Turn your cranberry sauce to trifle…and other deliciously original ways to make the best of those leftovers
I’m one of those chefs who believes the best cookery involves making something lovely out of leftovers.
At Christmas, we want something delicious we can make quickly.
Here are some ideas, recipes and advice — the best of which is don’t go it alone.
Children are there to chop and scrub and guests to pour drinks. And if you’re an ingredient short, make the recipe anyway and use a substitute — it’s how new dishes are invented.
Keeping it simple: Tamasin Day-Lewis believes the best cooking involves making something lovely out of leftovers – including Cranberry Sauce Trifle and Turkey Tikka Sandwiches
SMOKED SALMON PATE (SERVES SIX)
Here is a great way to either use up leftover smoked salmon, or buy cheaper smoked salmon trimmings and make a simple starter to eat with drinks.
The best way to work out this recipe is with percentages of ingredients in relation to one another.
So, your pate should be 50 per cent smoked salmon, roughly chopped up, 40 per cent softened butter and 10 per cent full-fat soft cream cheese.
Add a spritz of lemon juice to taste and some cracked black pepper corns (or ground if you can’t be bothered to grind them up in a mortar). A knife-tip of cayenne will add sparkle. Spread on little bits of hot toast.
Anotherway to use some of your smoked salmon or mackerel at Christmas is to lay little pieces of the smoked fish on warm blinis (you can buy these ready-made) and add a teaspoon of horseradish cream on top.
Sprinkle with chopped chives, parsley or dill. The best horseradish is the English Provender Company’s hot horseradish.
Istir a dessert-spoon of it into three tablespoons of full-fat creme fraiche, then season, adding a spritz of lemon juice to taste. Add the amount of horseradish that suits your tastes, as it cuts through the richness of the fish.
I always make too much stuffing — on purpose. It’s so delicious you can eat it neat from the pan or pile it into your turkey sandwich.
Here, it forms the filling for what is really a special Christmas sausage pie.
Laden with sausage-meat, fried apples, walnuts, chestnuts and celery, this is a robust lunch or supper and simple to make, as you have already prepared the stuffing mix for your turkey and just held some back for the pie.
Serve with jacket potatoes and buttered green cabbage, or with red cabbage cooked with some of leftover cranberry and orange sauce. You can substitute the apples with prunes if you prefer.
If you don’t have any stuffing left but love the idea of this, simply take the skin off 450g/1lb good sausages, add two peeled and sliced Cox apples that you have softened in butter with a chopped onion, and proceed.
This quantity of stuffing will fill your turkey and stuffing pie:
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
head celery, finely chopped
110g/4oz walnuts, chopped
2 sharp eating apples, peeled and chopped
450g/1lb tin unsweetened chestnut puree
225g/8oz wholemeal breadcrumbs (either make these yourself or buy ready-made)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
450g/1lb vacuum-packed chestnuts
Sea salt and black pepper
For the pastry:
180g/6oz plain flour
90g/3oz unsalted butter, fridge-cold, cut into cubes
Preheat your oven to 200c/gas 6. Heat the oil gently in a large frying pan and fry the onion, celery, walnuts and apple together until they are golden and softened.
Put them into a big bowl and add all the remaining ingredients, mixing well. Add the chestnuts last, chopped into quarters, so they don’t break up. Stuff the bird.
Now proceed to the pie. You can keep the mixture in the fridge for a few days before making the pastry, or you can make the pastry, line the tart tin and keep both separate in the fridge until you need them.
Sift the flour into a bowl (or food processor), add the cubed cold butter and rub together (or blitz) until the mixture forms crumbs. Add a tablespoon of cold water to bind together into a ball.
Remove and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Grease a 23cm/9in tart tin. Roll out the pastry and line the tin. Line the pastry case with a piece of grease-proof paper and a layer of dried beans and bake ‘blind’ for 15 minutes.
Then remove the paper and beans, prick the pastry with a fork and return to the oven for five minutes. Pile the stuffing mixture quickly into the tart, smoothing it down with a spatula, and bake for about 30 minutes or until beautifully browned.
Leave the tart to stand on a rack for 15 minutes before slicing it while still hot.
It can also be eaten cold with a dab of mustard.
TURKEY TIKKA SANDWICHES(SERVES FOUR)
A post-Christmas spice-fest to freshen and enliven the jaded palate.
450g/1lb cooked turkey meat
3 tbsp Greek yogurt
Chilli powder or cayenne to taste
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
1 romaine lettuce
4 baby ciabattas
Preheat oven to 220c/gas 8. Mix the turkey with all the ingredients down to and including the olive oil. Leave as long as you can, for the flavours to develop — about two hours is good.
Place the spiced turkey on a baking tray in the hot oven for five minutes. Slice the tomatoes, cucumber and red onion and shred the lettuce. Butter the ciabattas and warm them under the grill.
You can spread mayonnaise on one half when you remove from the grill, or leave as is.
Layer with the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and turkey tikka and close the sandwich.
CARROT, APPLE AND STILTON SOUP
This is like a ploughman’s lunch in a bowl and is a lovely way of using up leftover blue cheese.
Sweet carrot, sharp cooking apple and salt cheese are the holy trinity here.
2-3 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove peeled and chopped
Sea salt and black pepper
1 very large carrot or 3-4 small ones, peeled and diced
1 large cooking apple peeled and chopped small
1.2 litres/2 pints stock
60-90g/2-3 oz Stilton
Warm the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan and saute the onion and garlic with a little salt for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
Add the carrot, stir to coat in oil, and cook for a further five minutes before adding the apple.
After a couple of minutes add either hot stock or hot water, bring back to a simmer, put a lid on and simmer until cooked — about ten minutes.
Season with black pepper only as the blue cheese is salty. Liquidise the soup in the blender, crumbling in the blue cheese as you go.
Taste and adjust seasoning. Return to the pan to heat through before serving.
BACON BRUSSELS BUBBLE
This is a lovely take on classic bubble-and-squeak, made with leftover sprouts and mashed potato.
The crisp bacon draped over the potato cakes makes this the perfect brunch or lunch dish.
You can serve it with leftover ham and may also like to top the bubble cakes with a fried egg. You will need the equivalent of one medium potato per person and three to four sprouts.
Crush the sprouts a little with a potato masher and stir them into the mash. You may add a teaspoon of mustard.
Form into potato cakes with floured hands so that they don’t stick, and fry until brown on both sides (about five minutes a side) in a tablespoon of olive oil and 30g/1oz butter.
Cook some rashers of smoked back or streaky bacon in their own fat in a pan until frazzled and crisp, then drape over the potato cakes.
If you have any spare celeriac or parsnips after Christmas, you may use one-third quantity of either, boiled and mashed, to two-thirds cooked, mashed potato.
CRANBERRY SAUCE TRIFLE
Trifle has always been a dish made with the help of leftovers, stale cake or macaroons being the base of it, but that is no excuse for the apology of a trifle made with powdered custard, wet cake, packet jelly and tinned fruit. Yuk!
I think cranberry sauce is perfect instead of the raspberry jam layer, and if you have ginger cake, it works beautifully with the fruit.
Cheat with the custard, and buy a tub of best ready-made, so this becomes just an assembly job. Make this a few days in advance so the booze has time to fuel the taste.
A stale Madeira, sponge or ginger cake, or macaroons or amaretti biscuits
A tbsp of sherry and 2tbsp of either Cognac, marsala, Cointreau or Grand Marnier
600ml/1 pint tub of custard
Enough cranberry sauce to spoon over a layer of the custard
Zest and juice of a lemon
1 small glass white wine
1 tbsp vanilla caster sugar
300ml/10 fl oz double cream
To decorate: shavings of dark chocolate, toasted almonds, raspberries, vodka-soaked cherries or any combination of the above
Slice the cake or take the macaroons or amaretti and layer them in the bottom of a large glass bowl.
Sprinkle over a tablespoon or so of sherry and the same of Cognac or liqueur. Pour over the custard.
Warm the cranberry sauce a little in a small pan then pour it over the custard. In a large bowl, stir together the zest and juice of the lemon with the Cognac or liqueur, white wine and sugar, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour in the cream and whisk together until it holds softly, but is not rigid.
Spoon the cream over the cranberry. Decorate and refrigerate for at least a day.
MINCEMEAT FILO PARCELS
Any spare mincemeat you may have is delicious with the addition of a grated cooking apple, the zest of an orange and a slug more booze, baked in a pastry case (see the earlier instructions for baking blind) or if you don’t want to make your own pastry, inside leaves of filo pastry.
Simply make parcels with a spoonful of mincemeat inside each one and place on a greased baking tray.
Put into a hot oven: 200c/gas 6 for 15 minutes, then remove the tray from the oven and cool on a rack.
ORANGE AND DATE FRUIT SALAD
A zinging way to use up your leftover oranges, clementines, satsumas and dates — and it’s made in minutes.
4 large oranges
2 pink grapefruit
12-15 dates, halved and pitted
1 large pomegranate
6 fresh bay leaves
2 heaped tbsp sugar
A handful pistachio nuts (optional)
Set one orange aside to squeeze, then prepare the others and the grapefruit.
Top and tail the citrus fruit then remove the peel and pith. Squeeze the leftover juice from the tops and bottoms of the oranges and grapefruit into a small pan with the juice of the squeezed orange.
Set aside a tablespoon of pomegranate seeds and squeeze the juice from the pomegranate into the pan. Throw in the sugar and bay leaves and boil until turned into syrup.
Add a small handful of halved pistachio nuts and cook a further minute.
Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and leave the bay and pistachios to infuse until cool. Pour the syrup over the sliced fruits in a bowl and leave to covered in the fridge.
Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and serve (with cream, if you like).