My mad weekly kitchen diary

This is just a weekly bit of fun whereby I can natter about any culinary ‘inventions’, successes and disasters in the kitchen, and also document trying to get the best out of leftovers.


… we still had guests, and I still had a headache so Sunday dinner needed to be, well, not easy, but modular. Ooh, I like that! Modular. This needed to be a meal whereby I could do a bit at a time and have it all fit together at the end.

We had a chicken, so apart from the initial seasoning that would take care of itself; I just needed to plan the rest carefully whilst still providing a decent meal. At the risk of sounding boring, I went for neeps and tatties again because I can prep that earlier and reheat. I cooked the swede the conventional way though, simmering in a saucepan. I still baked the potatoes because I always prefer that for many reasons, keeping the nutrients, the flavour, and the fact that I can leave it to cook in the oven! As far as other vegetables were concerned, I went down a very easy route. To save washing up I chopped carrots into a large dice, par cooked, then at some point added frozen petits pois, draining and serving them together in the same dish. Other additions were roasted parsnips which were peeled, cut into six with the woody core being removed from the four pieces from the thicker end. I then par steamed and cooled them to be roasted for thirty minutes or so later. Next, bread sauce. I would have made my own, but I couldn’t be bothered! I used a dry mix that I made up with milk. It’s still delicious though. I promise I will make my own and record the details at xmas! With the gravy I tried the ‘caramelised residue’ method again, pouring off all of the fat, and adding water to the pan until the caramel melted into the water then whisking in some gravy granules. A cheat I know, but, headache! Dinner was a success. One guest who didn’t like bread sauce ate bread sauce and there wasn’t a lot left over, see tomorrow!


… our guests bid their goodbyes and I wanted to use what was left of Sunday dinner. There was a little of everything, neeps & tatties, peas & carrots, bread sauce, gravy, parsnips, chicken, and of course the carcass. I decided to do a variation on something I only do once a year… Xmas soup!

If you have ever read previously you’ll know my favourite thing about festive food is dealing with the leftovers. It’s where my love of extreme cooking really comes into its own. Anyway, imagine that turkey being used frugally for leftovers until you have nothing much left, just the carcass and a little meat, this is when the xmas soup is made. I always make too much for the actual dinner so there will be a little of everything sitting in the fridge, carrots and sprouts, stuffing and bread sauce. And chipolatas and bacon, and roast parsnips and potatoes, and lastly turkey, mashed potato, and gravy. The only item I tend to leave out is the cranberry sauce. There’s probably not enough to make two decent meals so… Make a stock from the carcass then chuck everything in except the turkey meat and cook it down. Add the turkey at some point, then whizz it with a stick blender. Simples. It might not LOOK like the best soup you have ever seen but it may taste like the best soup ever! Now imagine me transferring this method to Sunday’s leftovers. Delish! I’ll just call it ‘not xmas soup’.


… I needed cold take-away pizza (Yup, I know I’m not a fan of pizza, but I do often crave things I don’t particularly like, and cold pizza is much nicer than hot!). Yes, NEEDED. Trouble is, to get cold pizza we had to buy hot pizza first, so we did!


… more comfort food was the order of the day so I made a large chilli con carne with leftovers in mind. I’ve mentioned my way of making a chilli before so I won’t bore you with it again but it was delish. It was only missing fresh coriander which we weren’t able to get. The rice was a bit of an experiment though. We were running low on basmati so I had to use long grain, which doesn’t fill me with joy so I tried the absorption method using passata, and stock as the liquid, and cumin and paprika to tie the rice in with the chilli. I still prefer basmati but this version of long grain was more than edible! Husband liked it!


… I had a couple of small pieces of gammon to use up so I made one of C’s favourites, gammon, double egg and chips. Well, I did oven baked potato wedges that I sprinkled with rosemary sea salt instead of chips. I also marinated the gammon for a while in garlic and a little oil just for a change. The fried eggs were just fried eggs!


… leftover chilli means I can do my tex-mex layer bake. This is a thing of beauty and deliciousness. I usually make the chilli just to make the bake but I made a larger chilli and a slightly smaller bake to fit in the two. My ‘put together’ is self explanatory, see link above, and it’s really good served with salad and garlic bread. We ate it with salad.


… leftovers! We had the tex-mex layer bake again, but this time with a few oven chips. I know that’s not very stylish, but it served as dinner without me doing much cooking!

not xmas soup, chilli con carne, gammon egg & wedges, tex-mex layer bake.
not xmas soup, chilli con carne, gammon egg & wedges, tex-mex layer bake.
My mad weekly kitchen diary

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