Tag Archives: Recipe

Leftovers: over catering or over eating?

Reading Jay Rayner’s article on the art of leftovers in the Observer Food Monthly, I find myself nodding in agreement with his enthusiasm for creating a new dish out of last night’s dinner or the remains of my fruit and veg drawer.

Almost all proper leftovers require a hot pan, and a knob of fizzing butter… or a well-seasoned wok, thin egg noodles, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and the brisk slap of chilli. Think leftover potato and cabbage, crusting up nicely in a nimbus of frothy butter for bubble and squeak… or a stir fry of indeterminate provenance, designed to use up fragments of last night’s bird, flavoured with the contents of almost every bottle in the cupboard.

Rather than seeing leftovers as bad planning, Rayner encourages his readers to over cater on purpose. Although dishes that use leftovers can be slightly mongrel in appearance and “less virtuous than the dish which begat them,” the imagination and spontaneity a cook uses to ressurect leftovers can often result in a moment of genius.

One thing Rayner fails to mention however, is that it is really hard to over cater and then not over eat. I live in a shared house, and all too often the smell of food bubbling on the hob will bring my housemates out of the woodwork. It is not uncommon for me to be cooking ‘for one’ (over catering of course) and then find myself serving seven hungry mouths round the table. Of course, sharing food is one of the joys of cooking – but sharing makes leftovers more difficult… I feel a bit tight siphoning off food to hide away in a tupperware, just so I have something left for the day after. Perhaps I should start over-overcatering?…

If you can manage to resist warm, fresh risotto, here is one of my favourite recipes for the leftovers:

Arancini: crispy fried cheesy rice balls

Left over mushroom risotto (about enough for 3-4 people)
200g crimini or other flavourful mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 balls buffalo Mozzarella, cubed
3 tbsp Plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
250g fresh white breadcrumbs
1.5 litres sunflower oil, for frying

Fry the crimini mushrooms for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Once cool, stir mushrooms with parsley and mozzarella. This is your filling for the arancini.

With wet hands, take a heaped tablespoonful of the risotto and flatten into the palm of your hand. Put a teaspoonful of the Mozzarella mixture in the middle, and mould the rice around it to form a ball. Seal the ball completely so no cheese escapes whilst frying – don’t be too greedy and overfill them. Roll each arancini in flour, shake off the excess flour, then dip each ball in beaten egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. When all your arancini are ready, heat the oil until a bread cube turns golden in 20 seconds. Fry the arancini, in batches, until crisp and golden all over. Drain on kitchen paper.

I can guarantee you there will be no leftovers.


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Whip cream with a jam jar

I have discovered the most convenient and amusing way to whip a small amount of cream in minutes.

Take a small, clean glass jar and fill it just under half way with double or whipping cream. Shake!

Depending on how fast you can shake the jar, the cream whips to a firm texture in no time. My dinner guests were pretty over excited when a race emerged between two competitive shakers – just make sure the lid is firmly on each jar to avoid catastrophe. 

I’m now wondering what else I can take my jar method to; whisking eggs? frothing milk for cappuccino? mayonnaise? … watch this space.

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Spaghetti with Marmite?

Whilst looking for a Tiramisu recipe online, I came across this recipe for Spaghetti with Marmite instead (am I the only person to get so distracted looking for recipes on the web?)

375g dried spaghetti

50g/ unsalted butter

1 tsp Marmite, to taste

freshly grated parmesan, to serve

  • Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling, salted water, according to the packet instructions.
  • When the pasta is almost cooked, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the Marmite and one tablespoon of the pasta water, mixing thoroughly to dissolve.
  • Reserve half a cup of the pasta water; then drain the pasta and pour the Marmite mixture over the drained spaghetti, adding a little of the reserved pasta water to amalgamate if required.
  • Serve with plenty of grated parmesan.

This recipe comes from Italian cookery writer Anna del Conte, by way of Nigella Lawson. I’m yet to try it – but I think I know what I’m having for tea tonight.


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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall said it would be a cinch to make this game terrine; it was twenty past midnight by the time we took our crafted brick of layered meat out of the oven, and pressed it with the weight of three bricks and a cookery book.

I don’t think I’ve ever handled so many different types of animal meat in one evening, as chicken liver, pheasant, duck, pigeon breast and sausage meat each passed through my hands, layered one atop the other with a sprinkling of salt and pepper in between. This morning the kitchen is heavy with the smell of thyme, parsley and rich, mellow meats; this hearty, solid terrine seems like the only thing we should be eating at the turn of winter.

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i just made macarons

I feel deeply satiated. Content.

macaron flash


details to follow… for now i shall just collapse into bed with sticky fingers and a sugar rush.

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