Love your Festive Leftovers

Three adaptable recipes to use up those festive leftovers. Deep fill Cheese, Ham and Red Pepper Quiche, No Bake Chocolate Refrigerator Cake and Date and Ginger Slab Cake.

Happy New Year to you and I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and Santa brought you what you wanted. As this is my first column of 2016 I thought we would get off to a practical start. I’ve got three delicious and really easy recipes for you, all with the aim of using up those festive leftovers.

As I can’t go peering into your cupboards, I’m working on the assumption that if your household is anything like ours, by the middle of January there’s an eclectic mix of foodie bits and bobs hanging about. These are foods that extend beyond the immediate post-Christmas “using up” period of Turkey Curry and Soup!  So with a bit of imagination lets enjoy creating some great dishes with these versatile recipes. The foods that I needed to use up are Medjool Dates, two opened packets of biscuits, meringue nests, chocolate coins, walnuts, raisins, sultanas, half a  jar of roasted red peppers, cranberry sauce and double cream!  So in the spirit of the “love food, hate waste” campaign and with a bit of a “Ready, Steady Cook vibe going on, here’s what I’ve created.

My first recipe is for a “Date and Ginger Slab Cake”, this is based on a fifty year old recipe I found in a Cumberland WI book from the 60’s. You always know when it’s a good recipe as the pages are covered in ancient cooking splodges and crumbs. It is a delicious cake that keeps well and gets “squidgier” and tastier after a few days. You can always warm it up and use as a pudding with custard.

The second recipe is for No Bake Chocolate Refrigerator Cake. This is a great recipe for “hoovering” up all manner of odds and ends. Just keep the overall quantities the same and you can put all sorts in, such as broken up Christmas pudding, Chopped up marzipan, stem or crystallised ginger. You just need to make sure that everythings broken up to a manageable size and try to get a mixture of tastes and textures that go well together. Also whatever you put it in it has to be cooked as it’s no bake.

The third recipe is for my Deep Filled Cheese, Ham and Red Pepper Quiche. This is a very hearty and filling dish. Again it is a flexible recipe, just keep the pastry, eggs and cream ratio the same and you can put your choice of filling in. I put in cranberry sauce too, which I think goes really well with the cheeses and ham, especially as one of my cheeses was Brie, by all means leave it out and experiment with what you need to use up. I used a rectangular deep tin as this shape makes portioning up the quiche a bit easier.

Date and Ginger Slab Cake
Ingredients and Method
Grease and line a 10” long x 7 ½ “wide x 2” deep cake tin. (26cm long x 19cm wide x 5cm deep)
Into a large saucepan weigh in –
4oz butter or margarine
4oz Black Treacle
4 oz Sugar (I used demerara)
6 -10 oz stoned and chopped dates (I used 10oz of Medjool dates)
8 fl oz of cold water
Put the pan on to melt everything slowly, whilst melting weigh the following dry ingredients into a bowl and put your oven on to preheat 170c fan
8 oz Plain Flour
3tsp Ground Ginger
1 level tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
When your ingredients have melted, take off the heat and cool for five minutes.
Sieve the dry ingredients straight into your pan, stir well and then crack in one egg and stir into mix well.
Put in your prepared tin and bake for 30 min.
When cooked it should be springy to the touch and a skewer should come out clean.
Leave to cool for ten minutes in the tin on top of a cooling rack, then lift out of tin but keep the paper on.
When completely cold cut up to the size you want and store in an airtight tin. As you can see it is very easy to make and very delicious. Stores well and can be frozen too.

No Bake Chocolate Refrigerator cake
200g Chocolate (whatever you want to use up, I used a bar of Bournville)
2 tbsp of Golden Syrup
250g Butter (one pack)
4 tbsp Double Cream
1 tsp camp coffee (optional)
500g of your choice of leftovers. I used 4 crumbled up meringue nests, 2 half opened packets of biscuits, raisins, sultanas, chopped walnuts, chocolate coins, 2 little finger of fudge bars and a milky way!

Grease and line a 12” long x 10” wide shallow baking tin (30cm long x 20cm wide.) This gives you a shallow depth of cake, but given what is in it, it’s so rich you don’t want a huge bit! I cut mine into 16 squares, so 4 across and 4 down. But do whatever size you like, but you do need to make the portions fairly moderate.
Melt the Chocolate, Syrup, Butter and camp coffee in a pan very very gently. If you try and melt it too quickly your chocolate will seize up and be inedible.
Get a big bowl and put your choice of leftovers in up to 500g ish.
Once the chocolate mixture has melted, stir it in to the rest of your ingredients. I bash it all down a bit with a wooden spoon,  you need to make sure everything is coated really well.
Tip it into your tray and chill in the fridge for an hour.
After an hour take it out of the tin but keep still in the paper. Portion it up as mentioned above and put in a plastic container or tin and back in the fridge.
This will keep quite nicely in the fridge for 4 or 5 days.

Deep filled Cheese, Ham and Red Pepper Quiche
500g of Shortcrust Pastry (shop bought is fine)
6 Local Free Range Eggs ( I used Fairburns)
300ml Double Cream
500g of your choice of filling. I used 250g of mixed grated cheese (cheddar, manchego, stilton and brie), 150g of roasted peppers in a jar, 150g of chopped up dry roast ham
Half jar Patteson’s Cranberry Sauce (optional)
Freshly milled black pepper

Grease a tin, the same size as the one for the Ginger Date Slab Cake. I used cake release spray.
Preheat your oven to 170c fan and put in a baking sheet on the centre shelf
Roll out pastry and line your tin, prick the base all over with a fork and pop in the fridge
Grate up your mixture of cheeses and put in a large bowl.
Chop up your ham and peppers and put in a bowl
Lightly whisk 6 eggs with your double cream and pour onto the cheese. Thoroughly mix together
Take your pastry out and spread the cranberry sauce all over the base. If you don’t have any to use up or don’t fancy it, just leave this step out.
Put in the pepper and ham, spreading evenly all over
Pour over the cheese, cream and egg mixture
Don’t add salt as there is enough in the cheese and ham, but a I seasoned generously with some freshly milled black pepper over the top.

Carefully put into the oven on top of the baking sheet and bake for 50min. It will be a nice golden brown and feel quite firm to the touch when done, with just a little “wobble”.

Cool on a baking tray for 15 minutes and then if you’re feeling brave carefully turn on to a wooden board. Leave to cool a bit more before portioning up. I won’t tell if you leave it in the tin!
This too can be frozen for up to three months. Wrap in greaseproof paper and foil if you want to freeze. When you want to use it, defrost and reheat thoroughly. If not freezing store in the fridge and use within three days.

I hope you enjoy making and eating these recipes as much as I did and helping you to “Love your Festive Leftovers!” For more great ideas visit

I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2016 and I look forward to sharing more recipes with you in the year ahead. 
Sadie Hirst is a member of Select Lincolnshire and the British Society of Baking. She is often invited to talk to local organisations with her talk “Off the Beeton Track.” Sharing her passion for preserving our local food heritage and her precious old cook books! She can be contacted at and you can follow her on Twitter Sadie Hirst@RJHirstbutchers



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