Have yourself a merry, waste-free holiday!
Reflect on your food waste and wider consumerism. One simple way to reduce food waste is to scale back how much you buy to begin with.
‘T’was the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even…’
Oh, a mouse.
Gnawing away your leftover holiday roast.
If you’re one of those people who has tossed out uneaten, but still edible, Christmas puddings, you’re not alone. Indeed, alongside the holiday festivities, with turkey, mince pies, and all sorts of puddings galore, comes the significant food waste in households. In fact, Unilever research estimates that every Christmas, British individuals throw away an estimated 2 million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 5 million Christmas puddings. Yikes.
Even less joyous, this post-holiday waste is only part of the picture. WRAP estimates that British households throw away around 7 tonnes of food (worth around £720 per family) annually. Such wasteful practices are having both significant economic and environmental impacts – in fact, reducing food waste is one of the most effective ways we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
‘It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters but who’s around it.’ – Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Christmas
We ask that you reflect on your food waste practices and wider consumerism. One simple way to reduce holiday food waste is to scale back how much you purchase to begin with; if you know certain foods won’t be eaten, then reconsider their purchase in the first place. Reflecting on your broader consumerism practices might include opting to gift experiences rather than physical items, or re-gifting unused items, purchasing gifts from second-hand stores or charity shops, or gifting a currently owned sentimental item, such as your favourite book or jumper. After all, the holidays aren’t about things and stuff, they’re about spending quality time with the people you love, surrounded by delicious food and cheer.
Even if you tried your best to gauge how much food you’d need for the holidays, it’s possible you’ll still end up with too many leftovers. But, if you do have heaps of leftovers and don’t know where to start, have no fear! Feedback’s Alchemic Kitchen has compiled a list of easy-to-make, delicious post-holiday recipes to help you re-purpose those extra parsnips – thus reducing food waste and saving you money at the same time.
If you haven’t gobbled up all of your roast potatoes, combining them with pickled onions and greens make a delicious Boxing Day breakfast.
Heat 3 tbsp of vegetable oil in a shallow frying pan, and add in the pickled onion, sliced in half. Toss over medium heat until the onions start to caramelise – allow about 10 minutes. Add a pinch of cayenne and some thyme. Then, add in your leftover roast potatoes (you want about 500g in total); you can also throw in any leftover parsnips and carrots. Stir well to keep from sticking. Finely slice your leftover greens (brussels sprouts are perfect) and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and then serve. The crispy bits are the best!
Stuffing hash with pigs in blankets
If (by some miracle) all the pigs in blankets haven’t been used up, make this Boxing Day hangover cure.
Heat a large shallow pan, add a little oil, then crumble in the leftover stuffing. Snip your pigs in blankets into 3 and add to the pan. Stir well. If you have a few roast potatoes or other veggies leftover, chuck them in as well. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and stir well. A pinch of chilli works well at this point. Spread the mixture evenly over the base of your pan, use a spoon to make 4 hollows and then break an egg into each hollow. Cover the pan with a lid and keep on a low heat while the eggs set; this takes about 4 minutes. Serve.
Sandwiches – what Christmas leftovers are all about
The below are amazing combinations for toasted sandwiches:
- Crumbled Stilton mixed with a dollop of mayo, sliced spring onion, and chopped dried apricots.
- Brie and cranberry with a scoop of leftover red cabbage.
- Gently cook a sliced onion in butter and add a tsp of curry powder, shred in leftover turkey or chicken, add a dollop of mango chutney and some crème fraîche. Also works very well with noodles or flat ribbon pasta.
Roast Parsnip Soup
If you have a few parsnips left over from your Christmas dinner, don’t bin them, make this delicious soup instead!
Halve and chop one onion and cook gently in 1 tbsp of butter (or vegetable oil) until soft and golden (it takes longer than you think!). Keep the heat low and stir occasionally; don’t let it brown or the soup will be bitter. Chop up your leftover roast parsnips, about 400g or so, and add to the pan with a sprig or two or thyme if you have it on hand. Stir well. Add 1.5 pints of stock (turkey is ideal, but you can use vegetable if you prefer) and bring it to a slow simmer for 10 minutes. Take off the heat, remove the thyme sprigs, and use a blender to purée the soup. If it’s too thick for your liking, add a bit more stock. Taste and add seasoning – lots of pepper is good. At this point you can start playing – if you have left over stilton, crumble some in, if you have cream, add a dollop. If nuts are more your thing, toast a handful of chopped hazelnuts or walnuts and scatter over the top. We have been known to fry up stuffing until crisp and then scatter that across the top. If Santa has been kind and brought you truffle oil, a drizzle or two works absolute magic.
Leftover stollen or panettone makes an amazing baked pudding, especially with extra marzipan.
Chop up about 250g of either stolen or panettone into chunks. Grease a shallow baking dish with butter. Pile the sweet breads into the dish. If you have leftover marzipan to use up, glacé fruits or chocolate chop up and toss with the breads. In another bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 225 ml of milk and 140 ml of cream, add a tbsp of caster sugar and a tsp of vanilla essence. Pour over the breads. Set the baking dish into a roasting tray and pour over hot water to halfway up the sides of the baking dish (not in with the bread). Carefully place in the oven at 140C fan or Gas Mark 3 and bake for about 35 minutes until lightly browned. Dust with icing sugar and serve with a dollop of ice cream.
Leftover mincemeat from pies is delicious added to halved and cored baking apples.
Place apples into a microwaveable dish. Spoon mincemeat (you can also use marzipan) into the middle of the apples, add a dot of butter, and cover with cling film. Pierce to let steam out and microwave for 4.5 minutes on high. Serve with custard.
Too much cream? Make citrus possets.
Place 600ml of double cream and 120g caster sugar in a pan. Heat gently, stirring to ensure all the sugar has dissolved and the cream just started to bubble. Allow about 5 minutes. Add the zest and juice of 1 large orange and 2 lemons (you can also use tangerines) and stir well. Set aside to cool down. Once cool, spoon into glasses and leave in the fridge for a couple of hours or ideally overnight. Serve with those leftover shortbreads.
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