26 June 2012

Can You Tell What It Is Yet?


~  Menu  ~

Marinated Salmon and Avocado Salad
Nubbly Toast
White Wine Spritzer
Mystery Pudding (or Dessert for my American readers)
Cornish Clotted Cream

The salad was made using leftovers from last night’s salmon dinner – about 2 ounces (60g ish) of spicy roasted salmon which, in a sudden inspiration, I mixed with my leftover dressing (a simple lemon vinaigrette) overnight to see what would happen.  I was not that surprised to end up with juicy lemony salmon which was, as they say in cookbooks, a perfect foil for the creamy avocado I intended to eat with it.  I flaked the salmon, diced the avocado (we recently bought 4 very small “ripen at home” haas avos for about 40p) and stirred in some light roasted garlic mayonnaise to bind it all together.  Just look at this lovely summery dish on a tropical platter!


It tasted gorgeous but eating it whilst snugged up in my cardi with the light on and the drizzle wafting about outside didn’t quite take me back to my Caribbean years.

Can you tell what it is yet?

Here is a picture of my lunch pudding.  Clue -  it was made from leftovers.


Yes – it’s a personal Rhubarb Pie!  For all my assiduousness (is that a word? – assiduousity, perhaps?) in the economical use of food I am still quite a slacker so wasn’t too amazed to find a lone stick of rhubarb in the back of the fridge.  As I also had some puff pastry scraps I’d been fretting about for a couple of days I made the above. 

I trimmed and de-threaded the rhubarb stick and as it can taste quite sharp cut a slit along its length which I filled with sugar.  I also rolled the rhubarb in sugar and then wrapped it in strips of leftover pastry which I brushed it with cream and sprinkled with, um … more sugar. (Other ideas for leftover pastry are available here.)  I baked the bugger at 350ºF/180ºC/160°C fan/gas 4 for about half an hour till it was crisp and golden and a swift poke with a sharp knife revealed that the rhubarb was completely tender. 

This was enormously pleasant *** and I particularly liked the way the rhubarb juice and sugar had caramelised around the edge of the “pie”.

Yummy, Delish & Sensational (etc.)

***  You know its becoming more and more difficult to come up with different ways to say that a meal was delicious!  Any suggestions would be appreciated; I could use them in my book wot I am writing.  I’ve got till the end of October to submit the manuscript by which time I may well be enormous.  Just writing about food makes me hungry and then there is all the testing to do.  What a “terrible” new “job”.


News from the Future!

My book, The Leftovers Handbook, is now well and truly published.  In it I give all the information, ideas and recipes I can give for over 450 possible leftovers.  

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24 June 2012

One Tomato makes Two Lunches!

Yesterday …

Uber Tomato Sandwich filled with Boursin Mayonnaise
Nubbly Toast
Secret Red

Today ...

Fried Red Tomatoes with Flowers of Scotland
More Secret Red

This was no ordinary tomato, this was a Tesco’s Finest tomato, no less –

I've been Googling to try and find out what kind of tomato this is.  My brain is telling me Marmande but it’s been known to be wrong before and I wanted to check.  All I can find out is that it is “an Heirloom tomato”, I’d like to know more - any ideas?

For yesterday’s lunch I made myself a tomato sandwich of sorts, filling it with Boursin softened with mayonnaise which I can tell you tastes very good indeed. I ate some nubbly toast with it, quaffed some wine and wondered about the rest of the tomato as I’d only used 2 slices.

By today I had come up with a plan; Fried Red Tomatoes (based very closely on Fried Green Tomatoes)  but I couldn’t be bothered with flouring and egging so as I was making my Real Man a boiled ham and pease pudding sarnie (in truth about half a baguette) I dunked the tomato slices in the ham broth to help the panko crumbs stick and it worked a treat.

What’s the blue stuff?

I imagine it is borage.  I have had a jar of something in the corner of the cupboard for about a year and occasionally I spot it and think “hmm”.  This happened this morning so I decided to get it out and investigate – it is some kind of seasoning containing Scottish flowers so I had myself a sprinkle.  Slightly spicy, slightly salty, very pretty!  

Please Click to Tweet this post ~ thank you!

If  you think that's a big tomato - just look at this chap I met in France!!

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22 June 2012

Sautéed Shrimp in Chilli & Lime Butter Sauce

This really is a short post - I have just eaten a most delicious meal which took me maybe 5 minutes to make and is something I often do when I am lucky enough to have shrimp or prawns.  It occurs to me that I really should pass this easy peasy idea on.

Sautéed Shrimp in Chilli & Lime Butter Sauce (or some such name)

a goodly handful of raw shrimp or prawns ***
a generous knob of butter
sweet chilli sauce which really should be in your storecupboard 
½ a lime or so

~   Melt the butter, add the shrimp and cook tossing or stirring till pink.
~   Drizzle over a little less sweet chilli sauce than you think you would like.
~   Squeeze over the lime juice.
~   Taste and adjust seasoning adding more chilli sauce as you think fit.

That’s it.  You should end up with your crustaceans bathed a sweet, hot, tangy buttery sauce. Serve with rice, fresh coriander if you happen to have some, and I added a few peas from the veg I was cooking for my real man’s dinner – Toad in the Crevasse

Shrimp vs. Prawns

***  Having lived in a country where American English was prevalent I now get confused about a few words.  Do we say skip or dumpster, trainers or sneakers and are shrimp the same as prawns?  In Tortola shrimp covered the whole gamut of these curly pink decapods but here I have a suspicion the word shrimp refers to the smaller of the specie.  To complicate matters further I’ve just done a bit of research and see that there are there are real biological differences between the two.  No matter, however, this works well for both of them and all sizes so long as you can get them in the pan.


Oh yes - almost forgot to mention this.  The people who brought us Pinterest are setting up a similar thing for readers, called Riffle.  Like Pinterest you need an invitation so if you would like to invite Riffle to invite you to be a member go here ~ Riffle Link.
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20 June 2012

Trash Omelette!

~  Menu  ~

Trash Omelette
Bit of Red
Sparkling Pear and Ginger Fizz

When I lived in the BVI I sometimes used to have breakfast at De Loose Mongoose which is on the beach just a few watery yards from our boat.  I don’t know if they still do but they used to serve a Trash Omelette, cunningly making it out of whatever they had leftover from the night before.  I thought of them today when I was looked in the fridge and found …

½ red onion

4 thin slices chorizo

1½ cold cooked new potatoes

a smallish piece of red pepper

1 broccoli floret

Small broken off corner of Davidstow Cheddar

… that all pretty well needed using up.  So this is what I did:

~   Thinly sliced the onion and cooked it as per the instructions here – The Best Way to Cook Onions.
~   Coarsely chopped the chorizo and fried it in a little oil till crispy then set it aside.
~   Diced the cold potatoes in the chorizoey oil in the pan till crisp.  As there wasn’t enough oil I added some from my jar of recently roasted garlic.
~   After a while I bunged in the red pepper, coarsely chopped, and the broccoli which I had broken into tiny florets. 
~   When the veggies were just turning tender I stirred in the cooked onion and the crisp chorizo.
~   I whisked together 2 eggs with salt and pepper and a few drips of hot sauce, poured it over the potato mix and cooked the eggs, pushing them in towards the potatoes as I wanted the whole thing to fit on my square black plate!
~   When almost cooked I sprinkled the top with the bit of cheese, grated, and slid the omelette under a hot grill just to melt it and set the runny bits of egg.

Halfway through this last stage I had a too late inspiration – I wish I had sprinkled a handful of panko crumbs on top for crunch, but I didn’t.  Maybe next time. 

The other day we had Pear and Ginger Crumble for pudding: I gently cooked the pears in syrup from the Stem Ginger jar which tasted good but produced Far Too Much Juice.  I kept back about 60ml and drank it today topped up with fizzy water.  I’ve done this before with juice leftover from cooking rhubarb and no doubt I will do it again – makes a pleasant change in the drinks department.

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17 June 2012

"Moose Milk" ~ lovely hot drink for a cold and blustery June day!

I just wanted to tell you about a wonderful drink I have just enjoyed which might be called, “Moose Milk”.  On the other hand it might not because I have read all sorts of recipes for it from just condensed milk in hot water to ice cream mixed with rum and Kahlua to a liquid that comes out of a mummy moose’s nipples, would you believe!   The version I made is just 50:50 condensed milk and dark rum topped up with hot water.  Absolutely perfect on a cold and blustery June day!

Almost Instant Vietnamese Coffee Sorbet

Whilst writing I’ll just mention what I did with some leftover Ca Phe Sua Da from yesterday - an experiment, well two actually.  I froze it to see if it would make acceptable ice lollies; it would.  I then puréed the frozen mixture to see if it would make acceptable coffee sorbet; it did so I ate it.  Who wouldn't?

In the background you can just see our resident alien – he may be one of Them, or perhaps a self portrait by one of the of the Ood.  We’re never alone.
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16 June 2012

Ca Phe Sua Da ~ to coin a phrase!


~  Menu  ~

Panko Crusted Avocado with Spicy Salmon & Roasted Garlic Dip
White Wine Spritzer
Ca Phe Sua Da ~ only hot!

I have just had the most wonderful lunch!  I’m usually pretty good at eating, though I say it myself as shouldn’t, but today was exceptional and totally unexpected. We usually take our resident old guy out for fish and chips on a Saturday but the weather being so appalling I decided to stay at home and play with food.

A series of events led up to this delicious meal …

1.     I roasted two fine garlics the other day to top up my supplies.

2.    I had salmon for dinner last night.

3.    We bought a couple of ripe avocados yesterday for just 16p each.  It seems that to get them at the peak of perfection you have to wait till they are past their sell by date which suits me down to the ground, so to speak!  Of course they needed eating up and avocado is not real man food, at least not in our house.  Yesterday I ate avocado on toast with pasta sauce as one does.

And so to lunch ~ I puréed the small pieces of salmon leftover from dinner (maybe an ounce or so in old money) with half a teaspoon of roasted garlic, a scant tablespoon of mayonnaise (Hellman’s Light) and a few drips of hot sauce.  I coated avocado wedges in seasoned flour (well seasoned because avocado is rather bland), then beaten egg and then panko crumbs and shallow fried in a little olive oil. Crunchy sea salt and a few sprigs of fresh coriander completed my meal.  Oh – and the white wine Spritzer of course.

Ca Phe Sua Da!

There has been half a can of condensed milk in the fridge for a while so I decided to try Ca Phe Sua Da!  This is Vietnamese Iced Coffee only I had mine hot.  It is not as exotic as one might expect being just good strong coffee mixed with condensed milk in the ratio about 3:1 and poured over ice. I didn’t bother with the ice it being mid June and so really cold!

Also surprisingly delicious – surprising because I usually drink my coffee black and unsweetened yet thoroughly enjoyed this sweet milky drink.  (On a personal note – Carol, I think you might like this!)

I'm quite good with leftovers so I wrote a book!

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12 June 2012

Help ~ I Think I’m Evolving!

~  Menu  ~

Leftover Haluski in a Creamy Tomato Sauce
Crunchy Fried Pappardelle
Glass of Secret Red
1 Square (honest) of Caramel Chocolate

I bought some fancy pasta the other day; Pappardelle made by The Bay Tree - it was pretty and called out to me and, in any case, I had a cunning plan.

I wanted to try Haluski which is an Eastern European “peasant” dish of egg noodles tossed with onions and cabbage that have been cooked in butter.  I had it for dinner last night and it was a heck of a lot tastier that I expected. 

Haluski for 2

1 thinly sliced medium onion
(I think red onion would make for a prettier dish)
2 good handfuls of thinly sliced cabbage
225g wide egg noodles, cooked and drained
1 generous knob (if you can imagine such a thing!) of butter

~   Melt the butter, add the onion and cook stirring from time to time till tender and starting to brown.
~   Add the cabbage and cook for another 5 or 6 minutes, its nice if this too is starting to caramelise.
~   Stir in the noodles and heat through.

That’s pretty well it.  Some versions have caraway seed added but not mine, I can’t stand them. After tasting the Haluski from the pan, as this was to be my entire meal, I doctored it a bit with some leftover Serrano ham, some Gran Padano and a little smoked black pepper from Nature Kitchen.  Nice dinner.

I couldn’t eat it all, as is so often the way, and this happily lead on to today’s lunch.

As you know I do like a bit of crunch with my meals so I fried a few pieces of the leftover pappardelle in olive oil to crisp and heated the rest of it up in a mixture of my favourite bought in pasta sauce and double cream. The fried pasta came out exactly as I had hoped and imagined, crisp but with a bit of chew, and went so well with the sauce I might do it again but fry the lot!

Lunch pudding was a single square of J.D. Grosse’s 70% Dark Ecuadorean chocky with crystals of slightly salty caramel in it.  I have written about this make of gorgeous chocolate before , it is not just any chocolate, it is Lidl’s finest!  I couldn’t decide whether to have any or not, on the one hand I had just eaten a lunch high in calories and fat so didn't deserve any but, on the other hand, what did it matter after eating all that bad stuff.  So I compromised.

Help ~ I Think I’m Evolving!

Actually I think I should stop compromising and start being more abstemious!  I may be evolving if this cartoon, which I’ve had in my wallet for years, is anything to go by!

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9 June 2012

Startlingly Good Spicy Butternut Squash Mayonnaise!


~  Menu  ~

Toasted Chicken Sarnie with Roasted Butternut Mayonnaise
Lightly  Salted Crisps
White Wine Spritzer
One Scoop of Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

Sorry I haven’t written for a while – I’ve been too busy dancing round the room yodelling. (This is because I have just been told my book The Leftovers Handbook is to be published!!)

I have been eating, of course, but have had nothing interesting to report … until today.


Last night I made myself a roasted butternut squash and chorizo pizza which I very much enjoyed (mixed grill for my menfolk).  For how to roast the squash see Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Onion and Chilli  then put it on top of your favourite pizza base (quick, easy and delicious pizza base recipe here) with chopped chorizo and Feta or Boursin and pop in a hot oven for a few minutes.  I had this much butternut left over.

Today, trying to think what to eat with my leftover squash, I found a little bit of roast chicken leftover from a recent meal and inspiration struck!  I put the leftover squash, together with all its bits of onion, chilli flakes and juices, into the food processor added a goodly dollop of mayo and gave it a whiz.  I so recommend this!  It is well worth buying and roasting butternut squash just to make this mayonnaise.  

So then lunch was a doddle ...


… as was dessert or “lunch pudding” as my sister and I call it. 

I take my homemaking responsibilities seriously and no-one wants to see the freezer cluttered up with random bits and pieces.  Just a little strawberry ice cream was left so I thought I ought to eat it.



Seriously Useful No Churn Ice Cream Recipe

This ice cream was made using my utter genius ice cream recipe which is so useful, flexible and delicious  I have written a whole book about it ~ Luscious Ice Cream without a Machine ~ or much time or effort or having to mash the stuff as it freezes! 

What is round and bad tempered?

I am pleased to see that visits to my blog are rising steadily but, of course, I am never satisfied; constantly checking in the hope that the figures have risen since 10 minutes ago.    I also scroll down to see what people are searching for; helps with keywords don’tcha know.  I see that someone recently found my blog using the search “what is round and bad tempered” which surprises me as this is neither an entirely accurate description of me nor something about which I consider myself an expert.  I suppose it must be a vicious circle but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned one.  I wonder what happened.

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2 June 2012

Too Many Strawberries!

… as if such a thing could be possible - we do, however, have quite a few. 

 If you too have a plethora of the lovely little buggers here are some ideas.

~   Add to or start a Rumpot - this is my most popular post ever.

~   Add to breakfast cereal.

~   Stir into yogurt.

~   Add to fruit salads, crumbles and pies.

~   Crush with sugar to taste to make a simple coulis.  Serve over creamy desserts and ice cream or fold into whipped cream as a cake filling or frosting.

~   If you don’t have enough fruit to go round chop what you have and stir into scones before baking.  Serve with clotted cream, of course.

~   Similarly add to cake and muffin recipes.

~   Freeze strawberries, spread out on a tray so they don’t stick together, and then store in an airtight container till you have a large enough collection to be useful or here a couple of ways to use the frozen berries ….

    ~   Add individual frozen strawberries to drinks as posh ice cubes.

    ~   Make a Sudden Sorbet; put slightly thawed (just not rock hard) strawberries into a food processor or liquidizer together with caster sugar to taste and a little spirit (Brandy, Rum Vodka etc) and process till smooth.  Put back in the freezer and mash ever now and then with a fork or potato masher to keep it smooth.  Oh, by the way – don’t use too much alcohol or the sorbet won’t freeze.

In other news (and I'm very excited) …

Well I went up to London and met with prospective publishers for my leftovers book; lovely people who seemed keen so, y’know – yippee!  After talking with them I wandered up Piccadilly and had a look in Fortnum & Mason which I haven’t been in for probably 20 years or more. 

Interesting place!

The shop assistants wear tail coats, the architecture is fab and the jam display amazing.  Next trip I might buy some toffeed scorpions and then I can write about what to do with the leftovers!

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