Karen Wright: Waste not, want not, using up my leftovers

Pea and ham soup made with leftoversPea and ham soup made with leftovers
Pea and ham soup made with leftovers
Last week I was involved with a festival in Wakefield called ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’. The event was held in the Ridings and my job was to cook a few dishes using things that are quite often thrown away.

If you have a couple of carrots that are past their best or a few slices of bread hanging around at home it’s very easy to throw them out but it is also easy to use every last thing up and create delicious meals instead.

After taking stock of my fridge and cupboards with this idea in mind, I found lots of food that I could use up. The first thing I made was a soup using mostly root vegetables, including a couple of carrots, a parsnip, a potato and so on and I topped it with crunchy croutons made out of a slice of bread. I also cooked up a vegetable curry with odds and ends left in the vegetable drawer as well as a pie using the leftover cooked vegetables from a Sunday roast. Not to forget dessert, I made a bread and butter pudding using up stale hot cross buns.

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With a Sunday roast in mind, I set myself the challenge of seeing how far I could stretch a very cheap joint of gammon. On day one I dished up three portions of roast dinner; day two I plated up cold cuts with chips and peas; day three I made a delicious risotto; day four I made the pie and added cooked gammon to the filling and day six I made a pea and ham soup! All those dishes from a joint of gammon that cost me around £4. The same types of things can be done with any cut of meat but I think gammon or chicken is the best value at the moment.

The pea and ham soup was made by sweating off an onion and diced potato in a knob of butter, then adding chicken stock, Dijon mustard and salt and pepper and simmering until the potatoes were tender. Then I added some frozen peas and the gammon and brought to the boil before blending it with my stick blender. It’s and old fashioned soup but it’s easy and cheap to make, why not give it a whirl?