The Leftovers Handbook

A couple of years ago my huge (in both senses of the word; he is 6’6”) friend Ian said to me 
If you know so much about leftovers why don’t you write a book?” 

or something similar.  It was a good idea but I don’t mind telling you I was as daunted as heck

However much to my own surprise here it is!!  A real grown up published book, let me tell you about it ...

Click here for more details.

As the title says - the book is an "A-Z of every conceivable ingredient in your kitchen with inspirational ideas and recipes for using them" but there is more to it than that.  Leftovers have always been my favourite ingredient; I am much happier and more creative confronted with a seemingly random collection of ingredients than I ever am when I can choose from pretty well all the food in the World! 

Each of the ingredients in the A-Z contains some ideas on food pairing which are useful to see what other leftovers you might be able to combine together.  There are some ideas on storage and freezing, the occasional Handy Hint, a list of short suggestions and ideas, some complete recipes and any jokes, anecdotes or quotes I think relevant.  Towards the end of the book I give a chapter of basic recipes which can be useful for all sorts of leftovers and the whole book is cross referenced.  I am very proud of it!

Because the book is so stuffed with info there are no photos, just a few basic line drawings at the start of each letter.  I have, however, taken lots and lots of pics as I've cooked and tested ideas and these I will now start publishing on my new Pinterest Board which to save any confusion I have called 'The Leftovers Handbook'. 

Reviews ...

Chocolate Log Blog

The Leftovers Handbook and Quick Banana and Chocolate Ice-Cream

Earlier this year, fellow Cornish food blogger Suzy Bowler published the most fabulous book of ideas and recipes for using up leftovers. This is a hot topic now and quite rightly so. The UK wastes a phenomenal amount of food and with rising food prices and people going hungry, this really isn't on. However, this isn't your average how to be frugal cookbook. It is, in Suzy's own words, "about getting the utmost pleasure out of every single scrap of food available to you". Suzy is a chef by profession and very obviously loves good food. Do take a look at her blog Sudden Lunch where you will find more inspiring ideas to convert leftovers into "eating opportunities".

The Leftovers Handbook is an A-Z of ingredients that are likely to be in your kitchen and might well be in need of using up. There are hundreds of interesting, creative and sometimes very simple ideas to be found within the 288 pages of this book. All the obviously perishable foods such as blackberries, cauliflower and yogurt are covered, but there are plenty of others which are less obvious. How annoying is that last small glassful of sherry in a bottle which is taking up precious cupboard space? Look no further, Suzy has it covered. And how about leftover dhal? Form it into patties, cover in flour and fry. I love dhal and usually make megga quantities to last for a few days. It does sometimes get a bit boring by day three however, so I'm quite excited by this idea. Being vegetarian I skipped over the ideas for anchovies, bacon fat and various other fleshy substances.

The very first ingredient I looked for was, obviously, chocolate and I wasn't disappointed. Leftover chocolate does seem a bit of a contradiction in terms, but I do sometimes use odd quantities in cooking and get left with just a few squares of very dark chocolate that I don't want to eat. As well as several recipes, including one for hot chocolate caramel sauce, there were plenty of ideas on how to use up those last few fragments. Suzy includes a number of "cook's treats" which are scattered around the book. The one for chocolate sounds heavenly, but you'll need to get hold of a copy to find out what it is. In the meantime, know this: dark chocolate goes well with stews; dark and milk pair well with a host of ingredients including peanut butter; white chocolate "goes frightfully well with berries".

I had a go at making chocolate banana ice-cream, which was a simple process of mashing up three very ripe bananas and beating in a tablespoon of chocolate spread. So simple and so good. It went straight into the freezer with no fuss and no having to beat out the ice crystals part way through freezing. It was almost instant ice-cream and tasted a lot nicer than I was expecting - a great way to use up brown bananas.

At the back of my store cupboard, I recently noticed a long forgotten half-empty jar of peanut butter. Turning to Suzy's book, I discovered many wonderful things you can do with peanut butter; the ones Suzy lists are all good clean fun. Take peanutty sweet potato soup -that's one I'll be trying as soon as the opportunity arises. The book is peppered with handy hints which are highlighted in the text. I didn't know, for example, that if you used raw kiwi fruit in jellies, an enzyme it contains prevents setting. Along with the ideas and recipes, there are plenty of tips on what pairs well with what. For instance, kumquats go well with duck, ginger, cranberries and cinnamon. This is by no means a prescriptive book - it is all about encouraging your own creativity.

The ideas and recipes are accompanied by witty and amusing commentary that had me smiling and laughing out loud on more than one occasion. I had the book on my bedside table for a while and dipped into it at random before going to sleep. Whatever page I opened, there was something interesting, useful or funny to read. Chips? Suzy gamely states "there really isn't a lot that can be done with leftover chips but I'll give it a try". And she does manage three possibilities.

There is a section at the back covering basic recipes and techniques that don't readily fit into the A-Z format. This includes Alfredo pasta sauce, which I hadn't heard of before, but will be using regularly from now on in. I've already made it twice and it is blissful - perhaps not surprising given the copious quantities of fat involved. It also covers batters, pancakes and fritters, blanching vegetables, dough, eggs, how to freeze fruit and a number of other useful things.
The Leftovers Handbook by Suzy Bowler is in paperback format and is published by How to Books. It retails at £12.99.

Great British Food Magazine ~ July/Aug 2013

... in more detail ...

The Independent Newspaper ...

The Sun ...

Vegetarian Living Magazine ...

Vegetarian Living, who I have written for in the past, ran a competition in their May issue to win one of five copies of The Leftovers Handbook.

Saga ...

Saga have given a mention and an excerpt - they have chosen the bit about biscuits which are, of course, a very important part of life! 

Here is a clipping - to see the rest go here

Writing Magazine

Cornwall Property News

Mumtopia ...

This excellent online refuge for mothers have written a long review here under the title "My Favourite Equation: Something out of Nothing".  

Here's an excerpt ...

Our New Life in the Country ...

See here for a review by this friendly blog about starting a new and frugal life and below for a couple of quotes from said review ...

~   "Her style of writing is just so easy to read it's as though you're chatting to a friend and one that's on the same wavelength as you too." 

~   "Set out for ease of use with hundreds of ideas for using up those little teeny tiny leftovers you find lurking in the fridge, the ones that perhaps your head says "ahh throw it away it's not worth bothering about", but your heart says "that was tasty, it cost me money, I want to use every last little bit"."

Frugal Queen  ~  One woman's journey to pay off her mortgage, drastically reduce consumption and live a simpler life.

Frugal Queen, known as Froogs to her readers, says ...

"Fellow blogger and food writer, Suzy Bowlers, sent me a copy of her book "The leftovers handbook". It's far more than it claims. It has an A - Z of what to do with any ingredient you may have in your home. It gives advice on storage of food items and what to do with stray ingredients you have lying around in your store cupboard or freezer. It's a wealth of information.  I love the idea of turning a half eaten bag of popcorn into a nutty crunchy snake that would be great in a lunch box. There are many ideas and suggestions for herbs and spices that I'd not thought of too. I love the idea, even as hip widening as it is, of sliced Christmas pudding fried in butter and served with custard. I've never thrown left over salad in soup, even though it's wilted, but I will in the future.

It's a great book and will be a favourite on my cookery book shelf.

Now the fun part! Over to you. I want to know your best leftover ideas. Come the dirty food ideas............who would have thought of buttery fried Christmas pudding. If only Elvis had heard of that one!

Here's another favourite..........reheated or warmed leftover Yorkshire puddings served for breakfast with honey! I've got to try that one.................and then go for a very long run!"

Lover of Creating Flavours

Book Review – The Leftovers Handbook

When I was young I used to peer into my Grandmothers fridge in wonderment at the cold potatoes, bowls of cold cuts or vegetables and wonder why they were taking up half the space. Those wonderful treasures would miraculously turn into a soup, or stew and be served the day after or during the week. No food went to waste. This quintessentially British affair with left-overs is a hangover from the war when food was rationed and every last morsel was mashed, minced or made into something tasty. I am the same with food left in the fridge or cupboards, I love creating something from a few ingredients and using spices and herbs from the larder.

If you feel the same about using leftovers then I can truly recommend Suzy Bowler’s wondrous book The Leftovers Handbook. Suzy and I have conversed for a while on social media, discussing recipes and the use of flavours and a few days ago we were very lucky to receive a copy of Suzy’s book. At just under 300 pages this fabulous book guides us through what we can do with a plethora of ingredients all categorised alphabetically from Aubergines to zest. There are tips and handy hints to get you in the mood and if you are looking for leftovers inspiration then this is the book for you.

Interspersed with the ingredients are wonderful recipes, recipes without pictures, a feature I totally agree with. The addition of pictures in cookbooks only serves to increase pressure on the modern-day home cook and experimenting with the flavours and ingredients is far more important than stacking your vegetables or smearing a coulis across your plate. One of the great things about this book is the ease in which each ingredient is showcased and the recipes follow on so naturally.

Its wonderful fun experimenting with leftovers, the next time you peer in your fridge just imagine what you would do with three or four ingredients? Imagine what you could do with the Leftover Handbook to guide you too?

The Leftover handbook is published by Spring Hill and written by Suzy Bowler, a professional chef and hotelier turned freelance food writer. Suzy spent many years on a small island where food supplies were very sparse and she had to make do with what she had. In this book she shares her knowledge and expertise and I for one thank her very much for it.

And here's a great review on Linkedin ...

Suzy Bowler's leftovers

"This really is a fantastic book! I loved Suzy's ice cream e-book and have been waiting for this one to appear. I ordered it at the same time as a frightfully erudite business book, and by comparison the business book is rather unappetising. Apart from being really, really useful, it's a great read. Very funny.

PS My business partner has half-inched 'Leftovers', and I'm thinking of putting something in partnership agreement about its return..

Well done, Suzy! It's one of those really, really useful books and very entertaining to read. Credit where credit is due! :-) 
Thanks! And, er... what's next?"

And so far Leftovers has received fourteen ***** reviews on Amazon  that's 70 gold stars!