Three Cornered Leeks ~ eat as much of this naughty plant as you can!

green salad with firaged three cornered leeks flowers and leaves
I was chatting with my friend Carol the other day, about wild garlic, and she asked if I had tried three cornered leeks.  Tried it? – I’d never even heard of it!

 So, she took me into her garden and picked me some.  Very pretty with a milder but similar smell/fragrance to wild garlic. So naturally I had play …

Firstly, having done some research (see Wild Food UK for lots of useful information on three cornered leek) and read that the whole plant is edible I nervously nibbled a flower.

I then nibbled the stem and a leaf – and the taste was very similar to wild garlic, which I love, but maybe a little milder.

Yesterday, driving round Cornwall’s gorgeous wild flower filled lanes, I spotted a patch of these naughty flowers.  

foraging for three cornered leeks in Cornwall

three cornered leeks, foraging, wild food, invasive species

As it says on Wild Food UK …

An invasive species brought over to the UK from the Mediterranean, it is an offence under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales to plant or otherwise cause to grow this species in the wild.

So I thought I'd better try to help eradicate the buggers and picked a big bunch and here is last night’s dinner.

A simple summery dish of roasted salmon with buttery Jersey Royals, mange tout (Rodney), asparagus and three cornered leeks.  Glass of white, naturally.

roasted salmon with buttery Jersey Royals, mange tout, asparagus, three cornered leeks

Now then, as I said, three cornered leeks are very similar to wild garlic so it would be cheating, I feel, if I just repeated all my wild garlic ideas.  Instead see my post Wild Garlic ~ Calloo Callay! for lots of info and  ideas and do the same with three cornered leeks.

vase of three cornered leeks

So, get out there and eat some three cornered leeks!

Windows 10 Update Completely Emptied my Computer!

I’ve just had an ‘orrible time with my computer.

A few morning as I was  on my computer, as usual, a pop-up popped up as they do, and told me that a windows update was taking place. I had no choice in the matter, although I would have accepted anyway.

Within a few minutes the update was complete and I was prompted to choose which language I wanted to use – I chose English UK. I was asked again I chose the same thing. This happened about 20 times and I could do nothing to get rid of the language screen so I said a rude word and switched off.

When I switched back on all I had was a blank black screen with just one icon – a completely empty recycle bin.  

black screen with empty recycle bin after updating Windows 10


Anyway, I am not very savvy at this sort of thing and can’t really remember what I did but after about 4 hours researching on my partner’s computer I managed to get mine working – but still completely empty! 

This site, Windows Central, helped me a lot but I’m not sure what I did in the end to at least get my computer basically operational.  

So, I have been repopulating it. Thank God I keep all my documents and photos in Dropbox!

It is a slow job especially because …

~   Although I still have Dropbox (praise the Lord) I seem to have it twice and need to sort that out as not all files are in both versions. A long job, methinks.

~   Lots of programs I have downloaded have changed considerably from the version I had installed so there is quite a lot of learning to do.

~   The computer also seems much slower, to the extent that I assume things haven't worked, and, when first turned on it sometimes takes several minutes to boot so I have a worrying time looking at the black screen with my fingers crossed. 

~   Programs are frequently "not responding" for some while.

~   I have to do a lot of password changing as I, apparently, hadn’t kept my notes up to date on that.

I understand several people taking class action lawsuits against Microsoft for this error and I don't blame them.

So, if your computer updates, be afraid – be very afraid! 

So, the only thing I have to report, food-wise is utterly gorgeous Davidstow Vintage Cheddar, Cornish by the way, which I was lucky enough to find considerably reduced. 

gorgeous crumbly Cornish cheddar cheese

Thankfully, that, with a glass of wine, calmed me down a bit.

6½ Super Flexible Recipes for Making the Most of Leftovers

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again …

new meals from leftover food, recipes for leftovers

The following 6½ recipes can help with this because they are all so very adaptable

1.   Flexible Fritter Recipe

There are several ways to make fritters; larger pieces of leftover food, such as pieces of fish, can be coated in batter or breadcrumbs and fried to crisp. If you have leftover mashed potato plus other leftovers mix them all together and fry.  Here, however, is a useful fritter batter recipe that can take almost any leftover.  These are Cauliflower Cheese Fritters made with leftover cooked cauliflower and, yes!, cheese.

cauliflower cheese fritters, leftover cauliflower,, all purpose fritter recipe

Sweet fritters work too – how about leftover banana (sliced or diced, of course) with soft light brown sugar and a drip or two of rum?

soup from leftovers, basic soup recipe, all purpose soup recipe, soup cookbook

2.   Soup from Leftovers

Of course, you could just run your leftovers through the food processor and dilute to soup consistency but there is a much better way! 

My all-purpose soup recipe is so damned useful I’ve even written a book about it (Soup (Almost) the Only Recipe You'll Ever Need), but the basic seriously useful soup recipe is here to get you started.

3.  Omelettes aka Omelets

So useful are omelettes for using up leftovers that a café I used to breakfast at, De Loose Mongoose, often had Trash Omelette blatantly on the menu, filled with whatever they had left over from the night before. See how to make a perfect leftovers omelette here.

fritttata recipe, use leftovers in frittata, egg frittata

3½.   Frittata

A frittata is a more substantial type of omelette (hence the ½) so, the good news is, you can use up more leftovers! Ham, bacon, chorizo, cheese, seafood, asparagus, mushrooms and lots more are great in frittatas.

If you use half a dozen eggs this should feed 2-3 people.

~   Fry raw onion, if using, gently in oil or butter till soft then add a little garlic, if you wish.
~   If adding leftover potatoes increase the heat and add these now crushing them slightly and cook till they start to crispen and colour. Add a little more oil or butter as necessary.
~   Now add any other cooked ingredients and mix into the potatoes, taste and adjust the seasoning, adding herbs and spices to taste.
~   Turn down the heat, whisk together  six eggs and pour them over everything else.
~   Preheat the grill.
~   Cook the frittata gently for a few minutes till the bottom is set but the top still moist.
~   Sprinkle with grated cheese, if using, and slide under the grill till melted and a little golden.
~   Cut into wedges and serve hot or cold.

mushroom risotto recipe, flexible risotto recipe, black garlic risotto, add leftovers to risotto4.  Risotto

I used to love making risotto when I was a chef – it’s a great excuse to stand still for a few minutes (apart from the arm doing the stirring) and maybe even to partake of a chef’s coffee. I do much the same at home – see here for the basic risotto recipe.  

In case you are wondering, here are details of chef’s coffee and also, fortuitously, how to make a frittata with leftover pasta! 

5.  Bubble & Squeak aka Hash

how to make crispy fried potatoes, saute potatoes, handy cooking hint

Firstly, of course, Bubble and Squeak is a great way to use up leftover cooked potatoes whether they be boiled, mashed, baked, roasted, etc. and also works well with sweet potatoes (leftover of course).

Secondly, all sorts of leftovers; vegetables (leftover cabbage is traditional in Bubble & Squeak but is by no means obligatory), fish, meat, poultry, cheese, bacon, ham, sausage, chorizo etc. can very happily be incorporated.

Oh, and you could fry it in leftover bacon fat or schmaltz for added deliciousness.

~   Fry some finely chopped onion gently in a little oil, butter or fat for a few minutes till soft. Add some garlic if you like!
~   Increase the heat, add the leftover cooked potatoes crushing them slightly and cook till they just start to crispen and colour. Add more oil or butter as necessary.
~   Stir in other leftover vegetables and continue to fry and turn till all is hot, crispy in parts and delicious.

Serve the hash as it is, quite possibly topped with a fried egg, or form into little cakes or pile onto a pie filling to make a super-duper fish pie, cottage pie or similar.

hash recipe, bubble and squeak recipe, leftover potatoes

6.  Bread Pudding ~ Sweet or Savoury

This is not the manly rib sticking Bread Pudding which is like cake, it is a rich creamy custard based dessert similar to Bread and Butter Pudding but, instead of using slices of buttered bread, I use random bits and pieces of leftover bread – whatever I have.  Stale or slightly oven dried bread is best.

Normally we associate bread (and butter) pudding with sweet ingredients but a Strata is a savoury bread and (no) butter pudding layered up with whatever other ingredients are being used. Leave out the sugar and season the egg mixture with salt and pepper and anything else appropriate according to taste. Mix in cheese and other ingredients before pouring over the custard.

Serves 4
100g-150g stale bread in small chunks
200ml milk
100ml double cream
2 eggs
75g-100g leftovers

For a sweet dish …

80g sugar plus a little for sprinkling
flavourings appropriate to your leftovers eg. vanilla extract, a little brandy, chocolate chips or what have you

For a savoury dish …

salt and pepper
whatever seasonings will complement your leftovers, such as garlic, herbs, spices, grated (possibly leftover) cheese etc. – to taste

~   Put the bread into a lightly greased ovenproof dish.
~   Add your leftovers and toss to mingle well.
~   Whisk together the milk, cream and eggs plus the sugar OR salt and other seasonings you are using.
~   Gently push the bread under the surface to soak it. Set aside for 30 minutes or more – even overnight will do.

To cook …

~   Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C/160˚C Fan/gas 4.
~   Sprinkle the pudding with the extra sugar OR grated cheese as appropriate.
~   Bake for about 40 minutes till risen, golden and slightly wobbly when nudged.

Serve hot, warm or cold but warm is best.

bread and butter pudding recipe, strata recipe, leftover bread

In my book, Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers, I give numerous ideas for 450 different leftover foods including more ideas and details for the above recipes.

leftovers handbook, leftovers cookbook, leftovers recipes, creative ways to use up leftovers

The Hidden Hut ~ how I wish I was younger!

Just a quickie because I really want to tell you about this place, which is strange as I haven’t even eaten there – yet!

the hidden hut, porthcurnick beach

The other day some friends and I went to The Hidden Hut at Porthcurnick Beach and I am now suffering from a very serious case of Café Envy. If I was younger and bouncier I would love to do something like this again.

The Hidden Hut is a bit hidden but not that difficult to find, it's on the coastal path near Portscatho on the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall. A simple hut which does takeaway food but with lots of outside seating, with lovely views of the beach, so you don’t have to take it very far!

sea view from the hidden hut, cornwall

The menu looked so tempting and is, I believe, constantly changing; 

“Organised according to the weather forecast and produce availability.” 

... which is always the best way with menus, I find.  Ice cream is handmade from clotted cream, ingredients are sourced freshly and locally and cooked in their outside kitchen. 

And just look at their Feast Nights!    

Very sadly, we had already eaten when we visited The Hidden Hut and only had hot drinks, but I hope to return with someone hungrier soon!

how to recycle rubbish

Even the area for returning trays and trash was inspiring with directions for recycling various waste into different containers, and my friend reported that the toilets were a joy to visit.

So – if you are in Cornwall this summer give The Hidden Hut a visit. Might see you there, I’ll be the one staring longingly at the kitchen.

Common Sense with Leftover Food ~ apparently not a new idea!

I’ve recently started saving images of old cookbooks, as I find them, on Pinterest.

I am interested in them but not that interested! 

As with most cookbooks they tend to have the same recipes repeated over and over again (see here for more on this strange cookbook similarity) but, as you can imagine, I was intrigued to discover this.

recipes for leftovers, ideas for leftover food

I see that, like some cookbook writers today, the authors have cheekily added blank pages for the reader to add “My Own Receipts” thus making the book look more temptingly thick and full!

Other than that I am in complete agreement with the writers, Helen Carroll Clarke and Phoebe Deyo Rulon, from the start  …

make the most of leftovers

image for pinterest on leftovers cookbooks

Although I must say that, with my modern ideas, I am of the opinion that blokes may also benefit from advice on making the most of leftovers!

Some of the recipes are quite interesting;  one of the first in the book is called Fire Island Stew although it is simply a dish of macaroni and leftover roast beef in a tomato sauce.  In 1911, however, this may have been quite adventurous.
Mock Chicken Salad is strange as it’s actually a pork salad!, and this is a little odd too, whether it uses tinned baked beans or homemade ...

leftover baked beans, bean salad

Obviously, due to differences of time (The Cook Book of Leftovers was published in 1911) and place (this is an American book) we are dealing with different ingredients, cooking methods and food storage.

Fundamentally, however, our ideas and principles are much the same. Probably that is because using leftover food to create delicious new dishes is bleeding obvious!

There is much I agree with and I find myself nodding sagely as I read the book.  This recipe for leftover cooked sweet potatoes …
leftover cooked sweet potatoes

... is a little like my recipe, in Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers for leftover raw sweet potatoes.

Filipino sweet potato recipe, kamote cue

We are also similar with regard to pastry scraps and leftover cheese …

The Cook Book of Left-Overs ...

leftover pastry scraps, cheese straws recipe

Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers ...

lpastry scraps, leftover pastry, cheese straws recipe

Read more about The Cook Book of Leftovers here and read more about my book Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers here. 

leftovers cookbooks, recipes for leftovers