It’s bit late to be talking about Christmas leftovers, surely? Well, if you mean turkey then, unless it’s sitting in your freezer, YES, ARE YOU CRAZY? Why do you still have leftover turkey sitting around? Disinfect your fridge this instant! But at Christmas we make, buy and cook plenty of things other than turkey, things that don’t even enter our heads for the rest of the year. Things like nuts you actually need nutcrackers to crack open (what is that all about? It’s not like we need the extra hassle at that time of year), marzipan, Matchmakers, After Eights and about twelve different types of condiment. Can I just point out that if you have any Matchmakers left at this point in January, I admire your willpower, but we can never really be friends.
However, today I’m going to discuss those things that are probably clogging up your fridge and food cupboard right about now – the half empty jars of cranberry sauce, Christmas chutney, quince paste, and perhaps a bottle of posh ketchup that you bought to impress guests when cooking them a fry up but now they’re gone you’d much rather stick to the Heinz thank you very much. So how do you get rid of them and get rid of them quickly?
Well the first (and my favourite) option is, when it comes to the chutney at least, cheese. Buy some good, stinky cheese or some rock hard Cheddar and enjoy. Of course this only works if you like cheese and you’re not that fussed about losing the extra Christmas weight. But it’s still my favourite option.
The second, slightly more sensible way, is by thinking of them as ingredients rather than condiments. For example, when I make a bolognaise sauce, I always throw a bit of ketchup in, so why not use the one you’re not quite so keen on rather than waste the good stuff? The very best way to do this with a whole range of condiments is by making a shepherds or cottage pie filling, or the ‘mince’ part of your mince and tatties.
Unlike bolognaise, it won’t matter if you add something slightly sweet or vinegary to the mix – in fact it will probably improve the flavour. Whenever I’m making these, I always scour the fridge and cupboards for any lingering jars of mustard, onion chutney or sweeter condiments. My husband made rather a large batch of crab apple jelly last year that we’re still trying to make our way through, so I always chuck a large tablespoon of the stuff in whenever I’m making something similar.
If you’ve got chutney in sealed jars (perhaps you received a few too many as gifts or made a few too many yourself), then there’s no reason you have to eat them now. Although summer food is probably the last thing you want to think about in these freezing temperatures, imagine how well it will go with your Ploughman’s lunch or in a cheese sandwich.
So that’s your Christmas condiments sorted – hopefully you’ll now get through them slightly more swiftly that you otherwise would and they won’t be sitting there when you do your next Christmas food shop in eleven months’ time. And if you need me to tell you how to use up all those leftover Matchmakers, well you can always send them in my general direction…