Life Eat & Drink Food hacks to make the mouth-watering most of festive season leftovers

Food hacks to make the mouth-watering most of festive season leftovers

Christmas lunch is great at the time, but after day three of cold cuts and potato salad, it gets a bit tired. Try these re-make recipes. Photo: Getty
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At this time of the year, no one has the energy to do much at all.

Every movement is accompanied with a groan-like exclamation as our bodies struggle with the beast-mode attack we launched on the Christmas ham earlier this week. And the pudding. And the potato salad. And then the ham again at 11.39pm, standing in front of an open fridge in a dark kitchen, tearing chunks off the bone with your bare hands.

So every tip that helps us (a) save time and energy, and (b) make that enormous Chrissy spread last as long as possible, is welcome.

Chef Adam Liaw revealed his barbecue secret to the twittersphere on Friday, to much fanfare.

Will it take off? Time will tell.

Will it change the world? Just maybe.

Watch this space.

In slightly more helpful food hacks, Sustainability Victoria this year surveyed a bunch of Australians about their Christmas food habits, and found an overwhelming 82 per cent want to reduce their food waste this festive season.

While most of the respondents acknowledged they did try to minimise wastage when putting on the traditional lunch, 42 per cent said they over-cooked ‘just in case’ (of what, we’re not sure),  and 30 per cent said their food waste came from leftovers that just did not get eaten.

Sustainability Victoria’s tips suggest your two biggest best mates when it comes to not wasting food and money is pre-planning, and the freezer.

Plan ahead with shopping lists and meal plans, the organisation said.

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Here’s what I did with the leftover boiled kipflers – a Baltic reinvention using much the same stuff you’ll already have from the Scando potato salad: I kept the skins on, melted butter and olive oil in the pan, used a potato masher to squash the spuds slightly (hellooo newfound crispy edges) and popped them into a hot oven, along with the woody ends of dill (these are for eating as you might artichoke leaves – rasped with the teeth!) which I pre-chopped the rest of finely in anticipation. Once golden (15-ish mins), I pulled them out, chucked in some sliced Spanish onion to warm through and release more flavour, and the finely chopped dill. The wedges of avocado are just gilding the lily, but when isn’t avo an improvement? Those little fishies are sprats – a tiny herring, smoked and preserved in oil like sardines. The flavour is smokier and richer, and the blend even finer (the whole fish melts in your mouth). You can find them in continental delis and my pantry always.

A post shared by Alice Zaslavsky (@aliceinframes) on

When you do come face to face with the inevitable leftover deluge, turn to your freezer (which, in your pre-planning phase, would have been cleaned out).

You can freeze cheese (yep, really), and the ham-on-the-bone to transform in pea and ham soup when it’s no longer stinking hot.

Just make sure you label everything before you freeze it, lest it turn into an unidentifiable frozen lump.

They also shared a bunch of recipes that mean you’re not stuck eating the same leftover lump-together for the next week (there’s only so many ham sandwiches one can handle, after all).

Here’s one for roast potato and vegie frittata – check out more here.


1 tbsp olive oil
3 spring onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 or 3 roast potatoes, sliced
225g cooked asparagus spears
75g hard cheese, diced
7 eggs
3 tbsp water
freshly ground pepper

Garnish: grated parmesan cheese


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the spring onions and garlic for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, asparagus and diced cheese to the pan.
  3. Heat the grill.
  4. Beat the eggs with the water, season to taste and pour into the pan. Reduce the heat and cook for 10–15 minutes until the frittata is almost set.
  5. Place the pan under the hot grill for 2–3 minutes, until golden and set.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan and cut into slices to serve. Eat within one day.

Tip: Use any leftover cooked vegetables in the frittata or for a meaty version, add diced ham or bacon.

Leftovers: Reheat and top with a poached egg, roast tomatoes or fried mushrooms for a weekend breakfast.

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