Friday, 21 January 2011

Fridge fallout

For years, I have not had to deal with leftovers. I have sons. Teenage sons. Any chicken left on the carcass after a roast dinner would mysteriously disappear a couple of hours later. On the odd occasion I found myself faced with a bit of leftover soup or stew, it was easy to deal with: you just freeze it as a single portion meal for an occasion when someone is home alone of an evening, or when a teenager gets the munchies and begins to forage.
Fridge fallout 1

But, with one son taking a gap year on the other side of the planet, and the other regularly eating with his girlfriend's family, I find I keep misjudging things. So, last night, we had what my Mom calls 'fridge fallout'.

I took the leftover chilli con carne from Tuesday, and served it with a baked potato, the leftover salad and a dollop of sour cream. That was me sorted.

Fridge fallout 2
For John, I took the leftover fish pie from Wednesday night and mashed it up with an egg. I then created 'patties' with the mixture, which I floured and popped into the frying pan over a medium heat with the merest smidge of hot olive oil. Browned on both sides and served with veg. Of course, I had to test it, to see that it was okay. It was.

Okay, so it it doesn't make for a mouth-watering photograph, but everyday food is everyday food. I'll leave the brilliant styling to the professionals. You and I will focus on food we can serve up to the family. How's that?

Oh, and I do apologise for the sideways photos - the new Blogger editor insists on turning them that way, and then doesn't allow me to rotate them. :o(

A quick word about the vegetables you see on John's plate. I am not much of a one for frozen vegetables - most of them have a weird texture. I far prefer to use fresh ones. However, my freezer always contains at least one bag each of the following: petits pois, sweetcorn, and soya (edamame) beans. I usually prepare them as a combo, as you see in the picture. And this is how I avoid that overcooked, watery taste:

Method 1 - steaming
Add no more than 1 litre of cold water to the bottom section of the steamer saucepan (if you haven't got one of those, a 20cm saucepan and a metal colander will do just fine). Place the required quantity of the chosen vegetable(s) in the top layer of the steamer saucepan. No salt. Honest. You don't need it. Assemble the steamer saucepan and cover with the lid (if you're using the saucepan and colander Heath Robinson affair, just pop the saucepan lid over the veg in the colander). Choose a hob plate that is roughly the same size as the base of the saucepan - this is the most economical and eco-friendly option. Set the heat to high and bring the water to the boil. Oncethat happens, you're almost there. Check the veg from time to time. You know that they're done when the peas seem to shrivel or shrink back on themselves as soon as you lift the lid. Don't cook them for a moment longer than that.

Method 2 - boiling
Add the required quantity of vegetables to the smallest possible saucepan. Add enough cold water to just cover the veg. No salt. Really. None. Place on a hob plate the same size as the base of the saucepan on a high heat. Bring to the boil. Remove immediately, drain and eat.

A note about soya beans:
I used to be able to buy soya beans just about anywhere, but now only Waitrose keeps them. They're obviously considered a bit 'posh' for some reason. If you haven't tried them, I encourage you to do so. They are very nutritious and tayyyy-steeeee. If you'd like to try them somewhere else before buying them, you can get them as a side dish from Wagamama (where they call them edamame beans). As my husband says: "They're like sweeties!"

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