It is so easy to go overboard at Christmas (I have been guilty of it myself many times) and buy far too much food and even excess presents – just in case a surprise guest turns up! I do try and rein myself in these days and especially so at the moment when the world seems so horribly divided between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. In the event that you do find you’ve overdone it, why not have some recycling ideas ready to hand to make good use of excess and ensure nothing goes to waste… and no, I don’t just mean making a turkey curry!!
Leftover veg – Bubble & squeak
Any uneaten veg can, of course, be turned into the fabulous bubble and squeak that we all know and love. It is traditionally leftover mashed potato and sprouts squashed together and fried in a pan, but you can of course add other veg as well. To ring the changes, why not make individual patties and add some additional flavours – make some spicy ones with a dash of curry power, or chilli?
Oven-roasting your bubble and squeak uses less oil and also means you don’t have to stand over a hot pan flipping individual patties. Add any leftover roasted squash or beetroot too for some extra sweetness and serve with a fried or poached egg on top.
Left over chocolate, sweets & fruit
Yes, OK, I know this is unlikely – BUT… let’s just imagine we have behaved and not hoovered up every sweetie in the house. This tiffin recipe is great for using up any leftovers from Christmas such as plain chocolates, Christmas tree chocolates, biscuits such as biscotti, amaretti, or lebkuchen. It is a really easy recipe (perhaps one to try with children or grandchildren?) it’s quick and easy and no cooking!
- 100g butter
- 25g soft brown sugar
- 3 tbsp cocoa
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- 225g digestive biscuits, amaretti, biscotti or whatever you have, crushed
- 150g raisins or add in chopped dried fruits such as apricots, glacé cherries, cranberries, coconut, nut etc. Experiment!
- 225g milk chocolate – left over tree chocolates etc.
- Add the butter, sugar, cocoa and golden syrup to a bowl and either microwave or heat on hot for a couple of minutes until melted
- Add the crushed biscuits, raisins and any other dried fruit and mix well (crunch some of your biscuits finely and leave some in bigger chunks, this gives a really good texture)
- Next press into a 20cm square greased tin
- Melt 225g milk/plain chocolate, pour on top and smooth over the mixture
- Mark into squares and chill in fridge for an hour or so before cutting
Used wrapping paper & tissue paper
I am sure all you avid crafters are already tuned into snaffling any nice wrapping paper that gets cast off and these days, with posh present wrapping, there’s plenty of tissue paper around too.
Here are a few quick suggestions that you, or younger members of the family, might like to have a go at to save all the lovely paper going to waste:
- Create your own pretty wrapping paper DIY bunting
- Shred wrapping paper into paper confetti
- Make pretty drawer liners
- Wrap your favourite hardback books or diary – again another one youngsters will enjoy
- Create pretty envelopes
- Make tissue paper pom-poms – great fun, especially if huge!
- But if you want to reuse your tissue paper for another gift wrap… give it a gentle iron and it will be as good as new!
However you are spending Christmas day, I wish you all a happy and peaceful time, smiles Joanna.