Leftovers for Lunch


Every day The Duke and I take a packed lunch to work.  Since I do not eat bread it is often leftovers or a salad.  The Duke will sometimes take some homemade bread, cheese and tomato and make a sandwich at work.

Today, however, I was at home so was not constrained by what I could pack.  At lunchtime I looked in the fridge and pantry and found an assortment of leftover ingredients just begging to be used.

2013-04-26 01There was a small amount of mashed sweet potato from last night as well as some refried beans, 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes, an opened packet of corn chips.  As part of my planned gourmet delight I also have some yoghurt, cheese, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.

In the interest of minimising the washing up I decided to use the glass dish that the sweet potato was in.  I spread it evenly over the dish, spooned a layer of tomatoes over it, then added the refried beans and the seeds.

2013-04-26 02I topped it with corn chips and grated cheese and browned in under the griller.

2013-04-26 03This made enough for 2 serves so I will be having the same again tomorrow.

2013-04-26 04Served with a dollop of natural yoghurt this was a quick and easy meal which used up a couple of things that could easily have been wasted.

Friday Favourites – Trifle & Lemon Delicious

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This week I have 2 desserts for you to try.  They would possibly be regarded by many as ‘old-fashioned’ but that is not necessarily a bad thing – they have stood the test of time.  These recipes come from a time when dessert was created from basic ingredients from the pantry and leftovers, along with seasonal produce from the garden.


1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plain flour
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add flour, juice and rind.  Mix well.  Separate the eggs, add yolks and milk to mixture.  Place the whites in a separate bowl and beat until stiff.  Fold the beaten egg white into the mixture.  Pour into an ovenproof dish.  Stand the dish in a tray of water (about 2-3cm deep) and place in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is firm to touch and golden.

The finished product is like a lemon self-saucing pudding.  This can be served warm or cold with ice-cream, cream or custard.Now for the trifle.  I am writing the specifically in response to a question from Jeni.  I make trifle about once each year and do not use a recipe.  It is the result of my memories of eating trifle when I was a child.  So, here goes:


Sponge cake (a little stale is better)
Jelly (red or green)
Custard (cold  and thick pouring consistency)
Tinned peaches
Orange juice/peach juice/sherry

You do need to plan ahead and make the jelly the day before.  Use only 375ml water instead of 500ml to make the jelly a bit stiffer.  Pour into a shallow dish to set.

Slice cake into thin slabs, spread with jam (strawberry is my preference) and sandwich together.  Cut cake into small pieces and set aside.

Cut jelly into cubes (bite-sized pieces).

Cut the peach slices into bite-sized pieces.

Assemble the trifle in a glass bowl starting with a layer of cake pieces.  Drizzle with a little of the juice or sherry.  Sprinkle with coconut and pour a small amount of custard over the cake layer.  Add jelly, then peaches with a little coconut and custard between each layer.

Repeat the process until all ingredients are used up.  Finish with a generous sprinkle of coconut.


The coconut can be toasted or slivered almonds may be used as well.  I used some sliced glace cherries to garnish the trifle this time.  Many trifles includes cream but I do not eat cream and prefer to serve it as an optional garnish.

Trifle originally evolved as a way of using up leftovers.  If you want to know more about the history you can read it here.

There is nothing definitive about making trifle.  Just do as you please and enjoy!

Friday Favourites – Savoury Quiche


At the risk of sounding monotonous, here is another quiche recipe.  I use different fillings depending on what is available but the principle remains the same.



1 quantity of shortcrust pastry.  The recipe is here.  I use a 25cm (10 inch) quiche dish and this is more pastry than I need.  You can freeze the excess or use it and make something else while the oven is turned on for the quiche.


4 eggs
Cream/milk/milk powder/evaporated milk
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 rashers shortcut bacon, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
Free choice – could be asparagus, mushrooms, corn kernels, spinach, tomato slices

Lightly fry the bacon and onion.  Spread mixture over the base of the quiche.  Add whatever other filling ingredients you choose and top with the grated cheese.  Beat the eggs with milk and or cream.  I usually use milk powder and water mixed in equal proportions to make a slightly richer mixture.  Add the cayenne pepper.  Pour over the filling until it is within about 1cm of the top of the pastry shell.  Bake in 180 degree oven for about 40 minutes.

2012-01-27 01

I did not get an opportunity to photograph the finished product before dinner last night so here is what is left.  I have cut it into portions to freeze.  We will then have it in our lunches next week.

I love recipes like this that allow for a degree of flexibility depending on the available ingredients.  It is a great way to use up a few sad vegies from the crisper.

Friday Favourites – Something Different


The favourite this week is a little different.  It is actually a Friday Freebie.

I brought home several containers of salad, cheese and antipasto items from work.  These came from some colleagues from interstate who were staying at a major hotel and received a special offer of a ‘picnic basket’ tea.  As is so often the case in our society, there was way too much so it was brought into the office, we all had snacks and lunches yet there was still excess so it has come home and part of it has been turned into our dinner.

I added some avocado (free from our tree) and a slice of ham plus some rice salad.  The rice was originally part of my lunch but was superseded by the freebies.  I added a chopped spring onion which was lurking sadly in the bottom of the vegie crisper plus a mild chilli from a bush in the garden.  A drizzle of red wine vinegar and herbed olive oil completed the rice salad.

I hate to see the waste of food in our society and wherever possible I use up anything that is going to be thrown out.  In fact, I even rescued 2 bananas yesterday which had been tossed on the top of the rubbish in the kitchen at work.  They had barely a blemish but were obviously too ripe for somebody’s liking.  We will enjoy a banana cake from them.

The waste of food in our society is appalling.  Do you see food where others see only rubbish?

Creative Cookery

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Many of my recipes are adaptations of ones I have been given, or based on meals that have been served to me over the years.

Tonight I made Chilli Chicken with Corn Chips for dinner.  This recipe was given to me many years ago.  It was one of those recipes that did not rely on specific quantities and mine has evolved over the years.

My quantities are for 2 of us with leftovers for lunches.  It could easily serve 4 adults.

Chill Chicken with Corn Chips

Make a fairly stiff white sauce using plain flour, butter and skim milk.  Season with black pepper.

Add shredded cooked chicken (I use 1 chicken breast fillet, steamed)

Add sliced mushrooms – I use about 250g because we have an abundance of mushrooms.

Place mixture in a shallow casserole dish.

2011-09-07 01Dice 1/2 onion and lightly fry.  Make tomato sauce by adding 400g tin of diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, fresh chilli or chilli paste (as much as you like to taste) and a splash of white wine (optional).  Simmer until reduced a little.

2011-09-07 02Pour tomato mixture over the chicken.  Top with a layer of corn chips and grated cheese.  Cook in the oven or under the grill until heated through and crisp on top.

2011-09-07 03Serve with rice and vegetables.  I usually have broccoli and carrots.

2011-09-07 04I usually have nachos the following night to use the rest of the corn chips.  If you want to be organised you can make a double quantity of the tomato mixture and use the extra instead of salsa on the nachos.


Corn chips

Crockpot refried beans

Tomato salsa

Grated cheese

Layer the corn chips on a baking tray, spoon refried beans, salsa and grated cheese over the chips.  Repeat in layers until all of the chips are used.  Cook in the oven until hot and crisp.

I plan to make an Anzac cake tomorrow night to maximise the use of the oven.