Christmas leftovers

Deep-fried brussels sprouts chaat masala salad

Chaat masala is an Indian spice mix that is traditionally sprinkled over fried street snacks to give them a zing. Although it has quite a few ingredients, it's incredibly easy to make if you have a pestle and mortar or spice blender and will keep happily for at least a month so you can use it a couple of times.

We've combined it here with delicious deep-fried brussels sprouts, crunchy vegetables, the sweet citrussy kick of tangerines and fragrant coriander so you have a series of mini-explosions in your mouth. If you're missing a few things, don't worry - substitute them with whatever feels right, just make sure you have nice balance of textures, sweet and savoury. 

Deep-fried Brussels sprouts chaat masala salad

Deep-fried Brussels sprouts chaat masala salad

Serves 4

Vegetable oil, for frying
200g brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, halved lengthways (and not washed)
3 tablesoon olive oil
2 handfuls of coriander leaves
2 tangerines, peeled and segments halved
2 heads of fennel, tough outer layer discarded, roughly diced
½ bunch radishes, quartered
Juice of 1 lemon
For the spice mix
1 heaped teaspoon amchoor (sumac is a good alternative)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon mild chilli powder
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
A pinch of asafoetida

Make the spice mix first by combining all the spices in a small jar. If you need to grind them, do them separately and then combine. This mix will stay fresh in a sealed container for about a month.

Place a deep pan over a medium-high heat and add enough vegetable oil so that it comes 3cm up the sides. When hot, carefully add half the sprouts and stand away from the pan as the sprouts will make the oil spit (make sure they're not wet otherwise the spitting will be particularly energetic). After a few moments, the spitting will calm down and the sprouts should be a golden brown colour. Scoop out onto kitchen paper, scatter with salt and repeat with the remaining sprouts. 

Transfer everything to a salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper, scatter over a teaspoon-ful of the spice blend and squeeze over the lemon juice. Toss with your hands, taste and adjust the seasoning and add more spice if it needs it. Serve as a starter or with a few curries.


Shredded brussels sprouts salad, crumbled Stilton & roasted hazelnuts

If you haven't discovered the pleasures of raw Brussels sprouts yet, do not delay. Give them a little squeeze of lemon, a splash of oil and some seasoning and this once-unappetising mini cabbage is elevated to the status of one of the greatest salads of all time. Who knew? 

This recipe is perfect for those bits of blue cheese leftover from Christmas and sitting at the back of the fridge. Stilton is ideal, but any blue cheese will do. Indeed, any punchy, crumbly cheese works here. It's perfect as a light starter before something more substantial.

Shredded brussels sprouts salad

Shredded brussels sprouts salad

Serves 4-6

60g peeled hazelnuts
400g brussels sprouts, outer leaves discarded
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
100g Stilton or other blue cheese

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Scatter the hazelnuts over a baking tray and place in the oven for 7-10 minutes, shaking the tray occasionally, until golden brown. Remove and leave to cool.

Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and add a few handfuls of ice cubes. With a very sharp knife (or using the slicer attachment on your food processor or a mandolin), very finely slice the sprouts, throwing them into the iced water to crisp up once done. It may take you a while, but will give you an opportunity to practice your knife skills! Once you’ve sliced all the sprouts, drain and spin dry, then return to the mixing bowl.

Roughly chop the hazelnuts and add to the sprouts along with the remaining ingredients. Season generously (though not too much salt as Stilton can be salty) and mix everything together with your hands. Transfer to plates, then serve. 

Pan-fried sprouts with thyme and honey dressing & salted almonds

This is a really lovely way of cooking sprouts - they get a little colour and flavour in butter, but retain a some bite so they're nothing like those soggy things of our childhood nightmares. The thyme and honey give them a fresh floral lift while the almonds add a salty crunch. It's super easy to make and great way to use up any sprouts still hanging around. Brilliant as a side with some roast meat or as a warm salad before the main event.

Pan-fried sprouts with thyme and honey dressing & salted almonds

Pan-fried sprouts with thyme and honey dressing & salted almonds

Serves 6 as a starter or side

15g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a splash
50g flaked almonds
½ bunch of thyme, leaves picked
½ garlic clove
2 tablespoons floral honey
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
500g brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and halved lengthways

Make the almonds first. Melt the butter and a splash of oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat and as soon as it begins to bubble, stir in the almonds and 1 teaspoon of sea salt and gently swirl as they begin to turn golden, about 1-2 minutes (take care not to burn them, as this can happen quite suddenly). Transfer to a plate and leave to cool.

Mix the dressing next. Place the thyme and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar and when it begins to break down, add the garlic and bash until you have a green paste. Stir in the honey, followed by half the lemon juice and the extra-virgin oil. Season a little. You should have a lovely bright green dressing.

Using the same frying pan you used for the almonds, heat the remaining olive oil over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the sprouts, and fry for about 5 minutes, turning them over occasionally, until golden on both sides. Add 2 tablespoons of water, season generously with salt and pepper, then cover and turn the heat down to low for another 2 minutes. The liquid should have evaporated and the sprouts cooked, but still al dente in the middle. Squeeze in the juice of the remaining ½ lemon and swirl everything around in the pan. Check and adjust the seasoning.

Transfer the warm sprouts to a large plate, then sprinkle over the almonds and drizzle over the thyme dressing before serving.

Turkey, leek and thyme pie

When all is said and done, and the excess, jollity, frivolity, and ever-more-complex mealtimes of the festive period are over, you may find that your festive cheer starts to subside. What you need is a dish that calms and encourages you to "take the weight off". This pie will do just that, and furthermore, it will use up all those scrappy bits of leftover turkey. If all you need is a bear hug and a much needed rest, then this is the pie for you.

Turkey, leek and thyme pie 

Turkey, leek and thyme pie 

Serves 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 pancetta or streaky bacon slices, roughly sliced
½ small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
3 leeks, roughly sliced
3 tablespoons plain flour
1 glass of white wine
500ml warm turkey or chicken stock or watered-down gravy
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
600g leftover brown and white turkey meat, torn into large pieces
500g shop-bought puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Warm the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring for a few moments until it begins to colour, then stir in the thyme and the leeks. Season generously, then turn the heat down to low, place a lid on top and leave to cook for 10 minutes until softened.

Turn the heat up under the leeks and stir in the flour. Add the white wine and as soon as it reduces by half, slowly start pouring in the stock, stirring as you go to prevent lumps. Bring to the boil and cook for 2 minutes before stirring in the crème fraîche and taking off the heat. Stir in the turkey meat, season to taste, then leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Cut the pastry in half and on a lightly floured surface, roll out one half so that it’s large enough to cover the base and sides of an approx. 22cm x 28cm x 1.5cm pie dish. Spoon in the filling and place a pie bird or upturned egg cup in the middle of the dish. Roll out the remaining piece of pastry so that it’s large enough to cover the top, then drape over the pie, crimping the edges of the pastry sheets together to seal. Use any offcuts to decorate. Cut a hole in the top, then brush the top with the beaten egg. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden, then leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.