It’s all over for another year. I hope you had a truly lovely Christmas with your nearest and dearest close by. It was a smaller Christmas for us this year, down from our maximum of 28 to a mere 16 including some little ones. We always have those we affectionately tag ‘waifs and strays’ and they add so much to our celebration. Our feast is invariably traditional. And Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in our house without my Mum’s Christmas cake.
Christmas comes with such a great flurry of culinary activity and joy, then it’s over and those left-overs can hang on and on. Here are some ideas to help you transform ham, turkey and chicken into new meals.
– Mix up an Asian style dressing with lime juice, fish sauce, a little palm sugar, finely chopped fresh chilli, plus lots of chopped mint and coriander to toss through diced turkey. Add some bean thread noodles for texture and serve in lettuce cups.
– Stuff a split pide with sliced turkey or ham, avocado and tomato.
– Toss warm cooked chat potatoes with chopped ham and a mustardy dressing.
– Make a Spanish omelette by combining lightly beaten eggs with ham chunks, a few semi-dried tomatoes, olives and chopped parsley. Pour into a large frying pan and cook over low heat until just set. Finish under a hot grill and serve in generous wedges with salad or smaller squares with a drink.
– Fill crepes with turkey, ham and mushrooms in light cheese sauce.
– Rustle up some croquettes by combining finely chopped ham or turkey with fresh breadcrumbs or mashed potato, shallots, a little mustard and grated cheese. Form into log shapes, dip in beaten egg, roll in breadcrumbs and fry or bake until golden.
– Grab a sheet of puff pastry from the freezer for a quick freeform quiche. Place the pastry on a baking sheet, crimp to create a 1cm pie edge, pour over beaten egg, top with a few spoonfuls of ricotta, diced ham and a generous sprinkle of thyme. Bake until crisp.
– Toss ham strips through just drained pasta and mix with beaten eggs, finely grated parmesan and lots of black pepper for a speedy pasta carbonara. I like to add a little chilli for bite.
– Combine chunks of chicken and ham with wilted leeks, spinach and a little cream, top with mashed potato and bake until golden.
– Add sliced ham or turkey to an American-style chef’s salad with quartered hard boiled eggs, baby cos leaves, cherry tomatoes and avocado.
– Transform leftover steamed rice and diced ham into Chinese fried rice. In a hot wok toss ham with frozen peas and sliced green shallots. Add rice and mix until heated through. At the last moment, add omelette strips, a few drops of sesame oil and a sprinkle of soy sauce for authenticity.
– Stuff croissants with sliced ham and cheese and grill until the cheese melts. Serve hot with a salad.
– Jazz up a risotto bianco with ham, chicken or turkey. Add mushrooms too and, just before serving, stir through some rocket or spinach until wilted.