loose-ends1With the festivities of Christmas and New Year over for another year it seems that most fridges and pantries are a gathering point for half-empty jars, but if your New Year’s Resolution was to have a thrifty kitchen then don’t waste money by throwing out those leftover ingredients, instead try these waste cutting ideas.

Black Treacle

  • You’ve made the Christmas cake and now a sticky tin of the black stuff is left leaking in your pantry, next year you’ll probably forget it’s there and buy a replacement. Treacle is a great glaze for gammon all year round though, simply drizzle gammon steaks with a little treacle and then sprinkle over English mustard powder and a little Demerara sugar before grilling.
  • For extra special mashed potatoes combine a teaspoon full of treacle, a pinch of allspice, 1 tsp. fresh thyme, pinch of sea salt and 50g of best butter. Mash thoroughly through freshly boiled potatoes and serve with caramelised onions.
  • For a carrot cake with extra depth add a tablespoon full of treacle to your favourite recipe.


Did you ever get to roast those chestnuts over an open fire or are they still lurking in the cupboard? Whether you have whole chestnuts at your disposal or a half-eaten tin of purée they can be put to good use in the kitchen.

  • Chocolate and chestnuts is a match made in heaven, add 2 tbsp. of chestnut purée to a chocolate sponge cake or mix whipped double cream with chestnut purée and icing sugar for rich filling for sponge cakes.
  • For a nice simple snack, fry mushrooms and garlic in butter, add chopped chestnuts, left over stilton (or cheddar) and a dash of cream. Serve on hot buttered toast.
  • Transform pasta and risotto dishes by stirring in chopped chestnuts.

Candied Peel

  • Finely chop the candied peel and add to lemon sauces for an extra boost of zesty zing.
  • Added to lemon tart filling it brings extra zestiness.
  • Add to vanilla ice-cream for a bit of a change.


Capers are great for quick fix solutions, if you’ve got capers in the cupboard you’re never far away from a sauce.

  • To make a super speedy tartare sauce mix chopped capers, mayonnaise, tarragon and bit of lemon zest.
  • Chopped capers warmed with butter and chopped fresh sage in a pan makes a fabulous sauce for roast field mushrooms or lamb chops.
  • For a quick pasta dressing, mix butter, crushed garlic, chopped capers, freshly chopped parsley and sliced black olives. Warm through and toss through warm pasta.
  • Stir chopped capers and fresh black pepper through mashed potato for a posh mash.


There is more to Marmite than just using it to spread on toast.

  • For a quick boost of flavour to stews and casseroles add a spoonful of Marmite.
  • Mash a ripe avocado with a tsp. of marmite and some grated cheddar spread over thick toast and grill until bubbling.


If you’ve enjoyed a glass of port with the cheeseboard and now the remainder of the bottle is surplus to requirements try injecting some happiness into sauces and mashes.

  • A splash of port added to gravy mixes can add depth
  • Add a drop of port and crumbled stilton to mashed potato for a warming supper
  • Roast field mushrooms with a generous slug of port and topping of cheddar cheese.

So root out those odds and ends and breathe some fresh ideas into your every day dishes, whilst saving money at the same time.

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