No matter how busy life gets, one of our favourite ways to wind down is sharing a meal around the dinner table. It’s not just about cooking, but connecting with each other.
As parents of two small children, mealtimes can get quite chaotic though, so we believe in making sure that dinner can extend beyond just one meal. After all, if one cooking session can service two or more meals with leftovers, that means less time in the kitchen and more time playing, talking, learning. We’re also passionate about minimising waste and using up the whole ingredient – and it helps that leftovers often taste better!
While leftovers are a mainstay in our household, we have found that they sometimes make people shudder, with research by Australian Lamb finding that one in four people are embarrassed to eat leftovers at work and 86 per cent of Aussies prefer to eat new or purchased meals every day. This fear of leftovers (aka FOLO) has Australians wasting around 4.3 billion tonnes of food a year! That’s roughly $1,036 per household.
The easiest way we can combat this unnecessary waste is to take away the stigma surrounding leftovers. They aren’t embarrassing, they are a great way to enjoy delicious meals more than once, they save time, money, and reduce waste.
We recently read an interview with a food scientist which shows that science has actually proven that leftovers often taste better! Many different reactions take place when cooking food to give it’s delicious flavour and some foods like curries actually benefit from resting and cooling because the various ingredients have time to mingle and produce a more seasoned flavour (especially when using a protein like lamb).
Further, as foods like slow-cooked meat cool, flavour’s get trapped in the surrounding proteins and starches, which taste even better when reheated. The texture of foods can improve too with things like sauces and stews becoming thicker and creamier when reheated. So, for those of you that don’t believe leftovers are as inspiring the next day or don’t want to eat the same thing twice – we are here to help! Together, we are going to tackle this problem with some helpful hints to reduce food waste and turn some of our family-favourite lamb dinner leftovers into stunning makeover meals.
Tips to reimagine your leftovers
1. It’s all in the mind
So many great recipes require a “cooked meat” so think of them less as “leftovers” and more as one step of the recipe that’s already done and can very easily be added to most salads and pasta sauces
2. Turn down the spice
Don’t make your dinners too spicy as you can then use the leftovers for kids’ lunches or a wider range of dishes. You can always add the chilli in later if you like it hot!
3. Keep offcuts
If you are cooking a delicious leg of lamb, keep the bone as they are full of flavour and nutrients and can be used for stocks, soups and broths. We love broths and this is one of our favourite ways to use up bones.
4. Plan ahead
If you know you’re cooking more food than needed, it’s worth setting some aside before you add all the flavour to it. This way you have a blanker canvas to work with the next day
Best ingredients to transform leftovers
- Yoghurt and mint – It just goes so well with almost all lamb dishes
- Chilli – If you like a bit of heat, chilli and hot sauce are great for bringing leftovers to life
- A great base carb – Pasta or rice are such a great base for leftovers but we love to top it with fresh herbs for a burst of flavour and colour. Bread rolls, pitas and wraps are another great way of reimagining your leftovers for delicious lunches throughout the week.
Did you know?
• Meat keeps – Cooked red meat stays fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days, so don’t throw away after 1 or 2
• Taste gets better over time – Proteins such as lamb are scientifically proven to taste better the next day – when the ingredients cool and sit over time, the different flavour and aroma compounds mingle together, producing improved and more seasoned flavours
• Options galore –Lamb is very versatile and lends itself well to many different cooking methods and flavours. It’s not only great for dinner; lamb is perfect for a lot of different meals throughout the week. The simple addition of a few herbs or spices can totally transform the dish to suit any occasion or craving.
With a change of mindset and these simple tips, your leftover will change forever and you will be joining us in making sure that we reduce our food waste and keep eating delicious meals!
Roast curry? Now you’re talking
Slow-cooked lamb leg korma, steamed rice, cucumber salad – The easiest curry that will have you dreaming of leftovers all-day
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 5 hours 30 minutes
1 x 1.5kg leg of lamb
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 brown onions (peeled and chopped)
8 cloves garlic
70g ginger, grated
1 large red chilli
100g blanched almonds
150g yoghurt to finish curry
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin seeds (roasted)
2 tsp coriander seed (roasted)
4 cardamom pods
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
1 cucumber, chopped
1 handful mint
2 tbs almonds, chopped
1 chilli, sliced
Half a lime
Steamed rice and lime wedges to serve
1. Preheat oven to 150oC. Blend the spice mix ingredients into a powder using a mortar and pestle and set aside.
2. Blend the almonds and water together in a food processor and set aside.
3. Heat the coconut oil in a large oven proof pot on the stove, season the lamb with salt and then fry until golden brown for 3 – 4 minutes. Remove the lamb from the pot then add the onions, garlic, ginger and chilli. Cook on medium heat until lightly golden. Add the spice mix, give a good stir, then add the blended almond mixture.
4. Place the lamb back into the pot and baste it with some of the sauce. Cover with foil and place in the oven to cook at 150oC for 5 hours.
5. When the lamb is soft to the touch and it’s falling off the bone, remove the pot from the oven, mix the yoghurt into the sauce and season with lime juice.
6. Serve with mint, cucumber salad, extra yoghurt, lime wedges and steamed rice.
7. For extra wow factor, garnish with fried curry leaves, chopped almonds and sliced chilli.
Lamb korma dahl with naan
Reheat leftover curry with cooked chickpeas + serve with naan
• Naan bread
Lamb korma pies or pasties
Scoop leftover curry onto pastry and fold. Brush with egg and poppy seeds and bake until golden. Serve with chutney.
• Puff pastry
• Poppy seeds
Sri Lankan style lamb korma omelette with herb salad
Make basic egg omelette and fill with reheated korma.
• Green chilli
• Mixed herbs
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