Chefs give advice on what to do with your Christmas leftovers

Bucks Free Press: Luke Thomas Luke Thomas

AT Christmas time there always seems to be leftover foods no matter how well you plan for it.

Great British Bake Off judge and TV cook, Mary Berry, who lives in Penn gave her own tips for Christmas at the Specsavers National Book Awards in London earlier in the month.

She advised not too buy too many snacks, which your family can do without, and to plan and start shopping earlier.

Head Chef at Luke's Dining Room at Sanctum on the Green in Cookham, Luke Thomas, here gives his own tips for Christmas dinner and what to do with the leftovers.

The 18-year-old is set to appear on BBC3 next year in The Teenage Chef.

And although he will be working for a little bit on Christmas day he will then be driving home to North Wales to cook Christmas lunch for his family.

His advice is:

  •  "It is about timing- make sure you sit down for five minutes at the start of the day and figure out how you are going to do it."
  • Don't overcook the turkey. He said he takes it out when it is just cooked and lets it stand for an hour so the residual heat allows it to carry on cooking.
  • Prep the vegetables the night before and put them in a pan of water with orange, ginger, herbs and salt.
  • Once the turkey is out of the oven cook your vegetables. He recommended cooking carrots on a low simmer for an hour before taking them out and glazing them in honey.
  • Not everyone likes sprouts. He recommends slicing them and then cooking them with bacon and chestnuts before adding a bit of cream and reducing for 10-15 minutes. And what to do with the leftovers?
  • With the turkey legs shread any leftover meat and fry it in a pan until it is nice and crispy. Serve with a nice seasonal salad and oriental dressing.
  • Put veg and potatoes together and crush it down- fry until nice and crispy and serve with meat and gravy.
  • With leftover Christmas pudding crumble it down. make a souffle or icecream.

Steve Macken from The Squirrel pub in Penn Street here also gives his own advice on what to do if you do find too much food leftover at Christmas.

He said: "Why not take your leftover mash potato, add a bit of fried onion and make miniature potato cakes? Or stir in some left over veg and make mini portions of Bubble & Squeak?

"For the ultimate ‘mini breakfast’, you can chop up your cold pigs in blankets, add a can of baked beans or canned tomatoes, put in a dish and pop in the oven with an egg cracked into it - delicious.

"Or how about mashing up your roasties, adding a beaten egg and some of your leftover turkey - cooking slowly in a frying pan - and voila - a turkey tortilla.

"Anything you have got leftover can be used to create another dish - the only thing holding you back is your own imagination - be brave and experiment and you never know, you might uncover some Christmas taste-sensations."

At the pub they have their own "Stuff in Small Dishes" which he he said is ideal for using up any leftovers or unused food.

Andres Alemany at The Purefoy Arms just outside Basingstoke gives the following tips for using up leftovers:

  • Christmas Mess with leftover cranberry sauce, chestnuts, Christmas pudding, brandy cream. Whip up a little bit of cream add some crumbled meringue then add the rest of the ingredients together as if you were making an Eton mess.
  • Christmas Pie and bubble and squeak. Slice left over turkey, stuffing and vegetables. Put them in a pie dish that has been lined with shortcrust pastry, add gravy, cover with puff pastry and bake. Then slice left over brussel sprouts, fry them in duck fat, remove and drain. Add to mashed up roast potatoes season well, make little patties with the mix, flour them and fry them on each side in duck fat until golden brown.

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