The joy of leftovers

I promise I won’t write too many posts that start ‘the joy of…’ Because we know what the original was, and that’s one thing I won’t be writing about here…

But anyway, leftovers, because as ever, my mind turns to food, and what to do when there’s more ingredients in the house than are scheduled to appear on a menu that week.  (Yes, I do plan meals for a week.  It’s a lifesaver when you both leave work at 7pm and can’t make any decisions by the time you get home.)

Dan’s brain is well tuned to come up with completely new options.  I find I probably do better with a bit of input – in this case, a few assorted ingredients, around which I can turn out variations.  Many of the things I cook regularly – risotto, vegetable casseroles, omelette – are interesting to cook, and eat, at least in part because they aren’t the same every time.

So, today, this meant I could cut up and freeze a parsnip for future use (probably a risotto), make some carrot and caraway soup, and finally, the new recipe, make some pomegranate icecream…This because we took several attempts to buy cream for another recipe, Dan bought some and brought it home after we had then got cream elsewhere, so of course it had to be used up…and the Coop was kindly selling pomegranates cheap…etc.

I was chatting to a friend on Sunday about mammoth cooking sessions (yes, we’re both a little obsessional in our devotion to cooking), and the fun of actually cooking that flows from day to day.  By flow, this isn’t where the food is sliding off work surfaces or out of compost bins (hopefully), but where there is enough time to make use of leftovers.

I had a time like this around Easter last year, where I was meant to be gardening and painting.  In fact, the other family members did these, I cooked for them all, and everyone seemed to be happy…It felt like there was enough time to be a bit more flexible, experiment with new ways to use things, different leftovers suggesting new combinations, and so on.

I’m not sure why I have such a strong need not to waste things – it’s part of a generation’s advice that has (until relatively recently) seemed very out of date.  Now we’re all meant to be saving the planet by every small decision, being frugal with food, planning ahead, it’s actually quite trendy.  I think.  It’s strongly supported by Nigella, anyway.

In the meantime, talking to the same friend and her husband, we think we’ve come up with a new group for Facebook.  It’ll be ‘Look what bargain I got at the Co-op’, or something similar, as they heard through our breathless excitement at the treasures marked down day by day.  They are moving to another town, but will be near a Co-op.  What comparisons to come, eh?