Sunday, 29 December 2013

Week 45- Beyond Boxing Day

So, Christmas has been and gone. The over-shopping that preceded the Big Day- and the overeating that characterized it- have given away to the over-full fridge, bursting with leftovers.

Boxing Day uses up loads of these- we always have cold cuts, baked jacket potatoes and salads the day after Christmas- but what to do with all the rest?

It's not just a question of avoiding waste- it's also about having a variety of dishes and menus to tempt the tastebuds after so many rich flavours.

Did your Christmas dinner leftovers look something like this?

If so, I have some menu ideas to use things up economically - and also tastily too.

I'm guessing you've got plenty of turkey, cold roast potatoes, parsnips, sprouts, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, gravy, mincemeat, cream, cheeses from the cheeseboard and enough chocolates to bury a brontosaurus.

So- how about clear turkey broth with turkey and bacon ravioli followed by Bubble and Squeak cakes with a poached egg and crispy bacon and mince pies 4 different ways ( served with creme fraiche.)

There's also cranberry and wensleydale scones and chocolate wonton parcels for snacks ( it is still the festive season after all).

Chow Phan
The first thing to do - if you haven't done it already- is to strip every last bit of meat from your turkey carcass. I save the best bits of breast and drumsticks for Boxing Day cold cuts, and put the rest of the turkey meat back in the fridge for making Chow Phan (recipe in the cloud at the top of the page) and Turkey and Ham Pie (recipe coming soon. This uses up bread sauce too.) You can freeze this cooked meat in a sealed container if you prefer, as long as it was well -cooked, cooled and refrigerated soon after cooling.

Take the carcass, break it up into bits and put it, any drumstick bones, skin etc into a slow cooker or large saucepan. Add two bay leaves, a handful of parsley or a teaspoon of dried herbs, a chopped onion, a sprig of rosemary and a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Pour over 2 litres of cold water and either leave to simmer in the saucepan for a couple of hours or in the slow cooker for 8 hours or so.

Making stock

When this is complete, strain the liquid from the bones and keep it warm. Let the carcass cool for a few minutes, then carefully pick through what is in the sieve, taking off every last little bit of soft meat. I ended up with a good 150g or so in a pot.

(This soft meat is perfect for making into filling for ravioli- just blitz with some cooked bacon, garlic and soft cheese et voila!). However, if you are going to all the trouble of making this deep, rich turkey broth from scratch, you can treat yourself to some shop bought ravioli to float in it, as the Italian fresh ones are really very good. (Still make the filling and freeze it for another time however.)

Turkey broth with ravioli
Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning- you can make it richer by adding some leftover turkey gravy to the mix.
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the ravioli with a handful of frozen peas and a sliced spring onion if you have it.
Bubble and Squeak cakes

Ladle the broth into bowls, spoon in some drained ravioli and peas/onions- scrumptious and the perfect antidote to lots of roast meat and sauces.

Bubble and Squeak has featured often on the blog- as it is such a delicious and cheap way of using up vegetables. No apologies for featuring it again- this time made from mashed potato, parsnips, sprouts and a bit of spinach (leek or cabbage or kale would be good too). Mix everything together in a bowl and season well. Take a potato masher and squish everything together some more. Wet your hands and shape the mixture into patties. Fry in vegetable oil until golden and crispy on each side. (Keep warm).

Meanwhile, grill some bacon, pancetta or prosciuttio until really crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.

Poach an egg in boiling salted water for 2  minutes or so and lay on top of the Bubble and Squeak cake, topped with some bacon. Mmmm...
Bubble and Squeak with poached egg and bacon

I've had posh versions of this in restaurants too.

Posh Bubble and Squeak
For pudding, take some of that jar of mincemeat that you have in the larder or fridge, and some spring roll wrappers or vol aux vent cases from the freezer. (Avid blog followers are likely to have these lurking somewhere - or at the very least some filo pastry.)
Experiment with wrapping up the mincemeat different ways- spring roll style, samosas, cigars, parcels or mille-feuilles. For instructions, see the cloud at the top of the page or copy the illustrations here.
Mincemeat vol aux vents

Roll up your mincemeat cigars

Mince pie variations

Serve with creme fraiche or ice cream.

Mincemeat cigars
Mincemeat mille feuilles

Now for some treats- firstly chocolate wontons.

I was given lots of chocolates this year for Christmas- colleagues, family, friends. Thank you all. They will be eaten judiciously over the lean months between now and the summer. (Actually, probably not particulary lean if I'm scoffing chocs.)

But what to do with the cheap and cheerful 'After Dinner Mints' I bought to grace the Christmas table myself ?

Here is an idea from Donna Hay.

Take a wonton wrapper or square of filo pastry, brush the edges with water. Slice a  mint chocolate square in half, or place a whole round mint on the wonton. Fold over to encase the chocolate, brush with melted butter or Flora and bake in a medium oven (180 degrees), until the wonton starts to slightly brown. The chocolate will be melted inside and yummy. Like a sweet spring roll.

Chocolate wontons

Finally, what to do with all the leftover bits from the cheese board.

Firstly put all your bits of hard cheese into the goblet of your food processor and blitz. (I had cheddar and wensleydale with cranberries- but any 'speciality' cheddars, red leicesters,  parmesan bits etc will do fine.)

You need about 100g- but if you have more, freeze it once grated.

Take 200g of self raising flour, 50 g of rolled oats, 2 tsp baking powder, 75g of marge, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and blitz in the same goblet of the food processor (no need to wash it). Mix the cheese back in with 2-3 tablespoons of yoghurt and a good dessertspoon of mustard. As the dough comes together, add some milk if you need to. You need a soft dough that can be easily rolled- so not too sticky or wet. (These make quite a dense scone- leave out the oats if you prefer something daintier)

Turn out on a floured board, shape into a round about 3 cm thick and cut out scone shapes. Place on a greased baking tray, brush with milk and sprinkle with fleur de sel or sea salt and bake at 190 degrees until just golden on top.

Brush scones with milk

Serve spread with cream cheese (leftover Boursin, Dolce Latte,  Le roule, etc) or cranberry sauce.
Wensleydale scones

Another Christmas done and dusted- time for a well earned cup of tea!

If I can get past all these Santas!

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