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The week after Pumpkin Palooza
Pumpkins Forever!
Blue Pumpkin

So many pumpkins, so little time. To eat them before they rot apart and stink my flat out.
After Pumpkin Palooza it took me 6 days to do all the washing up, and another 4 days to finish eating all the cooked leftovers. It's been just like Christmas!

Leftover quiche dinner
I cooked up quite a few of my spare ingredients into a surprisingly unappetising Tomato, Beans, Feta, Black Olive and Feta Bake, which I then froze. So I'll probably never finish that!
I managed to stuff a pumpkin with most of the rest of the vegetables, which just leaves a fridge-full of bloody marys, another dish of cooked borlotti beans, those bloody egg yolks and a score of pumpkins...

Does a dish really count as leftovers if you have to buy more ingredients to make it? Well, when answering the question what to do with almost a dozen leftover egg yolks? I bought a pack of bacon and some leeks to make a quiche - so a partially leftover supper then. I also came this close to buying some pre-prepared shortcrust pastry from the local Fucking Supermarket™ too but then I came to my senses. It takes about 5 minutes to make a batch of shortcrust pastry, people, and maybe 5 minutes to wash up, plus you get to experiment with slightly different variations each time as part of your evolutionary strategy for developing that perfect crust. (You do faithfully record all those failures along the way right?) Look it's only a short step from ready-made shortcrust pastry to the sellout madness of Delia which can only end with the buying of bags of frozen mashed potatoes and tins of mince. So just don't.

In the interests of transparency, though, I should confess I've been known to buy ready-made puff pastry. And jars of mayonnaise.
The shame!

Two weeks later and I've finally used up the last non-pumpkin leftover in a much more satisfactory borlotti bean stew. Something along the lines of Mum's fabulous fasolia but with bacon. And chorizo. And feta cheese.

Only 16 pumpkins to go...

Leftover Tomatoes, Borlotti Beans, Feta, Black Olives and Broccoli Bake
main
Not the best dish in the world I'm afraid - too many confused flavours, but there's some worthwhile ideas in here - the beans, pork, tomato and Feta (surprisingly!) work well together, as do the broccoli, tomatoes, black olives and Feta. Just not so much all together.
I just happened to have all the ingredients lying around and begging to be used up, so in they went.
I think you'd probably be better off picking one or the other, but anyhoo, for what it's worth here it is...

Serves 4

Ingredients
Method
Soak the beans overnight, then cook them until on the point of softening. Drain and set aside.

Cut up the leftover Bloody Tomatoes and their innards, assuming you've kept them. Boil up with any leftover wine and spare herbs until collapsing. Strain, then reduce the liquid.

Roughly chop an onion or two and fry to soften in a little olive oil.
Finely slice a few stalks of celery and add to the pan.
Chop up leftover pork belly, Serrano ham, any other cooked meats and add to the pot. Continue to fry until the meat is glistening. Add a half-dozen finely sliced garlic cloves and cook until the harsh aroma has gone.
Add the strained tomato sauce, a bunch of sliced parsley, the par-cooked beans and the broccoli. I fried the broccoli separately with some sliced garlic, but I'm sure it hardly matters.
Cook until the beans and broccoli start to soften, then pour into a casserole dish, mix in black olives, scatter with cubed Feta cheese and bake for 10 minutes at Gas Mark 6 until the cheese becomes almost fluffy and browns a little at the edges.
Serve.
To be honest the baking is a waste of time, unless you have some melting cheese like cheddar or Parmesan to scatter on top.
I think I'd separate this into two dishes:
  • A decent stew without the broccoli and black olives and without the meat for vegetarians. Served with the Feta cheese scattered on top.
    Yeah - that works!
  • A decent broccoli side dish without the beans.

Quiche Lorraine
The classic open pie with a custard and bacon filling
main snack meat
I was quite tempted to make some of Dan Leppard's rough puff pastry for the base, but it looked like every bit as much effort as making real puff pastry, and I'd only just managed to stop myself from buying ready-made shortcrust.
So I didn't.

I also had 10 egg yolks to use up (which was the whole reason for making this in the first place), so I replaced the suggested filling liquids below with
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 200ml crème fraîche which I happened to have sitting around
  • 150ml single cream
  • about 50ml milk I wasn't sure the filling wouldn't end up too solid from all the eggs if I just used cream, but actually it would have been fine.
Incidentally, some feedback on the original recipe suggests that three eggs might be insufficient.

Makes 8 slices

Ingredients
Method
For the pastry, put the flour, butter, egg yolk and 4 tsp cold water you might need more into a food processor. Using the pulse button, process until the mix binds. Tip the pastry onto a lightly floured surface, gather into a smooth ball, then roll out as thinly as you can. Line a 23 x 2.5cm loose-bottomed, fluted flan tin, easing the pastry into the base. Trim the pastry edges with scissors (save any trimmings) so it sits slightly above the tin (if it shrinks, it shouldn't now go below the level of the tin). Press the pastry into the flutes, lightly prick the base with a fork that's lightly - don't rip holes in it!, then chill for 10 mins. Put a baking sheet in the oven and heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
If, like I was, you're using leftover old egg yolks, then blend them up with some of the water first to loosen them!
Do make sure to cut the butter into small pieces, and be sure to salt the pastry mixture too.

Line pastry case with foil, shiny side down, fill with dry beans and bake on the hot sheet for 15 mins. Remove foil and beans and bake for 4-5 mins more until the pastry is pale golden. If you notice any small holes or cracks, patch up with pastry trimmings. You can make up to this point a day ahead.

While the pastry cooks, prepare the filling. Cut the bacon into reasonably generous lardons. Heat a small frying pan, tip in the lardons and fry for a couple of mins. Drain off any liquid that comes out, then continue cooking until the lardons just start to colour, but aren't crisp. I added a couple of sliced leeks too at this point and cooked them until they softened. Remove and drain on paper towels. Or don't :) Cut three quarters of the cheese into small dice and finely grate the rest. Scatter the diced cheese and fried lardons over the bottom of the pastry case.
I didn't have any leftover Gruyère so I just grated some cheddar over the laid filling, and then again over the top of the custard.

Using a spoon, beat the crème fraîche to slacken it then slowly beat in the double cream. Mix in the beaten eggs. Season (you shouldn't need much salt) and add nutmeg. Pour three-quarters of the filling into the pastry case.

Half-pull the oven shelf out and put the flan tin on the baking sheet. Quickly pour the rest of the filling into the pastry case - you get it right to the top this way. Scatter the grated cheese over the top, then carefully push the shelf back into the oven. Lower the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Bake for about 25 mins, or until golden and softly set (the centre should not feel too firm). Let the quiche settle for 4-5 mins, then remove from the tin. Serve freshly baked, although it's also good cold.
Worked pretty well - though it took mine a good bit longer (10-15 minutes) to cook until set. Which might have been down to my unconventional filling. It turns out that if you cut out a small slice to test, you can successfully return the quiche to the oven with very little harm done - the mixture will just fill in the slice space and heal itself!

The pastry was adequate, if nothing spectacular. A bit soggy in the middle however that's the nature of quiche cookery in my experience, and a bit hard towards the edges, but acceptably crisp in between.
I made mine with leeks (so of course it's not a quiche Lorraine at all), but if I'd had any leftover spinach I'd have blanched it, squeezed it dry and added it to the bacon instead. But I didn't.
I did have some leftover rocket - which I've just realised I should have tried out - too late now though. The leeks were nice enough ;)
I served it with leftover tomato sauce but other varieties are also available.

Leftover Tomato Sauce
sauce veg vegan
Firstly; I make no apologies for the anaemia of this tomato sauce - it's made from leftovers and uses tomato juice!.
Secondly; I think the celery is a mistake. Skip it.
Though they do say adding a couple of halved, peeled carrots to the frying onions, discarding them after, adds to the sweetness of the sauce.

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients
Method
Gently sweat the onion in the oil, then add the celery and cook until soft. Add tougher herbs like thyme, rosemary, bay leaves. Add the tomato purée and fry until oil separates, add the garlic and fry until the harsh aroma is gone, then deglaze with the wine.
Skin and de-seed your whole tomatoes, add the seeds and juice to the pot retaining the flesh. Reduce the sauce, then add sufficient tomato juice to be able to blend it until smooth. Pass through a sieve if you can be bothered. Add the remaining tomato juice and leave to simmer.
Chop the tomato into 1cm cubes and slice any softer herbs you have parsley, basil, mint if you like, though add parsley slightly earlier - it's a bit tough. Add to the sauce and simmer until thickened.
Season and serve
A bland, dull tomato sauce, that's good enough for leftovers, but you wouldn't use it for best!
Don't bother with the celery.
I'd have added a red bell pepper after the tomato purée too if I'd had one to give the flavour a bit more depth.

Roast Pumpkin
veg vegan side
Not as tasty as roast potatoes or roast parsnips - in that they go more soft than crispy, but it still works.
They'll cook a bit quicker than roasties too, so put them after 15 minutes or on a lower shelf.

One small pumpkin will easily serve 4

Ingredients
Method
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
Quarter or eighth the pumpkin, peel and de-seed it, and cut into decent chunks (about 2" pieces) and lay out in a roasting tin.
Use a small culinary one rather than those massive comedy Hallowe'en types that taste of wet string. The ghostly blue variety are good.
Crush your spices coriander/cumin/fennel are good. You can add some paprika or chilli too if you like with a little salt and pepper and sprinkle over the pumpkin. Pour over a generous amount of olive oil and turn the pumpkin to make sure the pieces are all well coated.
If you don't mind getting messy you can mix the spices with the oil and rub it all over the pumpkin.
Cook in the oven, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown and caramelised; 30-45 minutes (depending on the oven temperature).
Pleasant enough, but a bit tasteless - be sure to season well.
You can improve them by drizzling them with a little maple syrup about five minutes before they come out. It might make them a bit sweet, but it gives them a lovely almost toffee coating.
Apparently they're also nice sprinkled with Parmesan to finish à la Parmesan-Baked Parsnips, either over or instead of the maple syrup.

Baked Stuffed Pumpkin
Baked pumpkin stuffed with whatever you like
main
This could be quite a centre-piece dish to be honest, and you could make it using either couscous or rice. You could even adapt it to hosting a decent biryani mental note!
I just made it to use up some leftovers vegetables, not to mention a pumpkin.
One more down, 19 to go!

Would serve a dinner party

Ingredients
Method
Cut the top off your pumpkin and scoop out the gubbins. Scrape out some extra flesh, chop it up and put it to one side.
Fry some onion and then garlic, then any firmer vegetables that might need a bit of frying, deglaze the pan with wine or cider, reduce then add reserved pumpkin flesh, any soft vegetables or fruit and sauce or stock to cover. I had a couple of courgettes to fry, then a quarter of a savoy cabbage and a Granny Smith.
Simmer a little to get things going.

Meanwhile make up some rice - fry finely chopped onion until it caramelises, add the rice, salt and pepper and stir thoroughly. Add twice the quantity of hot water or stock, grate in the peel of a lemon or two, and simmer off excess water until the rice is dry and par-cooked.
Mix the rice with the vegetables, herbs and juice of the lemons, season generously and fill the pumpkin with the mixture. Preheat the oven to Gas 5 (or 4 if it's a big pumpkin I guess) and bake the pumpkin with its lid on until it is soft but not burnt - about 1½-2 hours. Cover with foil if it looks like the skin is cooking too quickly.

Make sure each serving gets a scraping of the pumpkin flesh.
My version was tangy but a little bland - although I did have some scrumpy reduction sauce left from the porkI didn't have any stock.
But you could use just about anything - corn, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes - if you're going with vegetables. Chicken, bacon, chorizo or even beef if you're going with meat.
Use whatever you have spare.
You can even add a dollop of cream, crème fraîche, mayonnaise, pesto(!) or a splash of Tabasco or Worcestershire to serve if you need to liven it up a little.

Borlotti Beans and Feta Soup
soup meat
Or is it a stew?

Stung by the failure of my Tomato, Beans, Feta, Black Olive and Feta Bake, I decided to give the idea another shot sans the tomato, black olives and the broccoli, fasolia styley. Though I think the first two ingredients might actually be alright left in there.

I threw together leftovers to get this, so you're own your own with the quantities, but use a around half the volume of celery as soaked beans. Feel free to use any kind of dried bean you like.

A cup of dried beans would serve 4

Ingredients
Method
Slice the bacon about 1" wide and fry gently in a little olive oil until cooked off a little. Slice the chorizo about 1cm and add to the bacon until it sweats.
Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.
I guess you don't need both - it's just what I had in the fridge.

Slice the celery about 1cm and toss in the fat until well coated and starting to wither a little, deglaze with a glass of white wine, boil up and reduce a little then add the cooked beans.
Simmer gently until the celery and beans soften. Season
Add back the chorizo and bacon. Slice parsley thinly and add to the pot.
Although I had par-cooked beans to use up, I guess you could use uncooked, soaked beans:
You'd fry the meat, remove them, deglaze with wine (and maybe tomatoes if you were inclined), then add stock/water and the beans. Cook. Add the celery. Cook. Return the meat and add parsley.

Cut the feta and mix gently into the pot (or just spread it on top). Cover and simmer gently until the cheese starts to render slightly, then take off the heat.

Spoon into serving bowls, drizzle with lemon juice and pour around olive oil.
Pretty nice - and way better than the bean and broccoli bake.
I think you could turn out a decent vegetarian version with the black olives, and maybe the tomatoes from that failure thing.

Baked Tomato Wrapped in Pastry Crust
A Tomato Wrap
veg vegan starter snack
An interesting idea that I've toyed with before using bread dough. It could make an entertaining side dish, or a starter. You could call it a Tomato Wrap!

I happened to have leftover surprise, surprise! shortcrust pastry that I used to wrap the leftover beef tomato other sizes are available, and some leftover beans and broccoli bake with a drizzle of quiche filling mix that I used as a stuffing. You could use just about anything - though I do like a cheesy egg custard. I'm also thinking of trying out more of a tomato sauce with an egg yolk floated in it.

Serves one

Ingredients
Method
Preheat the oven to Gas 5 (depending on tomato size).
Dunk the tomato I used beef, but I don't see why you couldn't use any size, even cherry briefly in boiling water and peel it, then cut out the core and de-seed it. Refill with your chosen stuffing.

Roll out the shortcrust pastry and carefully wrap the tomato so as to cover completely. Seal at the top.

Bake for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is golden. And hopefully the insides are cooked.
Quite fun and reasonably tasty - if more for the novelty than any great culinary value, but still.

Parsnip, Pumpkin and Tomato Mash
veg staple
Tomato goes quite well with an otherwise rather bland parsnip and pumpkin mash, if all you have in the pantry are parsnips and pumpkins. I had some tomato juice and chicken stock to use up too so in they went.
The main problem is the stringyness of the parsnips. Probably you will need to puree them with some liquid in a food processor.

Ingredients
Method
Cut the pumpkin in half, deseed and roast at Gas Mark 6 for half an hour or so until soft. Scrape out the flesh and mash.
Peel and boil the parsnips and mash or purée them with the stock.
Mash everything together and season generously.
A bit of a dull mash, but nice to have in the arsenal.

Chorizo and Salt Cod Penne Pasta
meat fish staple pasta
Not one I got around to making, but it seemed like a promising idea for using up the last of my chorizo and salt cod, which ought to work well in a (I assumed tomato-based) pasta sauce, with a little support from a blue cheese or black olives. Or possibly both.

I thought I might even be able to smuggle in some of that never-ending pumpkin I seem to have so much of. So bonus points all round!

Ingredients
Method
Cook your pasta.
Heat up the chorizo and salt cod in pasta sauce. Add any or all of blue cheese, black olives, some form of limes. Hide some roast pumpkin cubes in there too and serve ladled over the pasta.
Let me know what you think if you try it before I do...

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