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Leftovers

Christopher and I always had our “best” meal of the week on Saturday night, a tradition we picked up from my family. I remember the excitement when my sister and I were deemed old enough to stay up for Saturday night dinner with our parents, rather than having alphabetti spaghetti on toast in front of The Generation Game and then being sent to bed! Christopher did almost all the cooking in our household, and though he sometimes found making mid-week dinners something of a chore, he used to really enjoy cooking on a Saturday night, and was always keen to try out new recipes and experiment with new techniques.

I’ve tried my best to keep the Saturday night dinner tradition going, as I feel I would really be letting the side down if I reverted to microwave ready meals or takeaways. Plus  my appetite has particularly capricious for the past few months (I stop eating when I’m stressed – not a sustainable position!) so I’ve needed to make a major effort to cook something tasty that I’ll eat more than two mouthfuls of.  I was always impressed when Christopher was able to rustle up a roast dinner, even when he was feeling terrible, and didn’t really believe him when he said it wasn’t that difficult. But now I cook a roast dinner at least twice a month, and feel confident about everything except the gravy, which is still somewhat hit-and-miss, and usually needs sieving.

The only trouble is that there is a minimum size joint/bird that is worth roasting. The smallest chicken in Waitrose claims to serve two to three people, but actually does me for at least five meals, plus I usually make a stock from the carcass that will form the basis for another three. The butcher in town is happy to cut me a small portion off a leg of lamb and bone it for me, but there is no point in roasting something the size of a dog biscuit, so again I end up with enough meat to last me at least five meals.  And I get bored if I have the same meal twice in a row, and simply stop eating, so that needs to be avoided. That means that I’m always looking for more ways to use up leftovers.

Yesterday afternoon I was feeling pretty low after the “wobble” earlier in the week, so I spent the whole afternoon cooking my favourite dishes for dinner. Slow roast lamb with garlic and rosemary, potato and fennel gratin, and braised red cabbage with apple, all followed by pears poached in white wine and vanilla. It was delicious, though I say so myself, and I had thirds, which was a real result given how little I’ve been eating recently. I then spent most of the night awake with indigestion, but that’s another matter!

I now have a bowl of left-over roast lamb in the fridge which I shall be looking for ever-more inventive ways to eat for the first half of the week. I hate wasting food, but it’s a real effort to keep coming up with different ways to use up the leftovers!   So if anyone has any interesting ideas for using up cold roast meats, please do let me know. Already I’ve had a lamb / tomato / feta / spinach toastie for lunch today, and pancakes stuffed with lamb / leek / tomato / spinach and left-over gravy for dinner. Tomorrow night I think it will be a layer bake of potatoes, lamb, fennel, onions and dried apricots all cooked in stock, and I suspect there will be enough left over for a lamb risotto later in the week, and maybe even enough to garnish a pizza when I need a very quick dinner after a day spent mid-week at our Hampshire HQ.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. pauld | 9 October 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    “in front of The Generation Game”

    Hard to imagine but after several decades and Bruce Forsyth is STILL on tv.