Conjure up a weekday lunch with food you probably have in your kitchen with our flexible formulas. Not only will you use up those odds and ends in the fridge, your culinary confidence will grow as you discover the framework of each dish and what can be substituted


A few leaves do not a meal make, but it doesn’t take much to turn them into something magnificent


Try these two simple methods from The Great British Bake Off judge to use up leftovers and surplus fresh food 

Surprise patty

 ‘If I have any starchy leftovers, such as risotto, mash, or rice, I’ll mix them with any leftover chopped or flaked protein, such as fish, chicken or ham, then add a bit of veg, either leftover or fresh, and fried onions,’ says Prue. ‘I mould this all into a patty – sometimes using a bit of beaten egg to bind it all together – and fry it in oil or butter, like a fishcake. It still works without meat. Just make sure the mix tastes great, with lots of seasoning, and maybe a touch of chilli, or some grated cheese.’

Fab frittata

‘Chop leftover veg roughly and heat it in a frying pan with a bit of butter,’ she says. ‘Then add a mixture of two cups of milk and three eggs beaten together with plenty of seasoning. Scatter with grated cheese and cook gently on the hob to set the underside. Put under the grill to set the top and brown the cheese.’


Look in your fridge and store cupboard for likely leftovers to add body and flavour


Once you begin to understand the building blocks of different dishes, you can be flexible, substituting related ingredients, depending on what you have. If you don’t have kale, the chances are that broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, or spinach will work. No potatoes? How about carrots, sweet potatoes, or other starchy vegetables such as squash or swede?