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Friday, October 16, 2009

Prudent Penny: Leftovers a la Mike Keyton

Mike Keyton is one of my CPs. Mean, ornery, yet wise, he regularly shreds my manuscripts to bits with nothing more than British wit. I like him anyway.

But Mike is also a man of many talents and one of them is cooking. He says:
When I was a small boy I wanted to go to sea as a ship's cook. Romantic and stupid but it took me three years in a catering college to realise that. I changed directions, somehow gained an MA in History and ended up teaching. It was then that I realised that being a ship's cook hadn't been such a bad idea after all.

A man that knows so much about cooking must also know the ways of leftovers, so now I leave you in his capable hands.

by Mike Keyton

We were visited by my wife’s Australian nephew and his Korean wife, and because I possess the stupid-gene I slipped without thinking into a re-run of MASH.

Yes, MASH was both powerful, and funny in its time, but Korea has moved on and my tongue began talking before my brain moved into gear. I was boiling chicken bones to make stock for soups or stews in the coming week. I looked at her, over the steaming pan, not so much seeking advice but making conversation.

‘I suppose you do this all the time in Korea…making stock.’ I continued lamely as I saw her face register she was listening to a simpleton.

‘No’ she said slowly. 'We use stock cubes.’

The humiliation continued. She couldn’t work out why we had a dishwasher we didn’t use. The truth was we had just moved into the house – had come to terms with a new high-tech oven – but had been frightened off by the dishwasher with controls like the starship, Enterprise, and a manual resembling a textbook.

In a language that wasn’t her own she followed the instructions, her fingers jabbing impatiently at controls that might at any moment power us into space, and got the thing working with no trouble at all. As a leaving present, she left us a box of washing up tablets. In a single moment she had moved us from MASH into the C21st.

But I still boil bones, collect giblets and chicken livers. Nothing goes to waste which is why Maria has asked me to post something here. She must have the stupid-gene too. (Ed. note: Darn, my cover's been blown!) Why else would she ask me to write about leftovers?

Bring to boil bones covered in cold water. Simmer on a low heat for three to four hours, (replenishing sparingly in necessary) Some people put an onion and carrot in along with a bayleaf. I can't be bothered since I do that with whatever soup I make from it. Your choice.

Once frozen, you have a better base for soups and stews than most stock cubes, and you feel virtuous when you throwaway bones you've squeezed the last scrap from.

The killer leftover in our house is bread. And I mean, it’s bloody expensive bread.

I have two strategies, one savoury, one sweet. Whenever I make a curry, I’ll buy a small tin of salmon: the reason being that there is always unused coconut milk left over from the curry. The following day, or the day after that, we’ll have spicy fish-cakes, a mix of mashed salmon, breadcrumbs, chilli and coconut milk.
(Savoury recipe) Spicy salmon fish-cakes

Combine a small tin of salmon (well drained) and a good handful of breadcrumbs (aprox 4oz.) with the finely chopped chilli of your choice, plus seasoning. Bind with enough coconut milk to form small firm patties and pan fry in butter.

The sweet way of using very stale bread is a British classic. Bread and butter pudding, the ultimate comfort food. Simply layer a greased baking dish with sliced buttered bread, sprinkling sugar and mixed fruit over each layer, then covering the whole lot with an egg and cream custard. Forty minutes in an oven should do it…and then you wait for a mountain of stale bread to build up again.
(Sweet recipe) Bread and butter pudding

• Butter a two pint oblong enamal baking dish.
• Butter, slice and lay four slices of bread on base of dish.
• Sprinkle sugar and half of the 3oz of dried fruit on top.
• Repeat with the remaining 4 slices of bread

• Mix half pint of milk with eighth of a pint of double cream, 2oz of sugar and grated rind of half a lemon.

• Whisk in previously beaten eggs. (3)
• Pour over bread, sprinkle with nutmeg, and bake in oven 180 centigrade (350 F) for 40 minutes.
• Serve wam, though also nice cold as a 1am fridge snack.

But why am I writing this? What do I know? It seems to me the world is divided into those who live from packets and those who know this stuff already.

Editor's Note: For more of Mike's stories, I urge you to put his blog on your reader. I am constantly amused by his colorful life.

How about you out there? What do you do with leftovers? Do you force them on your children, feed them to the dog or pass them on to unsuspecting guests?

Greg hates leftovers so I am always looking for ways to 're-purpose' them.

For more Prudent Penny posts go here.

For posts on permaculture and homesteading.


Kaz Augustin said...

Okay, want to know the big secret? The big money-saving secret? Take it from an Asian, 99% of the time, you don't need coconut milk in a curry. Not only is the sucker relatively expensive, but it's chock-full of saturated fat non-goodness. Mmm mmmm.

For all the curries that use milk (and even for laksa), I use regular milk (only 4% fat). Really. There's no difference in taste, as I've regularly had guinea pigs ... er, guests ... to my table attest. And restaurant chefs do the same thing -- regular milk, nix the coconut. Try it and you'll see.

Maria Zannini said...

I think using coconut milk in a recipe depends on the cook. I'm not particularly fond of the taste of coconut milk and I only stock it because my friend Mel insists I use it when I make (her) muqueca ( I know for a fact she'll hunt me down and hurt me if I don't follow her recipe exactly. --Mike, I'm sure will only maim me.

Since the only milk I keep is either dry or canned coconut, I'll use whatever is standard for that recipe.

I am not at all daring when it comes to cooking. Just tell me how to make it and I'll follow instructions.

And since I've never made curry from scratch...Kaz. Methinks you might be offering to do a guest post on curry. ;o)

Mike Keyton said...

'it's chock-full of saturated fat non-goodness. Mmm mmmm.'

Oh, Kaz, you sound like my daughter! She's Genghis Khan when it comes to 'healthy eating'. She'd hide the butter if she could. But I appreciate what both you and Maria, say,- the grey area in cooking is where the fun is.

And Maria, this is the second near dubious word verification I've had from your site. I had to type it in carefully. 'oingisms' I ask you!

Maria Zannini said...

Ref: I had to type it in carefully. 'oingisms' I ask you!

LOL! Perception is in the eye of the reader. I saw 'oinkisms'.

Another word for common pig proverbs.

hmm...sounds like a future blog post when I start to accumulate animals.