Friday, December 21, 2012

Making the Most of Your Christmas Dinner: An International, Yet Frugally Inspired Affair

With Christmas coming up, and big Christmas dinners being planned, it would be a shame for all the leftovers to go to waste, especially as these leftovers typically are made from expensive ingredients. Here's a guest post about how to reuse those leftovers, with an international twist. Hope you liked these ideas as much as I did.
Hint- even if you don't use some of these specific ingredients, the ideas can be translated and used for similar dishes made with things you do eat.

The iconic British Christmas meal would (metaphorically) feed the 5,000 on the big day alone. With its mounds of trimmings, and a beast of bird that weighs more than a baby, you could potentially be living off this one dinner for absolutely ages. Here are a few frugally inspired ideas, with an international flair, to ensure you effectively continue making meals with your Christmas dinner leftovers long after the main event.

The jewel of the table’s crown, the Christmas turkey, has the most versatile leftovers that can be used for absolutely all sorts. Typically the breast is long-gone by teatime on Christmas Day after an epic main course and then a round of sandwiches in the evening to make sure you’re doubly stuffed. The dark meat of the legs is incredibly flavoursome and succulent, perfect for casserole and curry, especially when kept on the bone. Turkey curry is a particular favourite, served on a bed of fluffy basmati rice with samosas and bhajis. What’s more, the whole body is recyclable. If you’ve not used the giblets for gravy, freeze them along with the carcass and use them to make your own stock for future dinners and soups.

The Christmas ham and hefty beef joint can be served cold in either a hefty doorstop sandwich, a light refreshing salad, or even as the bulk of a scrumptious casserole — much like the turkey. They all keep in the fridge for around four days after cooking, and can always be frozen and preserved for much longer. These fantastic meat joints go great with pickles and chutneys and look fabulous as an accompaniment to an inviting cheese board. Look to the French for some culinary inspiration; they’re renowned for their variety of delicious cheeses and have enough types for at least one for every day of the year.

There’s always bacon in my fridge and it lasts forever. However, the trusty Christmas ham is a delectable substitute and can be diced and used in pasta dishes like a creamy spaghetti carbonara. Or why not try making your own Chinese style rice? Fry your chunks of ham in a wok with diced onion, mushrooms and scrambled egg. Introduce peas, a dash of soy sauce and then a generous helping of Chinese five spice and mix thoroughly. Then, add cooked rice and stir the whole lot together until the whole dish is piping hot. This Oriental infusion goes down a treat in my house, and besides, who needs takeaway when you can whip up your own at no extra cost?

No Boxing Day would be complete without a typically English bubble ’n’ squeak made from all the leftover vegetables. Your Brussels sprouts, peas, carrots, parsnips and potatoes are simply mashed together, lightly seasoned, and then fried in a pan. Feel free to keep an eye on it, but don’t worry if you have a few burnt bits as this is the only dinner where burning it makes it taste even better. Those blackened little crusts are utterly delicious! Serve with lashings of ketchup and simply enjoy. On the other hand, these leftover goods can accompany that turkey curry splendidly when used to make vegetable samosas. Take your leftover greens and carrots and fry with some curry paste. Buy some shop-bought filo pastry and make little parcels which can then be shallow-fried! Yum!

Finally, use leftover potatoes (that aren’t in the bubble ‘n’ squeak) to whip up a delicious Spanish omelette, or tortilla as it’s known in its native Spain. Simply fry some onions, green pepper and bacon or pancetta (even that sweet ham if you have some left) with the potatoes and add several eggs. Fry until the bottom is solid, flip the omelette and then repeat for the other side. Serve with plenty of grated cheese and a generous dollop of brown sauce. For that really Continental infusion add some chorizo and green peppers.

One thing is certain: you won’t go hungry this Christmas and for a long while after. These handy little tips will see you into 2013 with a very full belly indeed!
This article was brought to you by show-and-stay.co.uk , the top providers of West End theatre breaks.

What is your favorite way to revamp leftovers? Have you ever made any of these dishes before with leftovers? Any you want to try making? Bubble and squeak is one I definitely want to try!

See my disclaimer.

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