top of page

A clumsy dance around the fridge

When I have cooked at home this week it has been to cook leftovers - to try and invent something tasty from assorted remnants in the fridge. And last night was no exception. A thrifty and makeshift counterpoint to the previous night's sumptuous French meal at Paris Go, to farewell my sister.

My main problem is rice. I have such a lot of rice leftover - three kinds in fact. The first is basmati rice, flavoured with sauce from the kebabs - and that was used yesterday, along with the leftover kebabs themselves. But I also have more rice - plain cooked brown rice and the same brown rice made tomatoey and spicy.

Theoretically I am now past the safe time to eat leftover rice. The general opinion seems to be two days tops. However, I know for a fact that I have eaten leftover rice which has been over those two days with no unfortunate consequences, so I shall steam ahead anyway. Indeed yesterday's meal has been eaten and we are both still here and as well as we usually are.

So yesterday I gathered together the above. There was what I thought was the last of the basmati rice, although as it happens I did not use it all. There were some stalks and leaves from a fennel bulb that I had used for the family feast a week ago, and the last little piece of fennel itself. There were the remaining beef kebabs - there are still a few of them left, a zucchini, the one leftover cheese stuffed pepper from Saturday's meal and a smear of roast onion and garlic - also from Saturday's meal. Plus a few marinaded green olives.

I had decided in advance to stuff one of those zucchini, so chose the largest of them. I don't think I have ever stuffed zucchini before and I now find that I should maybe have quickly boiled it before stuffing to soften it up a bit. Anyway I didn't. I just sliced it in two lengthways and took out the seeds with a small coffee spoon. Then I scooped out most of the flesh, chopped it up and put it in a bowl with the rice - I only used about two thirds of what you see there, chopped meat and olives, the chopped stuffed pepper and stuffing and the roasted onion and garlic. Mix together, set aside.

In a baking dish I poured in some oil from the olives, and scattered around the tomatoes - the bigger ones being cut in half - to which I added the sliced fennel . The zucchini were nestled between and then filled with the stuffing. Too much of it really - it sort of made a big mound on top, but I figured it might go down a bit. Grated cheddar on top and into a moderately hot oven to cook for around 40 minutes.

And this is what the finished dish looked like. It was OK but there were mistakes I think. Today I found in Felicity Cloake's recipe for perfect stuffed zucchini this quote from a French chef:

“I know that most people add chopped meats to the stuffing, but I don’t think meat makes any sense in stuffed vegetables.” Lulu Peyraud

And you know I think she's right. Not leftover kebabs anyway. Maybe some sausage meat.

Like I said before I probably should have boiled the zucchini slightly because it was just a tiny bit too firm I think. And I really shouldn't have put the cheese on as it went into the oven. It was cooked too much forming a fairly solid carapace on top. Maybe no cheese at all in fact. After all you can also scatter some Parmesan over at the table.

The tomatoes and fennel were good with it though.

I still have the rice problem however. Tonight I think I'm going to try a sort of cross between a fried rice and a risotto. Buttery sautéed rice with grated courgette, the last chopped olives, garlic, onion plus some chopped tomatoes and a bit of leftover red wine. Some of that basil stirred in at the end. Crossing my fingers on that one, but I won't bore you with the process and the results. I really ought to add the last of the meat, but honestly I don't think it fits in. I'll see. Grated Parmesan at the table.

Related Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page