Thursday night is leftovers night at PumpjackPiddlewick

When I was growing up, Thursday was leftovers night in our house. My Mum would reheat everything we hadn’t finished that week. I remember it fondly, as well as with a shudder.

It was a real mix of dishes. A mish mosh of flavours, too, but we had to eat it all. There couldn’t be any leftovers on left over night. It’s because of my Mum I appreciate a no waste principle, and I am really proud she instilled that in me.

Different Methods

I was once extremely lucky to have worked as a chef in a vegetarian inn in North Carolina. That’s not something you get to say every day. But my memories were stirred as I contemplated making my dinners this week.

I am a recipe lover. Thinking on it as mini bouts of learning from others. Or, at the least, hoping for moments of inspiration. But I also have learned the art of simply purchasing what appeals and then creating a recipe in my head.

Empty Fridge Conundrum

And then there are the nights when one is confronted with a nearly empty fridge and must concoct a meal. Neither the ingredients you want are there or enough ingredients to fulfil a recipe.  Luckily for me, and hence the memory jogging, at the vegetarian inn I was taught well how to work with what I had.

The nearest shop was 50 miles away, so we only shopped once, maybe twice a week. We couldn’t just nip out and buy what was missing if we forgot or ran out of something. I learned to substitute, re-think and most importantly look in the fridge and determine what I could make.  It wasn’t about what I couldn’t do, but what I could.


So last night I was facing the leftovers of 2 chicken legs, a half jar of tomato sauce, a half container of crème fraiche (sour cream for my American friends) a partial bag of frozen peas and another of frozen spinach.

The result? Marinated cumin and coriander roast chicken on a bed of tomato peas rice with sautéed spinach in a garlic crème fraiche sauce. I was told it was one of the best meals I had ever made. Just shows what you can do when confronted with nothing.

Other Suggestions

If you are not one for conjuring up dishes, here are some actual recipes of what to do with leftovers:

38 recipes to clean out your fridge of leftovers

Recipes Using Leftover Food

Leftover Recipes – How to use up those leftover ingredients

Love Food Hate Wate Leftover Food Recipes

More Food?

For more food related posts from France, check out my Food Findings.

And if you like what you read and wish to join in and support Pumpjack & Piddlewick, do check out my Nourish page.

If like me you enjoy cooking, or know someone who does, do check out my Cooking and Kitchen Gadget section of My Shop. Here’s a taste:

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