Am I the only one who gets excited about leftovers? Not eating them as they are, cold from the fridge, but their promise, their potential, that lovely sense of having lunch or dinner taken care of, or of having a short cut ready made for some future meal…
We had guests around to dinner last night, and I made roast chicken stuffed with rice and fruit and nuts, with butter and lemon and saffron poured over. I made roasted vegetables and baked cardoons and a spinach and orange salad. I made truffle butter to go on the nice bread from the bakery (double cream + truffle salt + two minutes with a pair of hand beaters = HEAVEN), and I made an apple, pear and rhubarb crumble with an oaty, almondy topping, to eat with ice-cream.
It was delicious.
And then, while we cleared up after dinner, I stripped the rest of the meat off the chicken carcase, and put the carcase in a saucepan with white wine, water, a parsnip and a leek, some rosemary, salt and pepper, to simmer for stock. (There is nothing more conducive to feelings of virtue, I find, than turning the bones from a roast into stock.) I shredded the rest of the meat and put it in a container in the fridge, with thoughts of pie in mind, and I put away the leftover roasted vegetables, which are not going into a chickpea salad like the ones from Monday, but might instead become a soup with some of the chicken stock, or go into the pie with the chicken. The salad will be an accompaniment with dinner tonight, and the crumble will be breakfast for the next few days – hot, fruity, oaty goodness with greek yoghurt – what more could anyone want?
And beneath it all, I have the satisfaction of a full fridge. I have the knowledge that I can go home tonight and make something delicious for dinner without visiting the shops or even spending that much time cooking. Chicken and leek casserole, with a sauce made of truffle butter and stock and a little flour, perhaps, and good bread to mop it up. Mixed roast vegetable soup. Or maybe something from the freezer – there’s still leftover pasta sauce from Saturday night, not to mention vegetarian chilli and that chicken, vegetable and quinoa casserole. And pies from the pie man.
In fact, as far as dinner is concerned, I can have a lovely, lazy weekend.
Which will give me even more time to spend making marshmallows!