Tag Archives: Clever Cooking for One or Two

Using up Leftovers

With the arrival of the twins, life has taken on such a frenetic pace that just trying to keep on top of all the daily rituals is a challenge.

Stop wasting foodMeal planning and using up leftovers seems to have fallen by the wayside and we have begun to waste food – one of my pet hates! I am sure I am not the only working mum to feel like this.

According to Love Food Hate Waste website, we throw away 7.2 million tonnes of food from our homes every year in the UK. That is just a ridiculous quantity! So, what do we do about it?

I am seriously opposed to clearing everything on your plate. This was a great mantra when food was in short supply and people got plenty of exercise, but nowadays, with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles I believe that when you are full you should stop eating.

So what should we do to ensure that we shop and eat efficiently?

The first is obvious, if you throw away cooked food, then cook smaller portions. If you throw away uncooked food, plan your meals for six days, make a shopping list and stick to it (internet shopping is great for this as there is less temptation). When your shopping arrives, check the use-by dates on meat and fish. If they can’t be used within a week then pop in the freezer until the night before you plan to use them. Follow your menu plan and on the seventh day, use up any leftovers for your meals.

Great ways of using up leftovers are:

  • Omelette – just add any leftover cooked meat or veg or cheese.
  • Baked potato – add grated leftover cheese or cold meat, with leftover salad or veg.
  • Homemade soup – throw in all your leftover veg, add some stock, cook for 15-20 mins, then whiz with the blender. Add some leftover cheese or cream at this point too, if you like. Some of my best soups have been made this way!
  • Pasta – two super-easy ways of using leftovers with pasta:
  • Sauté any minced meat and/or leftover veg. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes or some passatta and serve with cooked pasta (you could also top with leftover cheeses).
  • Sauté leftover veg, add a tub of soft cheese to the pan to melt and serve with cooked pasta.
  • Fried rice is also an easy way to use up bit and bobs. Stir fry your veg, add to cooked rice with a dash of oil and soy sauce (and an egg too if you like).
  • Dessert – fruit is an easy one, just chop anything that looks a little tired and serve with yogurt or custard or a meringue nest. Instant, healthy pud!
All of this just takes a little time and planning and I am determined to fit it into our busy schedule. I still haven’t figured out a way of using up mouldy bread and so the local badgers can continue to enjoy it spread with peanut butter!
Spaghetti Soup

Spaghetti Soup
Try this super soup from Clever Cooking for One or Two
(a fab book that is aimed at cutting waste).

It’s perfect for using up the odd carrot and few
mushrooms you may have lurking in the fridge.

Recipe taken from Clever Cooking for One or Two.

Spaghetti Soup

A perfect dish after the excesses of Christmas – wholesome, healthy and delicious.

Spaghetti Soup

Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Calories per portion 186 Kcal
Fat per portion 10g
of which saturated 2.1g
Serves 2
Suitable for vegetarians + freezing

Olive oil 1 tbsp
Onion 1 small, peeled and sliced
Carrot 1, peeled and diced
Button mushrooms 4–6, wiped and chopped
Chopped tomatoes 227g can
Vegetable stock cube 1
Boiling water 600ml (1 pint)
Angel hair spaghetti or rice noodles 25g (1oz)
Pesto sauce 1 tbsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated Parmesan-like cheese 1/2–1 tbsp

1 Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and carrot and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables have started to soften. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for a further 2–3 minutes.

2 Add the canned tomatoes, stock cube and water to the pan and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer the soup for 12–15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Break the spaghetti or noodles into pieces and add to the pan, then boil the soup, uncovered, for 2–3 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.

3 Stir half of the pesto into the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and remaining pesto just before serving.

Cook’s tip
If the soup thickens too much, add a little extra boiling water. The soup may thicken after freezing; again, add more water.

Shopper’s tip
You can use ordinary spaghetti, but it will need to be added at the beginning of step 2. You may need to add more water.

Recipe taken from Clever Cooking for One or Two.

Frosty Top Lemon Cake

Quick, easy and lemony lovely

Frost Lemon Top CakePreparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 35 minutes
Calories per slice 136 Kcal
Fat per slice 6g of which saturated 2.9g
Makes 10 slices
Suitable for vegetarians and freezing

For the cake
Butter 50g (2oz), at room temperature
Caster sugar 75g (3oz)
Self-raising flour 75g (3oz)
Ground almonds 25g (1oz)
Egg 1 Lemon ½, grated zest only

For the topping
Lemon ½, juice only
Granulated sugar 50g (2oz)

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4, then strip line and grease a 450g (1lb) loaf tin with non-stick baking paper or use silicone bakeware.

2 In a large bowl, mix together all the cake ingredients until smoothly blended. Spread the mixture in the tin and bake for 35 minutes until just firm to the touch.

3 For the topping, mix the lemon juice with the sugar and spoon it evenly over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Leave in the tin to cool for at least 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Slice for serving.

Cook’s tip
Leave out the lemon zest and topping but add 50g (2oz) dried fruit to the mixture and sprinkle the top with 25g (1oz) chopped hazelnuts before baking.

Clever Cooking for One or TwoRecipe taken from
Clever Cooking for One or Two
now available for just £7
from the Dairy Diary website.

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Sustainable Mackerel

Did you watch Hugh’s Fish Fight on Channel 4?

I watched it with my 12 year son and we found it both fascinating and disturbing. Surely all that waste can’t be acceptable?

He has signed up to the campaign, fishfight.net, and insisted that all five of us did so too!

Will the series change your fish buying habits? How do you feel about farmed salmon being coloured to supermarket specifications?

I think we will be eating a lot more mackerel in future and looking to buy organically farmed salmon where possible.

So we will be cooking this quick and easy Mackerel with Lime and Caper Sauce recipe this week – and I’ll ask my fishmonger to fillet the mackerel.

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Mackerel with lime and caper sauce and crushed potatoes

Delicious and nutritious ready in less than 30 minutes.

Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
Calories per portion 609 Kcal
Fat per portion 45gof which saturated 18g
Serves 1

Small potatoes 4, scrubbed
Butter 25g (1oz)
Mackerel 1, filleted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lime 1, grated zest and juice
Capers 1 tbsp, drained and roughly chopped
Spring onions 2–3, trimmed, washed and sliced

1 Bring a medium-sized saucepan of water to the boil and add the small potatoes. Bring the water back to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook the potatoes for 15–18 minutes, or until they are tender.

2 Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Score the skin of the mackerel into a criss-cross pattern and season the flesh side of the fillets. Add the mackerel to the pan, skin-side down, and cook the fish for 2–3 minutes or until the skin starts to crisp, then turn the fillets over and cook for a further 1–2 minutes, or until the fish is cooked. Remove the fillets from the pan and add the lime zest and juice, capers and spring onions and cook over a low heat for 1–2 minutes. Season to taste.

3 Drain the potatoes well and then return them to the pan and use a spoon to crush them against the side of the pan until they split open.

4 Spoon the potatoes onto a serving plate and place the fish fillets on top. Pour over the lime and caper sauce, so that any juices will be absorbed into the potatoes, and serve immediately.

Shopper’s Tip
To save time preparing the recipe at home, ask the fishmonger to fillet the mackerel for you when you buy it.

Recipe taken from Clever Cooking for One or Two.

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Happy Christmas everyone!

We all know that Christmas is the perfect time to get together with all the family.

Relax after your Christmas guests have goneEven those of us hopeless at keeping in touch usually manage a meet-up over the Christmas period.

However, once the influx of people has disappeared and just a few mince pie crumbs remain, it is lovely to relax, put your feet up and enjoy some tranquillity (and dubious TV programmes.)

Unless you have small children of course!

Clever Cooking

Our Clever Cooking for One or Two cookbook is the perfect antidote to the Christmas frivolities. Full of easy recipes for one or two, it will keep you satisfied with delicious food, without having to slave in the kitchen for hours or waste ever-more expensive ingredients.

This delicious Cranberry & Muesli Muffin recipe from the book is just perfect for using up the leftover cranberry sauce.

Make your own Cranberry Sauce

If you need a simple recipe try our Cranberry Sauce (a world away from the stuff found in a jar). It’s taken from our new edition Dairy Book of Home Cookery – so hot off the press, it doesn’t go on sale until next summer!

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