Monday, 30 June 2008

Leftovers

I’ve been thinking about this recently; what to do with both recipe and finished product leftovers? Personally I hate throwing food out (or to be honest throwing anything out), so I like to have uses for that little bit it would be a waste to bin. I kept baking in mind, as I don’t do much cooking myself.

Egg whites
Meringues are the obvious solution and there’s a world of recipes out there. However did you know that egg whites can be frozen? Just pop them in an airtight container and freeze as normal. Don’t forget to label what is in it and how many though; it can be hard to work out what they are a few weeks later.
You could also make petit fours like I did here.

Egg yolks
Pastry is the normal use for egg yolks, but if a lot of whole eggs are needed (particularly successfully in a fruit cake) a yolk can be substituted for a whole egg. There’s a limit on this though, as they whites are the binding agent, I’d say no more than 1/3 should be just yolks.
Here’s a good page with recipes for eggs yolks, including crème brulee and chocolate mouse

It’s worth noting that egg yolks can be frozen, but you need to add another ingredient, as otherwise they thicken. I can’t seem to find a definitive way to do this and haven’t tried myself, so I leave you to the hands of google I’m afraid.

Eggs
Eggs are best frozen separated; the results are better and it allows more flexibility. Both parts can be kept for a few days in the fridge; I put them in a cup with some cling film over the top.
It may seem a bit icky, but don’t dismiss slightly out of date eggs as off. In most cakes they are perfectly fine, as long as you’re cooking them and the recipe doesn’t state as fresh as possible. Use your own judgement on this, but I think that a few days is ok, any more is pushing your luck.

Sponge/Cake/Buns
Either uneaten cake or trimmings from reshaping can leave unwanted leftovers. If I’m honest I normally eat them white waiting for the cake to cool, but I suppose they could have other uses.
One solution I use is to make trifle, as it’s a change from plain cake. Alternatively cake crumbs can be an ingredient in some recipes, such as this one from Cadbury:
This one for chocolate truffles, handy as you could adapt it to make as many or as few as you have cake for:
Or there’s a whole lot of ideas here.

Chocolate
The best advice for this is simply to eat it, but often Scotbloc (cake covering) is just more practical and it’s a bit nasty to eat. Unused chocolate keeps for ages, just follow the instructions on the pack. For the stuff in the bottom of the bowl, rice krispie buns are a staple, plus you can chuck in whatever other leftover decorations, e.g. sweeties you have. The biggest benefit here comes when you only have a few spoonfuls left that aren’t worth keeping.
Alternatively, make decorations for next time, like chocolate curls

Reducing the potential leftovers can be a good step. Generally this means buying smaller quantities of things you are unlikely to use, e.g. golden syrup. It can seem like a bargain to buy the big tin, but if you throw half of it out it just doesn’t make sense. For me this is buttermilk, since it doesn’t keep. It’s amazing in pancakes, so I use the leftovers to make indulgent scones and freeze them instead.
Another option is to change or vary the recipe. I have a great one for chocolate pavlova which uses the yolks to make a chocolate sauce to pour over it.

Well, those are some of the basic ones, if I can think of any more I'll post them. I know a lot here is well known and a bit of repetition, but it’s nice to have it in one place. If you have any tips, please leave me a comment and share!

1 comment:

Ruth Elkin said...

Some great tips here.... I was never sure what I could do with leftover egg yolks except custard.

I'm still working on decreasing leftovers or general food waste too... it's a learning curve!