Christmas leftovers

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Here are some ideas for using leftovers in a simple, imaginative way. For more, see

Christmas pudding ice cream

Mix leftover custard with equal amount of double cream and stir in crumbled leftover Christmas pudding. Put in the freezer for 2 hours, then take out and stir before putting back into the freezer overnight. Take out an hour before serving.  Tastes like rum and raisin ice cream, and great with a dash of Bailey’s over the top.

Vegetable stock

Boil turkey carcass in 2 litres of water with 2 sticks of celery, 2 peeled onions chopped in half, and 2 carrots, for about an hour. Strain into bowl and then pour into plastic containers for storage in fridge or freezing. Use for soup, stews or gravy.

Turkey and banana balls ( baby or toddler food)

Steam an unpeeled banana. Chop a few teaspoons of leftover turkey in a food processor and add the banana and a little butter. Remove the mixture and roll into little balls to make finger food for a baby or toddler.

Hot winter fruit salad

Boil satsuma or clementine slices in water, a little sugar and a bit of brandy or Cointreau if you have some to hand, along with anything to hand such as dates, grapes, and dried fruits. Serve with cream or ice cream.

Chestnut and coffee mousse

Mix together leftover chestnut puree, a small amount of instant coffee to taste, and double cream in a food processor or blender until the cream has thickened. Sweeten with vanilla sugar.



Top austerity breakfast recipes

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There is so much more to life than cornflakes. Try these breakfast dishes to liven up the family breakfast table.


  • 8oz/ 200g porridge oats
  • 1 apple, grated
  • Handful of raisins, sultanas or currants
  • 5 oz/125 ml natural yoghurt
  • 5 oz/125 ml apple juice
  • Handful of nuts (optional)
  • Squeeze of honey

Mix the ingredients together and leave overnight in the fridge for the oats and dried fruit to swell. Serve for breakfast or as an after-school snack. You can top the mixture with berries, bananas or kiwi fruit before serving.

Banana split yoghurts

  • 1 banana
  • Small carton natural yoghurt
  • Nutella

Put yoghurt into a dish, and slice banana over the top. Drizzle a little Nutella over it all.

Stewed apple

  • One apple per person, eating apple variety  (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • Lemon rind or a squeeze of juice
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Raisins (optional)

Bring the water to a boil with the lemon rind and cloves, and the raisins if you are using them, and then turn down the heat and add the eating apples. Let the apples simmer gently until tender. Drain them off and leave the to cool, serving with yoghurt or a little creme fraiche. You can also serve them hot as a dessert for a family supper, with custard.

Dessert recipes for Week 2

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Simple, quick desserts to treat the family with. Links to Week 2 menu  plans and shopping list.

Banana split yoghurts

  • 1 banana per person
  • 1 pint/500 ml natural yoghurt
  • Chocolate sauce

Divide the yoghurt into bowls. Chop the banana and put in on the top of the yoghurt. Drizzle with chocolate sauce. This has to be yoghurt Nirvana.

Rice pudding

  • 1 pint/500ml whole milk
  • 1-2 oz/50g short grain pudding rice or risotto rice
  • 2-4 tsp sugar

Boil 1 pint milk and add 1-2 ounces of rice and 2-4 tsp sugar. Simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is soft. Serve with jam, honey or rosehip syrup.

Mango fool

Peel and chop a mango and puree in blender. Pour in 1 pint thick Greek yoghurt and puree briefly until all mixed up. Serve in little glass dishes with a mint garnish if you have one.

Pear and almond crumble

  • 4 oz/250g plain flour
  • 4 oz/125g vegetable spread (suitable for cooking)
  • 2 oz/50g sugar
  • 2 oz/50g ground almonds
  • 8-12 oz/250-375g chopped pears

Rub together the fat and flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and ground almonds. Put pears in a ceramic baking dish and sprinkle crumble mixture on top. Bake for about 20 minutes at 170C, until the mixture is browned on top and the pears are soft.

Healthy diets, the 1910 way.

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As you have probably read on other pages of this blog, my starting point for investigations into housekeeping practices and their effect on family wellbeing started with a series of home management books produced for schools in 1910, written by Wilena Hitching (previously a headmistress and school inspector). These books were designed to give a thorough, almost scientific introduction to the study of housekeeping to girls between the ages of about 11-14, with a view to preparing them for lives as wives and mothers. While some of the advice she gave sounds dated today, most of it has surprisingly significant relevance for men and women a hundred years later, particularly in times of financial constraint. My focus today will be what Miss Hitching considered to be a healthy diet for families, viewed through a 21st century lens.

Breakfast options (served at 8am)


Bread crusts soaked in warm milk

Brown bread and butter and an egg


Smoked Finnan haddock

Hot milk for children

Cocoa for adults

Most of these are high in fibre and protein, with very little sugar evident and comparatively little fat (with the exception of the bacon). This is clearly an idealised diet – Miss Hitching does permit the drinking of tea and coffee, but regards it as somewhat stimulating and less preferable than cocoa.

Luncheon (which took place mid-morning, around 10.30 am, and was really for children)

Hot milk and a biscuit

Brown bread and butter and a banana

Dinner options (which took place in the middle of the day, around 1pm). A good housekeeper would prepare a two or three course meal, depending on the weather and the type of work family members were engaging in.

Pea soup

Lentil soup

Haricot soup

Roast meats, leftovers minced or served in shepherd’s pie (for example)

Chops or steaks


Poached fish



Savoury Yorkshire pudding (served alongside roast meats or before the meal with gravy as a kind of appetiser)

Savoury or sweet suet puddings, such as steak and kidney pudding or jam roly poly (but not both in the same meal!)

Macaroni or rice pudding

Stewed fruit and custard

These are high protein meals, comparatively high in saturated fat, but the amount of sugar used in the desserts is comparatively low – a teaspoon of sugar here, a little bit of jam there. There is ample use of fruit, vegetables and pulses, simply prepared, meaning the meals are comparatively high in fibre as well.

Tea (served mid-afternoon, around 4pm; again, mainly aimed at children)

Bread and butter

Watercress, lettuce or radishes

Stewed fruit (apples, rhubarb, prunes, etc)

Once again, this is a high fibre meal with more fruit and vegetables, designed to maximise satiety (feeling of fullness). Watercress is packed full of vitamins, iron and other minerals, representing a kind of Edwardian superfood.

Supper (served before bed, around 7pm) – one or more of the following might be served.

Bread and butter or bread and dripping

Hot milk


Boiled onions

Cream crackers, butter and cheese

Simple fare, and perhaps less extensive that in modern times for the time of day. This is presumably because the bulk of the calories needed was taken in during breakfast and lunch, and the family had had the opportunity to gather together for a hot meal during the middle of the day as well. The need to give the stomach a rest from meat overnight is emphasised in Miss Hitching’s book.

I look at all this food, and wonder whether personally I could plough my way through all of this every day, even taking out the ‘luncheon’ and ‘tea’ on the basis of not being a growing child. It is also intriguing to wonder what might happen to the body, were we to start eating like this regularly. Given that the calorific intake is probably higher than we are used to today, would we end up fatter? Or would the simple nature of the food allow our bodies to process the fats and sugars more effectively than we tend to now, leading to fewer metabolic problems such as diabetes and obesity. I think I have an inkling as to the answer, when I think about rationing that was to come thirty years later during World War II, which involved a diet not too far removed from what we are seeing in this 1910 list, albeit with less meat. This led to an improvement in the nation’s health, so perhaps the answers to the obesity epidemic lie in what our grandmothers already knew about choosing food for the family?