There it is, 2014. All fresh and brand new. We all got new diaries, calendars and maybe a few resolutions, but when we go to the cupboards and the fridge or the freezer for that matter we are often faced with an array of leftovers from the holiday period.
I may have finally conquered that pumpkin we still had from Halloween (half eaten, half frozen… so it’s only a semi-victory really), but when I open the fridge I see jars and root vegetables and entire head of red cabbage and all says: You need to use me up.
Now, I do love the accomplishment of having used up everything and nothing goes to waste, but I would lie if I said that I always like the process. 4 swedes in the fridge basically means, swede with every meal for a week. This makes my 7 year old daughter cry (literally), my husband may contemplate eating somewhere else and I trail the internet and cookbooks for inspiration and most importantly for dishes that they will actually eat. So yes, the process is at times a bit hard. So I keep my goal in mind: Emptying the fridge and freezer.
Last night’s dinner of Potato, Celeriac and Swede gratin with steamed carrots and peas on the side (and a quorn burger) was not a huge hit with the kid. I loved it, but then I have always been partial to stuff baked in cream for hours on end. “Gratin Gate” will be remembered in this house for a while yet. And when she asked me this morning what I would cook for dinner, I could hardly bring myself to tell her that we would be having Swede Cakes… So I lied and said, I had not make my mind up yet. She did not believe since she has grown up with her mother (that is me) planning meals on the back of envelopes and scraps of papers and knows that my lie can only mean one thing: A dinner she’ll hate. So she cried a bit in advance. I think I might make a bit of chickpea curry to go with the swede cakes to soften the blow.
Tomorrow’s dinner should be more of a success as I am making pasta soup. Some of the remaining root vegetables will make a nice addition to the stock, I add them to the hot stock so they keep their taste and then some star pasta so it looks pretty. The good thing is also that all can be prepared ahead of time, which makes for a speedy dinner on a busy Wednesday.
I keep the best for Thursday though, a family favourite: Potatoes, Beans and Cabbage, based on this recipe, though I use red cabbage and kidney beans. It works and although it may sound unassuming, let me assure you that this is a “clean the plate and ask for more” crowd pleaser in our house. Unfortunately, it will not use up all the red cabbage, so I will be forced to make more coleslaw. I think I shall add some apple and walnuts to it and maybe some seeds too and no mayo…. I crave clean tastes after Christmas.
And of course, all meals are accompanied by various chutneys, cranberry sauce and horseradish… and whatever else is lurking in the depths and need using up.
So what do you need to use up? Or are you cupboards clean and empty and you have a fresh slate? I would love to hear from you.