Christmas is the season of overindulgence. The time of the year when our eyes and fridges bulge bigger than our bellies. It’s joyous, wonderful and often leaves us with far too many leftovers. And as we hate to see them go in the bin as much as you do, here are our favourite food waste hacks to help you waste less this season.
1. A proper vodka cranberry
Keep the festive cheer flowing and use up that leftover bag of cranberries by infusing whatever odds and ends of leftover vodka you’re left with after the festivities. Cranberry vodka is easy to make and even easier to drink. Have an excess of oranges or lemons? Infuse vodka or gin with citrus peel (just make sure you remove the bitter white pith first).
2. The ultimate Boxing Day sandwich
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If you enjoy your leftover turkey sarnie, then you're going to love this "Roast of Christmas Past Sandwich" with all the trimmings. ⠀ ⠀ Our top tips:⠀ ⠀ – use a mixture of brown and white meat⠀ – warm up your turkey with a little gravy to stay moist⠀ – crisp up leftover stuffing in a frying pan⠀ – add a gravy soaked slice of bread to the middle⠀ ⠀ How do you make the ultimate turkey sandwich?⠀ ⠀
Everyone’s got their own version of the Boxing Day sandwich. And the theory behind it is pretty simple: stuff everything from dinner the day before between two slices of bread, make sure you’ve got a hefty slathering of sauce and enjoy. Put a pot of gravy on your plate for some game-changing dipping.
3. Panettone for breakfast…
“Too much” panettone is not a thing. Turn any leftovers into French toast: combine 2 beaten eggs, 2 tablespoons of milk, a pinch each of cinnamon and salt and a little orange zest. Slice the panettone into thick wedges, then soak in the egg mixture. Fry in butter until golden, then douse in maple syrup and eat. Alternatively, make this epic Panettone Bread & Butter Pudding. Got plain stale bread? Try this French Toast with griddled pears instead.
4. Make a hash of it (or risotto)
Because a classic is a classic for a reason. An all-in-one-pan hash works at any point during the Christmas week – whether it’s Boxing Day and you’ve got a fridge-full of Christmas dinner leftovers, you over-bought on the veg or you’re looking to use up your cheeseboard odds and ends, hash is the answer! Simply chuck it all in a pan, before finishing it off with a crumbling of cheese, sliced fresh chilli and a fried egg on top. Here’s a recipe for Everything Turkey Hash.
And if all else fails, make risotto – particularly good if you’ve got leftover bacon and Stilton. Toast 200g risotto rice in a pan for 1 minute, gradually add ½ litre of chicken stock, stirring continuously until everything is absorbed. Cook 75g bacon and roughly chop and add to risotto. Crumble 25g Stilton on top and garnish with parsley. Devour.
5. Go Asian with a punchy noodle laksa
Need some light relief after the festive feast? Not into Bubble & Squeak? Try this punchy noodle laksa instead, all while revamping those pesky Christmas leftovers.
6. Channel your inner granny and make marmalade
If you’ve over-bought on the oranges, give your grandparents a run for their money and set to work making some good old-fashioned marmalade. Perfect spread on toast and even better swirled through dark chocolate brownies.
7. Put it in pastry
Grate your cheeseboard odds and ends into these amazingly moreish cheese puffs. Or make yourself a ‘Christmas-Dinner-en-croute’. Place a teaspoon of vegetables, a slice of turkey, a lick of cranberry sauce and a small chunk of cheese into the middle of a palm-sized disc of puff pastry. Pinch together at the top, brush with milk or beaten egg and bake in a preheated 180°C oven for 10 minutes.
8. Chocolate box hot chocolate
Make the most of those leftover chocolates by melting them into milk (or cream, we’re not judging) to make the best hot chocolate. The powdered stuff doesn’t even come close.
9. When life gives you lemons…
Preserve them. Seasonal citrus is incredibly easy to preserve and will give a gorgeous punch to your cooking, pounded into butter, chopped into a sandwich or stuffed into chicken.
10. Too much cheese? Blitz it into a spread
We’ve all seen the scene: a destroyed cheese board with little left to it than cheese rinds and grape stalks. Don’t throw those rinds away: blend the cheese ends with half the amount of white wine (e.g. 500g cheese, 250g white wine) and half a garlic clove. It’s the best cheese spread you could think of.
What’s the difference between best-before and use-by dates? Quite a lot actually. This guide will help you bin less this Christmas.