Tag Archives: leftovers


As soon as the air warms up I start craving Paella.  The great thing about this sort of dish is that you can chuck in anything you have to hand – cod, haddock, salmon, trout, prawns, mussels, crayfish – whatever’s in the fridge or on special offer in the shops.  I could eat this every day.


1 x large frying pan or paella pan if you have one
1 x measuring jug
possibly a slotted spoon

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 good knob butter
½lb / 240g chicken (cooked or raw)
½ onion – sliced finely
4 garlic cloves – sliced finely
½ red pepper – diced
½ green pepper – diced
½lb / 240g rice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
⅓ pint / 175ml white wine
¼ pint / 150ml boiling water
¾ pint / 450ml stock (preferably fish, if not, chicken)
½lb salmon or some firm white fish
½lb / 240g prawns
2oz / 60g peas
Salt and pepper to season

Heat oil and butter in a large pan
Cook the chicken until tender, remove using a slotted spoon, leaving the butter in the pan
(If you are using cooked chicken add this later and go straight to the onions and garlic)
Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook until soft
Stir in the peppers and rice and cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in the herbs, spices, wine and boiling water
Simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed
Add the chicken and half the stock
Then add the fish and peas and season to taste
Add the rest of the stock and simmer until all the liquid has been absorbed.


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Regional

Orange Ice Cream

I seem to have ended up with a glut of oranges, I can’t quite remember why, and I needed something to do with them.  Now, this is going to sound a bit crap but, despite being very fond of oranges and their products, I absolutely hate peeling them.  I hate the bits of pith up my nails and the fact that they make my fingers sore and I don’t like the sticky, sickly smell that only occurs when someone else is peeling them.  What makes a human being think it’s ok to eat an orange on the London Underground for example?

There was a 30-second flash of sunshine yesterday, so I decided to make ice-cream.  The recipe I use calls for four egg yolks, which leaves four egg whites with which to make meringues.  Hurrah!  I have an ice cream maker which does all the churning for me.  If you don’t have one, you need to semi-freeze the ice cream, take it out, whip it again, then return it to the freezer.

Also remember, you could use lemons for a lovely tangy alternative.  Or indeed mangoes.


1 x lemon squeezer or juice extractor
1 x medium bowl
1 x grater with a fine-grating side
1 x electric mixer or a wooden spoon and a firm hand
1 x small saucepan
1 x medium saucepan
1 x heatproof bowl to go on the top of it
1 x freezerproof container with a lid

4 large oranges
4 egg yolks
4oz / 120g castor sugar
½ pint / 10floz / 300ml single cream
¼ pint /  5floz / 150ml double cream – lightly whipped
2oz dark chocolate drops or grated chocolate (optional)

Squeeze every drop of juice out of the oranges and put to one side
Finely grate the zest of the oranges
Put the grated zest into a heat proof bowl with the egg yolks and sugar
Beat thoroughly until slightly lighter in colour
Heat the single cream in the small saucepan until almost boiling
Stir the single cream into the egg yolk and orange zest
Place this bowl of a medium pan of simmering water
Stir until thickened, then remove from the heat
Add the orange juice, stir well, then set aside in the fridge to cool
When cold, fold the whipped double cream into the mixture
If you have an ice cream maker, put the mixture in it with the chocolate drops and let it do its work
If you don’t, pour the mixture into the freezer-proof container & put the lid on
Place in the freezer until it resembles slush
Take it out and beat it again – add the chocolate if you’re using it
Return it to the freezer with the lid on again and leave until frozen.

Remember that with home-made ice cream, you need to take it out of the freezer at least 20 minutes before you intend to use it or you will need a pneumatic drill to get it out of the tub.


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding has been around since the 11th century and is an excellent way of using up stale bread.  Nowadays, shop bought bread doesn’t go stale in the same way as home-made bread, because of the preservatives, but crusts or loaf ends sometimes get left behind, so you can use those.  I had a bag of white rolls which Boy the Elder brought back from Scout camp.  We ate a couple, but we’re not really white bread people, so they went into the bowl with some seeded, wholemeal crusts which were on the turn.

I made this yesterday evening and we had it hot for pudding with cream and then we all had a slice, cold, for breakfast.  And very nourishing it was too; bread, milk, eggs, dried fruit and not too much sugar – that’ll stick ‘em to the ground.


1 x large mixing bowl
1 x grater
1 x pair of freshly washed hands
1 x oven-proof dish, about 8×10” – buttered

8oz / 240g bread
10oz / 300g dried fruit (I used raisins)
2 teaspoons mixed spice (pumpkin spice for the Colonies…)
½ pint / 300ml milk
1 large egg (or 2 bantam eggs)
3oz / 90g dark brown sugar
the grated zest of 1 orange OR lemon
3oz / 90g butter – melted
2 tablespoons demerara sugar*
a little nutmeg to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 160 / 3 / 325
Tear the bread into pieces and place in the large bowl with all the other ingredients except the butter and demerara sugar
Leave to soak for 20 minutes
Mash it all up together with your hands, squeezing and squelching until it’s well mixed
Add the melted butter and stir in well
Pour the mixture into the ovenproof dish
Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and a little nutmeg
Bake for 1 ½ hours, covering with foil for the last half hour to stop it browning too much
Cut into squares and serve hot or cold

* If you haven’t got Demerara sugar, mix 1 tablespoon of white and 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar together


Filed under Food, Leftovers, Recipes, Storecupboard

My Sunday Pudding Hell!

All this from half a cabbage and a handful of toe-nail clippings!

As I was preparing Sunday dinner the other night, which, because the house is a mass of boxes, we ate whilst watching the unfailingly funny Shrek 3, a horrid realisation dawned on me.
We had NO PUDDING!  We also had no milk, hardly any butter, no cream, no chocolate, virtually no bread, no ice cream, no nothing and a raging craving for something sweet to finish off.

What I did have was 3oz butter, eggs, sugar, flour, an elderly apple, a tin of condensed milk and lots of ‘end of bag’ bits in the baking cupboard, which I was glad to use up in the interests of clearing out the cupboard.  So.

The oven was still on for the meat at 180/375/5
I greased a small pie dish using the butter papers I always keep in the fridge for this purpose
I sprinkled some dark brown sugar in the bottom
Then peeled and finely sliced the apple and scattered the pieces in the dish
I then made a basic sponge mix using the 3oz butter, 3oz sugar, 3oz self raising flour and 2 eggs
To this I added, a handful each of raisins, flaked almonds and 6 glace cherries – chopped
I beat in 2 tablespoons of condensed milk then spread the mixture on top of the apples
I baked it for about 35 minutes until the top was a deep golden brown
I then served it with condensed milk used like custard

I can’t tell you how much this hit the spot and goes to show that one can always make something from the bits hanging around in the larder.


Filed under Food, Recipes

Chicken Pie

Chicken Pie 1 09.09.09This is yet another tasty way of using up leftover chicken, although of course you can buy chicken breasts and pre-cook them for the recipe if you need to. I would suggest simple grilling.  Any leftover vegetables can also be thrown in – carrots and peas are good but chopped up green beans would work, as would diced potato or swede.  As always, experiment.  And once again, most of what you need are Storecupboard Ingredients.

1 x 8″ pie dish – greased and floured
1 x medium saucepan
1 x chopping board
1 x wooden spoon
1 x rolling pin
1 x pastry brush – use your fingers if you haven’t got one

1 tablspn cooking oil
1 medium onion – finely chopped
1 heaped tblspn plain flour
1 tsp mixed herbs
A good pinch of paprika
¾ pint / 450ml chicken stock
A couple of tablespoons of white wine if you have it lurking around
12oz / 360g cooked chicken – cubed according to how chunky you like your pie
1 medium carrot – diced and cooked
Some cooked peas – about 2 tbslpns -ish
1 packet (500g) shortcrust pastry
Milk for glazing – about a tablespoon

Pre-heat the oven to 180 / 350 / 4
Take the pastry out of the fridge to let it rest
Heat the oil in the saucepan, add the onions and cook until translucent
Add the flour and stir well to form a thick paste
Gradually add the stock and white wine (if you have it) stirring with a brisk figure of 8 movement to avoid lumps
Add the herbs, paprika, chicken, vegetables and any seasoning you like.  You shouldn’t really need salt
Leave the chicken mixture warming on the stove.
Mentally cut the pastry into thirds and physically cut off one third.
Roll out the two thirds portion until it is big enough to line your pie dish.
Line your pie dish, trimming off the excess round the rim. Wet all round the edge with water
Spoon in your chicken mixture
Roll out the remaining third of pastry until it is big enough to cover the pie.
Place the pastry on top and trim off the excess round the rim
Press all the way round with your fingers to seal the top and bottom pastry together.  Make 3 cuts in the top to let the steam out.
Brush with milk or smear it on lightly with your fingers if you don’t have a pastry brush
Put in the oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with a nice selection of vegetables – you don’t need potatoes unless you are a manual worker, as there is plenty of carbohydrate in the pastry

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Filed under Food, Recipes

Fishcakes and Martian Burgers

Empty Plate Fishcakes -25.08.09These are both recipes that use storecupboard ingredients, take minutes to make and are nutritious and tasty for adults and children alike.  We often have the fishcakes for breakfast but they can be served at any meal, adjusting the quantities appropriately.  If I’m making mashed potato for another meal eg. with sausages or on Shepherd’s Pie, I often make a bit extra and pop it in the fridge ready to make these Fishcakes or Martian burgers the next day.  I call them Martian Burgers, by the way, because they’re green and it’s  a sneaky method of making the youngest of  The Boys want to eat something with spinach in it.  Such is the perversity of children that, even though he likes spinach, he won’t eat it if he’s told what he’s eating.   These are fiendishly healthy (Omega 3, low fat protein etc) so you can enjoy them with a sense of smug self righteousness, whilst still acquiring a full tum.

Serve them with salad, peas, green beans or any vegetables you like.  They can also be made in batches and frozen, but make sure you slip a little bit of greaseproof paper in between them to stop them sticking.



Frying pan
Mixing bowl
Fish slice or tongs

Ingredients:  Makes about 6 large fishcakes

3 large tblspn mashed potato
1 x tin tuna – drained
1 x tin mackerel – drained
1 egg
1 tblspn parsley (half if dried)
1/2 tsp paprika
Wholemeal flour for coating
1 tblspn oil and 2oz butter for frying


Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mash them up thoroughly with a fork.

Divide the mixture into 6 and shape into cakes

Coat in the wholemeal flour

Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan until hot but not going brown.

Place the fishcakes into the frying pan and cooking, turning occasionally until golden brown.


Utensils – as above


3 large tblspn mashed potato
1 small tin sweetcorn
1 egg
3 tblspn spinach – defrosted and as much water squeezed out as possible
3 oz (75g) cheese – grated
1 tblspn parsley (half if dried)
Wholemeal flour for coating
1 tblspn oil and 2oz butter for frying

Method – as above


Filed under Children, Food, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Storecupboard

Chickens and How to Use Them: Day 2 – Risotto

I was unable to photograph my risotto, so what about THIS Italian dish?!

I was unable to photograph my risotto, so what about THIS Italian dish?!

Obviously there are lots of ways to use a leftover chicken; the simple sandwich, a lovely curry, paella, omelettes and so on, but I’m including this recipe because it’s versatile, adaptable and it’s a useful one for our vegementalist friends, as it is equally lovely without the chicken.  The ingredients I have used are the ideal, but if you have only one type of pepper, then use that or if you haven’t any peppers then cut a carrot into matchsticks (Julienne strips) and use that.  If you aren’t using left over chicken, strips of ham make a nice alternative.  The key is to experiment – see what you have in the cupboard and take a risk!



1 Large saucepan or casserole dish which can go on the hob
Chopping board


3tbsp oil
1 medium onion – chopped
½ red pepper – cut into squares – ish
½ green pepper  – cut into squares – ish
½ yellow pepper – cut into squares – ish
3 cloves garlic – finely chopped
3 sticks of celery – ¼”/1cm slices
1 small tin of broad beans or 4oz (120g) frozen peas
12oz (360g) risotto rice or ordinary easy cook long grain rice
6 tbsp white wine
2 pints chicken stock (vegetable stock if you’re veggie) *
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (in our case this is the cold chicken)
1oz (30g) butter
3oz (90g) cheddar cheese – grated


1.       Heat the oil in the pan over a medium heat

2.       Add the onion, peppers, celery and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent

3.       Add the rice and cook for 1 minute

4.       Add the wine and cook, stirring until it has all been absorbed

5.       Add the broad beans or peas

6.       Add 3/4 the stock and cook, stirring occasionally until it has all been absorbed.

7.       The keep adding stock, a little at a time until the rice is tender.

8.       When it is at the consistency that you like, take the pan off the heat

9.       Stir in the butter and cheese

10.     Serve on it’s own or with a green salad

This dish can also be eaten cold, so is ideal for a healthy lunch box.

* If you want to use your own stock at this stage, then go ahead.  Otherwise use good quality stock cubes.


Filed under Food, Recipes

Soup Beautiful Sooooop

Soup 1

Soup is a wonderful thing.  Not only is it cheap and nutritious but you can make soup out of almost anything and it can be a marvellous way of using up left-overs.  It is also an excellent and sneaky method of concealing vegetables that your children claim not to like.  My younger son resolutely refuses to eat peppers but hide red peppers in a red coloured soup and he will invariably have a second bowlful.  Served with nice bread and perhaps a bit of cheese, a pot of soup will feed a family comfortably, fill you up more than you might think and cost next to nothing.  Also, the great thing about soup is that you can get away with vegetables that are a  little older.  If you shop at the end of the day or first thing on Monday morning, there are often fantastic bargains to be had in the reduced sections.  At the weekend I bought a 3lb bag of carrots for 20p, a bag of onions for 30p and some mixed peppers for 30p.  Together with some lentils, a pot of Lentil, Carrot and Red Pepper Soup cost about 50p and provided me and boys with a hearty supper two nights running.  Any remainder can be put in tubs and stored in the freezer (taking care to label the tubs so you know what you’re eating later).  Plastic Chinese takeaway tubs make perfect portion containers.  It also means that when you’re feeling too tired to cook, you always have a nourishing meal in the freezer which can be ready in a few minutes without resorting to something you might regret.

The basic ingredients for soup are stock, a little oil or butter, an onion and whatever else you want to put in.  It really is as simple as that.  I would recommend making your own stock when possible but Chicken or vegetable Oxo cubes do the job just as well and can always be kept in the cupboard (see future blogs for basic essential storecupboard ingredients). A stick blender is also your friend here and a basic one can be bought from Argos and elsewhere for as little as £4.89.  The great thing about soup is that you can make it how YOU like it – thick or thin, plain or spicy according to taste. 

Lentil, Carrot & Red Pepper  Soup

 This soup is packed full of Vitamin C and protein, so good for everyone!

1 onion – finely chopped *
1 tablespoon of oil *
1 knob of butter *
(4oz) 120g red lentils – cooked as per instructions on the packet *
2 large carrots – finely sliced
1 red pepper – finely sliced
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes *
1 pint stock (approx) – vegetable or chicken *
1 heaped teaspoon of dried parsley *
1 flat teaspoon of coriander powder *
Salt and pepper to taste *

Put the oil and butter into a large pan on a moderate heat (oil stops the butter from burning).  When melted, add the onion and cook for five minutes or until translucent.  Add the carrots, pepper and tomatoes, then add the cooked lentils.  Add the stock a bit at a time, stirring as you do it.  Add the parsley and coriander.  Cook on a low simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are completely soft.  Blend to a puree with your stick blender.  If you need a little extra stock to make it thinner, then pour it in a bit at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.  Season to taste.

Serve with tasty bread and perhaps a nice bit of cheddar

* Denotes compulsory store cupboard ingredients.  I will expand on this in a future blog.

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Filed under Food, Nutrition & Sensible Eating, Recipes, Storecupboard, Uncategorized