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The Review - FOOD & DRINK- Cooking with CLARE
Published: 24 April 2008
Waste not, want not and buck the throwaway trend

Clare Latimer makes dishes fit for a queen – with last night’s leftovers

WITH prices of food going up due to fuel increases and the price of wheat going through the roof, I think we should all think about the amount of food that we throw away.
When I was a child, not one morsel was thrown out and I have been wondering why we waste so much now.
My feeling is that we buy many more ready- made meals and they have sell-by dates on them. You only have to go out unexpectedly for two evenings in a week and then the food that you have bought is out of date and you feel that it is better to throw it away rather than risk eating it.
Another reason is that it’s easier to do one big shop each week as parking is such a nightmare so we buy more than we need and there are all the temptations in the supermarkets.
Leftovers are often thrown away as we prefer to have a new piece of food than reheat or rehash last night’s dinner.
All these reasons add up to tons of food being chucked into our bins.
I think we should make more effort to buy fresh ingredients and then make up the leftovers into some of the old-fashioned but delicious dishes that were used in the past.

Chicken à la Queen
What a terrible name for this dish. It can’t now be called Chicken à la King for obvious reasons but doesn’t it make you think of the war! I have up- graded the ingredients and now it is fit for the Queen. Following this week’s theme, you are meant to use up the chicken meat from a previous roast and then use the vegetables from the fridge, so do alter the ingredients to suit your left overs.

Serves 2

250g cooked chicken meat, removed from the carcase
Stock made from the carcase, see below
125g white rice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small knob butter
½ red pepper, cored, deseeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 red onion, peeled and chopped finely
Few mushrooms, wiped and sliced (optional)
Handful peas, broad beans, chopped broccoli and/or fennel, chopped (all optional)
1 small tub crème fraiche
Handful chopped ­parsley, optional.

Take the chicken off the carcase and put the bones into a large saucepan and cover with water. Add any off-cuts from your vegetables and season with salt.
Bring to the boil, cover and reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Strain into a jug.
Put the rice into a saucepan and cover with the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer for as long as instructed on the packet and then drain or let “dry out”.
While this is cooking, put the oil, butter, garlic and onion into a large frying pan and gently cook for about five minutes or until the onion is soft.
Add the rest of the vegetables that you are using and then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for about five minutes or until the vegetables are cooked, or less time if they have been previously cooked.
Add the chicken meat, crème fraiche and parsley and stir over a gentle heat until warmed through. Serve on a bed of rice.

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