Making dishes from leftovers

Do not dump leftover food. Instead, give them new life and make the most of them in everyday cooking.

English food columnist Nigel Slater shows how, in his new cooking show, Nigel Slater's Dish Of The Day, where he whips up dishes using leftovers.

The show airs on BBC Lifestyle (StarHub TV Channel 432) on Wednesdays at 8pm.

The 55-year-old home cook is known for cooking shows that present comfort food with fuss-free recipes. He says of the new series: "It is a celebration of leftovers. I make a little food go a long way."

For example, he uses leftover roast leg of lamb to make croquettes, and a thick fish soup is turned into a filling for fish pie.

Upcoming episodes in the series include using "overlooked staples" to make dishes such as haddock chowder and fennel feta linguine.

Other recipes include interesting flavour combinations, with dishes such as ricotta beef burger, sesame seed salmon with mirin, and lemon and thyme cake.

The cookbook author, whose books include Real Food and The Kitchen Diaries, also shows how to prepare dishes on a budget and visits grocers to gain an insight into ingredients such as chorizo and cheese. He calls cheese his "secret weapon" and his favourite is taleggio, a type of Italian cheese.

He says: "I stuff mushrooms with cheese or serve it in a salad with homemade pickles. I also use it in toasted sandwiches, which I can eat every day."

He adds that he always has parmesan rinds in his fridge to add flavour to soups. In his freezer, he has vanilla ice cream and coffee beans, and he always ensures that he has olive oil, dried pasta and lemon on hand when he cooks, which he does daily.

In the garden of his North London home, he grows a variety of vegetables and fruit including beans, peas, strawberries, raspberries and potatoes. He also has plum, apple and fig trees.

Born to a factory-owner father and housewife mother, he studied cookery as an O-level subject in secondary school.

He recalls: "My first dish was grilled smoked haddock and a tray of little cakes covered in icing. No one taught me to cook."

After getting a catering diploma at Worcester Technical College in 1976, he moved on to work at various hotels and restaurants in the United Kingdom, before becoming a food writer in 1988. He has been writing a column for The Observer Magazine for more than 10 years.

Asked what he thinks are the biggest food trends for this year, he says: "Home baking will be very popular, as well as making one's own lunches to take to work rather than buying them."

Nigel Slater's Dish Of The Day airs on BBC Lifestyle (StarHub TV Channel 432) on Wednesdays at 8pm.

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