Season’s eatings with waste-free recipes

We had a little too much post-Christmas bubble and squeak last year, so I’ve been on the look-out for waste-free recipes to have at the ready.

  Boxing Day Burritos (Abel and Cole –

Wrap up your Christmas dinner leftovers in a flour tortilla – just add a gravy dip.


Large flour tortillas.

A few handfuls of cooked veg, such as braised red cabbage, Brussels sprouts, boiled carrots

1 tbsp butter

A few handfuls of leftover turkey

150 ml leftover gravy, plus extra to serve.

A few handfuls of leftover roast potatoes and parsnips

2-3 Yorkshire puddings

2-3 tbsp leftover stuffing

2-3 tbsp leftover bread sauce

4 tbsp cranberry sauce


1. Heat your oven to 100°C/Fan 80°C. Unpack the tortillas and place them in a large square of foil. Lay the tortillas in the foil and wrap it around them to make a loose parcel. Place on the bottom shelf of the oven to gently warm.

2.If you’re using any chunky veg, like carrot batons or whole Brussels sprouts, roughly chop them so all the veg are roughly the same size. Place a medium-sized pan on a medium heat and add 1 tbsp butter. Add the veg and gently fry, stirring often, for 4-5 mins till the veg have warmed through. Scoop the veg into a heatproof dish, cover with foil and place in the oven to keep warm.

3.Roughly chop the turkey. Scoop it into the pan you reheated the veg in and add around 150ml gravy – enough to just cover the turkey. Set on a medium heat and reheat for 4-5 mins, stirring occasionally, till the turkey is piping hot all the way through and the gravy has reduced to coat the turkey. Scoop into a heatproof dish, cover with foil and pop in the oven to keep warm.

4.Roughly chop the roast potatoes and/or parsnips to make small chunks around ½cm across. Wipe the pan clean and place it back on a medium heat. Add 1-2 tbsp oil and, when it’s hot, add the chopped roasties and fry, stirring, for 3-4 mins, till they’re warmed through and a little crisp. Scoop into a heatproof bowl and place in the oven to keep warm.

5.If you have leftover Yorkshire puddings, slice them into thin strips. If you have any cooked stuffing, chop it into small chunks (unless it’s soft and can be easily spooned into the burrito). Pour around 400-500ml gravy into the pan and set on a medium-low heat to slowly warm while you’re assembling the burritos. You want it to come to the boil, then turn the heat down so it stays steaming hot.

6.Take the flour tortillas, veg, turkey and roasties out of the oven, but leave the oven on. Place 1 tortilla on your work surface. Spread 1 tbsp bread sauce (if using), then 1 tbsp cranberry sauce down the middle of the tortilla. Top with a handful of the roasties, then the veg and then the turkey, making sure it forms a strip down the middle of the tortilla, leaving a gap at the sides. Top with a few strips of Yorkshire pudding and some stuffing.

7.Using both hands, fold the sides in over the filling, then use your thumbs to pull the bottom of the tortilla up and over the filling to create a pouch. Fold the top corners of the tortilla over the filling, so you have something that looks quite square. Roll the burrito to enclose the filling. Transfer to a heatproof plate, seam-side-down, and place on the bottom shelf of the oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and fillings.

8.To serve, pour the hot gravy into small serving bowls and halve the burritos. Serve them with the gravy for dunking.

Yeo Valley’s Sweetcorn and Turkey Chowder (


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 400g potatoes cut into cubes
  • 5 litres of chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 350g sweetcorn, tinned or frozen
  • 400g leftover turkey cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 200g crème fraiche
  • Small bunch of parsley, chopped


Heat the oil in a large saucepan, then add the celery and onion. Cover and sweat over a medium heat for 5 mins.

Pour the stock into the pan along with the potatoes and bay leaves and simmer for 10 mins until the potatoes start to become tender.

Add the turkey, sweetcorn and a good grind of black pepper. Cook for another 5 mins. Check the vegetables are cooked and adjust the seasoning.

Stir in the crème fraîche then divide between 4 bowls and top with the parsley.

Cheesy Sprout Bake (Becketts Farm –

Serves: 6-8


5 slices back bacon, diced

3 tbsp butter

1 small onion

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1kg Brussels sprouts, halved

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper

300ml double cream

50g Cheddar, grated

50g gruyere, grated


  • Preheat the oven to 190°. In a large, shallow frying pan or oven-safe dish, melt the butter and fry the bacon until crispy, over a medium heat.
  • Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon keeping as much of the cooking fats in the pan. Fry the onion, garlic and sprouts together, stirring well to combine. Add in the dry seasoning and spices then stir. Cook all together over a medium heat until tender and gently browning (approx. 10 minutes).
  • Remove from the heat and pour over the cream. Top with both cheeses and the crisped bacon.
  • Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbling.

Sprout Leaves Pesto

(Conor Spacey, Wasted)

Place outer sprout leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds, then refresh under cold water.

Squeeze dry and add equal quantities of the leaves with basil to a blender.

Add toasted nuts and Parmesan cheese and blend, slowly adding rapeseed oil and salt and pepper until it becomes a paste.

 Merry Mince Pie Tiffin (Abel and Cole –

A great way to use up any last mince pies that have gone a bit stale by turning them into an easy fridge cake.


  • 150g milk or dark chocolate
  • 125g butter
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 100g agave syrup
  • 2 clementines
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 50g dried cranberries
  • 300g mince pies
  • 30g white chocolate
  • Method:
  • 1. Line the base and sides of a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper. Roughly chop the chocolate and dice the butter. Scoop them into a heatproof bowl. Add the agave syrup[ and cocoa powder. Finely grate in the zest from 2 clementines. Squeeze in the juice.
  • 2. Melt the chocolate in your preferred way – bain-marie or at a low setting in the microwave.
  • 3. Toast the flaked almonds in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring often for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Add them and the dried cranberries to the melted chocolate. Crumble in the mince pies, breaking them into small chunks. Stir in until everything is coated and combined.
  • 4. Spoon them into the baking dish and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours till set.
  • To decorate – roughly chop the white chocolate and melt it. Using a fork or spoon drizzle the melted white chocolate over the tiffin. Return to the fridge for 1 hour.
  • 6. To serve – lift the tiffin out of the dish and peel off the paper. Slice into squares.

.And other tips:

  • Portion-wise 200g of cooked turkey is enough for most people. Factor in 250g of potatoes per person and 80g of other vegetables, such as sprouts, carrots, cabbage and parsnips.
  • Most items from the dinner can be frozen afterwards, including turkey, cranberry sauce and cooked vegetables, as well as cake and chocolates.
  • Turn veggie peels and ragged sprout leaves into crisps. Scrub and peel your veg, then fry in oil, toss with salt and rosemary and serve.
  • Scoop up leftover veg and whizz in the blender with veg stock for instant soup.
  • Create meat stock from your turkey carcass. Add it to a pan of cold water, simmer with onions and bay, then strain after 3 hours.

Our 12 tips of Christmas

Are you struggling to convince your family that green doesn’t equal mean when it comes to Christmas?  We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you along the way.

1. Buy to recycle – If Christmas isn’t Christmas for you without cards – and a message on Facebook just doesn’t cut it – then buy with care and an eye on recyclability.

This means avoiding cards decorated with glitter, foil, ribbon, cellophane etc. It’s incredible how many cards feature these in abundance. Manufacturers, please stop using glitter to create the illusion of frost! Customers, stop buying these cards and perhaps manufacturers will take notice.

Support small businesses who have taken the Naked Cards pledge. This is a campaign by designers and illustrators to stop wrapping cards in cellophane. Millions of cards are sold this way. Cellophane is a single-use plastic that takes a long time to degrade completely in landfill. The campaigners hope to cut down on plastic one card at a time by keeping cards ‘naked’ – either sold in paper bags or with small peelable stickers keeping card and envelope together.    

Also look for cards that are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified so you know the paper used has been sustainably and ethically produced. FSC certified means the card is generated from well managed forests.  

2.Decorate with cards – Christmas cards make great free decorations. I save my favourite cards and reuse them every year. Yes, it does make me look as though I have hundreds of friends. Beautiful cards are small, cheap works of art. Why would you throw them out? Keeping cards from loved ones who are no longer here in person keeps them close at Christmas.

A few years ago a friend showed me an idea on Pinterest that I just had to copy (this is why I never go on Pinterest). It was a wall display using Christmas cards arranged in the shape of a Christmas tree. It looked fantastic, or so I thought.  It was only when I was taking the display down in January that my husband asked wonderingly, ‘…Are those cards shaped like a Christmas tree?’

The card tree took quite a long time to make so I haven’t repeated it; I came up with my own lazy version instead. The large picture over our mantelpiece depicts an African landscape. It’s fine for 11 months of the year but, of course, it doesn’t exactly scream Christmas, so to make it festive for December I create a display on top of the frame’s glass by blutacking Christmas cards onto it. With a bit of creative manoeuvring you can’t see the original picture underneath. Ok, you might be able to see the odd bit of original picture but it’s Christmas, chill out.

DIY decorating with cards

3.Save your stamps – Don’t forget you can save stamps – including new or used, first or second-class and foreign – for many charities. Stamps are sold by weight so the more the better for raising much-needed funds. Cut the stamp off the envelope making sure to leave roughly 1cm of envelope bordering the stamp.

4.Give pre-loved – Not long ago, giving a second-hand gift risked giving offence. In some quarters it still might, but times have changed. To more and more people, giving a gift that’s ‘pre-loved’ doesn’t mean you don’t care and couldn’t be bothered.  It looks like you do care and you are bothered – about the planet as well as the person.

 As someone who has always shopped in charity shops, I would be delighted to receive a second-hand gift, but I would only gift second-hand to people who feel the same way. It depends on the recipient; with some people it’s a no-no, but there could be others who are open to the suggestion, especially the young. Why not have the conversation?   

Keep up to date with the second-hand choices available – the market is expanding rapidly as supply keeps up with demand. I only discovered recently that the second-hand site Vinted is not just for clothes but includes toys, homeware and books.

Steven Bethell, co-founder of the used clothing chain Beyond Retro, says second-hand shopping is booming as people try to save cash and live sustainably.

‘I think there is a category shift, in sensitivity and understanding of the environment, you can’t go back from, ‘ he says. ‘You can’t uncare that the planet is burning up. ‘

Also look out for church fairs throughout the year.  Parishioners are generous with donations and save their best things and lovely but unwanted gifts for the church’s summer and Christmas fairs.  

I read that Nigella Lawson doesn’t give gifts to adults. This strike me as very sensible. It’s too late for me this year – that ship has sailed – but perhaps I’ll start sounding out family members next summer. That’s still early enough for everybody to be free from the gravitational pull of the emotional blackmail that comes with Christmas. People are still able to think straight in July and the words ‘Scrooge’ and ‘Grinch’ are on summer holiday.

5. Use reusable crackers – ( – These crackers slot together for you to fill yourself and they can be used year after year. In reviews, customers say they are easy to put together, a good size to fit things in and the designs look good on the festive table.

This is also a fun activity to do with children, especially if you write your own jokes! All you have to buy new is the snaps that make the bang. You can also get low-noise snaps for those who don’t like loud noises.

6.Buy ethically – Support charity websites, B Corp companies and small businesses that prioritise sustainable ethical practices. Look for gifts made from sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, bamboo, hemp and recycled materials. Check out Cards that contain seeds in the paper are a lovely idea – you plant the card in a garden with just a bit of water and it grows into flowers (

Look into Green Grads – a scheme that supports makers using recycled or waste materials.

Visit craft fairs and makers’ markets – these are popular with people who want gifts to be handmade, not mass produced.

7.Make presents – If you can sew, knit, cook, bake, draw, grow or make stuff then apply these skills to making your own gifts. It’s a way of saving money but no one can argue that you haven’t made an affort; it requires a lot more thought than a click. Home-made gifts used to be fairly unusual but they are becoming increasingly popular as a way to show you care but don’t want to give unwanted presents.

These are the gifts that people remember. Last year a neighbour, remembering that I had told her my dad would much prefer spicy food to the traditional turkey, came round on Christmas morning with plates piled high with freshly-made samosas. She’s of Pakistani heritage so they were delicious. Samosas go great with roast turkey dinner, we discovered. The thoughtfulness of this homemade gift really made our Christmas.

8.Offer your time – Adults love the offer of baby-sitting or gardening services, for example. Earlier this year a friend who wanted to thank me for something said it with flowers – no, not a bouquet; she came round to our house with some cuttings from her garden and, knowing I’m a rubbish gardener, planted them for me. All summer long I thought of her every time I looked out at her colourful handiwork. So much nicer than a box of chocolates.

You can also buy experiences as opposed to gifts A friend told me that earlier in the year she had filed away a comment made by her daughter-in-law that a certain restaurant was her favourite place to eat. My friend then phoned the restaurant to buy a meal voucher as a gift. This has the added benefit of showing that you really listen to people!  I’ve also gifted vouchers for a local beauty salon – this keeps money circulating locally, boosting the high street.

9.Borrow Christmas – The rental market has expanded dramatically. As well as clothes you can also rent toys and bikes and, if you’re expecting an influx of guests, you can rent tables, sofas and even table decorations.

10. Avoid food waste – We know that when it comes to food, reducing waste is best. For great ideas see the Kitche food waste app at and Love Food Hate Waste.

The key to reducing waste is planning meals. This involves knowing how many people you’ll be catering for and how you’ll be using any leftovers. Love Food Hate Waste has a handy portion planner to help you avoid over-buying.   

Reasons why people end up with so much waste at Christmas include: wanting to indulge, worry about running out of something and the feeling that everybody else is doing it.  

Planning is important so map out the meals you’ll be serving, checking in your cupboards, fridge and freezer for what you’ve already got.  

Think of batch cooking dishes you can easily scale up, such as curry or chilli. Do a shopping list and stick to it.

Don’t feel the need to stick to tradition by making things that family members don’t really like – perhaps that means turkey, sprouts, Christmas pudding, parsnips, mince pies? If it does, find alternatives.

11.Compost what you can – if you’re reading this you are probably a composting enthusiast so enjoy the fact that in putting your organic waste through the composting cycle it will return to you as soil food in the spring.  

You also won’t have the problem of storing growing piles of bin bags while awaiting the first refuse collection in January. Our family got notice this week that our first collection after December 22nd will be January 8th – that’s a long time to store mounting rubbish.

12.Dial it down – I’ll sign off for Christmas with my biggest tip, one that comes from the lived experience of many Christmases some more successful than others and a few consigned to the waste bin of family history: Focus on what matters.

You don’t have to dial everything up to the max just because that’s what the adverts show. In fact, tread carefully with all those ads. Don’t believe the face of the cook as he/she smiles serenely, feeding the 5000 sitting expectantly at the table – they’re models and actors.

Also remember that no one’s stomach expands magically like Mary Poppins’ bag just because it happens to be December 25th. Let’s not forget that those ads will change on the stroke of midnight, as fast as Cinderella’s ballgown, from encouraging you to gorge yourself silly to suggesting it’s high time you joined a slimming programme, Fatty.

 Last year our induction hob stopped working on December 23rd.  Despite fearing I was going to have a meltdown, in actual fact I came to my senses. While waiting for the electrician, I realised that this really wasn’t a disaster; if we had to eat tuna sarnies for Christmas dinner, would it really matter in the scheme of things? This year’s mishap is next year’s anecdote. Too soon? Ok, whenever.

In the end the electrician saved the day but the lesson I learned still stands. Time for a reality check. However you choose to spend Christmas, just enjoy it in your own way. It’s allowed.


Spare Parts