leftovers and preserving – my January kitchen

I know preserving doesn’t seem the most likely kitchen activity for the middle of winter but even while I’m making leftover meals (I still have turkey stock for risottos, turkey in the freezer, slow-cooked red cabbage and a lot of Christmas cake) I’m dreaming about Spring/Summer meals. Thanks to the ham and chorizo that’s air-drying next to our wood-store.



In December I bought a pig from a friend who has a small farm, partly so that we could make good use of the cage Guy made (when we had 3 Berkshire pigs to clear the garden) for protecting ham while it hangs outside. We hang it from rafters at the back of our house, under a covered area where the ham can still benefit from wind but stay protected from rain – or snow if we have any. I salt a leg of ham for a couple of weeks first, then wipe it and wrap for hanging as here.

We also made sausages, a plain English style sausage and fresh chorizo. I’d bought hog casings for sausage and salami previously from Weschenfelder and borrowed a friend’s sausage-making equipment. This time I was very excited when Weschenfelder offered to let me try out their sausage-making machine – it meant I could have several sessions of making sausage and chorizo. Ruby was also very keen to get involved so we had a couple of sausage-making fests after school. Thankfully the machine is really easy to assemble and use, perfect for a clumsy Mum and an 8 year old!

Along with the leftover meat going into noodle dishes and Indonesian influenced Nasi Goreng type dinners, the odd toad in the hole or sausage and mash is going to make an appearance amongst the copious January frugal/healthy lentil and egg based dishes.


In my kitchen at the moment there’s also:

-Experimentation for Cowboy style campfire dinners for the Giffords Circus competitionfor this year’s tour of the Cotswolds (a must on my list of things to do for 2016). We’re thinking home-made baked beans (that pig may come in handy here too), cornbread, puds with maple syrup?

– Some lovely Farmers hand-cream that I have to hand. I love the fact that it’s made by the sea in North Wales (already planning a holiday to this wonderful coast for this Summer) and uses lavender grown on a hill farm in mid Wales.


– Lots of enamel ware, including a great little saucepan that I had for Christmas. Earmarked for camping trips this year (I really want to try the Elderflower Orchard at Thistledown Farm this year), in the meantime it’s made warming my milk for morning coffee very pleasurable and has been used for an extra batch of cranberry sauce.


-Plenty of slow cooking on the wood-burning stove. It’s been used to make the red cabbage and cranberry sauce and seems perfect for slowly simmering stews and casseroles from Gennaro Contaldo’s ‘Slow Cook Italian’ one of my current favourite cookery books that I’m enjoying cooking my way through. Pheasant Ragu tonight.

Bubbling away

Not too many New Year resolutions for me but plenty of things I’m full of enthusiasm for cooking and eating this year and so many places I can’t wait to explore.

Would love to link this post in with In My Kitchen, previously hosted by Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial and now by Maureen of Orgasmic Chef. I love the glimpses of other people’s kitchens around the world offered by IMK, and look forward to more beautiful, inspirational and inspiring posts from Celia, Sally of My Custard Pie and many others.




8 thoughts on “leftovers and preserving – my January kitchen

  1. I’m very jealous of your home cured ham and chorizo. I suspect you could air dry large mackerel in the style of mojama from your outdoor rafters 🙂

    • Love the idea of air dried mackerel! Though I suspect I may end up with a putrid mess under the rafters. Would be great to know if anybody else has tried it.

  2. Ok – I want to be in your kitchen right now. So many good things and I’m completely in awe that you made those incredible sausages.
    Did you know I’ve been to every Gifford’s show annually since their first season? We never miss it. The first one was in a tiny pub garden in Cheltenham. It just gets better and better.

    • Thanks Sally and I totally agree re Giffords’ it’s always such a magical, stylish, uplifting treat isn’t it. Looking forward to their show this summer already.

  3. Andrea, I think preserving leftovers in the middle of winter (or any time of year) makes perfect sense — and great future eating. Anything that can be “recycled” into another meal is fair game here, too. (I’m going to adopt your term “preserving” — it sounds much better!) Loved your sausage photo (all of your photos!) and admire you for curing your own ham. The enamel ware will be put to good use at home and out in the wild, and your Pheasant Ragu sounds delicious. I’m wishing I could eat that egg, lentil, & chorizo dish for breakfast right now. 🙂 Happy New Year!

  4. Great hearing what you’ve been doing with the pig, I would love to make some sausages and chorizo etc – so rewarding.

    • Thanks Anna. Actually we’ve had a lot of rain and the outside of the muslin on that ham is looking decidedly dodgy. Hope I’m not going to unwrap a putrid mess in April!


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