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Food & Drink

What do I do with all these left overs? – Steven Saunders

Ten Top Tips from a Master Chef on Christmas leftovers

LAST week I covered the Top 10 best tips for cooking turkey.

I made a point of asking you to buy a bigger bird than you need because one of the most amazing things about Christmas is Boxing Day lunch using up the left overs.

Having pickles, cold turkey and trimmings buffet style is just a delight and something that I look forwards to all year! But I also look forwards to my homemade turkey and ham pie.

I always cook a ham on the bone and then use up the leftovers in a pie. My whole family feel excited about Boxing Day too and they say it’s the best meal that I make all year!

I’m not sure that this is a compliment as I cook all year but I am always pleased with Boxing Day and it’s because I follow these basic set of rules that makes it so special and something that we always look forward to.

At The Little Geranium in La Cala we close on Christmas day and Boxing Day so that I can entertain at home. We are open all the other times but I couldn’t miss out on cooking at home on these two important days. Enjoy your Christmas and I hope some of these tips will help!

  1. Remove all the bits of cooked turkey from the carcass that can’t really be carvedoff and reserve, leaving some good breast meat still on the bone to carve cold turkey which is always delicious .Make a pie with the rest using up some of the left over ham cut into chunks put into a white sauce (flavoured with chicken stock) add some chestnuts, garlic and onions and top with pastry.
  2. Get out all the pickles and chutneys that you’ve been buying all year and get them on the table! Include cranberry sauce (Homemade is easy and much nicer – see recipe below) and you should include various mustards, mayonnaise etc …look in your fridge you have loads!
  3. Make a soup from the leftover veg especially the parsnips. Friends come around and the first thing they get is a bowl of warm soup and some warm bread and they are in heaven. (see recipe for Parsnip soup below)
  4. Make or buy some paté, nothing nicer than paté on Boxing Day coupled with homemade leftover cranberry sauce! (see recipe for cranberry sauce below)
  5. Don’t go to too much trouble to make new things that you have to buy in. There’s enough here! Mary Berry (who I know and love) suggests making chocolate caramel on Boxing Day. Forget it Mary, Boxing Day is about using up and saving cost and we have no time.
  6. Get some salad in the fridge to lighten all this lot up a bit. Keep it simple, green leaves and herbs simple French dressing.
  7. Don’t forget the bubble and squeak! The original recipes for this uses up the left over roasties and fries them with brussel sprouts but you will need the potato to act as a glue to hold the left over vegetables together so I find it easier to make fresh mashed potato which takes minutes and tastes amazing with the brussel sprouts shredded and some fried bacon and any other left over veggies. Make them into small fish cake size pieces and bind the potato mix with a couple of egg yolks and then once they are in patty form toss them in seasoned flour and fry in olive oil with a bit of butter, delicious!
  8. Make some mulled wine. Not only delicious but very festive, warming and cheap! Loads of good recipes on line.
  9. Buy some great cheeses and serve with tostados and warm bread, put all this on one buffet style table and let everyone help themselves. Do not pander over everyone, this is Boxing Day! It is relaxed, informal and fun and so you should let everyone just get on with it. Set the table up with all the food on it and then say …Help yourselves!
  10. Use the leftover Xmas pudding up in trifle. Simply layer up the trifle with a generous sprinkling of Christmas pudding in between each layer of trifle, alternatively I serve it warm again but with vanilla ice cream.


Christmas spiced Parsnip Soup (serves about 6)

6 parsnips peeled and chopped into small pieces

A little olive oil

125g butter

500ml of veg stock (Carton Caldo is OK)

For spiced stock

3 sticks celery chopped

1 whole leek chopped

3 cloves garlic sliced

1 onion sliced

1 flat tablespoon of mild Curry powder

1 teaspoon of pimienta roja (paprika)

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 stick of cinnamon

2 pieces of star anise

1 litre of vegetable stock (Carton Caldo)

500 ml of cream (Nata Cocinar) to finish

  1. Heat olive oil and the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, celery, leek, curry powder, cinnamon etc. Gently fry for around five minutes, until the onions are soft and then add the litre of veg stock.This is the spiced stock and it needs about 20-30 mins cooking.
  2. Gently roast the parsnips in a pre heated oven in a tray at 180c pour in the 500ml of stock over the parsnips and add the butter, season well and cook until tender.
  3. After half an hour, check that the parsnips are cooked by sticking a knife in. If you’re happy, remove them from the heat and carefully whiz up using a hand blender or liquidizer using some of the residual stock that they were cooked in.
  4. Now pass the spiced stock through a fine sieve and blend this with the whizzed parsnips in the processor one ladle at a time until you have the taste and the thickness of soup that you like.
  5. Pass the finished product again through a sieve and add some chopped roasted chestnuts to finish.
  6. (Use coconut milk instead of regular cream to keep the calories down.)

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

1 bag of frozen cranberries or approx. 250g of dried cranberries

1 red onion

1 clove garlic peeled and sliced

2 tablespoons of white sugar

Zest (from the peel of 1 orange) cut into very thin strips

½ glass of red wine

  1. In a heavy saucepan heat the onion, garlic and then add the frozen cranberries
  2. Cook in a sizzling saucepan and now add the sugar
  3. Add a small glass of red wine and then the orange zest, cover.
  4. Cook until the cranberries are soft for approx.10 mins and when the cranberry sauce tastes sweet and a bit sour it is ready
  5. Take off the heat and season and serve warm

Happy Christmas Everyone!


The Little Geranium

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