How your leftovers could save you pounds 50 a month.
SO THE party's over, the decorations are stowed away for another year and we are all getting back to normal again after Christmas, the warmest for 14 years.
Now it's all about New Year's resolutions, diets, hitting the sales in the shops, and considering planning a far-off summer holiday. Apparently the Wednesday after Christmas, known as "whisk-away Wednesday", was the busiest day of the year for holiday bookings, as people tried to shake off "after-Christmas blues" by searching for the best deals and booking holidays online.
Looking ahead, 2012 looks to be action packed. To begin with, it is a Leap Year, the Queen is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee and we are hosting the Olympics, to mention but a few events.
The big excitement for me is that my cookery book Make it Easy - will be published on April 1 - which I hope isn't the publisher's idea of an April Fool.
One of my resolutions for 2012 is to develop recipes that maximise cheaper ingredients and make my food bill stretch further, and therefore hopefully achieve more for less, so to speak.
Today's recipe - Bubble and Squeak Cakes with Smoked Haddock, Fried Eggs and Bacon - is an example of just that and is an excellent, tasty way of using up leftovers.
I love leftovers and as a result, it is very, very rarely that food is thrown away in this house. I just keep presenting it in one form or other until it is finished. Occasionally there is a rebellion, in which case the dogs get the very last bits.
I always think "leftovers" is a bit of a derogatory term and like to think of using them as the beginning of a recipe rather than the end.
Wasting food costs the average family pounds 50 a month so it is well worth getting to grips with a few second-time-around recipes. As long as leftover food is covered as soon as it is cold and stored in the fridge, almost anything can be transformed into another incarnation quite safely.
This recipe is ideal for a weekend brunch, lunch or supper and an excellent way of using up leftover vegetables. If smoked haddock or bacon are not easily to hand, just omit them. For vegetarians, omit the fish and bacon, and au naturel, they make a lovely accompaniment to sausages, fish and meat.
A large glass of Bloody Mary would finish everything off nicely.
www.janelovett.com BUBBLE AND SQUEAK CAKES WITH SMOKED HADDOCK, FRIED EGGS AND BACON THE potato and sprout quantities are approximate and only a guide.
This is all about leftovers, so just use whatever you have and your imagination.
I like to eat these with a blob of sweet chilli sauce or a few drops of Tabasco.
Serves 4 175g (6oz) cooked sprouts, cabbage or peas 350g - 450g (12oz - 1lb) mashed potato Salt and freshly ground black pepper Flour for coating 4 x 115g - 175g (4 - 6oz) fillets smoked haddock, undyed (or 2 larger fillets) 8 rashers of Pancetta or streaky bacon Olive oil & butter for frying 4 eggs A few chives (optional) 1. Chop, or mash the sprouts, cabbage or peas with the back of a fork.
Stir into the mashed potato and season (it should be well seasoned). Shape into four equal cakes and coat each one with a little flour.
2. Put the smoked haddock fillets into a saut or frying pan, barely cover with water and bring very slowly up to the boil.
If using two large fillets, cut them in half first. Remove from the heat immediately. Set aside.
3. Fry the bacon until crispy, drain on kitchen towel and set aside.
4. Add a little butter to the bacon fat and some extra olive oil if necessary and fry the cakes slowly on a low heat, carefully turning once, until they are golden brown on both sides and heated through.
5. When ready to serve, fry the eggs. Whilst they are frying drain the haddock fillets and sit one on top of each bubble and squeak cake, followed by the eggs and then finally anoint with a crisscross of bacon. You might like to snip over some chives and a grinding of black or cayenne pepper too.
Get ahead Make up to two days in advance to the end of Step 3, cool, cover everything individually and refrigerate.
A WORK OF ART Bubble and Squeak Cakes with Smoked Haddock and Bacon uses leftover potatoes and sprouts, ideal at this time of year EASY TO ADAPT A ham hock filling for these bubble and squeak patties. An excellent way of using up leftovers