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Christmas cooking guide: lovely leftovers!

Christmas is now officially over for another year, your bank account is all but cleared out but somehow your fridge is still packed to bursting with a tray of desiccated turkey, a selection of sprouts and some wedges of pongy Stilton.

Make the most of your leftover turkey by combining it with stilton to make a delicious pie
Make the most of your leftover turkey by combining it with stilton to make a delicious pie

These days, austerity chic is contagious and we’re all loathed to throw anything away but we're equally loathed to eat turkey sandwiches for a week.

So how can you make those leftovers more appealing? It’s easy to use ingredients you've got an excess of to create a few tasty recipes - perfect for Boxing Day and beyond.

Winter vegetable soup (serves 6-8)

Any soup that begins with a base of onion, garlic, carrots and celery and a good stock is good in my book, then quite literally almost anything else added to the soup pan should work. Occasionally I add a few spices to root vegetable soups for extra flavour.

Ingredients

1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks

2 celery stalks, washed and chopped into bite-sized chunks

4 tablespoons of vegetable oil

3 cups/300g of assorted vegetables, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks

600ml of vegetable, chicken or beef stock

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoons of five-spice powder (optional)

Half a teaspoon of ground cumin (optional)

 Salt and black pepper

Method

1 In a large stock pot or soup pan heat the vegetable oil

2 Add the onions and gently cook until they begin to soften

3 Add the garlic, carrot and celery and cook for another 5 minutes taking care not to burn the garlic

4 Add the chopped vegetables and stir

5 Add the stock, bay leaf and spices (if using) and cook for approximately 20 minutes until all the vegetables are soft and cooked through

6 Blend the soup in the pan using a stick blender or pour into a food processor and blend

7 Cook the soup for a further 5 minutes to reduce slightly

8 Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Great vegetables for soup include parsnips, celeriac, leeks, sweet potato, or any other winter roots, broccoli and cauliflower. Make sure they are all cleaned, peeled and cut into similar size chunks. And, don't forget fresh herbs for even more flavour.

 

Turkey and creamy stilton pies (serves 4)

Turkey works so well with stilton, and this easy pie recipe will transform those pesky leftovers into something stunning.

Ingredients

50g of butter

1 tablespoon of rapeseed oil

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped

250g of chestnut mushrooms, sliced

400g of leftover turkey (brown and white meat), cut into chunks

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves only)

1 tablespoon of brandy

100ml of turkey or chicken stock

150ml of double cream

120g of stilton cheese, crumbled

375g pack of ready-rolled puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

Sea salt and black pepper

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4

2 Heat the butter and rapeseed oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and mushrooms and cook over a low heat for 2-3 minutes or until soft

3 Stir in the cooked turkey, garlic and thyme and cook for a further 3 minutes

4 Pour over the brandy and allow to bubble for 1 minute, then add the stock and cream and warm through gently

5 Remove from the heat and stir in the stilton

6 Season with sea salt and black pepper

7 Divide the turkey mixture between four individual pie dishes

8 Unroll the pastry and cut into four pastry lids (slightly larger than the individual pie dishes), then wet the rim of the dishes with water

9 Lay the pastry circles over the top and press to the rim firmly

10 Make a small slit with a knife to allow the steam to escape

11 Brush with beaten egg and place on a baking sheet

12 Bake for 20 minutes until golden.

 

Cranberry and macadamia nut brownies (serves 12)

Leftover cranberry sauce? Why not use it to make these delicious gooey chocolate treats.

Ingredients

150g of dark chocolate, broken into chunks

200g of butter

200g of soft brown sugar

150g of self-raising flour

40g of cocoa powder, sifted

3 large eggs, beaten

50g of dried cranberries

100g of macadamia nuts

60g of cranberry sauce

Method

1 Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4

2 Line a 20cm x 20cm baking tin with baking parchment

3 Melt the dark chocolate with the butter in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over just simmering water

4 Mix together the sugar, flour and cocoa powder and stir in the melted chocolate and butter mixture, followed by the eggs

5 Stir through the dried cranberries and macadamia nuts, and then swirl through the cranberry sauce

6 Pour into the tin and smooth the surface

7 Bake for 25 - 30 mins

8 Allow to cool before slicing

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