I'll be right over for leftovers!

Thanks to Aileen for her great blog post last week and lots of your comments in reply; we appreciate hearing from you and keep them coming.

Like leftovers?

To be honest, I've never really considered leftovers as the basis of a recipe, at least not in the true sense of the word - up until recently, my leftovers knowledge was limited to what to do with those baked-beans-in-a-bowl in the fridge? (Answer, microwave until hot).

You might have given leftovers some more thought after hearing ads on the radio over the past few weeks or read in the media about some helpful tips on how to cut down on food waste -  it's a great campaign from the Environment Protection Agency called  www.stopfoodwaste.ie. Apparently, 1/3 of the food we buy ends up in the bin, costing the average household up to €1,000 a year. Ouch.

pasta dishThe Stop Food Waste campaign also has some simple tips on how to shop, store and make the most of the food you buy, how to get into composting (it's easier than you think) as well as leftover recipes from well-known chefs like Donal Skehan, Rachel Allen and Kevin Thornton.

This got me thinking some more about the food we buy, eat and throw away. And at this point, of course, I should stress that any food past it's Use By date is only fit for the kitchen bin, not your kitchen table!

But just like staying-in is becoming the new going-out, I think leftovers will be next year's must-have ingredient. A bit like sun-dried tomatoes used to be when leftovers weren't that fashionable.

I got to try some leftover recipes at the weekend (that's one of them pictured at the top of this post - turkey, rocket & pine nut pasta) and they were absolutely gorgeous.

Yep. You read that right. The words "turkey" and "leftover" in the same sentence. If you don't believe me, here's the recipe in full (with big thanks to Neven Maguire) and you'll find some more just like it on our website in the weeks ahead.

Ditch the turkey curry recipe and try something new - you might be surprised!

And my motto? Leftovers are for life, not just for Christmas.

All the best,

Turkey, Rocket and Pine Nut Pasta (serves 2 – 3)


8oz / 200g penne pasta

3 tablespoons pine nuts

2 tablespoons cooking oil

8oz / 200g cooked turkey meat cubed

4oz / 200g Mushrooms sliced

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or ½ teaspoon of dried thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon of dried basil

2 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

¼ pint/ 100ml low fat crème fraiche

4.5oz /125g wild rocket, roughly chopped

Salt and black pepper

Parmesan cheese to garnish



Put the penne pasta in a large pan of boiling, salted water and cook for about 10 minutes until ‘al dente’ (cooked but still firm) or according to the packet instructions.


Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the pine nuts. Gently cook for a few minutes until lightly toasted, tossing occasionally to prevent them from burning. Tip into a bowl and set aside.


Add two tablespoons of oil to the frying pan and sauté the mushrooms, onion, garlic and thyme for 2-3 minutes until softened and just beginning to colour. Stir in the mustard, turkey, crème fraiche and then bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 1 minute to just heat through but don’t allow the mixture to boil!


Drain the pasta and quickly refresh in cold water for a few seconds to prevent it from cooking any more, then return to the pan. Pour in the creamy turkey mixture and add the chopped rocket and basil. Toss lightly together to combine and season to taste.


To Serve Spoon the pasta on to warmed serving plates and then sprinkle over the toasted pine nuts and garnish with some Parmesan shavings.


Posted: 22/09/2011 10:53:18 by Colman Kelly
Filed under: Campaigns, Food waste, Labels, Recipes, Shopping, Storing

About Me

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Colman Kelly
Hi, I’m Dermot Moriarty and I’m the communications manager for safefood. My background is in advertising & public relations and I work on our awareness campaigns, promotional activities and market research. I’m also an occasional blogger. In my spare time, I’m a fan of history books, sport and cooking (though not all at the same time) and am trying to get back into running. I live in Co. Dublin with my wife and two young boys who are growing up way too fast.