After the Christmas extravagance comes a flash of frugality before Hogmanay, when cooks find ways to use up their leftovers of Christmas pud, turkey and trimmings. But, happily, we Scots are no strangers to thrift.
“With typical resourcefulness, the Scots have turned their hand to concocting wholesome and flavoursome dishes out of the most meagre of provisions,” writes Janet Warren in A Feast of Scotland.
She wrote: “We have never quite lost our sense of thrift, tending to use cheaper cuts of meat than our English counterparts, and many of Scotland’s splendid national dishes, created out of necessity, have survived on their own merit.”
For example, “soups and broths using leftover bones are typical examples of Scottish thriftiness,” observes Catherine Brown in Scottish Regional Recipes, and haggis is an aptly-chosen national dish, because it symbolises our Scottish virtue of thrift: making the most of small means.
If you want to venture beyond the turkey sandwiches and turkey-leekie soup this Christmas, here are a couple of recipes for Christmas leftovers, from the master cook of the festive season, Sarah Raven.
Ingredients: 250g cooked turkey, white or brown; 1 onion, chopped; butter and oil, for frying; 25g flour; 275ml turkey, chicken or vegetable stock; 30ml double cream; 1 egg, beaten; lemon juice, to taste; bunch of parsley, chopped; bunch of tarragon, chopped; salt and black pepper.
For the crust: seasoned flour; 1 egg, beaten; 125g toasted breadcrumbs.
Method: Chop up the leftover turkey in a food processor, pulsing just a couple of times so that it’s not too mushy.
Alternatively, finely chop it by hand.
Fry the onion gently in a little butter. Add the flour and then the stock, cream, chopped turkey, egg and a little lemon juice.
Add the chopped herbs and season with salt and pepper.
Spread the mixture on to a large plate, cover with cling film, and leave to cool and thicken in the fridge for an hour or two.
Roll the mixture into cylinders about 8cm long. Roll these in first the seasoned flour, then the egg and lastly the toasted breadcrumbs.
Fry until golden in a little oil and butter for about five minutes, turning regularly, and keep warm in a low oven (150C).
You can freeze any mixture you don’t use.
You can add some ham to the mixture for extra flavour, if you wish. Serve the croquettes with a reduced tomato sauce.
Christmas Pudding Ice Cream
Ingredients: 568ml milk; 100g caster sugar; a few drops of good vanilla extract; 220g sweetened condensed milk; pinch of salt; 475ml whipping or double cream; 150g Christmas pudding, broken up; slosh of rum, to taste.
Method: Heat the milk with the sugar and vanilla, and bring to boiling point. Remove from the heat and cool. Add the condensed milk, salt and cream.
Put in an ice cream maker and freeze/churn the mixture for 20 minutes.
Fold in the Christmas pudding and add the rum to taste.
Put in a container and freeze. Or, if you haven’t got a machine, pour into a plastic container and freeze for two hours.
Remove from the freezer and stir well. Return to the freezer and repeat this process twice, stirring at two-hourly intervals, before serving.