Creamy Turkey, Green Pepper and Jalapeno Tacos

As we were considering what to do with our turkey leftovers, we took a mental world tour, thinking about some of our favourite foods. I haven’t got round to these, but maybe next year….

  • Pastilla – mmm those Moroccan spices and a crispy filo pastry
  • Danish Open Sandwich on rye bread with cranberry sauce, crispy fried onions and pickles
  • Spanish Croquetas, as delectable tapas… a good one for me to try in the air fryer
  • Italian Pasta Carbonara, using leftover ham too
  • Indian Curry, and then Samosas with the leftovers of that….
  • Cajun style Jambalaya
  • American Meatloaf
  • Lebanese Salad
  • Spicy Greek Turkey Pie

Oh, I am so ready to start all over!

But for now, there is just enough left for our Hot and Sour Thai style Soup tonight.

Last night, we ticked off the Mexican influence and I made a creamy green pepper, jalapeño and turkey filling for us to have with tacos (and the leftover rice from the Thai Green Turkey Curry). Of course it would work just as well with cooked chicken.

I had lots of cream left and most of a green pepper, to which I added a chopped dried chilli, some of my home made quick pickled jalapeño rings, a small onion and some garlic. I chopped up about 100g of light and dark turkey meat. Once the vegetables were softened in some olive oil, I added the turkey to heat through, then the cream, and sprinkled with chopped parsley and lime zest.

I usually have some tacos in the store cupboard, they are a favourite standby for using up leftover chilli con carne.

Accompaniments are shredded lettuce, finely chopped red onion, guacamole (a good way to use the slightly less than perfect avocado from the bottom of the fridge, together with some coriander leaf, garlic and lime juice), some cream soured with lime juice and some grated Red Leicester (which I keep in the freezer and grate as needed).

Served with the leftover rice from the night before, reheated with a bit more water.

The tacos only take a couple of minutes to heat through in the oven. I would probably load it up higher than this, but I was worried about it falling over before I took the photo! Two of these are enough for me.

Thai Green Curry Turkey

It finally got to be time to deal with the turkey carcass and remove all the remaining meat. I was amazed at how much was still left, enough for several meals still! The carcass itself was made into stock, which provided the basis for a fantastic Turkey and Leek Risotto (with loads of Parmesan crisps). The rest of the stock will be used for a Hot and Sour Thai style soup on our first 5:2 fast day of 2021. Thinking about Thai flavours made me realise that I had an interesting set of ingredients for a Green Curry. I grew my own bean shoots, starting them a few days before Christmas, and then storing them in a box in the fridge once they had got to a decent size (best rinsed every day). I also have some lovely fresh coriander growing in pots in the polytunnel, it does really well over winter. Plus some beautiful young pak choi leaves, again, growing in pots (I do have some in the garden, but they were a magnet for wildlife of all sorts, so they are now recovering under a cloche…). Lime leaves from the freezer, green beans from the freezer, coconut milk and Thai Green curry paste from the store cupboard, and green pepper, celery and mushrooms from the bottom of the fridge. A quick and easy meal. Served with steamed brown rice, some chilli dipping sauce, and a ready made Spring Roll, plus a few prawn crackers on the side. Almost as good as going out to a restaurant!

This would work equally well with tofu, or other meat or fish (cooked or raw). Use spinach or broccoli instead of the pan choi, etc. I find the combination of coconut and green curry paste is an accommodating basis for lots of different interpretations, which is why I always have some in the cupboard. I happened to have some from the UK, but actually can get it in my local supermarket now, under the Ayam brand.

Christmas Leftovers? Plan Ahead!

DSCF3424-3I love Christmas leftovers and my idea of heaven is having a house full of home-made and fresh foods, which will form the basis of delicious meals up to New Year. With just the two of us this year, I am planning ahead and making sure that I have all the things I need to make some of our favourite dishes and make the most of the turkey, ham, pudding, cheese, cream and so on. So my shopping list includes

  • mushrooms
  • celery
  • leeks
  • pomegranate
  • red cabbage
  • pumpkin or butternut squash
  • filo pastry
  • limes
  • Greek yogurt
  • long-lasting leafy greens such as baby spinach/rocket or endive

I also find this is a great time of year to use preserves and pickles and things stashed away in the freezer and cupboards. 

Here are some recipes which I look forward to.

Cinnamon and Citrus Pineapple – Have you got a pineapple that you didn’t get round to eating? This is a fab way of enjoying it. I usually serve it with thick Greek yogurt.

Cinnamon and Citrus PineappleSquash, Stilton and Quince Tart – a super way to use blue cheese. If you are lucky enough to have your own Quinces, making Membrillo / Pate de Coing is a fab way of preserving them. I love to use it with a sharp cheese like Queso Manchego as an appetiser, and also add to apple pastries for dessert, but less often think of it as part of a main dish. They have pate de coing on the cheese counter at our local supermarket. This is a fab and substantial lunch or supper dish, which is super with a bright green and red salad (spinach or rocket with pomegranate).
Squash, Stilton and Quince Tart with Spinach, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad
Celery and Stilton Soup – I am so looking forward to this!  Yes, I love to have stilton with a digestive biscuit and a glass of port, but this is worth buying a bigger piece of cheese for! Other blue cheese can be used. Part-baked baguettes make fab crunchy garlic breadsticks.
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Roast Pumpkin and Glazed Walnut Salad – crack some of those walnuts, or maybe you have pecans, almonds or hazelnuts to use. It doesn’t need much in the way of leaves, but it is good to have some contrasting colour and texture, so I might use endive or radicchio.Roast Pumpkin and Glazed Walnut SaladClementine Cake – it is lovely to have a huge bowl of beautiful orange fruits to decorate the table, but you don’t want to let them get past their best, so whether they are Satsumas, Tangerines, Mandarins or Clementines, this dairy and wheat-free cake is a joy._MG_9002Don’t forget the fabulous stock that you can make from boiling a gammon or the turkey carcass. Soups made with such stocks don’t need to be complicated, they will be full of flavour. I am looking forward to a zingy Thai-style Hot and Sour Soup. I keep lemon grass and lime leaves in the freezer and a jar of red Thai curry paste lasts for ages in the fridge. 

_MG_0578As for the turkey, ours comes from Sarah Meakin at Domain du Merchien and it is the star of our Christmas table. With all the accompaniments we don’t actually eat a lot of it on Christmas Day, but just love a platter of cold meats with preserves and salads. Then there is our favourite Club Sandwich, as well as Turkey, Ham and Leek Flan; Turkey and Mushroom Pie; Turkey Curry; Turkey Risotto and Golden Tangle PieGolden Tangle PieSo, what leftovers will you be looking for ideas for? Or what are your favourite ways of using them?

DSCF1814A little bit of thinking ahead and you won’t have to rush to the shops to get anything extra. This year, more than ever, I have got accustomed to shopping only once a week, and I think I can happily manage a couple of weeks, as long as I have some fresh salad leaves from the kitchen windowsill – time to start sprouting!  Have a wonderful festive season.

Tangle Pie

Celery and Stilton Soup – and Easy Garlic Breadsticks

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We love a bit of Stilton cheese with a glass of port over Christmas, but now it is dry January and the remains of the cheese need using up. Of course, you can use another blue cheese or strongly flavoured cheese for this.

To go with this I have baked some Easy Garlic Breadsticks. Yes, breadsticks means breadsticks 😉 (if you didn’t see this epsiode of HIGNFY, go to about 19:50 and see Maureen Lipman doing a Mrs May..) It is rare for us to eat white bread, but this is such a great way of making croutons! A half sized, ready to bake baguette makes 6 sticks and they keep quite well wrapped in foil, or leftovers can be broken up for use as a croutons for soups or salads. I first made them during one of our photography courses, and they were a great hit (you’ll find them in my Focus on Flavour book). Conversation stoppers though, as you can’t hear anything over the crunch…  I like them with a Caesar salad too.

I’ve included some golden paste in the recipe – you really don’t notice the flavour of turmeric, but it adds a lovely golden colour. I like to include it as often as I can in cooking, especially if I haven’t had it in yogurt for breakfast.

A bowl of this soup (145 kcals)  with one or two breadsticks (91 each) makes a lovely lunch or can be part of a fast day meal.

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