22 April 2015

Savoury, Interesting & Peculiar Ice Creams

With the weather being so fabulous one’s thoughts, of course, turn to ice cream and having recently made Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream (which incidentally was really good) I was in the mood so decided to make something I have been wondering about since about 3rd September 2011 when I discovered this wonderful ingredient ... 

Black Garlic Ice Cream!

I based this, of course, on my “genius” ice cream recipe (see Genius Recipes tab above) which is so very flexible but other than that I made it up as I went along. I only made a modicum in case it was yuk but it was lovely!

250ml double cream
100g condensed milk
4 of the softest black garlic cloves you can muster
30ml rum

~   Purée the black garlic with 50ml of the cream.
~   Stir in the rest of the cream and the rum and whisk till thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk.
~   Freeze.

As you will know if you have read my book the addition of alcohol or a syrup or other sugary addition is very important as makes for good ice cream consistency (although you must use the correct amount, too much will stop it freezing) and it seemed to me that as black garlic has such a wonderful molasses-ish taste rum would be the correct addition.

Well I have to say "yippee", a lovely flavour and just zoom in and have a look at the texture on this!

As I’d just made a small portion I thought I’d have another experiment too ...

Roasted Sweet Potato, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Ice Cream

I love sweet potatoes and was pleased to read in Gym Berry (which, to declare the possibility of nepotism, is a blog written by my niece Holly who I am so very proud of; she has lost loads of weight and become strong and fit and gorgeous all thanks to her very own self!) that they are very healthy too, so using my trusty recipe ...

250g sweet potato
drizzle of light oil
45g soft light brown sugar
45g butter
250ml double cream
30ml cinnamon syrup
100g condensed milk

~   Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/170ºC fan/gas 5 
~   Peel and thickly slice the sweet potato, toss with a very little oil just to stop it sticking and put in one layer in a spacious ovenproof dish, so that the pieces aren't crowded.
~   Roast till tender which takes about 20 minutes.
~   Stir in the soft brown sugar and the butter and return to the oven for 5 minutes to melt and merge together.
~   Allow to cool a little and then purée in the food processor or mash like crazy till smooth.
~   Cool completely.
~   Whisk together the cream and syrup till thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk.
~   Freeze.

This was good too – next time I might add some nuts, I think, probably pecans. As you can see in this case I added a syrup to enhance not only the flavour but the texture of the ice cream. The flavoured syrups that are sold to augment coffee work well although they are very cheap and easy to make and I give lots of guidance and syrup recipes in my aforementioned ice cream book.

Other Unusual Flavours

The title of this post is the same as one of the chapters in my book and it’s no coincidence. I love playing with food and a while back made Bacon Jam Ice Cream which worked very well, a great breakfast dish! In the eponymous chapter in my book are recipes for ...

Strawberry Balsamic Ripple
Cracked Black Pepper Ice Cream
Werther's Original Crunch - and beyond!
Popping Candy
Smoky Bacon & Maple Syrup
Salty Liquorice
Goats Cheese & Hazelnut Ice Creams
Butternut Squash & Maple Syrup
Roasted Beetroot & Chocolate
Blue Cheese Ice Cream with several variations

Should I be more “Out There”?

I first published my ice cream ebook a few years ago now and at that time another ice cream book was also being published. It was called “Tits and Ice Cream” with a synopsis as follows ...
The book that can't get any better is here and it combines two of God's finest inventions, tits and ice-cream! Firstly, everyone loves tits - women, men, young and old, whether voluptuous or perky, everyone appreciates the wonders of the female form. Then, there is ice-cream - a creamy sweet substance which is impossible not to love. Put these two brilliant things togther and hey presto! An exponentially fabulous book. Titty Two-Scoops has combined pictures of tits with recipes for delicious ice cream desserts. Eye-candy has never been so much fun
Oddly enough this book is “currently unavailable”.

In a few days’ time another interestingly titled book, “Big Gay Ice Cream” is to be published, at quite a hefty price; £15.76 for the kindle version (mine is £2.00!). The title of this book is not in itself to draw attention as it is written by the owners of the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop in New York who, to be fair, are gay, I think!

Unusually for me I can’t think of anything appropriate yet suggestive to call my book, any ideas?

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19 April 2015

Garlic ~ in 5 Delicious Forms

A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.
Old New York Proverb

Today is another one of those strange “national days” – this time the nation is the USA and the food item is garlic so, even though I am  Brit, I thought I’d write appropriately.

As one would expect I often cook with garlic, although not for my real man of course! This wonderful stuff, however, not only adds an important nuance to so many dishes, it is also a fantastic flavour (or, in fact several different fantastic flavours) in its own right which deserve to be showcased in our cooking.


Garlic is considered to be a strong vampire repellent so, depending where you live, this could be useful.

The 5 forms of garlic I shall be writing about today and referred to in the title of this post are – fresh, roasted, smoked, wild and black. They are all wonderful but in different ways so here are some ideas, tips and links to help you make the most of them. 

Firstly, in most cases, all these garlics are interchangeable; they all work well in ...

~   Mayonnaise – homemade or bought in.
~   Salad dressings –see my useful, flexible, “genius" vinaigrette recipe here and replace the fresh garlic with other forms of garlic depending what you are serving it with. These vinaigrettes also make good marinades and dipping sauces.
~   Mashed potato – with the possible exception of black garlic which is bit too sweet, I think.
~   Add to hummus and similar bean dips – basic recipe and suggestions here.
~   Risotto – see here for Black Garlic Risotto recipe.
~   Pesto
~   Garlic butters and, thereafter, various forms of garlic bread, all gorgeous!
~   Rich, creamy and very easy Alfredo Sauce to use on pasta and other things too.
~   Soup – lots of recipes in my Genius Recipe Soup book plus all the info you need to create your own recipes. Click here or see Genius Recipes tab above.
~   Garlic oils (IMPORTANT – either use immediately or freeze as they can cause botulism otherwise) – and hence croutons, drizzles on soup, dipping oils etc.

So I'm starting with wild garlic as the season is upon us and it’s time to get gathering!

Wild Garlic

Here’s a strange and irritating thing – for 14 years my sister and I ran a restaurant in Cornwall and for 14 springs we drove past, frequently, a large and rampant patch of wild garlic, remarked on the fragrance and never, ever thought of picking and using the stuff!

I have written a lot about this already – the most useful post, I think, is this one with instructions and lots of ideas here. 

Fresh Garlic

There are, of course a myriad (and then some) things to do with fresh garlic, here are a few very simple ideas ...

~   If you have a lot of garlic freeze some separated into cloves or, even better, purée peeled garlic with twice its volume of oil and then freeze. The wonder of this is that once frozen it is still soft enough to scrape off a little when needed. Do not store garlic in oil in the fridge for any longer that a few days or you might get botulism, best to freeze it asap.
~   Put peeled garlic cloves into a bottle of Vodka (you will probably have to drink a little Vodka fist to make room) and keep it in the freezer. Use the resulting Garlic Vodka in sauces, Bloody Marys or peculiar Martinis.
~   Slice peeled garlic cloves very, very thinly and uniformly, separate the slices and fry in a couple of centimetres of hot oil (160ºC/325°F) to light golden. This should take about 5 minutes, adjust the heat if they are going too fast. Drain well, cool well and then store for up to a week (and probably  lot longer!) in an airtight container. These are a traditional garnish in Thailand but are good sprinkled on all sorts of dishes.

Roasted Garlic

Roasting garlic makes it soft, buttery, sweet, mellow and also makes the house smell gorgeous. In fact it’s one of those smells, like baking bread or good coffee that tends to beguile people. The easy instructions are here together with lots of ideas for using the lovely stuff.  

Smoked Garlic

I have actually smoked garlic myself and it’s not difficult if you are into smoking but it is easier still to buy it from your nearest interesting food shop.

Use smoked garlic wherever you would use un-smoked garlic but it is particularly good with potatoes, cheddar and strong beefy dishes.

Black Garlic

This is the best food “discovery” I have made in ... years and years! It is wonderful stuff and I never expected a whole new ingredient at my age!

It is somewhat difficult to get hold of, for a while Tesco stocked it but usually I have it delivered from Amazon. Recently I learned that Sainsbury’s stock it but I don’t know if it is every store. I urge you, however, to get yourself some even if it’s not an easy thing to do, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I have written a lot about this too, quite a lot! See here and here for recipes and ideas.


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7 April 2015

Got Leftover Hot Cross Buns Lurking about the Place?

I hope you had a great Easter!

Here are a few ideas to make the most of any stale Hot Cross Buns you might have.

French Toast Type Thing

For a custardy middle cut the buns a little on the thick side and soak for 10 minutes or so before cooking. For a bready interior briefly dip the slices of bun in the mixture and fry immediately.
1 egg
½ tbsp sugar
50ml milk or cream or a mixture
a drop of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 hot cross buns – cut crosswise into 3 slices each

~   Whisk together all the ingredients except the buns.
~   Soak the bun slices in the mixture.
~   Fry in butter till crisp and golden on both sides.

I normally have maple syrup on French toast, as is only natural, but in this case I wasn’t too sure so I asked myself “What would Jesus do?” Turns out he’d go for honey and I think he’s right – it worked perfectly.

A Rather Splendid Brown Betty can be made with hot cross buns ...

60g butter plus a little for greasing the pan
200g hot cross bun crumbs
1kg cooking apples
120g soft light brown sugar

~   Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/180ºC fan/gas 6
~   Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the crumbs and stir together over medium heat till they are a little crisp. Decant the crumbs from the pan so that they don’t go on cooking and set aside whilst you prepare the apples.
~   Peel and thinly slice the apples and toss with the sugar.
~   Lightly butter an ovenproof dish.
~   Divide the crumbs into three portions.
~   Put a third of the crumbs into the dish and press lightly to the bottom and sides.
~   Add half the apples and sprinkle with a second third of the crumbs.
~   Add the rest of the apples, level the top as much as you can and then sprinkle with the remaining crumbs.
~   Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes.
~   Remover the foil and continue to cook till the apple are cooked through and the top golden.

Serve hot or cool with custard, cream, ice cream or clotted cream.


Sweet croutons are a much neglected realm, but not by me. I often use a little bit of buttery fried leftover cake to top creamy desserts and ice cream. Hot cross bun croutons are particularly good with fruit. Similar to this ...

Hot Cross Buns make excellent Apple Cribbly 

Hot X Bun Pudding

150g ish of stale hot cross buns
75g of dried fruit - 
possibly alcohol infused ***
200ml milk
100ml double cream
2 eggs
80g sugar plus a little for sprinkling
½ tsp vanilla essence

~   Slice the hot cross bit off the top of the buns and set aside. Tear the rest of the buns into chunks.
~   Put the bun chunks into a lightly greased ovenproof dish.
~   Add the dried fruit and toss together.
~   Whisk together all the other ingredients (except the sprinkling sugar) and pour over pushing the buns under the surface to soak it.
~   Lay the bun tops, cross upwards, attractively on top of the pudding and press lightly to submerge.
~   Set aside for 30 minutes or more – even overnight will do.
~   Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C/160˚C Fan/gas 4.
~   Sprinkle the pudding with the extra sugar and bake for about 40 minutes till risen, golden and slightly wobbly when nudged.

Serve hot, warm or cold but warm is best with clotted cream! Or make a more manly Bread Pudding like this one here, replacing the bread with hot cross buns.

I saved the best for last ...

Crunchy Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream – 3 or so portions

This is a variation on my Brown Bread Ice Cream which is, in itself, a variation of the classic. It is also, of course, based on my “genius” ice cream recipe about which I have written a very reasonably priced ebook. See Genius Recipes tab above for more details.

115g stale hot cross buns, grated to crumbs
140g soft light brown sugar
250ml double cream
1½ tbsp brandy or rum or other spirit
(I used the alcohol from my soaked fruit ***)
100g condensed milk

~   Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Mix together the bun crumbs and sugar and spread out onto a baking tray.
~   When the oven is hot bake the crumbs watching carefully and stirring occasionally till crisp and a little darker – about 10 minutes.
~   Cool completely.
~   Whisk together the cream and spirit till thick then fold in the condensed milk and then the crumbs (keeping back a few for later sprinkling).
~   Freeze.

As this is such a genius recipe there is no need for stirring or faffing about – the end result will be rich and smooth.

Although, of course, ice cream keeps very well in the freezer this is one I would recommend eating sooner rather than later because after a time the little crispy bits soften and you lose the fabulous texture. It will still taste good, of course.

*** Alcohol Macerated Fruit

As I have mentioned this twice I thought I’d better go into detail. This is something I always keep to hand. It is simply a matter of putting some dried fruit into a clean jar, pouring in enough spirit (I use rum or brandy) to cover completely, putting on the lid and storing in a dark place. The fruit is wonderful in all sorts of deserts and so is the alcohol. Just remember to always make sure the fruit is completely and utterly under the surface of the booze – top up fruit and spirit as you go through life.

If you have leftover Easter eggs and are absolutely stymied as to what to do with then see my ideas here

If you made a Simnel cake (I did and am delighted with it – the layer of marzipan in the middle is soft and sticky and caramelised and chewy around the edge, I might not be able to wait till next Easter to do it again! See here for the recipe.) and have leftover marzipan then go here for some good ideas

Wasn’t the weather perfect yesterday! We went for a walk along the cliffs and I took a vast and unnecessary number of photos.

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4 April 2015

Simnel Cake Recipe ~ how many balls on yours?

Happy Easter Everyone!
I know it’s a bit late but here is my recipe for Simnel Cake – I only made it yesterday afternoon. Some people put 12 balls on their cake to represent the 12 apostles but I think traditionally there are only 11, Judas not deserving to be there. 

Simnel Cake

This recipe is for an 18cm (7 inch) cake tin but I haven’t got one so used a larger pan which resulted in a thinner cake and a need for more marzipan; not a bad situation.

175g soft butter
175g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs
175g self-raising flour
a pinch of salt
1 tsp ground mixed spice
275g mixed dried fruit
90g glacé cherries - quartered
finely grated zest of 1 orange
500g marzipan
2 tbsp apricot jam – I’m going to use honey

~   Grease the cake tine and line with greaseproof paper.
~   Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300°F/130ºC fan/gas 2 for.
Roll out a third of the marzipan, and using the base of the cake tin as a template cut out a circle.
~   Stir together dry ingredients.
~   Cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the eggs together with a spoonful of the flour (this helps prevent the mix from curdling).
~   Stir in the rest of the flour and all the fruit and zest.
~   Spoon half of this mixture into the prepared cake tin, level the surface and lay the round of marzipan onto it.
~   Add the rest of the cake mix and smooth the surface.
~   Bake for about 2¼ hours till firm to the touch and golden brown.
~   If it starts browning too quickly lay a circle of greaseproof paper on top.
~   Cool for 15 minutes or so before removing from the tin and then cool completely on a rack.
~   Brush the top of the cold cake with the jam or honey (jam is more normal but I always use honey for this sort of thing – the flavour goes well with fruit cake, it isn’t lumpy and I always have plenty in stock).
~   Roll out half of the remaining marzipan and cut another cake sized circle.
~   Press this gently onto the cake and make a pretty pattern round the edge with your fingers.
~   Divide the remaining marzipan into 11 or 12 balls and arrange them around the edge of the cake. Press gently into place.
~   Preheat the grill and then pop the cake under for a few minutes watching constantly to just caramelise lightly.

We ate a slice each as soon as the cake was out from under the grill and the warm sticky caramelised marzipan was a delight!

In Other News ...

1.     Not only is it Easter weekend but today is also International Carrot Day which is, according to carrotday.com ...

2.     I have just started using Instagram and am busy uploading my photos and also all browsing the excellent pictures there – it’s quite a time waster! If you’d like to see what I’ve done so far then have a look here.

3      I’m going to have a small rant now – I think something like 10,000 people have downloaded my free book “219 Cooking Tips and Techniques” yet I have only received 13 reviews on amazon.co.uk and 23 on amazon.com. They are mostly 5 stars, which is gratifying, and of course I didn’t write the book to get accolades and boost my ego, I just thought it might be useful, but nevertheless that is a little disappointing, don’t you think?

If you haven’t already got your copy now's your chance! I hope you like it (hint, hint)!

"219 Cooking Tips & Techniques"  - includes link for "Easy Ways to Pimp your Food" (also free!)

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24 March 2015

How to Eat Less Meat ~ and enjoy it!

I have just realised that it is both Meat Free Week and National Butchers Week here in the UK – how embarrassing!

Not sure what Meat Free Week is about I looked it up here and discovered that it is in fact a global campaign (different parts of the globe having different meat free weeks) to make people aware of how much meat they eat and the harm it can do to them, the environment and edible animals.

It is also a fund raising event with the monies raised going to various appropriate charities – these ones, in fact

On the other hand I have a good idea what National Butchers Week is; a way to encourage us to shop from real, expert butchers who prepare and sell meat of the highest quality from happy (but dead!) animals.

A guy who writes interesting on the happy animal side of farming, incidentally, is Simon Dawson who wrote Pigs in Clover: Or How I Accidentally Fell in Love with the Good Life which I enjoyed very much. 

So I have a suggestion – yes, eat meat, but in smaller portions. That should keep everyone happy! In fact the Meat Free Week people say “Going meat free for one week is a positive step towards change, with the hope that for the other 51 weeks of the year you'll consider eating smaller portions

Whilst not a vegetarian I don’t eat a lot of meat and the reason for this is that to me rather than being the focal part of a meal it may or may not be in a dish. I suggest you adopt the same attitude!

I don’t even understand why there is so much focus on meat (and fish) although I suppose from a dietary point of view it provides protein, but then so do beans and nuts and leafy green veggies and quinoa and several other things. Meat can be delicious, it can contribute flavour and texture to a meal butas I say, it is just one of so many, many options.

So here are a dozen dishes which lend themselves to the addition of a little meat (or none or, I suppose, a lot!).

1.     Soup – either make a meat soup or add a little meat to an existing soup. I have a very easy “genius” recipe for soup which I have written a book “SOUP (almost) the Only Recipe You'll Ever Need”  which includes recipes for 15 ish meat or fish soups, such as Smoky Bacon Chowder and White Bean Soup with Chicken & Spinach, plus instructions on how to invent your own soup, which is actually the whole point of my Genius Recipes Series! It only costs about the same price as two cans of the red stuff! 

2.     Salad – add frazzled prosciutto or crispy bacon bits (by which I do not mean some bought in thing) to a cheese salad or try crisply fried pulled pork or chicken or whatever you fancy.

3.     Stir fries are a great way of enjoying a little meat together with lots of other goodies. This is a good way of using up leftovers from a roast dinner, add rice or noodles together with garlic and ginger, fresh veggies and maybe cashew nuts. Here’s one I made earlier, the steak has been marinated for a while in soy sauce together with fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil and sweet chilli sauce.

4.     Pasta dishes of all sorts can happily take the addition of meat or fish – see here for lovely easy and rich Alfredo Sauce recipe and add chicken or seafood or bacon or ham or chorizo or shrimp or smoked fish, black pepper and a squeeze of lemon - you get the point. Tomato based pasta dishes welcome meat too. Furthermore a little leftover stew of most persuasions makes a good meaty sauce for pasta such as is oxtail stew with penne.

5.     Risotto – add meat and, if you can, use an appropriately flavoured stock too. Risotto also takes well to a little leftover stew folded through at the end of cooking and see here for a simple recipe for Pea and Smoky Bacon Risotto.

6.     Chilli con (or non or just a bit of) Carne – make your favourite chilli recipe but with a higher bean to meat ratio.

7.     Burgers – speaking of beans, which are delicious and protein, how about using half beef and half beans in your next homemade burger (I assume you do make them yourself!), the result will be moist and a delicious change.

8.     Pizza can of course be topped with all sorts of meats and some fish - good options are sausages of all types such as pepperoni, chorizo, sausage meat , minced beef (if using raw mince I fry it off slightly and drain it before adding to the pizza, this stops the juices soaking the crust), chicken (although I would add cooked chicken towards the end of cooking the pizza just to heat through – that way it won’t toughen and dry out in the high heat) and so on. Here’s the recipe for a great Creamy Onion and Bacon Flatbread from Alsace ...

Flammekueche aka Tarte Flambée – for 2

1 batch of my awfully easy pizza dough
2 medium onions – thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil or 15g butter
200g smoky bacon lardons
salt and pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg if poss
240g crème fraîche

~   Make the dough and leave to rise.
~   Whilst it is rising gently cook the onions in the olive oil thus ... heat the oil in a small pan, stir in the onions, press a piece of foil on top of the onions to cover completely, put on the lid and cook very gently for 20 minutes or so.
~   When the onions are tender turn up the heat, add the bacon and cook a few minutes stirring till the onions are starting to caramelise and the bacon lightly cooked.
~   Set aside to cool.

When the dough is risen ...

~   Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC/200ºC fan/gas 7.
~   Prepare the pizza bases.
~   Season the crème fraîche with salt, pepper and nutmeg and spread over the bases.
~   Top with the onion and bacon mix and bake till hot and crisp and delicious.

Et voila!

9.     Gratins –an easy way to add some meaty flavour to any kind of savoury gratin is to add bacon to the mix and maybe scatter some on top too.

10.     Pommes Dauphinoise and similar – simply put this is a delicious dish of sliced potatoes layered up and baked in cream. Add bacon or ham or, as in the recipe here with hot smoked salmon.

11.     Strata – this is a savoury bread and butter pudding and there is a recipe here for onecontaining cheese and chorizo . In the same post you will also find a recipe for ...

12.     Bubble and Squeak – which is great with added (and possibly leftover) meat or fish.

So that’s it really, I just cobbled this tpgether in a hurry having realised what a difficult situation we find ourselves in.

Whilst here please don’t forget to click on the sticky note at the top of the page, claim your free books and then, please remember to review them for me.

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22 March 2015

7 (+) Interestingly Different Ideas for Leftover Bread

I have just read (again!) that in Britain we throw out over 20 million slices of bread a day, and that's without me throwing away a single slice! These people are nutters.

There is so much can be done with leftover bread, it goes with almost anything! As I have mentioned before I stash all my crusts and bits and pieces in the freezer so that I always have the making of something good.

There are, of course, many well knows dishes such as bread sauce (my luxurious version here), bread pudding (both the custardy one and the manly one!) , croutons and so on, all great uses of spare bread but this post suggests some more unusual ideas from around the world that are well worth trying.

1.     Pappa al Pomodoro ~ Tomato and Bread Soup from Tuscany – for 4

This is traditionally made with fresh tomatoes but canned chopped tomatoes work fine as a substitute, or use a mixture as in this case.

750g cherry tomatoes
2 or 3 thick slices of stale rustic bread - diced
60ml olive oil
1 medium onion – finely chopped
3 finely chopped garlic clove
small bunch of fresh basil – the leaves shredded, the stems coarsely chopped
1 x 390g carton or 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
(if flavoured with garlic, basil or chilli all to the better!)
250ml vegetable stock
a little great extra virgin olive oil for drizzling and/or freshly grated Parmesan

~   Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/170ºC fan/gas 5.
~   Toss the cherry tomatoes with a little of the oil season and roast in a shallow dish till starting to collapse. You can do this hours or even a day or so in advance if you happen to have the oven on for something else.
~   Gently cook the onion in the rest of the olive oil till starting to soften, then add the garlic and basil stems and cook a few minutes more.
~   Add both the chopped and the roast tomatoes and the stock and bring to a boil.
~   Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring and squashing a bit.
~   Stir in the bread and most of the basil and allow to sit of the heat for several minutes.
~   Stir the bread unto the tomatoes to form a thick porridgy situation.
~   Now it’s up to you;  leave it at that, stir more to make a silky texture, add more stock or water for a soupier consistency, taste and season.
~   Bring back up to temperature and serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled with Parmesan and scattered with shredded basil (or parsley as in my photo but basil is best!)

The Tuscans also make a fine bread and tomato salad called Panzanella - see here for details.

2.     Skordalia

This is a traditional Greek sauce, a kind of garlicky mayonnaise with the bread replacing the egg yolk. This makes 150ml.

80g of dry bread torn into pieces
1 clove of garlic – chopped
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil

~   Soak the bread in cold water for a few minutes till saturated then squeeze out as dry as possible.
~   Crush the garlic and the salt to a paste with a pestle and mortar.
~   Work in the damp bread and stir in the vinegar.
~   Gradually, a drop at a time as with making mayonnaise, whisk in the olive oil to emulsify.

3.     Fried Bread Curry! (aka Roti Upma) – per person ...

This was a lovely surprise, so much nicer than I expected.

2 tbsp oil (or ghee)
2 slices of stale bread – diced or torn into pieces
¼ tsp mustard seeds
1 hot red chilli chopped
(I freeze fresh chillies; they are easily chopped from frozen)
a small red onion, finely chopped
¼ inch ginger finely chopped
1 pinch turmeric (or curry paste which is what I used)
5 or so cherry tomatoes, quartered
a handful of cashew nuts
fresh coriander, chopped plus a sprig or two to garnish

~   Heat half the oil in a frying pan then fry the bread in it till turning crisp and golden. Set aside.
~   Add the second tablespoon of oil to the pan and the mustard seeds and wait till they start popping.
~   Stir in the onion and ginger and cook till they are starting to go translucent then add the chilli and the tomatoes.
~   When the tomatoes start to mush down stir in the turmeric and/or curry paste and cook together a minute or so.
~   Taste and season then stir in the bread, cashews and chopped coriander.

4.     Melted Onion Panade – for 4

This is surprisingly lovely!  A kind of French onion soup / bread pudding cross! It is best made with more substantial bread rather than the soft stuff.

3 large onions
3 tbsp olive oil
350g good bread – thickly sliced
About 500ml good beef stock (or other if you prefer) – hot
200g grated cheese – I used Davidstow Cornish Crackler which is divine

~   Melt the onions in the olive oil and when utterly, utterly tender turn up the heat and stir till starting to caramelise.
~   Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Put the bread on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for a few minutes till dried out but not taking any colour.
~   Butter a shallow ovenproof dish and lay a third of the bread slices in it. Break them if necessary to fit in neatly.
~   Spread with half the onions and sprinkle with a third of the cheese.
~   Repeat these layers, using up all the onions, the final layer should be bread sprinkled with the last of the cheese.
~   Pour over the stock, adding just enough to lift the top layer of bread so it starts to float. Do this gently so the cheese stays in place!
~   Cover the dish with a sheet of foil and bake for 45 minutes then remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes or so till the cheese is golden and delicious looking, like this ...

5.     Curried Cashew Fritters

I invented this just after I wrote “The Leftovers Handbook”  which is a shame, I would have loved to include it!
1 medium onion – diced
½ tbsp oil
1 tsp curry paste
120g stale bread – torn into pieces, spread out and left to dry out for an hour or so (or popped in the oven for a few minutes)
up to 125 ml hot vegetable stock
as many salted cashews as you fancy and can muster – coarsely chopped

~   Fry the onion in the oil till soft and turning brown.
~   Stir in the curry paste and cook a couple of minutes till fragrant.
~   Add the bread pieces and then gradually stir in the stock.  The bread should soak up all the stock and be completely soft but with no excess liquid in the pan so don’t add it all at once, take it slowly.
~   Remove the pan from the heat, cover, cool and then chill to firm up.
~   When ready to cook add 80g coarsely chopped salted cashews (don’t add them earlier as they seem to go soggy).
~   Divide into four little cakes and fry in a little oil till hot crisp and golden.
~   Serve with a dollop of yogurt or raita and a bit of salad.

6.     French Toast Pancakes

This is useful if you fancy French Toast but only have bitty scraps of bread, and in this case softer bread is best. Per person you need ...
1 egg
½ tbsp sugar
50ml milk or cream or a mixture
a drop of real vanilla extract
pinch of salt
40g ish of stale bread pieces

~   Whisk together all the ingredients except the bread.
~   Stir in the bread and allow to soak a few minutes.
~   Melt a little butter in a non-stick frying pan and using a slotted spoon carefully transfer the bread to the pan forming into two cakes.
~   Cook till the bottoms are firm and brown, turn very carefully and cook the other side.
~   Serve with maple syrup or whatever else takes your fancy.

7.     Apple Cribbly

A touch of nostalgia for me here – we served this dessert in our restaurants in Cornwall in the 1980s, it is either traditional Cornish or Cornish-ish, either way it is perfect with clotted cream.

You need about equal quantities of peeled and diced apple (this is one case where I don’t recommend Bramley apples; you want them to hold their shape) and diced stale bread, nothing too substantial in this case.

~   Toss the diced apple with sugar to coat, discard any that doesn’t stick.
~   Melt a knob of batter in a frying pan, add the sugary apple and cook, stirring occasionally till it is softening and browning and oozing lovely caramelly juices.
~   Use a slotted to spoon to remove the apple from the pan and set aside.
~   Add the diced bread to the pan and cook till the juices have been absorbed and the bread is turning crisp and golden.
~   Return the apple, toss all together and serve immediately with ice cream, cream or clotted cream.

As you may know I am very keen on making the most of leftovers not so much as a frugal measure to save money and avoid food waste (although that naturally happens if you use your leftovers) but because it seems such a shame to waste such wonderful eating opportunities. This is why I started this blog and why I wrote “The Leftovers Handbook” which has several more ideas for leftover bread plus similarly interesting ideas for 450 ish other potential leftovers. 

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