Making the most of your festive leftovers

Author: Joanna Flood
Date: december 6, 2023
Category: News

Festive leftovers

The festive season is a time for friends, families, and celebration, but many of us will look for ways to make the season of giving more sustainable. Did you know food waste at Christmas is the equivalent of two million turkeys, five million Christmas puddings and 74 million mince pies?

From stir-fries and pies to turkey trimmings, we asked our chefs to share their genius swaps and ways to love your leftovers this festive season.

Vegetable peelings from sweet potatoes, butternut squash or courgettes can be incorporated into bread doughs, adding extra flavour” says hospitality head chef, Alex Taylor. Head chef, Alex Pach also loves to get creative with his leftovers at Christmas. He dries out clementine leaves and skins overnight to make powders to garnish desserts – “reduce down your fruit trimmings from apples, pears and oranges to make a glaze for a fruit tart”.

Head pastry chef, Hannah Robinson uses her peelings to make veggie crisps. “Simply pop them in the oven with a drizzle of oil and sprinkling of salt and bake until crispy. Serve them while you’re waiting for the turkey to cook”.

Talking about turkey, chef partner, Bettina Campolucci Bordi added: “Turkey bones make a great hearty stock for soups and broths”. Head chef, Charlie Becke agrees – “put the turkey carcass into a pan with onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and water and gently simmer for two hours. It makes the perfect stock for soup or risotto”.

A versatile vegetable, sprouts don’t have to be thrown away either. Culinary lead Adrian uses his to make a crunchy sprout slaw with white cabbage, Caesar dressing and Parmesan – a Boxing Day staple for the buffet table! Project chef James Trumper’s creamed shredded sprouts with pancetta and nutmeg always goes down a treat with his guests.

Don’t forget to use the freezer” says head chef, James Ovenden. He suggests slicing leftover turkey and freezing in small quantities, taking out as and when you need for packed lunches. James loves to incorporate leftovers into family dinners – “leftover pigs in blankets make a great sausage pasta bake or mash up your veg and turn it into Boxing Day bubble and squeak”.

One that everyone forgets about is the after-dinner favourite – the cheeseboard! Bettina uses the cheese rinds to make sauces, Charlie uses her leftovers to make her family-favourite cheese toasties, whereas regional culinary lead Elliot uses his to make a ‘cheeseboard mac and cheese’ with a chestnut crumble topping.

From a silky mousse, rich ice cream or marvellously moreish cheesecake, leftovers also make great additions to desserts. Charlie says: “I use those fancy packaged dates that only get bought at Christmas and end up sitting on the side as no one eats them in my sticky toffee pudding”. Whereas Hannah puts her panettone and mince pies to good use, turning them into a spiced bread and butter pudding, and mince pie tiffin or to crumble over ice cream.