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A festive feast of tips and tricks

From cooking online, to what to do with leftovers, uncertain times like these bring out the very best in human ingenuity

24 December, 2020 — By Tom Moggach

IF you celebrate Christmas, then one thing is certain – this year will be highly unusual.

For some of us, there’s the problem of excess. You bought enough food to cater for guests but they are now stuck at home.

For others – far too many – it’s a tough time of year. Both food poverty and loneliness are on the rise, exacerbated by lockdown in London.

Thankfully some help is at hand. Times like this bring out the very best in human ingenuity and modern technology. Here are some festive tips and tricks:

FOOD SWAPS

We’re not allowed to travel – but we can pop a note to a neighbour. Grab this chance to reach out to people nearby. You can swap food to save a trip to the shops. Or drop round a cooked meal to someone on their own.

You might find that the larger family next door is more than happy to cook your roast and will then serve you a plate.

“Share more. Care more. Waste Less.” This is the ethos behind Olio, a free sharing app that you can download on your mobile phone.

If you have some food to give away, you can also use this method to advertise online.

Users then get in touch to reserve the food and then nip round to pick it up.

LEFTOVERS

You can do better than turkey sandwiches.

Rick Stein’s recipe for Sri Lankan turkey curry is easily the best way to make the most of this bird.

For the vegetables, buy a pack of ready-made shortcrust pastry for a Leftover Veg Tart. Roll out the pastry; press into a tart tin; bake until golden; add chopped leftover vegetables and mix with whisked egg, cream and cheese then bake until set.

Another favourite is Jamie Oliver’s Spiced Vegetable Rice with Poached Eggs. Search online for the full details.

LOVE YOUR FREEZER

Nearly everything can be frozen.

Wine in an ice cube tray can be used later for sauces and gravies.

Chop fruit into chunks, freeze them, then add straight into a blender with a dash of juice for a revitalising smoothie.

Leftover cheeses are best grated then frozen in a Tupperware box.

Even mince pies will happily survive a few months in the freezer.

COOK ONLINE

We’ve all got used to Zoom and Facetime. These platforms are also brilliant for organising cook-alongs, where you can all follow recipes at the same time.

If a friend or relative makes the best vegan pies or cheesy biscuits, for example, why not ask them to teach you online?

This is also a crafty way of occupying fidgety children.

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