Loose Ends January

Make the most of your specially bought ingredients from the January issue of delicious. Magazine - use them up with these inventive ideas.

Loose Ends January

Kirsch
Mix up your Saturday night with zingy cherry daiquiris. For each cocktail, shake 2 measures of white rum with a measure of kirsch, the juice of 1 lime and plenty of ice, then strain into a cocktail glass. Serve with a twist of lime peel.

Gently heat a good handful of frozen mixed berries in a pan, add a splash (or two!) of kirsch, then bubble for 5 minutes until the berries are softened and saucy. Allow to cool, then serve with a citrus tart. Or serve warm over a steamed pudding.

Use kirsch instead of brandy or rum when making Christmas cake or mincemeat to add extra sweetness and flavour.

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Sage
Toss a handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped squash, red onion wedges, a good glug of olive oil and some seasoning in a large roasting tray. Top with sausages and bake for 45 minutes until the bangers are cooked, the veg are roasted and the sage is crisp.

For an easy midweek meal for one, melt a knob of butter in a pan and, when foaming, throw in a handful of fresh sage. Let the leaves crisp and the butter brown, and then take off the heat. Toss through cooked gnocchi with plenty of Parmesan shavings.

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Baharat spice mix
Spice up your usual rice dish by stirring in 1 tsp baharat spice mix at the start of cooking. The aromatics will add a wonderful Middle Eastern flavour that complements grilled meats and roasted vegetables.

Stir 1 tsp baharat spice mix into lamb mince with lots of fresh herbs, a pinch of chilli flakes, 1 finely diced onion and some salt. Use a little beaten egg to bind, and then form into bite-size koftas. Fry the meatballs until golden and cooked through. Serve with yogurt and warmed pitta bread.

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Mincemeat
Spice up your crumbles by tossing a few tablespoons of mincemeat through the filling along with brown sugar and your favourite Christmassy spices. Cover with a buttery crumble topping and bake until golden. Serve with custard.

For a festive treat, fold 2 tbsp mincemeat and a sprinkling of chocolate chips through plain cookie batter. Spoon rounds onto a lined baking sheet, then bake for 20 minutes until golden and firm at the edges.

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Cooked chestnuts
Chestnuts have an earthy quality that works brilliantly with other woody flavours. Gently stir chopped chestnuts into a wild mushroom risotto to add an extra depth of flavour.

Liven up your Sunday or Christmas sides by scattering chopped toasted chestnuts over buttery sprouts or greens.

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Filo pastry
To make 2 posh toasties, layer some sheets of buttered filo and cut in half, then put a slice of ham and a handful of grated mature Cheddar in the middle of each. Fold up to make a parcel, then bake until crisp, melted and moreish.

Make sweet Christmas canapés: cut the filo sheets into small squares and butter them. Layer 4-5 buttered squares in each hole of a mini muffin tin and bake until crisp. Fill each tartlet with a dollop of lemon curd and top with a sprinkling of grated chocolate. Chill until ready to serve.

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Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts and chocolate are destined to be together. Lightly toast the nuts, roughly chop and stir through thick chocolate icing to create a perfect topping for muffins or cakes.

Finely grind hazelnuts in a food processor and use instead of ground almonds to make our macaroons.

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