Monday, May 21, 2012

Leftovers are Friends... Not Food!

 Not quite what I mean, but you get the general idea! 
In my house, leftovers rule. I baulk at the idea of throwing anything away, no matter how small the portion, because I just know, that with a little ingenuity it's possible to incorporporate it into the next delicious - or at least satisfying - meal. Plus, if you're throwing perfectly good food away because you don't know what to do with it, you're throwing money away. And that's just not-acceptable in our house! There are certain dishes that are more forgiving when re-hashing leftovers. Like hash. (n_n) Also, soup is usually a winner, as is pizza, and in our house, fried rice. 
Today I was busy doing laundry - can't turn your nose up at a rare sunny day in Bathgate - and the time just got away from me. Before I knew it, I had to go pick up the kids from school. Looking in the fridge, I saw I had half a block of cauldron firm tofu, several lacklustre veggies and half a bag of curly kale. In my freezer I always keep a few bags of frozen veggies for just such an occasion, plus I had a can of mock duck from the Chinese supermarket in the cupboard. This is one of my favourite 'secret' ingredients for adding a bit of bulk to stir-frys and fried rice. My house is full of wheat-meat haters, however I have used a small can of finely shredded mock duck as a filler many, many times and I've yet to have a complaint from any of them. I don't know what they do to the gluten to make it so delicious, but it's all I can do to stop myself from eating half of it while prepping.
I put two cups of basmati rice into my microwaveable rice steamer with three cups of boiling water, 1/2 tsp of salt and a good pinch of turmeric - I swear, my compulsion to add turmeric to rice is so bad my kids think rice is naturally yellow - and set it to cook for 13 minutes. When I'm making rice for stir-frys I want it slightly drier, so my ratio of rice to water is 1:11/2. If I want moist, fluffy rice for curry or stew, I prefer a 1:2 ratio. 
Once we were back from school, I made the obligatory veggie prawn crackers. These were a bargain about two years ago - I got a big box from the Chinese supermarket for £2.49 and we have been eating them every since as a side to chinese and thai food, as a snack, a lunch box filler... you name it! Once I got the hang of frying them up - I now do them in a frying pan rather than my wok, using less oil - I had them means to make an inexpensive side that has completely ruined my kids. They LOVE them! 
 Then, I heated my wok over a medium heat until smoking and added a little oil and my sliced onions. A couple of minutes later I added a heaped teaspoon of minced ginger, lots of garlic flakes, 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp 5-spice powder, sliced green pepper and celery, carrot sticks, cubed tofu, 1 tsp of shredded kefir lime leaves and the kale. I cooked it for about 5-minutes, until the veggies were tender, before adding peas and sweetcorn and the shredded duck. I kept cooking until the frozen veggies and duck were warmed-through before adding the rice, 2 tbsps light soya sauce, a generous drizzle of sesame oil and 4 tbsps lemon juice. Stir-stir-stir... Done.


  1. amen! leftovers make great lunches the following day, or can even star in new recipes! -- fried rice, casseroles, soups! Thanks for sharing!

  2. We love leftovers. I can't stand throwing away food, ever. Leftovers have saved a tired mum many a night. :)

  3. Glad to hear we're all on the same page, Ladies! x

  4. Oh DJ, it's past midnight now and reading this, you're making me hungry! I love re-using leftovers and sometimes you end up creating so many new recipes with them!


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