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Rustling up some leftovers – post festival lunch for 50

At the end of this year’s Dartmouth Food Festival, former festival administrator and blogger at My Delicious Devon, Helen Lloyd came up with a genious plan to use up some of the leftover food from the exhibitors in a lunch for members of the Over 60s club, Dartmouth Caring, the Dartmouth Food Bank and the staff of the Town Council amongst others.

We were asked to cook the lunch with help from Kit Noble and Meg Calvert in the kitchen and volunteers Julie, Val and Karen headed up the front of house with Helen herself. What a great day cooking with friends and food that would have been thrown away for a good cause.

Rustling up some leftovers - post festival lunch for 50

Waste is big news in the food world at the moment and rightly so – we throw away far too much raw and cooked food and it’s amazing what you can rustle up with a bit of imagination and few things in the fridge.

With donations from Pipers Farm, Sharpham Cheese, Riverford Vegetables, Mark Lobb fish, Peppers World Foods, Olives & Stuff, Forest Fungi, Dartmouth Fine Foods, Dartmoor Ice Cream, the South Devon Hog Roast and M&S amongst many others, here is what we made up for lunch for about 50 people.

Rustling up some leftovers - post festival lunch for 50

We didn’t know what we had until we got to the community cafĂ© so with a quick 10 minutes and a lot of chopping, our food festival Ready Steady Cook took off.

We’ve reduced the recipes to feed 4-6 so we hope you can put them to good use or adapt them to what you’ve got in the fridge.

Bruschetta with Pumpkin and Olive Tapenade

Rustling up some leftovers - post festival lunch for 50

1.Peel and thinly slice 1 small red onion and mix with the juice of 1 lemon and 1/2 tsp salt. Finely grate the lemon zest first and keep for later. Leave the onion for a couple of hours in the lemon juice and salt to wilt as in our blog here.

2. Slice part of a French stick into 12 thin rounds and grill until crispy on each side.

3. Rub one side of the grilled toasts with a raw garlic clove and put them garlic side up on a serving plate.

4. Peel, deseed and chop a small squash into 1cm cubes and cook gently in 3tbsp olive oil until tender. Mash & cool.

5. Put 2tbsp pitted olives in a food processor and blitz until just a little textured but mainly chopped up. Put the olives into a bowl and stir in the finely grated zest of 1 lemon from above, 1tbsp chopped fresh parsley and 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh mint to make a tapenade. You can add a little chopped fresh chilli if you want.

6. Spread the pumpkin on the toasts and top with a teaspoon of the tapenade. Add a couple of the sliced wilted onion rings and grate over a little Parmesan or other hard cheese if you have any in the fridge.

7. Serve at once.

8. Alternatives – use the pumpkin, olives and onions in a sandwich for lunch with some added salad leaves- vegan without the cheese; use the pumpkin pulp in a spag bol or chilli or use it to thicken a soup; stir the tapenade through hot pasta with a drizzle of olive oil and some Parmesan; use the wilted red onions on salads and over curries or in dips.

Fish Soup

1. Peel and finely chop one onion with one carrot and 2 sticks celery.

2. Heat 2tbsp oil in a large saucepan and add the chopped veggies. Season well and cook slowly until tender.

3. Add 1 tin chopped tomatoes and 1 litre fish stock or water. Bring to the boil and then simmer fro 20 minutes.

4. Add 400g skinned fish fillets, chopped into 2cm pieces. We used a mixture of haddock, John Dory and hake but whatever you have will work well.

5. Cook the fish gently in the stock until white and firm. Stir in 2tbsp chopped fresh parsley and some spinach leaves if you have them and serve at once.

Pheasant with Mushrooms & Ham

Rustling up some leftovers - post festival lunch for 50

1. Heat the oven to 200C.

2. Put the joints of 2 pheasants (or 8 chicken drumsticks) in a roasting tin with 1 large carrot and 1 large leek, finely sliced, all tossed in 3tbsp olive oil and seasoned well with salt and pepper. Roast the pheasant joint for 30 minutes or until cooked through and take everything out of the roasting tin. Let the meat cool down and take the flesh off the bones. Chop it into small pieces.

3. Peel and chop 1 large onion and cook it gently in a saucepan with 1tbsp olive oil until tender. Add 100g chopped fresh mushrooms and 100g chopped cooked ham or uncooked bacon with a good pinch of black pepper and cook all of this together for 10 minutes.

4. Add the cooked pheasant with 100g frozen peas. Add 300ml chicken stock and bring it all to the boil – simmer gently for 30 minutes.

5. If you have it, stir in a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche and serve with some mashed potatoes or rice.

Spiced Vegetables with Coconut

1. Heat 2tbsp sunflower oil and add 1 chopped leek, 1 chopped cauliflower and 1 small peeled, seeded and chopped pumpkin. Stir in 1tbsp mild or medium curry powder and season well. Cook for 2 minutes over a medum heat and add 1 tin of thick coconut milk.

2. Bring this all to the boil and then simmer gently until the cauliflower and the pumpkin are tender.

3. Check for seasoning and stir in 2 large handfuls of spinach. Let that wilt and serve at once with some boiled rice.

Pork with Ham & Beans

1. Finely slice 1 large leek and put in a saucepan with 1tbsp olive oil. Season well and cook over a medium heat until the leek is soft – about 5 minutes.

2. Add 300g cold cooked pork that you’ve chopped into cubes along with 100g cubed cooked ham.

3. Drain and rinse 1 x 400g tin cooked white beans – cannellini, butter beans, haricots – and add these to the saucepan.

4. Cover all of this with some chicken stock and bring to the boil. Simmer gently until everything is piping hot and the liquid has reduced by 1/4. Stir in 2tbsp chopped fresh parsley and 1tbsp creme fraiche if you have it in the fridge.

5. Serve at once with baked potatoes or mash or over couscous.

Fruit Crumble

Rustling up some leftovers - post festival lunch for 50

1. Get 1kg fruit and peel, core and chop it as necessary. We used some apples, some raspberries, some figs and some tinned cherries – whatever was around. Put the fruit in a suitably sized dish and sprinkle over 1-2tbsp caster sugar with 1tsp ground cinnamon if you have it.

2. Rub together 100g plain flour with 75g butter and when it looks like breadcrumbs, stir in 50g oats and 100g sugar – caster or demerara or granulated or a mixture, whatever you have.

3. Put this mixture on top of the fruit mixture and put in the oven, preheated to 200C.

4. Cook until the topping is golden and slightly crispy and the juices from the fruit are oozing up the sides – about 30 minutes.

5. Serve at once with ice cream or custard. Equally delicious cold.

Rustling up some leftovers - post festival lunch for 50


What a great community day and hopefully the start of future ways of ending the food festival – a great get together for many members of our community, a free meal for them all, and a lot less food being thrown away as waste. Congratulations again to Helen and to the food festival and here’s to many more inspired ideas in the future. Our guests certainly seemed to enjoy themselves – the plates all came back clean!

Rustling up some leftovers - post festival lunch for 50