Sunday, 27 December 2009

Christmas leftovers. It's just the beginning.

Beef Wellington made by Mr A for some special guests.

Welcome back to The Rubbish Diet, following the recent festive celebrations. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

Despite spraining my neck building a snowman, being hit by a "knock-me-off-my-feet" kind of cold, being inconvenienced by a broken washing machine, non-functioning Christmas lights and a permanent error appearing on my digital camera, we've actually had a lovely time. I can only put it down to a sense of humour from all parties involved as well as my conviction to ditch all attempts at a perfect Christmas weeks ago.

Mr A was happy. The kids were happy. And despite becoming a one-woman orchestra of sniffles and snuffles, even I enjoyed a peaceful time snuggled under a blanket on the sofa.

At one point I was waited upon by my own little junior chef, sporting his new apron. What else could a mother ask for? Ironically, it really was the perfect Christmas.

However I am still baffled how I managed to pull together the Christmas Dinner. I can only thank our decision this year to buy a quick-roasting lamb crown, which took just forty minutes to cook in the oven.

I tried to keep on top of portions, but despite my efforts the festive table soon began to resemble the tale of the magic porridge pot, with a pile of leftovers that remained uneaten. And I can't blame my appetite either. The term "feed a cold" really does ring true. But there there was no messing - straight into the containers went the leftover food ...

so it could be turned into this: Lamb cutlets coated in a red cabbage sauce spiced up with chilli and ginger and served with the remaining vegetables and cous-cous.
....which was far more interesting than the cold meats and cheese, to which Mr A has been helping himself over the last couple of days.

I now find it hard to believe that apart from the meat and our traditional Delia Smith braised red cabbage dish, I was once in the regular routine of throwing away the rest of the food that hadn't been eaten. However, these days, even vegetables are kept for reuse as well as whatever's left of the gravy.

Before The Rubbish Diet, I'd never really appreciated the value of food or the environmental impact of throwing uneaten food in the bin.

Now everything is kept, which actually suits the side of my character that is a real experimental cook. I haven't got the patience for recipes and prefer to make things up as I go along. Whether it's meat or vegetables that need using up, I can often be found making up some stock from a couple of cubes and adding herbs and spices to suit the dish. It's very easy to create a sauce this way, with flexibility to add chopped onions, flour, yoghurt or cream to change consistency and taste.

My particular larder favourites include Garam Masala, a ready-mixed set of spices which is used to create Balti dishes as well as the Thai 7 Spice mix, which is fabulous for adding to stir-fries.

However, everybody's tastes are different. So if you need any inspiration for using up your own leftovers this Christmas, I can highly recommend the LoveFoodHateWaste website, which is full of fabulous ideas. Managed by WRAP, the site allows you to search for recipes based on whatever food you have left over and also offers advice on portion control. It even has hints and tips on how to manage food in the freezer, an area where I often fear to tread, but am seeking regular help thanks to the advice available.

Of course cooking up leftovers is just one way to reduce the amount of rubbish that gets sent to landfill. For the rest of the week, I will be covering many other options for minimising waste over the festive period. I will also be discussing each topic live on air with BBC Radio Suffolk's Rob Dunger starting Monday at 11:10am and continuing each day until New Year's Day.

To give you an insight into what you can expect throughout the week, here's a brief rundown of the schedule:

Monday 28th: Food waste & leftovers
Tuesday 29th:
Unwanted presents
Wednesday 30th:
How to avoid rubbish in the sales
Thursday 31st:
Party time
Friday 1st January:
Packing away Christmas

So this really is going to be a busy but fun-packed week, with lots more family adventures to enjoy too. It's a good job there was some Beef Wellington left over from a big family dinner when my sister's family and my mother visited last week. That's most definitely going to be a treat for New Year's Eve, when I won't have even a moment to think about cooking.

If you're conciously making extra effort to reduce waste of any kind this week, then do let me know how you're getting on. It would be great to share your efforts with other readers. Also, if you blog, you may be interested to know that in the new year I will be publishing a carnival of everyone's favourite blogposts. Watch out for more news later this week.

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3 comments:

mrs green said...

Oh Mrs A - I hope you are over your cold now; but how lovely to be waited on by your son: train them early I say; he'll make a fine husband LOL!

Have a great time with the radio show this week!

Mrs G x

ALMOST MRS AVERAGE said...

LOL Thank you Mrs G - he' a wizard in the kitchen and he's only 5 year's old. The other day, he even offered to do the washing up. Of course, I didn't turn it down. Looks like I'm still jinxed. When I came to the blog this morning, the blogpost was all screwed up with a bit missing...news of the forthcoming carnival. So keep your eyes peeled as it would be great if you could submit one of your Christmas waste-busting posts. Hope you had a lovely festive holiday, with plenty of time to relax. :-) x

chris said...

great info on the diet industry's dirty little secrets!

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