FOOD & DRINK / Tired of Turkey?: A little ingenuity can transform it, says Prue Leith. Michael Bateman selects her most economical recipes

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LEFTOVERS is not a word which features in the professional cook's vocabulary. They are, rather, recurring profit opportunities, or a challenge to the chef's ingenuity. Many a great dish has been invented to encompass kitchen surpluses.

A mousseline de saumon ecossais is fashioned out of the trimmings of smoked salmon. Potage de celeri et stilton is but a transformation of wilted celery from the lunchtime crudites and world-weary portions from the cheese trolley. Cheese souffles, cheese straws and gougere (choux pastry baked with grated cheese) are other fine examples of the art.

Today we publish recipes from the Prue Leith Plan for Pleasurable Post-Christmas Eating. Before Christmas we suggested you stock up on a few extra items that would help transform turkey and ham as they come round a second (and third) time - eggs, cream, spices. They will not turn pumpkins into stagecoaches, but at least they will add some interest to the cold cuts.

In this third and last excerpt from Leith's Complete Christmas (Bloomsbury pounds 14.99), Prue Leith and the principals of Leith's School of Food and Wine, Caroline Waldegrave and Fiona Burrell, exercise their skills to maximise the abundance of seasonal resources - or, to put it another way, use up the leftovers.

Recipe: CHEESE SOUFFLE

This is the perfect way to use up tired, hard cheeses. Any mixture will do, although a little Gruyere or Edam will help to improve the texture of the finished souffle.

Serves 2

1 1/4 oz butter

dry white breadcrumbs

1oz flour

1/2 teaspoon English mustard

pinch of cayenne pepper

1/2 pint milk

3oz strong Cheddar or Gruyere, grated

4 eggs, separated

salt and pepper

1 Set the oven to 400F/200C/ Gas 6. Melt a knob of the butter and brush a 6in souffle dish with it. Dust lightly with the breadcrumbs.

2 Melt the rest of the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour, mustard and cayenne pepper. Cook for 45 seconds. Add the milk and cook, stirring vigorously, for 2 minutes. The mixture will thicken and leave the sides of the pan. Take it off the heat.

3 Stir in the cheese, egg yolks, salt and pepper. The mixture must be well seasoned.

4 Whisk the egg whites until stiff, but not dry, and mix a spoonful into the mixture. Then fold in the rest and pour into the souffle dish, which should be about two-thirds full. Run your finger around the top of the souffle mixture. This gives a 'top hat' appearance to the cooked souffle.

5 Bake for 25-30 minutes and serve straight away. (Do not test to see if the souffle is done for at least 20 minutes. Then open the oven just enough to get your hand in and give the souffle a slight shove. If it wobbles alarmingly, cook for 5 minutes more.)

Recipe: LENTIL SOUP

This recipe calls for ham stock - we are assuming that you will already have cooked a ham. If not, you can use water instead.

Serves 4

1oz butter

4oz carrot, diced

2oz celery, diced

1 onion, chopped

4oz potatoes, diced

6oz red lentils, washed

freshly ground black pepper

1/4 pint milk

2 pints ham stock (the liquid left over after cooking the ham)

1 Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the carrot, celery and onion. Stir over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and the lentils and stir well. Cook gently for 1 minute, then season with pepper.

2 Add the milk and ham stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until all vegetables and lentils are very soft.

3 Liquidise the soup, then taste and add more pepper or some salt if necessary.

Recipe: QUICHE LORRAINE

This is a classic recipe. It makes enough for two people and is a 'comfort' dish. If you want to make it into a supper dish for four people, double the quantity. The bacon can be left out easily in favour of leftover chopped ham. Any hard cheese can be used in place of the Cheddar or Gruyere.

Serves 2

For rich shortcrust pastry:

4oz flour

pinch of salt

2oz butter

1 egg yolk

very cold water

For the filling:

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

2oz bacon, diced

1/4 oz butter

5 tablespoons milk

5 tablespoons single cream

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1oz strong Cheddar or Gruyere, grated

salt and pepper

1 Make the pastry. Sift the flour with the salt. Rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Mix the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of water and add to the mixture. Mix to a firm dough, first with a knife and finally with one hand. It may be necessary to add more water, but the pastry should not be too damp. Chill, wrapped, for 30 minutes before using.

2 Roll out the pastry and line a flan ring about 6in in diameter. Leave in the fridge for about 45 minutes to 'relax' - this prevents shrinkage during cooking.

3 Set the oven to 375F/ 190C/Gas 5. Bake the pastry case blind.

4 Fry the onion and bacon gently in the butter. When cooked but not coloured, drain well.

5 Mix together the milk, cream and eggs. Add the onion, bacon and half the cheese. Season with salt and pepper (the bacon and cheese are both salty, so be careful not to overseason).

6 Turn down the oven to 300F/150C/Gas 2.

7 Pour the mixture into the prepared flan ring and sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Place the flan in the middle of the heated oven and bake for about 40 minutes.

8 Remove the flan ring and bake for a further 5 minutes to allow the pastry to brown. The top should be golden and set.

9 Serve hot or cold.

Recipe: WARM TURKEY SALAD

This recipe can be adapted according to what ingredients there are left in your refrigerator. If you have used up all your leftover turkey, it can be made with large bite-sized pieces of raw pheasant or chicken that have been dipped in seasoned flour and then fried gently in sunflower oil until they are just tender. This will take 8-10 minutes.

Serves 4

12oz cooked turkey

salad leaves such as frisee,

lamb's lettuce, gem lettuce, rocket

4oz baby sweetcorn

4oz broccoli

salt

freshly ground black pepper

sunflower oil

4oz shitake or chestnut mushrooms

1 bunch chives, chopped

4 tablespoons walnut oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 Break the turkey into large bite-sized pieces.

2 Put the salad leaves into a large salad bowl.

3 Cook the sweetcorn and broccoli in a small amount of salted boiling water.

4 Meanwhile, fry the mushrooms, then add the turkey and warm through.

5 Drain the sweetcorn and broccoli, and transfer all the ingredients to the salad bowl.

6 Toss together, season well and serve immediately.

NOTE: This recipe is delicious with fried aubergines; dried tomatoes; crisp pieces of bacon; skinned, grilled red pepper, cut into strips; cubes of mozzarella; avocado pears, cut into chunks.

Recipe: PORK, HAM OR TURKEY PIE

This recipe describes how to cook pork fillets to make the pie. If you have leftover roast pork, remove the fat and mince the meat. The pie can also be made with leftover ham or turkey, or a mixture.

Serves 8-10

For the pate a pate:

1lb plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

11oz butter, softened

4 small egg yolks

up to 4 tablespoons water

For the filling:

1 1/2 lb pork (tenderloin fillet)

1 1/2 oz butter

1 1/2 oz flour

8fl oz chicken or turkey stock

2fl oz dry white wine

2 eggs

2fl oz double cream

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped thyme leaves

beaten egg to glaze

1 Set the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6.

2 Trim the pork fillet, discarding any fat, sinew or

gristle. Place in a roasting pan and roast uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

3 Make the pate a pate. Sift the flour and salt on to the table top. Make a large well in the centre and put the butter and yolks in it. Work with the fingers of one hand and draw in surrounding flour, adding the water to give a soft, malleable, but not sticky paste. Wrap and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4 Divide up the pastry and place a third in the refrigerator. Divide the rest in half. Roll out one piece into a long strip to fit the sides of an 8in spring-clip tin. Press it round the sides. Roll out the second piece to fit the base of the tin. Press the base and sides together. Prick the base well and place it in the refrigerator to chill.

5 Meanwhile, make the filling: mince the pork fillet.

6 Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan, stir in the flour and stir over the heat for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat, add the stock and wine and mix well. Return to the heat and stir or whisk until it comes up to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (If the sauce is too thick, add a little water.)

7 Remove the pan from the heat, separate the eggs and beat the yolks into the sauce with the cream. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, parsley and thyme. Add minced pork.

8 Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the mixture. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

9 Place the filling in the pastry case, making it slightly domed in the centre.

10 Roll out the remaining pastry for the lid. Dampen the bottom edge with water and press the lid on to the pastry case. Trim and crimp the edges. Make a neat hole in the middle of the lid. Decorate with pastry trimmings made into leaves.

11 Brush with egg glaze and cook on a baking sheet in the oven for 40 minutes. Serve cold.

Recipe: 'TIRED' FRUIT ICE-CREAM

This ice-cream can be made with whatever tired-looking soft fruit, such as mangoes, kiwis and bananas, you have left in your fruit bowl. It is a basic recipe that can be adapted by the addition of grated lemon or orange rind to the fruit puree. You could also try adding 4 pieces of chopped stem ginger just before freezing the ice-cream.

Serves 6

2oz granulated sugar

1/4 pint water

1lb prepared fruit

4 egg yolks

1 pint double cream, lightly whipped

1 Put the sugar and water into a small heavy pan, and dissolve over a low heat. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for 1 minute.

2 Process the prepared fruit in a food processor until you have a fine puree.

3 Put the egg yolks into a large bowl and whisk lightly. Pour on the warm sugar syrup and continue to whisk, but do not allow the syrup to touch the whisk if doing this in a machine. Fold in the fruit puree and cream. Taste and add extra flavouring such as citrus rind or ginger as required. Freeze.

4 When the ice-cream is half frozen, whisk again (and add the stem ginger if using). Freeze again.

5 Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before serving and scoop into a glass bowl.

'Leith's Complete Christmas' is available by mail order from Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd, 2 Soho Sq, London W1V 5DE (071-494 2111) at pounds 14.99 plus pounds 1.50 p&p.

(Photographs omitted)

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