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Leftovers recipes & Top Tips

As Head Chef at Refettorio Felix – a charity-led kitchen dedicated to feeding the local community – Cleo Melvin’s role is to plan and cook a three-course lunch using surplus ingredients delivered each morning by The Felix Project, a charity that distributes leftover food from supermarkets (including Ocado). Turn your would-be waste into delicious dishes with these tasty recipes and top tips from Cleo.

Fridge Clear-Out Egg Fried Rice

Fight food waste with this fridge-clearing fried rice recipe.

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Homemade Tortilla Chips with Crushed Avocado and Tomato Salsa

Scoop up a taste of this delicious salsa with handmade tortilla chips.

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Spelt, Banana and Nut Butter Blondies

Is there anything better than a blondie? Yes! One that uses up your leftovers.

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Check what needs using first

Open your fridge and see what needs using up first. Is that bag of salad starting to wilt a bit? Is that broccoli starting to look a little yellow at the edges? This will give you inspiration but also simplify things by narrowing the options down.

Figure out what works together

If you’re combining multiple bits and bobs from your fridge and aren’t confident they go together, try using a food-pairing book, such as The Flavour Thesaurus. It allows you to look up an ingredient and find out which flavours work with it. For example, potatoes love woody herbs and work well with fennel, aubergines and tomatoes; plus food cupboard flavours like olives, anchovies, chilli and capers.

Your food cupboard is your friend

Keeping a good selection of pulses, grains, pasta and tinned items at home helps enhance simple daily meals without fuss. Add red lentils to those soft tomatoes and make a dhal, or add spices and a tin of coconut milk to those potatoes and make a curry. Also remember the last spoon of mango chutney or mustard at the back of the cupboard – this will boost your next stew or curry.

Before you bin it, think again…

Simple tricks such as saving the hard ends of your bread, treasuring parmesan rinds and vegetable stalks, peels or herb stems will help transform weekday meals. Whizz the bread into breadcrumbs and toast in oil to top pasta dishes. You can also pop that parmesan rind into a simmering pot of white beans to mega-charge the beans with umami. Vegetable stalks make the best soups and even the peel can create the most wonderful röstis. When your herbs are wilting and sad, make a pesto, raw chutney or salsa verde. The stalks have the most flavour, so don’t bin them!

If you can’t eat it now, preserve it

Try a quick pickle (vinegar, pinch of salt, pinch of sugar) for your onions or the ends of your vegetables. Overripe fruit makes delicious breakfast compotes – simply stew them with a little water and sugar. If you have a bit more time, why not try making a tangy sauerkraut with your vegetable ends or a chutney or jam with leftover fruit.

Check out more leftover recipe inspiration here, with these four easy leftover salmon dishes.

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