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December 24, 2012 / Amy Bradney-George

Leftover Christmas Food Creativity

I love this time of year. The holiday season makes people happier and more open, growing with every “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year” that I hear.

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Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day itself has somewhat departed from the Santa celebrations and present extravaganzas my sister, brother and I experienced growing up. For me, it’s not so much more about the people. I’m all about spending time with my family and having fun (giving them presents is part of that for me, but I totally get that it isn’t for everyone).

Maybe it’s growing up that changes my focus on the day, maybe a shift in values, or my now-usual (geographical) distance from close family; I’m not sure. What I am certain of is that so many other people look forward to the holiday for non-religious reasons. Among people I’ve talked to, the number one thing this year is food.

Fair enough too. In Australia it’s a beautiful time of year for fruit, seafood and barbecues. It’s the height of beer and barbie season, after all.

But what has me a bit worried is what we do on Boxing Day and after. This morning the ABC reported that Australians waste $8 billion worth of food every year. According to research from the lobby group Do Something, just under half of our household waste (40%) is food. With more people buying more food at this time of year, I hate to think of the waste that could come after Christmas day.

So I thought I would write a short little blog post encouraging people to be creative after Christmas. I’m no Jamie Oliver, but even I know there are lots of things you can do with leftover food. One of my go-tos when I have odds and ends, for example, is fritatta. I pretty much throw whatever veggies (and meat) I have leftover into a pan, crack some eggs and cook it. Simple.

But seeing as I’m not the expert here, I did a quick search and found the following useful websites:

  1. BBC Good Food – The Indian spiced fish cakes and Barney’s Monday Night Rice (on page one) both look promising.
  2. LeftOverChef – A whole website based on leftover cooking. The best part about this site is you can search for ingredients you need to use as well as browse recipes and check out substitution suggestions.
  3. Taste Christmas Leftover Recipe Collection – This Aussie recipe site has heaps of Christmas leftover ideas and most of them look quick and simple to make.

The heat of summer means food can turn a few days earlier than expected (especially if you have cheese platters, seafood etc). But after reading about how much food Australians bin annually, I’m making an early New Year’s Resolution and sticking with the adage “Waste Not, Want Not”.

But as well as the ethical side to this approach, I’m really excited by the opportunity to create interesting (hopefully tasty) food as well.

Happy Holidays!

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