Thursday, 19 November 2015


You've got to love Hugh. He is definitely the Crumpet-Eating Woman's Thinker (to paraphrase Frank Muir)*
He is a good cook with appealing recipes but he is also a very powerful lobbyist- whether he is having a Fish Fight or exhorting us to Grow our Own.
His latest crusade is one dear to my heart, as he is taking on the horrendous amount of waste- food, clothes, recyclables- in the UK and trying to change practice.

 His website www.waronwaste asks for reader's top tips for reducing food waste. Well, I don't know where to start.

I thought perhaps this week I would just look at an ordinary week's cooking- and how each meal led to another via its leftovers. Perhaps by coincidence ( and certainly not by design) I've ended up featuring some leftover classics.

So, this week, I made a Spaghetti Bolognaise on Sunday (along with many of you no doubt) - and had leftover meat sauce, also leftover tinned tomatoes. I also bought more fruit and veg than usual- as the fruit/veg bowl was looking bare.
So I made some fruity puds, some salads and some potato dishes (some to eat and some to freeze).
Many of these dishes generated others from their leftovers (eg. the spag bol).

Here was the menu: Tabbouleh (using up leftover tomato sauce) with a Quiche, Chilli Chips
(using up leftover meat sauce) Date and Orange Bread and Butter pudding, Caramel Clementine Upside Down Cake and Potato Boulangere (half of which could be frozen but I used the leftovers for Bubble and Squeak)

Here are the recipes:

Firstly, to make a good tomato sauce I recommend this recipe (Tomato Butter).

Soften some onion and garlic in a saucepan, add a carton of chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon each of red wine vinegar and sugar, a pinch each of salt and pepper and simmer away for 15 minutes or so. Just before serving, stir in a knob of butter. The butter emulsifies and enrichens the sauce in an instant.
Tomato butter sauce
 It is simple and quick but has a lovely glossy look and a rich flavour. I use it to coat Stuffed Cabbage Leaves
Stuffed Cabbage Leaves
Image for Aubergine Cannelloni
Aubergine Canneloni
or poured over Aubergine Canneloni, but today I only had a couple of spoonfuls left over so used it to pep up a Tabbouleh salad.

2-3 tbsp tomato butter sauce
1 cup couscous
 1 tbsp sultanas
chopped spring onion, red or yellow peppers, whatever you have to use up
1 tbsp chopped mint and parsley
2 cups hot vegetable stock
seasoning/olive oil

Pour the hot stock over the couscous in a large bowl. Cover and allow the grains to soak up the liquid.
Mix in the tomato sauce, vegetables, sultanas and herbs.
Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a swirl of olive oil just before serving.


The tabbouleh accompanied a Quiche. I made this one from some pieces of ham from the fridge- but Quiche is one of my go-to-recipes when I need a meal but don't have many ingredients- favourite fillings are mushroom, spinach, chard, salmon, watercress, bacon and combinations thereof.

Quiche Lorraine

At its simplest- you need a pastry case (pre-cooked or baked blind)- filled with 125g cheese, 3-4 eggs depending on the size of your pastry case, ditto 200-300 ml milk and whatever you use as your filling.
Arrange the filling on the pastry base, sprinkle on the cheese, mix the eggs with the milk and season well. Pour carefully over the filling and bake at 170 degrees for 20-30 minutes until risen and golden.

Next day I turned my attention to the leftover Spag Bol sauce.
I have two favourite ways to use this up- if I only have a few tablespoons, then I make a frittata:


But if I have a bit more, then I add a tin of kidney beans in chili sauce, a little more chili for kick and pour the whole lot over a bowl of chips. Not really a recipe- but I do love to eat it!

Chili chips

The best recipe of the week though, for me, was the Potato Boulangere.

1kg of potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
300ml of vegetable stock made from 2 heaped tsp Marmite dissolved in boiling water
40g garlic butter
salt, pepper and a scattering of fresh thyme or rosemary
a handful of flavoursome grated cheese to top
1, Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
2. Butter a gratin dish (I use garlic butter)
3. Layer up potatoes, onions, salt and pepper and herbs, finishing with potato.
Layer up potatoes and onions

Pour on stock and dot with butter

4. Pour on the stock, pressing the vegs down into it
5. Dot with the rest of the garlic butter
6. Bake for 30 minutes until starting to crisp
7. Top with the cheese and cook for a further 20 minutes until golden and tender
Image for Marmite Potatoes Boulangere
Potatoes Boulangere
It's like a Dauphinoise, but without all the cream- as the potatoes are cooked in stock with onions.

Dear reader, let me tell you - it was scrumptious.

Better still, the next day, the leftovers made little Bubble and Squeak cakes- mashed with leftover spinach and peas, coated in flour and fried in vegetable oil.

Bubble and Squeak

Now for a few puddings.

You can't get a more classic leftover dish than good old Bread and Butter pudding. I gave this one a different flavour by adding some grated orange zest and chopped dates, along with the sultanas (which I soaked in a teaspoon of leftover Pimms from the drinks cabinet).


4 pieces of stale bread, buttered and most of the crusts cut off
1 egg
300 ml milk
1 tbsp sultanas and 3-4 chopped dates
grated zest of 1 orange
1 tsp Pimms or rum
2 sachets of vanilla sugar (30g)
nutmeg to grate over

1. Soak the fruit in the booze for an hour or so.
2. Butter a pudding dish and then layer in the bread ( cut into triangles), fruit, orange zest and vanilla sugar
3. Whisk the egg and milk together and pour over the bread.
4. Lay a saucer over the top and press the mixture for an hour or so with a heavy tin.
5. Dust the top with grated nutmeg.
6. Place the pudding dish in a bain marie of hot water and cook in the oven at 160 degrees for 20 -30 minutes until risen and golden.

Date and Orange Bread and Butter Pud

And finally- if you missed it in The Guardian this week- and there was an awful (and I mean awful) lot of other things going on- here is my Caramel Clementine Upside Down Cake- which I like to make around Christmas time when I have fruit to use up, as well as almond biscotti and breadcrumbs.

Caramel clementine upside-down cake

This is quite simply the best cake I’ve ever made! It’s good to eat at any time, but the flavours of clementines and almonds make it a lovely Christmassy dish; I served it as a lighter alternative to Xmas pud last year. It is dairy-free too.
LeftoverLiz, via GuardianWitness

Caramel clementine upside-down cake
 LeftoverLiz’s caramel clementine upside-down cake: ‘a lighter alternative to Xmas pud... It is dairy-free too’. Photograph: LeftoverLiz/GuardianWitness

Serves 8
For the caramel
3 tbsp caster sugar
100ml water
For the cake
5 clementines, all 5 zested, 3 of them juiced, 2 peeled and sliced into rings
150g caster sugar
50g ground almonds
50g biscotti, blitzed to crumbs in a food processor
50g soft white breadcrumbs
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs, beaten
175ml sunflower oil
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4, then grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
2 Make the caramel by putting the sugar and water into a small saucepan, then bring to the boil and cook until golden. Pour into the bottom of the lined tin. Lay rings of the sliced clementines in the caramel.
3 Mix together the sugar, ground almonds, biscuits, breadcrumbs and baking powder in a bowl.
4 In a separate bowl, whisk the beaten eggs, oil, zest and juice together. Combine all the ingredients well and pour over the clementine slices into the tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before turning out.

Image result for joan bakewell young
Holders of the Title
*Frank Muir once described Joan Bakewell as 'The Thinking Man's Crumpet', then Melvyn Bragg was christened the 'Thinking Woman's Crumpet', and there have been many holders of the crown since- the latest being Benedict Cumberbatch.

Image result for melvyn bragg youngImage result for benedict cumberbatch

Me? I like my crumpet toasted with butter and Marmite.

The Blogging Woman's Crumpet