Christmas is a time for feasting – which can also mean you’re left with a lot of ingredients you might not know what to do with after the Big Day is done. Well, waste not, want not, and make the most of your festive ingredients with Jamie’s favourite ways to use up the leftover big hitters…
Clementines are a big hit with all the family at this time of year – but don’t throw away all of that delicious, flavourful peel. Twist it and pop it on a cocktail glass as a cute garnish; or slice it up and make a refreshing citrus tea, by simply adding hot water – a fantastic way to start the day. But my favourite way to use it up is by chopping it up and freezing it into ice cubes, giving your drinks a great festive feel. You could also use this method with any leftover herbs, such as mint, rosemary and thyme, you might have lying around. Cheers!
If it’s the fruit that you have left over, then sliced clementine in a salad is delicious and exciting, or squeeze the juice to make it into a dressing. Or for an easy side dish to a curry, add the juice to grated carrots, chopped coriander and a few shakes of chilli. Delicious!
By 28 December, you’re always left with a few sad-looking bits of veg in the bottom of the fridge. But don’t throw crunchy veg away (eg, carrots, chard, cabbage) – soak them in a bowl of iced water for an hour and they’ll be transformed into crunchy veg again, perfect for dipping into a cool and creamy dip. An old-school tip that really works.
Leftover cheese – the best problem to have in the kitchen. Did you know you can freeze any hard cheese? Grate it up – any blends of varieties will be delicious – then put it in Tupperware and freeze it. Also just think of the pasta recipes your family loves, such as mac and cheese or pasta bakes, and grate it into those. I like to take cooked Brussels sprouts, blend them up with white sauce and cheese, pour it over cooked pasta, then bake with garlic breadcrumbs on top. Or make a dip for crudites by melting cheese in a heatproof bowl over a pan of cooking pasta to make a little fondue.
Still got half a jar of cranberry sauce left? We have the perfect way to use it up – in a cocktail that would be perfect for your NYE celebrations: the daiquiri! Add 50ml white rum to 1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce and a handful of ice – shake until cold, then pour and top up with soda and serve with a twist of clementine peel. So good. But if that’s not for you, then freeze dollops of it in ice-cube trays to pop into gravy, add it to a cheese toastie for a pop of flavour, or use it to glaze gammon, pork chops, or even your pigs in blankets.
One of my favourite ways to use it is to make a version of a Bakewell tart. Take a pre-baked pastry case, add a layer of cranberry sauce, then top with frangipane and bake. Or you could freeze it before baking, then take it out when you need it over the festive period. The possibilities are deliciously endless!
What festive get-together would be complete without a bowl of nuts? Simply toast them in a dry frying pan with a little oil, then shake them up with one – or all, we won’t judge! – of the flavour combos below: spicy, sweet, and smoky. You could then smash them up to sprinkle over noodle dishes – they’ll be gone before you know it!
But if I want nuts eaten in my house, I just have to make a rocky road. Melt chocolate, then fold through any leftover ingredients you might have – such as biscuits, broken-up mince pie, cranberries, popcorn, nuts – mix it up, then pop in the fridge to set. My family loves it – joyful and triumphant!
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