I mentioned recently that I’ve been working my way through our freezer, all the odd things in boxes, bags and containers which once had labels… I guess it’s the way I was brought up, not to waste anything, and these days the easiest way to  save left-overs is to pop them in the freezer. We didn’t have a fridge let alone a freezer when I was a child; left overs went out for the birds or were given to the chickens who lived next door – obviously the chickens were owned by our neighbours, they didn’t just live there on their own! These days we don’t throw scraps out for birds – we live near a stream and there are lots of rats who would enjoy rinds of cheese, crusts of bread, scraps of this and that – we have a food waste collection by our council, and we feed the birds with bird-feeders hanging in the apple tree!

We had a friend to stay last week and I made an egg and asparagus flan – it’s such a long time since I made pastry, I got the quantities completely wrong and made about three times what we needed. The flan was very nice, but the left-over pastry got put to one side, covered by a buttered paper in a bowl, and I only discovered it a couple of days later. What to do with it? We don’t usually eat pies or tarts, we don’t eat sweet tarts or pies… and yet it seemed a shame to waste it. When I came to make it in the first place I had used butter, not the usual margarine, so it seemed wasteful to just throw it in the food recycling bin.

I rolled it out into a rectangle, popped it in the oven and just baked it, thinking I would use it for something… and actually I did!

  • my husband makes his own beef burgers; he cooked a couple and I cut out two circles of my cooked pastry and he put it on top of his burgers, put them in the oven to heat through and he had burger pies!
  • we were having soup (it was the fennel, roast vegetables and chicken soup I wrote about the other day). I cut some of the bits from the pie circles into squares, and had them as croutons – or sippets as my mother-in-law called them
  • I liberated something brown and orange from the freezer; once it had defrosted it revealed itself to be beef mince with carrots – another small pot I thought was the same turned out to be lentils… so with a pastry crust we will have beef mince and lentil pie
  • I’m going to split the last piece across – it was rather thick when I rolled it out; I’m going to sprinkle the inside side with grated cheese, pepper and paprika, cut into strips, and make cheese straws

I’m so pleased with myself, next time I make too much pastry I know what to do!

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