There is something peculiarly satisfying about creating a meal from nothing. Or rather, creating food from 'what is there' rather than having to shop for specific items. I particularly like using 'leftovers' to create dishes which are just as delicious as (yet totally different to) their original incarnation or purpose. Most Sundays, Mr LBG and I end our weekend with a proper feast. At this time of year it is usually a roast followed by a 'proper pud'. I love this simple ritual and also love the ritual of inventing creative dishes with the leftover meat on a Monday. I am not a fan of repetition and have never enjoyed trying to re-create the previous night's roast the following evening with cold meat. Instead I like to create something completely different; a curry, a creamy pie, a tagine or hearty casserole for example.
Whilst I am fairly good at creating new dishes from the ingredients in my fridge, I must confess that my larder cupboard is overflowing with half-used packets of this-and-that. Nuts, seeds, flours and baking ingredients which have been purchased with a specific recipe in mind and the remainder left to sit unloved until a spring clean deems them past their best. I hate wastage and have been trying to make more effort to love all my leftovers - not just the fresh ones.
Mr LBG cooked a fantastic feast for a friend and I on Saturday night and finished with a delicious dessert of pistachio meringues with fresh raspberries and cream. I could see that the half-used packed of shelled pistachios was just the sort of thing that would sit in the cupboard for a while and that by the time I decided to use them, they would no doubt have lost their charm and be on the stale side. Pistachios are expensive and I was determined that these beauties would not go to waste! Leftover raspberries were also available which was great news as I think the two go so well together. I wanted to make a warm, comforting sort of pudding and wondered how to combine the two into something homely without loosing the fragrant and slightly exotic flavour of the pistachios. What else could I find? There were egg yolks left over from the meringues and - as luck would have it - the remainder of the cream that Mr LBG had bought for his dessert.
|Arrange the raspberries in a greased, shallow dish|
I wanted to create a more comforting, warm and homely dessert to follow our roast pork. Using (almost) the exact same ingredients as the night before, I came up with something completely different. I turned to a favourite clafoutis recipe and decided to replace the ground almonds with ground pistachios (a few extra to ensure the flavour of the nut shone through) and replace the mixed fruits with my raspberries. The result? A definite success and a recipe that I know I shall repeat.
Here is my version of the recipe. It serves two with enough for a second helping each or three with no second helpings! It would be easily doubled for a larger group. It is good served warm rather than hot, I think. Also - I didn't have quite enough double cream and topped up to 125ml using single cream. This was not a problem and I think that milk would have worked fine too - next time I might try half cream and half milk in an effort to lower the naughtiness somewhat.
Pistachio and raspberry clafoutis
Adapted from this recipe by BBC Good Food
Butter or oil for greasing
150g fresh raspberries
30g shelled pistachio nuts
1 tbsp plain flour
50g golden caster sugar
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
125ml double cream
1. Make the batter ahead of time, if you can. I made mine an hour or so before cooking. First, grind the nuts in a small food processor or coffee grinder. A few nibbly bits is fine but try to get them as fine as you can. Whisk or blend together all ingredients except for the raspberries until you have a smooth batter. Set aside.
2. Pre-heat oven to 180C. Grease a small gratin or other ovenproof dish. Arrange the raspberries over the base and pour over the batter. Bake in the oven for approx. 40 minutes until the batter is risen, golden and just firm (a little wobble is good). Remove from oven and rest for a while - best served warm.
Variation: Next time, I might consider adding a few little chunks of dark chocolate for added naughtiness.