There's food for thought in the festive fridge: How to make a meal from Christmas leftovers

It pays to make a tasty meal out of leftovers
  • @martin_hickman

Opening the fridge and seeing mounds of festive food destined for the bin? Think again, say the Government’s waste task force, which is putting out a list of recipes that can save turkey, mince pies and other festive food from landfill (and save shoppers money).

From turning Christmas pudding into strudel, and Brussels sprouts into bubble and squeak, the tips supplied by the appropriately-titled WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) are published in conjunction with Unilever, which has signed up 12 families to show them how to make a meal from Christmas leftovers.

WRAP’s main aim is preventing the climate change emissions from food waste entering landfill, but also says that households can make perfectly tasty meals from the remnants of the traditional blow-out dinner.

Every Christmas British shoppers buy an estimated 10 million turkeys, 25 million Christmas puddings, 370 million mince pies and 35 million bottles of wine.

However, food waste rises by 80 per cent over Christmas and the New Year, when an estimated 230,000 tonnes of food are binned, costing local authorities time and money to collect and it then produces methane and other gases after ending up in landfill.

Research from Love Food Hate Waste, WRAP’s website, and Unilever estimates that British consumers will throw away two million turkeys, 74 million mince pies and 5 million Christmas puddings this year.

Stilton quiche

Stilton lasts for ages in the freezer. Defrost it in the New Year and use it for the cheese board, a quiche or soup.

Spicy nuts

Make opened packets of nuts spicy by putting them in a roasting tin, sprinkle with ½ tsp each of cayenne pepper, cinnamon, salt, pepper and 2 tsp caster sugar. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 15 min.

Bread sauce

Collect sandwich crusts in a plastic bag and store them in the freezer; when there is enough, whizz in a food processor and use to make bread sauce or keep for toppings.

Fruit bread pudding

Leftover fruitcake? Add a spot of mayonnaise, custard and margarine, along with a sprinkling of sugar, to make a fruity bread pudding.

Baked satsumas

Peel and place whole satsumas in an oven dish, sprinkle with cinnamon, a tbsp of Cointreau or whisky and sprinkle with brown sugar. Cover and bake at 180°C for 40 minutes.

Bubble and squeak

Brussels sprouts and roast/boiled potatoes can be combined to make bubble and squeak; simply chop or fry together in a pan with some butter.

Mincemeat pudding

Excess mincemeat has a use. Heat a small amount of it in a pan and spoon over ice-cream for a very tasty alternative Christmas pudding.