Hope you have managed to tick off most of the items on your ‘must do for Christmas’ list and that all the family are cheerfully helping with last minute jobs and present wrapping. Chill the fizz, hang up the mistletoe, tuck holly sprigs here and there and play some jolly Christmas carols to get you into the festive spirit. Hope you’ve managed to resist the urge to fill your fridge and pantry to bursting point but having said that I love the fun of using up leftover bits of this and that.
Now for a few ideas…Not sure if there will be any little morsels of turkey or crispy skin left over after everyone has tucked into turkey sandwiches on Christmas evening but,if there are, strip off the carcass to make this delicious pilaff. Then pop the carcass into a pot with 2 or 3 quartered onions, same of carrots and a stick or two of celery, a sprig of thyme and a few peppercorns. If you don’t use the giblets (neck, heart and gizzard) to make a flavourful stock for the gravy, add them in to the pot. Cover the whole lot with cold water, bring to the boil, skim and simmer for 3 to 4 hours. Strain and you’ll have a delicious pot of turkey broth to sip or use as a base for a stew, casserole or to make an unctuous risotto or the pilaff.
Use the turkey liver immediately while it is fresh to make this parfait and serve it in little pots with plump Pedro Ximénez raisins. It’ll make a delicious starter or can be slathered on crisp, hot toast for a snack.
What other leftovers? Might you have any leftover Brussel sprouts, if so trim the outsides, then half or quarter each one, blanch, drain well, toss in extra virgin olive oil and roast in a hot oven. Then toss with chorizo crumbs – so yummy. I’m loving roasted cauliflower and Romanesco florets too.
Left over cranberry sauce keeps well so don’t fuss about using it up but do try it with some soft goat cheese. Fresh cranberries also keep well and of course freeze perfectly, otherwise throw a fistful into your salads, scones, muffins or soda bread. Maybe stew them down, add a little chopped rosemary and add them to an apple sauce to serve with a pork chop or make a ‘catch-all’ cranberry chutney.
Sprinkle left over mincemeat into a batch of scones. Serve them warm with the remainder of the brandy butter. Tangerines, mandarins or clementines are balm to the soul after a rich Christmas meal, delicious just to nibble, but this mandarin sorbet is my favourite way to enjoy them. It’s a little fiddly to make but so soothing and refreshing after Christmas.
Trying to think, what else might you have lurking in your fridge, perhaps some miscellaneous morsels of cheese? Well I’ve got just the perfect recipe, a little gem that turns leftover cheese into delicious biscuits. A perfect snack or an irresistible nibble to serve with a glass of wine.
Make breadcrumbs from left over bread and pop them into the freezer. They’ll be so useful for crumbles, stuffing or panagratto to sprinkle over stews or gratins, sweet or savoury or make a Queen of Puddings. Otherwise make a bread and butter pudding, it’s a brilliant, catch-all for all kinds of scraps, morsels of meat or smoked fish, Brussel sprouts, chard, sautéed mushrooms, chopped herbs, grated cheese…..just omit the sugar for a savoury version and serve with a good green salad.
I’ve also included a marmalade bread pudding, one of my favourite after Christmas puds which I sometimes make with left over slices of Panettone or brioche from Arbutus Breads.
Well, there are just a few ideas to help you to be creative with your leftovers. Meanwhile, a very Happy Christmas and New Year to all our readers, hopefully you’ll manage to get a few delicious long walks in….
Turkey Liver Parfait with Pedro Ximénez Raisins
Serves 10-12 depending on how it is served.
225g (8oz) fresh organic turkey livers
200-300g (8-12oz) butter (depending on how strong the livers are)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 large clove garlic, crushed
225g (8oz) butter, cubed
freshly ground pepper
50g (2oz) of raisins or sultanas
2 tablespoons Pedro Ximénez Sherry
50g (2oz) pistachio nuts, halved
clarified or melted butter to seal
Put the raisins into a small bowl, cover with warm Pedro Ximenez and leave to soak until plump and juicy.
Wash the livers in cold water and remove any membrane or green tinged bits. Dry on kitchen paper.
Melt a little butter in a frying pan; when the butter foams add in the livers and cook over a gentle heat. Be careful not to overcook them or the outsides will get crusty; all trace of pink should be gone. Add the crushed garlic and thyme leaves to the pan, stir and then de-glaze the pan with brandy, allow to flame or reduce for 2-3 minutes. Scrape everything with a spatula into a food processor. Purée for a few seconds. Allow to cool.
Add the butter. Purée until smooth. Season carefully, taste and add more butter.
This parfait should taste fairly mild and be quite smooth in texture. Fill into little pots or into one large terrine. Tap on the worktop to knock out any air bubbles. Spoon a little clarified butter over the top of each little pot of pâté to seal. If serving immediately spoon the Pedro Ximénez soaked raisins and pistachio nuts on top.
Serve with brioche, crusty bread, sourdough toasts or croutes. This parfait will keep for 4 or 5 days in a refrigerator.
Watchpoint: It is essential to cover turkey liver pate with a layer of clarified or even just melted butter, otherwise the parfait will oxidize and taste bitter and turn grey in colour.
Pilaff Rice with Turkey and Ham and Fresh Herbs
Although a risotto can be made in 20 minutes it entails 20 minutes of pretty constant stirring which makes it feel rather laboursome. A pilaff on the other hand looks after itself once the initial cooking is underway. The pilaff is versatile – serve it as a staple or add whatever tasty bits you have to hand. Beware however of using pilaff as a dustbin, all additions should be carefully seasoned and balanced.
25g (1oz) butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion or shallot
400g (14oz) long-grain rice (preferably Basmati)
975ml (32fl oz) homemade turkey or chicken stock
225g (8oz) diced cooked turkey
225g (8oz) diced cooked ham or bacon
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs eg. parsley, thyme, chives: optional
Melt the butter in a casserole, add the finely chopped onion and sweat for 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and toss for a minute or two, just long enough for the grains to change colour. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, add the chicken stock, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a minimum and then simmer on top of the stove or in the oven 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for 10 minutes approx. By then the rice should be just cooked and all the water absorbed. At this stage stir in the diced turkey and ham/bacon to heat through, ensure it is piping hot. Just before serving stir in the fresh herbs if using.
Basmati rice cooks quite quickly; other types of rice may take up to 15 minutes.
Roast Brussels Sprouts with Chorizo Crumbs
I first tasted roast Brussels sprouts cooked in a wood burning oven in a restaurant in San Francisco about ten years ago. My friend Mary Risley told me this new way of cooking Brussels sprouts was causing lots of excitement. I didn’t get it, but now I love them cooked this way, there’s a fine line between sweet roasted and acrid burnt, so watch them like a hawk.
(450g) 1lb Brussels sprouts
extra virgin olive oil
flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Chorizo crumbs to serve (see recipe)
Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Mark 8.
If necessary trim the Brussels sprouts of any tough outside leaves, trim the stalk, cut into halves. Blanch in boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes. Drain well. In a bowl drizzle the blanched sprouts with extra virgin olive oil. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, toss to coat. Transfer to a roasting tin, cook for 10 – 15 minutes depending on size, shake the pan occasionally. The sprouts should be pale golden and crisp on the outside and tender within. Sprinkle with the chorizo crumbs and transfer to a hot serving dish.
Chorizo & Parsley Crumbs
Chorizo Crumbs are delicious used in so many ways. We like to scatter them over potato, celeriac, Jerusalem artichoke or watercress soup. They are particularly good sprinkled over cauliflower or macaroni cheese. Keep in a box in your fridge for several weeks, or freeze and scatter when you fancy!
Makes 175g (6oz)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
125g (4 1/2oz) chorizo, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
100g (3 1/2oz) coarse breadcrumbs
1 – 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
Put the oil into a cool pan, add the diced chorizo. Toss on a low heat until the oil starts to run and the chorizo begins to crisp. Careful it’s easy to burn the chorizo, drain through a metal sieve, save the oil and return to the pan.
Increase the heat, add coarse breadcrumbs and toss in the chorizo oil until crisp and golden. Drain and allow to cool, add to the chorizo, stir in the chopped parsley.
Doune McKenzie’s Cheese Biscuits
Any bits of left over cheese eg. Cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyére, Coolea, Cashel Blue … a little soft cheese may also be added but you will need some hard cheese to balance the flavour.
Weigh cheese then use equal amounts of butter and plain white flour.
Grate the cheese – rinds and all. Dice the butter. Cream the butter and stir in the flour and grated cheese, form into a roll like a long sausage, about 4cm (1 1/2 inches) thick. Alternatively whizz in a food processor until it forms a dough, shape using a little flour if necessary. Wrap in parchment and twist the end like a Christmas cracker. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 -2 hours until solid.
Slice into rounds – about 7mm (1/3 inch) thick. Arrange on a baking tray, cook in a preheated oven 250ºC/475ºF/regulo 9 for approximately 5 minutes until golden brown.
Leave to cool for a couple of seconds then transfer to a wire rack. Best eaten on the day they are made as they soften quite quickly.
Goats Cheese and Cranberry Bites
Pop a blob of Ardsallagh goats cheese, a little cranberry sauce and a sprig of flat leaf parsley on each cheese biscuit and serve.
The quantity of ice below is enough to fill 10-18 mandarin shells Clementine or tangerine or satsuma may also be used in this recipe. Catriona Daunt of Organic Republic will have organic citrus fruit including unwaxed lemons, oranges, clementines, blood oranges and bergemont lemons for sale on her stalls at the various Cork Farmers Markets. She also sells online www.organicrepublic.ie
Serves 10-12, depending on whether people eat 1 or 2
175g (6oz/3/4 cup) sugar
juice of 1/4 lemon
150ml (5fl oz/generous 1/2 cup) water
juice of 1/2 lemon
icing sugar (optional)
Vine leaves or bay leaves
First make the syrup. Heat the first three ingredients over a low heat, until they are dissolved together and clear. Bring to the boil, and boil for 2-3 minutes, Cool. Grate the zest from 10 of the mandarins, and squeeze the juice from them. Cut the remaining mandarins so that they each have a lid. Scoop out the sections with a small spoon and them press them through a nylon sieve, (alternatively, you could liquidize the pulp and then strain). You should end up with 1 1/4 pints (750ml) juice. Add the grated zest, the lemon juice and the syrup to taste. Taste and add icing sugar or extra lemon juice, if more sweetness or sharpness is required. Freeze until firm.
Chill the shells in the fridge or freezer, fill them with the frozen water ice. Replace the lids and store in the freezer. Cover with cling film if not serving on the same day. Serve on a white plate decorated with vine leaves or bay leaves.
Make the sorbet in one of the following ways.
- Pour into the drum of an ice-cream maker or sorbetiere and freeze for 20-25 minutes. Scoop out and serve immediately or store in a covered bowl in the freezer until needed.
- Pour the juice into a stainless steel or plastic container and put into the freezing compartment of a refrigerator. After about 4-5 hours when the sorbet is semi-frozen, remove from the freezer and whisk until smooth, then return to the freezer. Whisk again when almost frozen and fold in one stiffly-beaten egg white. Keep in the freezer until needed.
- If you have a food processor simply freeze the sorbet completely in a stainless steel or plastic bowl, then break into large pieces and whizz up in the food processor for a few seconds. Add one slightly beaten egg white, whizz again for another few seconds, then return to the bowl and freeze again until needed.
Marmalade Bread and Butter Pudding
This is a variation on basic bread and butter pudding. If you like, leave out the marmalade and serve plain, or add chopped rhubarb, chopped chocolate, grated lemon or orange zest, raisins, sultanas, cinnamon, nutmeg etc. This is a great way to use up stale bread, and in fact is better if the bread is stale.
12 slices of good –quality white bread, crusts removed
50g (2oz) soft butter
3-4 tablespoons homemade marmalade
450ml (16fl.ozs) cream
225ml (8fl.oz) milk
110g (4oz) caster sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
softly whipped cream
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
Butter the bread and spread marmalade on each slice. Arrange the bread butter side down in the gratin dish or in individual cups or bowls (cut the slices if you need to). I like to have overlapping triangles of bread on the top layer.
Place the cream and milk in a saucepan and bring to just under the boil. While it’s heating up, in a separate bowl whisk the eggs and the caster sugar, then pour the hot milk and cream in with the eggs and whisk to combine. Pour this custard over the bread and leave it to soak for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the granulated sugar on top. Place in a bain-marie (water bath) and cook in the preheated oven for 1 hour. The top should be golden and the centre should be just set. Serve with softly whipped cream and marmalade sauce (see below).
Note: If you want to make this a day ahead of time, don’t heat up the milk and cream, just pour it cold over the bread.
1 jar (400-450g/14ozs – 1lb) 3 fruit of homemade marmalade
60ml (2 1/2 fl ozs) water
juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon
Put the marmalade into a saucepan. Add the water and the juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon to taste. Heat all the ingredients gently. Place in a jug and serve with the bread and butter pudding.
Christmas Mincemeat Scones with Brandy Butter
Makes 18-20 scones using a 7 1/2 cm (3inch) cutter
900g (2lb) plain white flour
175g (6oz) butter
450 g (16 oz) mincemeat (vegetarian, no suet)
3 free-range eggs
pinch of salt
50g (2oz) castor sugar
3 heaped teaspoons baking powder
450ml (15floz) approx. milk to mix
Egg Wash (see below)
Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top of the scones
Brandy Butter (see recipe)
First preheat the oven to 250°C/475°F/Gas Mark 9.
Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a large wide bowl. Cut the butter into cubes, toss in the flour and rub in the butter. Add the mincemeat and toss well to distribute evenly through the flour. Make a well in the centre. Whisk the eggs with the milk, add to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. Turn out onto a floured board. Don’t knead but shape just enough to make a round. Roll out to about 2½cm (1inch) thick and cut or stamp into scones. Put onto a baking sheet – no need to grease. Brush the tops with egg wash and dip each one in demerara sugar. Bake in a hot oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack.
Serve split in half slather with homemade brandy butter.
3ozs (75g/ 3/4stick) butter
3ozs (75g/ 3/4 cup) icing sugar
2-6 tablespoons brandy (the more the better!)
Cream the butter until very light, add the icing sugar and beat again. Then beat in the brandy, drop by drop. If you have a food processor, use it: you will get a wonderfully light and fluffy Brandy Butter.