie. with ice cream (see here for more on this strange terminology) and biscuits (by which they mean scones but even so this is a strange combination) with gravy. Really I think Mr. Trillin is of a like mind, in 2007 when being interviewed he said:

"The sort of eating I’ve always been interested in is what I guess you’d call vernacular eating. It has something to do with a place…. The fact that people in Cincinnati have something they call authentic Cincinnati chili, and seem unaware that people in the Southwest eat chili, let alone Mexicans, and think that chili is made by Macedonians and served on spaghetti, that’s interesting to me."

I like Mr. Trillin's style and hope to read more of his work and, as the little book has survived my womanhandling so well I might read another in the Penguin Great Food series.

Speaking of Books

In other news ...

Lovely day here in Cornwall, we went to Bedruthan Steps for a walk.

bedruthan steps and area in Cornwall