Delicious Ways with Christmas Leftovers


Phew it’s all over again for another year – hope it was jolly and lots of fun. Now for the best bit, using up the leftovers. If you haven’t eaten every last morsel from the turkey carcass, here are two delicious ways to use up the remainder.

We made the Tostadas recently with chicken and I was amazed how the grandchildren as well as the adults loved them. The kids loved the interactive bit of piling the filling on top of the tortillas.

Ramen Shops are sweeping across the US and UK. People can’t get enough of this comforting Japanese broth choc full of Chinese noodles with various additions. The best ones are of course made with homemade broth, noodles. This is a quick comforting version on the Ramen theme. Use up scraps of turkey, ham and even Brussels sprouts. Ribollita is similar, another comforting bowl of chunky soup.

If you still have any leftover Mrs Hanrahan’s Sauce you may be surprised to hear it makes the most divine boozy ice-cream and it’s definitely hard to beat plum pudding that’s gently fried in butter.

A frittata is also a fantastic vehicle for little bits and pieces, add some grated

cheese and lots of freshly chopped herbs.

Macaroni cheese can be perked up with a little dice of smoked mackerel or salmon or a few little morsels of cooked ham or bacon. Left over bread can be made into all manner of bread and butter puddings – there’s no end to the delicious revival you can serve up with aplomb. Happy New Year

Turkey Tostadas

Tostadas are a favourite snack in Mexico, the filling varies according to the area, it can be beef, chicken, pork, turkey, crab or just vegetables.  The filling is always piled high so Tostadas are always quite a challenge to eat elegantly but what the heck they taste delicious! For a family meal pile the crisp torillas onto a plate and have bowls of shredded turkey meat, tomatoes, guacamole…so people can help themselves and make their own tostadas.


Serves 8


8 tortillas, they ought to be corn tortillas but wheat flour tortillas can be substituted.


225g (8ozs) refried beans, optional

1/2 iceberg lettuce, shredded

110-175g (4-6ozs) cooked turkey or chicken, shredded

4 sliced chilli, optional

4 – 6 very ripe tomatoes, sliced (cherry tomatoes would be best in which case you’ll need more)

1 or 2 avocados or guacamole

4 tablespoons spring onion, sliced

8 tablespoons sour cream

50-110g (2-4ozs) grated Cheddar cheese


Deep fry the tortillas in hot oil until crisp and golden, drain on kitchen paper.  Put each tortilla on a hot plate, spread with a little warm refried beans and then top with some crunchy lettuce, shredded chicken breast, guacamole and so on.


Finish off with a blob of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese and chives.

Serve immediately.   In Mexico Tostadas are considered to be finger food – you’ll need both hands!


Refried Beans


Refried beans accompany numerous snacks including tacos and Mexican Scrambled Eggs.  The texture can be soupy or a thickish puree.


50-75g (2-3oz) best quality pork lard or butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

225g (8oz) Mexican beans


Heat the lard or butter in a heavy frying pan, cook the onion until soft and brown,  increase the heat and add about a third of the beans and their broth to the pan and cook over a high heat mashing them as you stir with a wooden spoon, or you could even use a potato masher.  Gradually add the rest of the beans little by little until you have a soft or thick puree.  Taste and season with salt if necessary.   Although this sounds as though it might be a lengthy business it only takes about 5-6 minutes.  Refried Beans keep well and may be reheated many times.




The avocado must be really ripe for guacamole


1 ripe avocado (Hass if available)

1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly chopped coriander or flat parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Scoop out the flesh from the avocado.  Mash with a fork or in a pestle and mortar, add lime juice, olive oil, chopped coriander, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serve immediately.  Otherwise, cover the surface of the guacamole with a sheet of plastic to exclude the air.  Cover and keep cool until needed.


A little finely diced chilli or tomato may be added to the guacamole.


Festive Frittata


Serves 6-8



A frittata is an Italian omelette.  Unlike its soft and creamy French cousin, a frittata is cooked slowly over a very low heat during which time you can be whipping up a delicious salad to accompany it!  It is cooked on both sides and cut into wedges like a piece of cake.  This basic recipe, flavoured with grated cheese and a generous sprinkling of herbs.  Like the omelette, though, you may add almost anything that takes your fancy.  One could substitute grated mature cheddar but Gruyére and Parmesan give you more ‘bang for your buck’.


10 large eggs, preferably free range organic

1 teaspoon salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper

75g (3ozs) Gruyére cheese, grated

25g (1oz) Parmesan cheese, grated

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

2 teaspoons thyme leaves

25g (1oz) butter

4 tablespoons basil or annual marjoram chopped


To Serve

Rocket leaves

Tomato and Coriander Salsa


Non-stick pan – 22.5cm (10inch) frying pan


Whisk the eggs in a bowl; add the salt, freshly ground pepper, fresh herbs, grated cheese into the eggs.  Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan. When the butter starts to foam, tip in the eggs.  Turn down the heat, as low as it will go.  Leave the eggs to cook gently for 12 minutes on a heat diffuser mat, or until the underneath is set. The top should still be slightly runny.


Preheat a grill. Pop the pan under the grill for 1 minute to set but not brown the surface.  Alternatively after an initial 3 or 4 minutes on the stove one can transfer the pan to a preheated oven 170ºC/325ºF/gas mark 3 until just set 15-20 minutes.


Slide a palette knife under the frittata to free it from the pan. Slide onto a warm plate.

Serve cut in wedges, arrange some rocket leaves on top of the frittata and top with a blob of tomato and coriander salsa or alternatively you can serve with a good green salad and perhaps a tomato salad.



Diced cooked potato, ham, chorizo, sweated leek, spring onion, blanched broccoli, roast pumpkin or squash, sautéed mushroom…





Ramen is the ultimate comfort food, it needs to be well flavoured but it can be varied in so many ways. The broth can be a mixture of chicken, pork, dashi, miso or vegetable based. Noodles can be traditional wheat ramen noodles or you can use buckwheat or brown rice noodles if it needs to be gluten free. The meat can be braised brisket or short ribs, pork shoulder, pork belly or bacon, tofu or shrimp. It’s whatever vegetables are in season, fresh herbs that you like. You can top it with softish hardboiled egg, nori, sesame seeds or nuts. The variations are endless. It’s also a fantastic way to use leftovers at any time of year but particularly Christmas. Here’s a basic starting point.
1.8 litres (64fl oz)        homemade chicken stock
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon mirin
1-inch chunk ginger root, gently smashed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
12 oz ramen noodles or other Chinese noodles
11/2 cups sautéed greens (spinach, Swiss chard, kale or Brussels sprouts)
11/2 cups mashed cooked squash or pumpkin
1lb  roasted turkey, chicken thighs, with or without skin, sliced
3  soft cooked eggs
3 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
Heat chicken stock with soy sauce, mirin and ginger. Simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes. Discard ginger. Season with salt and pepper. Add the sesame oil.
Cook the noodles in boiling water until just tender (usually 4 to 5 minutes but check the directions on the package). Drain well.
Heat greens, squash and chicken.
When everything is hot, assemble soup. Place about a cupful of noodles in each bowl. Ladle the broth over noodles. Arrange greens, squash and slices of chicken — in separate areas on top of the noodles. Shell the eggs, halve and lay ½  an egg in each bowl and sprinkle with lots of  green spring onions. Eat while very hot — broth first and then other ingredients or any way you want.
Sautéed greens  Sauté 275g (10oz) baby spinach or 450g (1 lb) trimmed and chopped kale or Swiss chard in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil until wilted and tender — a minute or two for spinach and 8 to 10 minutes for kale or Swiss chard. Season with salt and pepper.
Puréed squash - Cut a butternut or buttercup squash in half, remove seeds and pulp, brush cut surfaces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast, cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, in a preheated 400F oven for 45 minutes to one hour or until tender when pierced with a knife. Scoop out squash and mash with 1 tbsp roasted sesame oil and salt to taste.
Roasted chicken thighs - Toss 8 boneless chicken thighs (with or without skin) in 112ml (4fl oz) teriyaki sauce or 112ml (4fl oz) hoisin mixed with 2 tbsp soy sauce. Arrange skin side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast in a preheated 200°C/400°F/Mark 6 oven for 30 minutes.
Soft-cooked eggs - Add 4 eggs gently to a medium sized saucepan of boiling, salted (1 tbsp) water. When water returns to the boil, cover pot and turn off heat. Let rest seven minutes. Drain eggs and cool in cold water. Crack shells and soak eggs in cold water for 5 minutes longer. Remove shells and cut eggs in half lengthwise with a piece of unflavoured dental floss.


Boozy Ice Cream with Raisins


A gorgeous rich ice cream with a scoopable texture, serve it in small helpings. Here I give the recipe from scratch but if you have any Mrs Hanrahan’s sauce left over you can use that instead.


Serves 20 approximately


4 oz (110g) butter

8 oz (225g) Barbados sugar (moist, soft, dark-brown sugar)

1 egg, free-range


62ml (2½fl oz) port

62ml (2½fl oz) medium sherry


2 ¼-2 ½ pints (1.3-1.4L) lightly whipped cream


4oz (110g) muscatel raisins

62ml (2½fl oz) sherry

62ml (2½fl oz) rum

2oz (50g) fresh walnuts, chopped


2 13x20cm (5x8inch) loaf tins or plastic box


Melt the butter, stir in the sugar and allow it to cool slightly.  Whisk the egg and add to the butter and sugar with the sherry and port.  Cool.  Add the softly whipped cream.  Put into a plastic box, cover and freeze.

Alternatively line two loaf tins with cling film, cover and freeze.

Meanwhile put the raisins into a bowl, cover with a mixture of rum and sherry and allow it to plump up.  Chop the walnuts coarsely and add to the raisins just before serving.

To Serve 

Cut the ice cream in slices or serve in little glasses scattered with a few boozy raisins and some chopped walnuts.  Sliced or diced banana is also delicious with this combination.


Hot Tips


The Organic Centre in Rossinver, Co Leitrim 2014 Course Program and Seed Catalogue is full of brilliant ways to fulfil your New Year’s Resolutions to grow your own vegetables. You could start by signing up for Starting a Garden from Scratch on Saturday 22nd February 2014 and there are lots more brilliant forgotten Skills courses like Cheese Making, Beer Making, Beekeeping…  – to order a 2014 Catalogue or phone 071 9854338.


About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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