Cooking with leftovers has been becoming a bit of a “thing” for a while now.
As we become more conscious of food waste, with tightening budgets and get more creative with our cooking, we seem less inclined to throw food away.
For many series now, Masterchef contestants have been tasked with creating culinary greatness from ingredients such as the carcass of a cod, veg peelings, left-over carbohydrate and whatever else may elevate it from bin-fodder to prize-worthy food.
Cooking with scraps, trimmings and leftovers isn’t new of course – everyone who has ever cooked a ridiculously-large turkey over Christmas has tried all sorts of creative ways to use the leftovers. From the infamous turkey curry to the Christmas-dinner sandwich, we just don’t want to throw all that deliciousness away. Or feed it to the dog.
Many home cooks wouldn’t dream of using ready-made stock – boiling down the remnants of the roast chicken (which the cat had been eyeing up for supper) to make their own is the only way. Knorr will just not do for them.
Even the big retailers are getting in on the act. M&S have just announced the launch of three new beers – which sees it use up its surplus sandwich bread. To reduce food waste and promote a more sustainable way of brewing beer, their three new beers use extra crusts to replace some of the malted barley in the brewing process.
A Triple English Hop Ale, a Raspberry Fruit Beer and an Earl Grey Pale Ale make up the trio of beers in their ‘Use Our Loaf’ range.
The bread comes from M&S’ sandwich producers who will freeze the leftover fresh bread crusts before sending them to the brewery where they can be used to make the beers.
M&S say it won’t just cut down food waste, it’ll also help reduce the carbon impact of the beer making process. They say using bread will save 1.2 tonnes of CO2 and every batch will use 700kg of surplus bread.
Using leftovers is to be encouraged of course – not only is it good for the pocket, it’s good for the environment too. Charity WRAP’s food waste report says the average UK household throws away the equivalent of six meals every week, with bread being the biggest culprit. They say the equivalent of 24 million slices of bread are wasted daily. That’s a lot of toast.
So, to do our bit in the leftovers department we’ve created Leftover Rice Fritters. Everyone (yes, even chefs!) always cooks too much rice. This is a great way of using up that – and don’t forget to serve with lots of leftover veggies.
Leftover Rice Fritters
For the fritter mix:
• 250g x Left over rice
• 3 x eggs beaten
• 3 x finely chopped spring onions
• ¼ red pepper chopped
• 215g x left over chicken shredded
• 2 slices of bread make into bread crumbs or 3 tbsp of ready prepared breadcrumbs
• 3 x cauliflower florets chopped
• 1 x carrot chopped
• 2 x tbsp. cornflour
• ¼ tsp x chilli flakes
• 1 x tbsp minced garlic
For the sauce mix:
• 1 x tbsp soy sauce
• 1 x tsp minced garlic
• 2 x tbsp. honey
• 1 x tbsp. sesame seeds
Begin by combining all the ingredients for the fritter mix in a large bowl. We’ve used what was left in our fridge and any of the ingredients can be switched for others. The fritters would also work well with fish (even tinned!) and other types of leftover meat. Once the mix is well combined allow to sit for 5 minutes to allow the egg to soak well into the breadcrumbs. Divide the mix in to 10 equal portions and form into patties.
In a large frying, or sauté pan fry the patties (in batches in there are too many) until golden brown. Transfer to some kitchen towel to remove any excess fat.
Next combine all the sauce mix ingredients, stirring well and heat in a large frying, or sauté pan until ‘bubbling’. Then add your cooked patties to the pan using the sauce in this way will make the patties glossy. Alternatively you can serve the sauce as a dipping sauce separately and fry the patties using a little olive oil.