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Emptying the fridge after Christmas can seem like an impossible task when there are lots of leftovers to use up, especially when it comes to items like bread, vegetables and cheese that can quickly go off. Eating them as cold snacks is one way to stop them from going to waste, but according to 2018 MasterChef winner, Kenny Tutt, there are plenty of “adventurous” meals that can be made instead. From colourful flatbreads to a hearty curry, the Sussex-based chef has shared his “top tips” for making the most of the perishable ingredients in your kitchen.
How to use leftover food
Food waste is a significant problem throughout the year, but even more so during the festive period when many people splurge on ingredients for roast dinners, cheese boards and nibbles.
Whether you’re having a clear-out for the new year or are running out of ideas for how to use up the food in your fridge, turning the remnants of everything from cooked vegetables to half-open dairy products into a flavoursome meal is a great way to do your bit in reducing unnecessary waste.
According to Kenny Tutt, bread is one of the main culprits thrown in the kitchen bin without good reason, despite there being endless uses for even the stalest slice.
He told Express.co.uk that doing something as simple as blitzing them up means they can be “put to good use” as “great breadcrumbs” in other dishes, such as macaroni and cheese.
By using a selection of leftover cheese and even a dash of cream for the sauce, you can quickly transform the final scraps from Christmas into a tasty new meal. Kenny recommended topping the dish with your blitzed breadcrumbs for the finishing touch.
The MasterChef star also suggested using the breadcrumbs for a katsu curry which provides the perfect opportunity to use up old vegetables or chicken.
If you’re craving something healthy and fresh to eat, don’t discard stale bread as a flavoursome addition to a leafy salad. Kenny said: “A little bit of oil, some garlic, some basil, roast them off and make a wonderful salad topping.”
It may not be everyone’s favourite – even at Christmas time, but bread sauce is another great way to use up large quantities of old bread. Throw in milk, leftover onions and a bit of nutmeg for flavour.
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If you’re looking for a full meal to use up the remnants of your festive food shop, Kenny’s flatbread recipe is open to interpretation – so you can add whatever you want.
Using up soft cheese such as Boursin is ideal for this flavoursome dish, and the same goes for old vegetables that may have seen better days.
- 300g self-raising flour
- 150g natural or live yoghurt
- Hald a teaspoon of baking powder
- One tablespoon of vegetable oil or olive
- Pinch of fine salt
- One teaspoon Nigella/onion seeds (optional)
For the topping:
- 100g Boursin or other cheese, crumbled
- One medium white onion, finely sliced
- Two cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- One teaspoon of ground cumin
- One teaspoon of ground coriander
- Half a teaspoon of chilli flakes
- Any leftover veg cut into bite-sized morsels
- Chopped fresh coriander to finish
- Salt & pepper
- Tablespoon of oil (vegetable or sunflower)
Preheat your oven to 210C fan/230C non-fan/gas mark 8. Put a large baking sheet in the oven or if you have one large pizza stone in the oven to warm up.
For the dough, mix the flour with the baking powder, salt, nigella seeds (optional), yoghurt and oil to form a soft dough. Knead for two to three minutes until smooth.
Wrap in baking paper and pop in the fridge to rest whilst you assemble your toppings. Over medium heat, with a little oil in the pan, sweat down the onions and garlic until nice and golden.
Add the cumin, ground coriander and chilli for a little warmth then add your Christmas Day leftover vegetables of choice and fry to get some colour.
Finish with some salt and pepper to season and put the mix to the side. Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out on a floured dusted surface to a rough oval or rectangle.
Carefully transfer the flatbread to the hot tray or pizza stone, then quickly top with an even scatter of the spiced vegetable and a generous crumble of your chosen cheese.
A combination of different cheeses can be used for extra flavour, though Kenny’s personal favourite is garlic and herb Boursin.
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