Christmas comes but once a year. And some of us might be grateful for that given that it’s starting earlier than ever. Especially as we’ve found that over a third of us reckon we Brits throw away more food at Christmas than any other time.
Fear not, we’re here with a savvier, cheaper way around that. In fact, we’re pretty confident you can get all the way from Christmas Eve til Twelfth Night without having to put much in the bin at all – all it takes it some crafty thinking, simple planning and a bit of careful storage or freezing. Needless to say, our Kitchen Creatives have been hard at work. Fortunately, there are alternatives to turkey curry. And yes, they’ve even come up with a way of dealing with the inevitable leftover sprouts...
You say bubble, I say squeak
Avoid binning the trimmings. Classic Christmas leftovers – from mash to cooked winter veg – are the basis of the brilliantly British bubble and squeak. But how to inject a bit of festive sparkle? How about adding chopped cooked gammon or turkey, or something from the cheeseboard, as well as a spoonful or two of mayo? Making space in the pan then frying a fresh egg in the heart of it will guarantee a seasonal twist, too. And all it takes is just 15 minutes.
Sprouts, sprouts and more sprouts
Not everyone likes sprouts – and most families seem to have a sprout refusenik or two. Turning your leftover sprouts into a gratin is a genius way of upcycling the unloved corner of the Christmas table. Start by making a white (or roux) sauce with added fried onions or shallots, add some grated cheese (Gruyere works nicely but you could use up any odds and ends you have left), fry up some chopped bacon or pancetta then add it in. Arrange your boiled sprouts in an ovenproof dish, pour over the delicious sauce and top with breadcrumbs and bacon rashers. Cook the whole lot in a preheated oven at 180oC (160oC fan) for 25 minutes.
The big freeze
We’re not all lucky enough to have a Tardis-like, American-style fridge at home. So if the fridge is getting too full too quickly (remember the air needs to circulate for the fridge to work properly) there are alternatives. Anything freezable can be frozen right up to the ‘use by’ date. If you can cook in bulk, then freeze, you’ll be well on the way: cooking once and eating twice is a great way to make your money go further. Don’t forget to split up your offerings into portions before you freeze to make them quick and easy to defrost and heat up when you need a quick meal. Meanwhile, if you’re the owner of a cold conservatory (or ‘conservafridge’) or garage, use it to free up fridge space. Everything from white wine and fruit juice to jars of condiments will happily chill out there.