Second helpings: Hix's dinners for kids

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

A holiday with choosy children reminded Mark Hix that even leftovers can be transformed into delicious dishes. Photographs by Jason Lowe

I took my children on holiday recently to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands with my mate Robin Hancock from Wright Brothers Oyster House in Borough Market. He brought his kids along too. We had a great time, but one recurring problem was the fact that the kids kept turning their noses up at the dishes that I had made from local Spanish products; so I got very accustomed to using up the leftovers and creating interesting dishes for our next breakfast, lunch or supper.

Why don't most kids like simple things like a cucumber and parsley salad or a tomato and onion salad? They didn't even like the gazpacho that it became the next day. The one dish I thought would go down a storm was the spaghetti with sardines and tomato I knocked up from the half dozen or so grilled sardines that had been left over from the night before – but oh no, the children spotted those little flecks of sardines and, sadly, rejected the pasta.

I guess one of the reasons for the fussiness of the children is that they perhaps get rather spoilt with all the fast food they consume, as well as the fact that they're not disciplined as strictly at meal times as we were when we were kids. I wouldn't have dreamt of disappearing from the table until my plate was clean – whether I liked the food or not.

Cleverly using up leftovers, however, doesn't need to revolve around children; we grown-ups have become a bit lazy too, and would often rather buy a packet of chicken breasts than the whole bird, and neat little fillets than the entire fish. Both, however, can yield several meals if they are dealt with correctly and with the current economic climate, it's well worth getting the most out of your food.

You may or may not have heard of the Love Food Hate Waste campaign – visit their website (lovefoodhatewaste.com) for lots of practical advice on the subject.



Fried eggs with chorizo

Serves 4

This dish is rather like the Mexican dish huevos rancheros. I could have easily thrown away a couple of portions of broad beans and chorizo, as well as the half a dozen mini chorizo that were sitting around with a few padron peppers, but I wanted the kids to think twice about what they ate and respect the cost and importance of food.

Writing a recipe like this can be tricky because I can't expect you to have the same leftovers as me – so I'm going to give you the recipe from scratch.

100-150g cooking chorizo, chopped into small pieces
2 shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
100-120g podded weight of broad beans
4 free range duck or goose eggs
A little olive oil for frying

Heat a heavy-based saucepan on a medium heat and fry the pieces of chorizo and shallots for 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often. Add the tomatoes and a couple of cups of water and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens.

Meanwhile, cook the broad beans in boiling, salted water until tender and drain. You can remove the outer skin from any large ones if you wish. Stir them into the sauce and cover with a lid. Fry the eggs in the olive oil and transfer to warmed serving plates and spoon the sauce and broad beans around.



Spaghetti with sardines, chilli and tomatoes

Serves 4

I managed to get three dishes out of the dozen sardines we bought from the market and although sardines are dead cheap, it seemed a shame to throw them away. I gave you a similar recipe a few weeks back with red mullet and this is an even simpler, poor man's version. When the kids clocked that I had refashioned the previous night's sardines I knew I was fighting a lost cause – and the next day, when I threw beaten eggs into the pasta and made it into a kind of frittata, they really did think that I was a tight old git.

4 servings of spaghetti
1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1-2 medium chillis, halved, seeded and finely chopped
4tbsp olive oil plus more if required
450g can of good-quality chopped tomatoes
8 fresh sardine fillets, cut into small pieces or 8 cooked and broken into pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few leaves of basil or bush basil, torn

Gently cook the onion, garlic and chilli in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes, without colouring, until soft. Add the tomatoes, season and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add the pieces of cooked sardines and simmer for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's instructions, then drain in a colander, reserving a little of the water to adjust the sauce if necessary. To serve, toss the pasta with the sauce, adding some cooking water and more olive oil to get a good coating consistency, then serve in warmed bowls scattered with basil.



Deep-fried smoked salmon skin

Serves 4-6

It may seem a bit desperate to start deep frying salmon skin, but if you're a smoked salmon lover and buy it unsliced on the side – which is by far the best way – what's the point in throwing away the skins after slicing up all the salmon? These are rather like fishy pork scratchings and you can even rescue the rest of the trimmings like the belly and tail, which can be a bit salty, by chopping them up and simply mixing them with sour cream and chives for an easy, cheap snack.

The skin from 1 side of smoked salmon
Vegetable or corn oil for deep frying

Cut your salmon skin into rough 3-4cm shapes, squares, strips, triangles etc. Preheat about 8cm of oil to 160-180C in a large thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer. Fry the salmon skin a few pieces at a time, stirring with a slotted spoon, for 3-4 minutes until crisp, then remove and drain on some kitchen paper. Serve as suggested above or just on their own.



Grouse and pearl barley broth

Serves 4

At this time of year, I hate to see the carcasses of game birds being scraped off the plates into the bin; you'd be surprised how much meat you can retrieve from a supposedly finished carcass, especially if your guests haven't got their hands dirty and picked the birds.

The carcasses from 4 grouse, chopped into 4 or 5 pieces
1 small onion, peeled, halved and roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
A couple of sprigs of thyme
4 juniper berries
1 tbsp vegetable oil
A good knob of butter
1tbsp flour
1tsp tomato purée
2 litres chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
50g pearl barley, soaked for a couple hours in cold water
1 small leek, trimmed, cut into rough 1cm squares and washed
60-80g seasonal wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced or halved

Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan and fry the grouse carcasses, onion, carrot and garlic on a high heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring every so often until lightly coloured. Add the thyme, juniper, butter and flour and stir well for a minute or so; then add the tomato purée. Slowly stir in the chicken stock, bring to the boil, season and simmer gently for an hour.

Strain the soup through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean saucepan, reserving the bits of carcass. Add the pearl barley and leeks and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the barley is tender. Remove as many bits of meat from the grouse carcass as possible and add to the soup with the mushrooms. Simmer for a few minutes, re-season if necessary and serve.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine