Nigel Slater transforms Christmas leftovers into meals which make the prospect of festive entertaining a treat rather than a terror, ensuring that nothing goes to waste.
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I love Christmas.
But while everyone else concentrates
on cooking the perfect roast for the occasion, to be honest,
I'm much more interested in what happens on Boxing Day and beyond.
In the kitchen, for the next few days
it can be a little bit of a no man's land, which is why I'm going to give
some really tasty ideas for what to do
with all those delicious Christmas leftovers.
So, with the fridge and cupboards bursting,
and plenty of people around willing to indulge,
I want to show you there's much more interesting festive fare to be had
after the big day, which can be even more tempting, delicious
and, of course, very, very simple.
I'll also be rustling up a real treat
that's just perfect for your New Year's Eve celebrations.
And heading off to cook with the freshest of winter veg
from the most impressive kitchen garden I've ever seen.
That is genuinely very, very nice.
I remember when I was a boy,
the shops actually closed between Christmas and the New Year.
And so the house was literally full of food.
And that's what I love about this time of year,
just a little bit of indulgence.
But these days, the real fun starts on Boxing Day.
I just love opening the fridge and finding half a Christmas pud here
and some bits of cheese there, and seeing what treats I can knock up.
Starting with transforming my leftover bird
into something quite magical.
I like to call this one my Perky Turkey.
All the flavours of Christmas Day are very traditional.
They're very much the flavours we grew up with.
We know exactly what to expect.
So, for any of the days that follow,
I want something completely different.
So the garlic is going to form the base of a very un-Christmassy sauce
and transform my leftover turkey.
So I've mixed that with a little bit of salt
and turned it into a garlic cream,
and I'm going to put some flavours from the cupboard with it.
I'm going to start with some soy.
It's dark and aromatic and quite salty.
And, to that, a little bit of chilli sauce.
It can be a very sweet and mild one
or, if you like, something really fiery.
And then some honey.
I could use maple syrup.
I just want something very sweet to balance the saltiness
and the heat of the other ingredients.
A dollop of grainy mustard will add a bit more heat.
Finish off with a drop of groundnut oil.
Your sauce just needs to be runny enough to coat all of the meat.
Now, to wrestle that turkey.
The lovely thing about taking turkey off the bone
is that there's all these little bits that lie at the bottom of the bird.
And so everything that is hiding away here
is full of flavour, and it's just too good to waste.
Drizzle your sticky sauce over the shredded meat and toss,
so that all the turkey is well covered.
I'll leave that cooking just until the sticky seasoning's caramelised.
All of the flavours in the oven are very hot and sweet and aromatic.
And I want something completely different to go with them.
Blush blood oranges - they are so beautiful.
This is a great excuse to throw in my favourite festive fruit.
I know it's Christmas when there's a pomegranate around.
When I was a kid, my father used to sit and eat them with a pin.
And the juice is amazing.
You know those days after Christmas,
sometimes if you squeeze a pomegranate in the morning,
and then put a little bit of fizz in with it,
it's a fabulous way to start the day.
It's just a matter of putting your salad together,
starting with a handful of peppery watercress,
the fruit, and then your sizzling turkey.
With the hot stickiness of the turkey
and the bite of the fruit,
those pomegranate seeds will add that little bit of sourness
and just really finish that off.
The trick to perking up the turkey is to leave it in the oven long enough
for the sauce to get really sticky.
I promise it'll be worth the wait.
There's always one thing on the Christmas plate
that someone pulls a face at,
and, for me, it's Brussels sprouts.
But then I do think sprouts at Christmas are non-negotiable.
So, every year I have a cunning plan
to try and make friends with them - to plant my own.
And I reckon if I grow them myself, I'll feel a lot warmer towards them.
So this year they're going in.
And the plan is that they'll be ready by Christmas.
So, after months of watering, chasing the pigeons away with a tea towel
and the essential frost, guess what?
Sadly, although they've put on lots of lush leaf growth,
there's not a sprout to be seen.
But somehow sprouts still managed to turn up on my plate
this Christmas, and there's always a bowl left in the fridge.
So, for Monday night's supper,
I'm making some little sprout and parsnip patties with cheese.
I'm always glad when I find a few roast parsnips knocking around
cos I can make them into little cakes.
Once your parsnips are nice and squidgy,
roughly chop your leftover greens. And there's no real quantity here.
I tend to work on the principle
of about half greens to half starchy roots.
Season really well with salt and pepper.
I'm going to pop a little bit of cheese inside each one.
And I'm using goats cheese because that's what I've got.
It's just as a contrast to the sweetness of the parsnip.
And take one of my little cakes,
like that, and then a little bit of cheese just popped in the middle,
This will soften.
If you want it to ooze, then you could use something like mozzarella.
It'll be really nice
with a good old-fashioned Wensleydale, or a Cheshire.
I'm going to use just a little bit of flour.
I just want that little bit of crispness on the outside.
Breadcrumbs or polenta would do just the same job for you.
And just keep an eye on them.
Every now and again, just tipping them up and checking,
to see if they're forming a little crust.
It's that thing of having this crisp outside and a soft middle.
That combination of textures that just makes something so good to eat.
Whilst those are cooking,
think about what you want to eat them with.
Maybe a bit of the pork pie that's probably still in the fridge.
Or a fried egg just dropped into the pan as they cook.
But I fancy one of those tangy chutneys
I found under my tree this year.
It so works with the chutney.
The parsnips are sweet,
and then you've got that lovely tang of cheese inside.
That works very well.
Nothing gives me more pleasure
than using up something that could so easily have ended up in the bin.
And I promise everyone will love these patties,
even if they're not a sprout fan.
I think my garden is at its most magical after a sprinkling of snow.
Everything feels like it's fast asleep under a duvet of white.
But if I had to rely on my garden to feed me through these winter months,
I'd be in serious trouble.
Which is why I'm so envious of the kitchen garden at Chatsworth.
It provides fresh veg for the estate's house, shops and cafes
every day, whatever the season.
I'm dying to find out from gardener Adrian just how they do it.
So the Duke and Duchess give you a shopping list?
In the morning, I phone the kitchens up
and chef will give me a list of what she requires for the day.
And so then I'll harvest it and take it down to the private kitchens.
So, essentially, yeah, it's like a shopping list in a way.
They've got things growing here that I'd never normally get my hands on in the winter.
So I'm hoping I can pinch a few bits to rustle up a warming salad.
What have you got in your greenhouses?
A whole number of things from salad leaf -
so I've got rocket, chicory, parsley -
I've got dill, coriander, I've got chervil.
I've even got cape gooseberries still.
In fact, if you'd like to come inside you can have a quick look.
So you've got some little salad leaves coming on?
Yes. These here, these are actually pak choi, Chinese cabbage,
which look amazing on a plate.
-Isn't it beautiful?
On your windowsill, they'll be just as good as that.
I don't need a greenhouse to do that.
No, no not at all, not at all.
They're so juicy.
-This is a real luxury of having salad in the winter.
We have lemongrass.
-Oh, this is lemongrass?
-Yeah, yeah, lemongrass grows quite happily.
It's easy to get lemongrass seed.
You can sow it again on your windowsill, but you must keep it warm for it to germinate.
-Just cut the bottom off.
-And that's the tender bit inside.
-Can I stick that in my salad?
-That is just amazing.
Just a couple more veg and then I can't wait to get cooking.
Celeriac. Oh, I think there's some in here.
On a sort of really cold day, I like hot things.
I like mustardy things or a bit of chilli.
Just something that can sort of thaw out the freezing cold.
And horseradish works very well.
In fact, I'm sort of tempted to put a bit of horseradish on this salad.
-You grow it, don't you?
-Yeah, I can go and grab you some if you like.
Can I have a root?
Ah, well done.
It's good stuff, isn't it?
-Fresh horseradish like this doesn't need much else.
Maybe just a drizzle of olive oil and some black pepper.
You know what - I forgot to put a tiny little bit of lemongrass in there.
It's just not often I get the chance to use lemongrass as much as that.
Finish with a pinch of smoked paprika and it's ready to go.
It's going to be so fresh as well cos it's only 15 minutes ago since these were harvested.
I know. It's when you think of winter stuff
as being a little bit bland and stodgy,
but actually I'd really rather have
flavours that were hot and bright and refreshing and clean-tasting.
And also, after Christmas, you know, I want something to wake me up. So...
I'm going to have a proper mouthful.
Make sure I get a bit of everything.
Mmm. That is genuinely very, very nice.
That's lovely, cos I'm normally a real carnivore,
I wouldn't normally eat something like that,
but a plateful of that, I'd be full.
You could put some shreds of cold turkey in that,
a bit of cold ham. Thank you very much for those ingredients.
-No problem at all.
-Very, very much indeed.
As well as lots of little leftovers at Christmas, there's also the things
I buy too much of, and mincemeat is one of them.
Very often there's some left and it is lovely stuff,
but if I don't use it in those few days after Christmas, it just sits there until next year.
So I'm going to use up my last couple of jars of mincemeat to make some little hotcakes.
What I'm really making is a, a sort of quick cake mixture.
So, I've got the sugar and the fat already in the mincemeat,
and I'm just adding the eggs and a little bit of flour.
Nice, big heaped tablespoons.
A bit of grated Clementine peel really freshens the mixture up.
You just want the outside zest of the Clementine.
Whisk up a couple of egg whites and fold into your mincemeat.
This is the sort of thing that is great for people who love mincemeat,
but either don't like pastry or have actually had enough pastry by now.
Pop a bit of butter into a non-stick frying pan
and allow it to melt before spooning in your mix.
You know, you could do tiny little ones and pass them round
with glasses of port or glasses of Madeira.
And straight away that smell of Christmas, instantly.
The mincemeat and the orange just whooshes up.
They're like ten minute mince pies, but lighter,
and slightly fresher tasting.
So these need to be turned,
and the only way to do it is firmly and surely without hesitation.
So, put the pallet knife underneath and flip.
If you dither you'll end up with a mess.
Ideally they should be slightly cake-like
and a little bit moist inside, and you know that that's the case
when you just push them with your finger
and you can feel they spring back.
I'm having a dollop of brandy butter with these,
but creme fraiche would be just as tasty.
Serve warm and they fall apart in your hands.
It's the only way.
Just tastes of Christmas.
Try these for a sneaky post-Christmas treat
and you'll never look at mince pies in the same way again.
Like everyone, I indulge at Christmas.
Mince pies, bubbly.
But my real weakness is cheese.
I'm a sucker for a slither of Cheshire
or a wedge of creamy Stilton.
Finding something for a special occasion
means making a bit of an effort, though.
So, keep an eye out for someone
who really knows what they're talking about, like Chris.
And they'll make sure you go home
with one that will change your cheese tastes for good.
A lot of people say they want the strongest cheese we've got,
and we'll be, "Do you want the strongest or the nicest?"
You wouldn't go to a wine shop and say, "I want the strongest wine you've got."
That'd be a really weird way to buy wine.
It's not about strength, it's about flavour.
So much can affect a cheese's flavour -
its age, the way it's produced, and even the animal.
For every cheese on this counter, I could take you to a field somewhere,
point to a herd of cows or goats or sheep and say,
"The milk in this cheese came from those animals there."
And that for us is a better guarantee of quality
than almost anything else.
And there's a knack to storing cheese, too.
Cheese doesn't really have to be kept in the fridge.
It predates refrigeration.
We started making cheese because we didn't have fridges to keep milk.
So it's like pickling milk.
If you've a shed or garage or a larder, keep it in a box in there.
It'll be much happier than it would be in the fridge,
cos that's when it tastes the best, when it's happy.
That sounds a bit weird, but it's true!
Stilton is the classic Christmas cheese.
It's funny cos people get freaked out by mould and bacteria
and it's like, actually, without it,
we wouldn't have cheese or wine or bread or beer.
But these are friendly bacteria. They're ripening the cheese for us, doing us a favour.
It's very buttery,
it melts in your mouth, and it doesn't have the metallic bitterness
you can get off a young cheese with a blue mould in it.
It's almost sweet, actually.
Sometimes by about 6pm in the evening I get a bit sick of it,
but by the next morning I'm fine again.
It's really good.
One of the things I love to do with a bit of leftover blue cheese,
and it could be any sort of blue cheese,
is to use it with mushrooms.
So, I'm going to stuff some big Portobello mushrooms
with the last bits of the Stilton.
A really simple supper that just melts in your mouth.
But this is one of those really quick dishes.
It's something that I do in those days after Christmas
when I don't want to spend a great deal of time
in the kitchen.
I like to cook mushrooms in a little butter,
as well as a good splash of water.
And what happens is because mushrooms are so spongy,
they soak up the butter
which flavours them, but they don't get greasy because of the water.
Today, I'm chucking in some thyme, but any kind of woody herb will work.
But they're those robust herbs that just seem right with the earthiness of mushrooms.
And a little bit of pepper.
Well, those juices in the pan from the butter and the mushrooms
and the herbs, they have a wonderful smell.
It's really sort of rich and earthy - I'll just soak the mushrooms in it.
I'm just going to crumble a little bit of cheese onto those.
It has a really deep flavour and also it's quite rich.
You really don't need a great deal for the flavour to come through.
And then this is quite a soft texture.
You've got the soft mushrooms -
all very velvety and silky -
and then you've got the cheese which melts and becomes quite creamy.
And I want a contrast there, I want something a little bit crisp.
There's something about walnuts that work so perfectly with Stilton.
I'm going to turn the heat up, and what happens,
all the juices are going to concentrate
as they bubble away
and I'll end up with something that is the very essence
of mushroom and Stilton.
I'm really happy to eat these
as a light lunch or maybe even supper,
but they'd also make a very, very nice meal
with some rice on the side, or even as an accompaniment to steak.
The juices which you really
don't want to forget
in the bottom of the pan
is very rich, and it's a mixture of very soft velvety textures,
and also the crunchiness of the nuts.
And it still smells just like Christmas.
Use the biggest, freshest mushrooms you can
to absorb all the delicious juices.
Almost a week since Christmas Day and one of the last leftovers
to get polished off in my house is the Christmas pud.
There's one recipe I do that makes it taste even better
than the first time around.
It's funny - there has to be a Christmas pudding
and yet the number of people who say no thanks always amazes me.
But I'm glad that they do, cos it means there's more for me.
Melt a generous knob of butter in a frying pan.
I've got some leftover brandy butter, so why not?
This is the sort of thing I eat when I'm alone.
When everyone else has gone out for a long walk and I open the fridge and think,
"They won't even know."
So, crumble in your leftover pud, add a glug of brandy,
just to keep it moist.
It's Christmas Day all over again.
The base for my sundae is a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream.
You know, it's a pudding, it's a dessert, but it's also
a midnight feast.
And you feel you owe yourself a little treat.
It feels really naughty, but it isn't, because I'm just using up
those bits from the fridge.
Well, that's my excuse anyway!
Once the excitement of Christmas Day has died down,
I love planning what food to bring in New Year with.
I like to celebrate with a really special supper with friends.
But I'm not talking twiddly party food.
On a night like New Year's Eve,
for me it's got to be a simple, hearty treat.
So I think for this momentous occasion
I'm going to push the boat out with a tender fillet of beef.
If I'm going to use something like a fillet of beef,
it's really worth giving it a little bit of seasoning earlier on,
almost like a dry marinade, just to soak up some of the flavours.
I'm making a really simple seasoning with crushed thyme,
black peppercorns and a splash of olive oil.
There - I'm going to pour my herb paste over this and then just massage it in,
so that all the flavours get a chance to work with the meat.
Should take about half an hour or so, but you can leave it for longer.
Just so it gets to know
all the herbs and the pepper.
And while that's marinating, I'm going to get on with the side dish -
a gorgeous, sweet pumpkin ragout
that's as simple to prepare as the beef.
It's that thing of finding something to cook that says special occasion,
but doesn't leave you running around and giving yourself a hard time.
And this is just that thing.
I'm going to put in a little bit of juniper.
Juniper berries have a lovely wintery coolness to them.
There's something almost refreshing about them.
Immediately you get that smell of gin coming up.
Roughly crush the berries with some rosemary and sea salt,
and chuck in with the onions.
Chop up a pumpkin - or a couple of squash -
and add those to the pan, too.
I want the ragout to be quite thick,
so I'm adding a bit of flour and some warm vegetable stock.
Because it's a special occasion,
I'm going to drop a little bit of booze in there.
I've got some white wine open, so that's what's going in.
Plenty of fresh herbs will brighten this.
I'm going for flat leaf parsley.
And then that can quietly putter away for half an hour or so,
until the squash is tender and the onions are really melting.
So, now for that glorious beef.
And timing is crucial.
Normally with my cooking it isn't. A few minutes here or there
doesn't really matter because that's the sort of way I cook.
But with something like this, a very special -
and frankly, expensive - piece of meat,
timing is absolutely crucial.
I cook this in two stages in a very hot oven.
For a fillet this size, I'll keep it in there for ten minutes.
Pour over a glass of red wine,
turn the meat and pop back into the oven for a further 15 minutes.
Timing will depend on the size of your fillet,
but if in doubt go for less.
It's much easier to pop it back in
than to try and rescue a piece of overdone beef.
Let your fillet rest for a few minutes,
by which time your ragout will be the perfect consistency.
I know it sounds implausible,
but even in this really short time,
it's a perfectly pink roast beef
and if there's anybody who doesn't like it really pink then
they can cut from the other end where it'll be a little bit more well done.
This is such a good looking dish for any celebration.
The glistening, pepper-studded beef makes a very handsome partner
to the bright, velvety, bittersweet ragout.
Serve with the sauce from the roasting pan
and I promise this will be a New Year supper to remember.
A very simple meal, but it is a very special one.
And just right for an occasion like this.
I've cooked a weeks' worth of truly mouth-watering suppers,
created mostly from the Christmas leftovers,
to help you keep the festive feasting
going right up to the end of the year.
Next time, I'll be looking forward to the start of a brand new year,
and with the leftovers well and truly gone,
this is all about keeping it fresh.
I want to wake up your taste-buds with exciting new flavours
that I guarantee will help you begin as you mean to go on.
It's a really good way to start the year.
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Nigel Slater transforms Christmas leftovers into scrumptious meals which make the prospect of festive entertaining a treat rather than a terror. After the pressure cooker of preparing the main Christmas meal is over, Nigel shows that nothing in the kitchen need be as stressful again. He creates simple dishes from leftovers and seasonal veg, ensuring that nothing from the most expensive food shop of the year goes to waste.
As he prepares his garden for a whole new year of vegetable and fruit growing, Nigel also raids his wintery plot, local allotments and the kitchen garden at Chatsworth House to show how to get the very best from seasonal vegetables.