Making the most of our Easter lunch leftovers

Despite my best efforts, we had plenty left from our Easter Sunday roast.  This was partly due to the only organic chicken in the shop being a little larger than we needed, partly due to my husband thinking everyone has the same appetite as him, and partly due to him deciding to do bacon and eggs for breakfast ahead of a roast dinner.  This was not the weekend to guess that I have been trying to reduce the quantity of meat we eat. As I am also still working on getting us to all eat the same meal as often as possible to reduce the number of times a day/different things I need to cook this is something of a challenge, although we are getting there slowly.

But none of it was wasted – it was all turned into something else for the next day / for future use.

I also baked hot cross buns and a chocolate cake – funnily enough these didn’t create any leftovers.

This is what we made with our leftovers.

Curried chicken and lentil soup

chicken soup
Chicken Soup in progress (no chicken yet)
  • 1 onion ( peeled)
  • 1 carrot (peeled)
  • 1 stick celery (trimmed)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Curry powder
  • Cumin seeds
  • Coconut milk ( 1 tin or equivalent made up powdered coconut milk)
  • Chicken stock (approx 500ml)
  • Leftover roast chicken, chopped into small pieces
  • Red lentils (50 to 100g)

Do feel free to adjust the ingredients and quantities here depending what you have left – the lentils will bulk the soup out so use more if you are short on chicken or less if you have plenty.  Similarly substitute other veg if that is what you have.

  1. Cover the red lentils with cold water and bring to the boil for 10 mins. Skim any scum from the surface with a slotted spoon and rinse with fresh water.

Meanwhile:

  1. Blitz the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor or chop finely.
  2. Fry the processed/chopped vegetables gently in a little oil until softened but not browned.
  3. Stir in curry powder and other spices to taste (fennel seeds would also go well) – stir for approx 1 min.
  4. Add chicken stock (see recipe below) and coconut milk, and bring to a gentle simmer.
  5. Add the roast chicken and lentils.
  6. Simmer for around 20 minutes, checking the lentils are tender.
  7. Season to taste.

Great served with homemade bread – we are lucky enough to have a bread machine which takes the effort out of this.

Chicken Stock:

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  • 1 chicken carcass (include any small bits of leftover skin and meat not used in the soup above)
  • 1 stick celery, halved
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, cut in half (peeled or unpeeled) – you can replace these with saved carrot peelings/trimmed carrot tops
  • Handful of parsley  or other herbs (we got a huge bunch from the market which I keep in the freezer and break handfuls off as needed)
  • 3 bay leaves ( we have a branch trimmed from our garden bay tree from which we take dried leaves as needed)
  • 1 handful of leek tops (thrown in for good measure as we happen to have loads of these in the freezer!)
  • A little salt and pepper to taste

You can also add/substitute any other vegetable trimmings you have on hand.  I  added our leftover gravy.

Combine ingredients in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil.  Skim off any grey foam that rises to the surface.

Simmer gently for around 3 hours (check the water level if you are leaving it uncovered  – you may need to add more during the cooking time)

When ready the stock should be a golden colour.

Strain the stock carefully.  If you want to freeze the stock it is a good idea to boil it again for half an hour or longer to reduce it further  at this stage – you can then freeze the concentrated version in ice cube trays for later use ( just pop a few from the freezer into a jug of boiling water)

Allow to cool completely – then you can remove any fat from the surface.

If not freezing you should refrigerate and use within a few days.

Everything sieved out of the stock went into our bokashi bin ahead of composting.

 

My husband made up these patties for tea:

Roast vegetable and bacon patties:

 vegetable patties

  • Leftover roast veg ( we used potato, parsnip, carrot, celeriac).
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • A few slices of streaky bacon
  • Handful of breadcrumbs ( plus more to coat if you wish) ( we save up crusts in the freezer as they tend to get left and then whizz them in a blender to make crumbs as required)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • A little grated cheese ( purely as we had some leftover)

 

Fry the bacon until cooked through and chop into small pieces.  Fry the onion and garlic until softened.

Mash the roast vegetables and mix together with the other ingredients.

Shape into small rounds, coating with additional breadcrumbs if you wish.  If they are too soggy you could stir in a little flour at this stage.

Fry in a little oil until cooked through and turning golden on the outside.

 

As we were making these up on the go we didn’t manage to shape these into patties for cooking but instead just scooped the cooked mixture into balls on serving – not the most attractive but they were tasty and even our fussy 8 year old who claims to hate most vegetables ate them  and said we could cook them again which is praise indeed.

 What’s your favourite leftovers recipe?

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Finished your sloe gin? Don’t throw away the fruit.

Ever made sloe gin?  What do you do with the sloes once they have imparted their lovely flavour?

Back before Christmas we found a great new place to forage for these tasty fruit and so made lots and lots of sloe gin ( see recipe here) .  We have now finished off a few bottles and have enjoyed the sloes with vanilla ice cream  on several occasions (do remember to watch out for the stones – they are pretty hard even after several months in alcohol).  So, about time to try something new with them – flavouring wine.

What you need:

Remaining sloes from 1 bottle of sloe gin

1 bottle red wine – suggest a screw top just to make life easy.

and that’s about it.  Easy peasy.

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Start by pouring yourself a glass of wine – large enough to make space in the wine bottle to add the sloes.  You can drink this now  – I always find it helps!

Carefully transfer the sloes from your gin bottle into the wine bottle. I found this easiest to do by pouring them into a bowl and then transferring with clean hands.

Then simply pop the screw top back on and leave the flavours to infuse for a month.

It’s a good idea to stick a label onto the bottle to identify it, and to mark on the date when it will be ready to drink – as once the sloes are in it looks like any other unopened bottle of red wine.

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Has anyone tried anything similar?  Any other ideas for using the sloes?

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Water Saving Week #1

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This week, I’m excited to be sharing a guest post from my dad who is really good at saving water.

Water Saving Week 2016 runs from 21st – 25th March and is being promoted by Waterwise  who have loads more water saving tips to share every day this week.

Now, over to dad:

SAVING WATER

Water Butts:-Firstly get some water butts to collect as much ‘free’ water as possible. You won’t usually need to water the garden in the winter so the water can be used to flush toilets.

Flushing toilets is one of the heaviest uses of water. Try to do it only when necessary. Keep a bucket handy to fill with rainwater or other ‘saved’ water and use that to flush.

Have your cisterns fitted with dual flush and/or adjust the float to use the minimum amount of water necessary (don’t overdo it or you’ll end up flushing twice, so defeating the object.)

Some people put a brick or similar in the cistern – again don’t overdo it or you’ll be flushing twice.

Bathwater Don’t empty the bath when you’ve finished – use the water to flush the toilet.

Shower better than a bath. Why not keep a washing up bowl in the shower. Stand in it to wash your feet and then pour it in a bucket to use to flush the toilet.

Hot water When turning on the hot tap you usually let it run until it gets hot. Catch that cold water in a jug and add it to your bucket for toilet flushing.

Dirty water In the summer dirty water, e.g washing up water, water that has been used for cooking, tea dregs, can be kept in a bucket and used for watering the garden. Very few plants suffer from this. While water used for cooking is usually contaminated it is worth checking if it usable for toilet flushing or cooking other things.

Aerated water You can buy taps and shower heads that mix air with the water thus minimising water use.

Plug in It is usually better to put the plug in rather than wash your hands under running water. You could use an antiseptic handwash that doesn’t need water although I haven’t checked the environmental impact of that.

Share a bath. Could be romantic

Outflow In the past I have diverted the outflow from washing machines and dishwashers to use on the garden although this isn’t always practical – depends on the plumbing.

Dishwashers People have different views but I feel they use water more efficiently than washing up in the sink. If used make sure they are as full as possible – ditto washing machines.

Re use plates, cups etc. Do you really need to wash that cup before having another cup of tea? Can that plate be used again for the next meal?

In general think about any liquid before throwing it away– can it be reused?

Thanks Dad. Really useful stuff.

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Chunky Thai Parsnip Soup

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I used up some leftovers to make this chunky soup/stew for  our lunch yesterday, mainly to use up a couple of very soft parsnips that I’d bought in anticipation of  a mothers’ day roast last week, but which had been forgotten (we still had a huge roast without them).

Amazingly, at this time of year, I did manage to get something homegrown into the mix, by way of some garlic and a very small leek – a second crop of leeks seems to have appeared by itself in the garden this year.  Unfortunately our efforts at growing parsnips didn’t produce a single one this year.

I also included some coriander which, despite being 2 weeks old, looked pretty much as fresh as the day I bought it, having been stored wrapped in a damp teatowel in the fridge.

Plus half a jar of Thai paste, some powdered coconut milk, half a pepper and some chicken stock – my first attempt at home made stock which I was really please with.  If I had noticed the ginger in the fridge I really should have used that too.

Method:

  1. Slice small leek (or you could use an onion) and fry gently.
  2. Add chopped garlic and red Thai curry paste to taste ( we used half a jar but it was a rather mild one)
  3. Fry gently for a couple of minutes until the leek or onion starts to soften and then add the coconut milk / stock.  I think I added about 500ml which as you can see makes a very thick soup so you may want to add more.
  4. Add a couple of peeled and chopped parsnips.
  5. Bring to the boil – after about 10 mins add a chopped red pepper.
  6. Continue to simmer until the parsnips are tender.  This took around another 20 mins.
  7. Add some of the coriander close to the end of cooking, saving the rest to add as a garnish.
  8. Either blend to make a smooth soup, or simply use a potato masher as I did for a chunkier texture.
  9. Serve with the remaining coriander.

Zero waste tips:

I was able to get the parsnips, coriander and pepper unpackaged from the market, keeping the coriander fresh in a damp teatowel.

The paste was in a glass jar – but you could substitute fresh ginger, lemongrass, and chilli.

The chicken stock was homemade after we had friends round for a roast a few weeks ago.  I used this chicken stock recipe  although minus the celery as I hadn’t planned the stock making so didn’t have any.  I reduced it to a concentrate and stored in the freezer.

Cooking in a Wonderbag:

To cook this in a Wonderbag extend the cooking time at step 5 to 15 mins and then transfer to the Wonderbag for an hour. For more about the Wonderbag see my earlier post: Vegetable Curry in a Wonderbag

 

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A variation on this recipe is available on an earlier post Red Thai Spicy Parsnip and Coconut Soup

 

 

 

 

The sustainability society – and new friends

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A few weeks ago I, slightly nervously, went up to London to meet some new friends, previously only know to me online through the Zero Waste Heroes Facebook Group.

I had no need to be nervous – everyone was friendly and we had plenty to talk about.

The group included fellow bloggers Zoe from Eco Thrifty Living and Pip from A refuge for daffodils who has kindly allowed me to share her great write up of our little get together, which also included Emma who shared some great waste saving ideas.

So, over to Pip – you’ll need to click on the link to view the full post:

In the immortal words of a great philosopher: “It’s not easy being green.” – Kermit the Frog Sometimes, as you’re correctly separating out the non-recyclable waste fro…

Source: The sustainability society

Olio – A great way to share food with your neighbours

When I heard the food sharing app Olio was extending out from London to the rest of the country I thought this was a fantastic idea.

Anyone who has seen TV programmes such as Hugh’s War on Waste will know that a shocking amount of perfectly edible food is wasted by households and businesses in the UK every week. Over the course of a year around 7 million tonnes of food and drink are thrown away, of which over half was perfectly edible.  This waste costs families an average of £470 per year, rising to £700 for families with children – enough for a holiday!  For more surprising facts, and lots of ideas for reducing food waste take a look at Love Food Hate Waste

So, where does Olio come in?  This free app allows people, whether individuals or businesses, to offer and to request surplus food by uploading a photo and details.  Someone nearby that can use the item sends you a message and collection can be arranged.  Some areas have drop off and collection points in local shops to make this easier.  You can charge for items, but the majority are offered free.

I jumped at the chance to become a volunteer ambassador to get the scheme going in my local area, and am encouraging people to download the app, to check their cupboards for quality food that they are never going to get around to eating, and to get sharing!

The items are gradually being offered, but it would be really great to see more people joining in.  Take a look and see what is on offer – if you don’t have surplus food yourself, you may find something you’d like to try.

Download the app for free at the App Store or Play store.

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The image at top of post is courtesy of Olio.