Christmas leftovers are a glorious inevitable, and if used wisely, capable of being transformed into further meals and joy and over-eating in that alternative universe that is the time between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Here are some favourites to see you into 2020.
1. Prawn salad
Leftover prawns can be tossed with watermelon, fragrant herbs such as coriander, mint and the usual summer staples, and given a light douse of quality sweet chilli sauce. Deep-fry a few sheets of rice paper to make rice crackers to serve alongside.
2. Stuffing salad
Add an icy-cold decent sized wedge of iceberg lettuce to a serving plate. Fry off a bit of turkey stuffing and scatter over the wedge. Quickly blitz some dill, zest of lemon and 1 tub of creme fraiche in a blender. Season like a maniac. Drizzle over the salad and serve.
3. Waffles and maple ham
Toast some store-bought waffles. Add some thick slices of leftover ham to a frypan over medium heat. Warm through then add 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup. Turn heat to high and quickly caramelise each side of ham. Transfer onto waffles, season and serve.
4. Refried roasties
DO NOT throw out leftover roasted veg – double down. Return it to the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes. Warm through until crunchy and glistening. Remove, re-salt and add some soft Persian-style feta so it melts through. Toss through some fresh herbs – whatever you have left in the crisper will do just fine.
Dinner rolls filled with cheeseboard dregs. Photo: Katrina Meynink
5. Cheeseboard dinner rolls
Combine 1 sachet dried yeast with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 120ml warm water in a bowl. In the bowl of a mixer add 450 grams plain flour, 70 grams milk powder and 1 tablespoon salt. Pulse to combine. Add the yeast mixture along with another 300ml water and 100ml olive oil. Knead until smooth and elastic. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Roll dough into oversized golf balls. Gently push pieces of leftover cheese – hard, soft, white – and a chunk of quince paste or the odd muscatel if you have it, into the centre and fold over the dough to create each ball. Place on a baking paper lined baking tray, leaving a few centimetres between each ball. Allow to rest for 30 minutes before popping into a 190C oven for 10 minutes or so, until puffed and golden.
For extra cheesy goodness, grate over any leftover hard cheese and return to the oven for another 3 minutes for the cheese to melt. Serve piping hot.
Cheese platter pull-apart (pictured top)
Alternatively, flatten the dough into a rectangle and spread the cheeseboard remnants across the dough, leaving a 2cm border. Dot with dollops of quince paste. Roll the dough, lengthwise, into a log. Rest for 20 minutes then slice into 2cm-thick rounds. Arrange the scrolls down on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes in a 200C oven.
6. Turkey banh mi
Split a baguette lengthways. Shred about 2 cups' worth of leftover turkey. Add to a bowl with Asian herbs, sliced chilli and lime zest. Add a small knob of crushed ginger to ½ cup Kewpie mayo. Line baguette with a decent smear of leftover pâté then top with turkey. Spread over the ginger mayo and drizzle about ½ tsp sweet chilli sauce. Make a quick pickle of shredded carrot, cucumber ribbons and cabbage. Add about 1 teaspoon each of sesame oil and soy sauce and lime juice and toss to coat the veg. Press gently onto sandwich then finish with a few sprigs of coriander and the lid of baguette.
7. Leftover bits 'n' bobs savoury galette
Cut a roughly 30cm circle from a sheet of pre-rolled puff pastry. Fry 2 roughly chopped shallots in a knob of butter, remove from heat and add a smattering of leftover Christmas herbs, about 300g of any leftover cheeses and 1 lightly beaten egg. Add any tomatoes, veg and bits 'n' bobs you can find. Spoon over pastry leaving a 3cm border all the way around. Fold in pastry edges. Pop in 200C oven for about 20 minutes then serve.
8. Orange, fennel and wild rice salad with leftover roasted veg
Cook some wild rice according to packet instructions. Allow to cool then add to bowl with any leftover roasted veg. Peel and slice an orange as thinly as possible, removing any larger chunks of white pith, and add to the bowl.
Slice then roast some fennel with any of the residual orange juice from the chopping board and a decent lug of olive oil and salt and pepper in a 180C oven until brown and cooked through. Add to the bowl, toss gently and add any leftover herbs.
To make a dressing add 100ml olive oil, 50 grams pitted olives, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 chopped garlic clove and the juice and zest of 1 orange. Blitz to combine. Pour over salad and serve.
9. Curried egg sandwich
Finely chop about 4 leftover boiled eggs and add to a bowl with ¼ cup finely chopped Asian herbs – Thai basil, coriander, Vietnamese mint etc. Add 1 tablespoon coconut cream and 1 tablespoon Kewpie mayo and 2 teaspoons red curry paste. Stir to combine. Smear egg mix between a few bits of bread for the best kind of curried egg sandwich.
10. Baghdad eggs 'n' ham
Throw a knob of butter and about ½ tablespoon olive oil in a frypan and cook until sizzling. Add 1 tablespoon lightly crushed cumin seeds and cook until foaming, about 30 seconds. Add slices of ham and fry until a little charred on the edges and completely warmed through. Place ham on top of flatbread and keep warm.
Throw a couple of eggs into the residual oil mix in the pan and cook to your liking. Sprinkle over some fresh mint leaves then slide onto the spiced ham and flatbread. Season and serve. Feel free to go hard with any other extras such as dried mint, feta and labne.