Encore, encore


By Jan Bilton

Throwing away food is throwing away cash. There is no excuse for tossing out leftovers from festive meals.

For one thing it’s cheaper than ordering in or rushing off to the supermarket burning fuel and probably spending way too much on more festive fun food — some of which will probably be leftover too.

It’s easy creating enticing eats with leftovers. Tacos are always a winner: chopped cooked meat, crisp salad greens, avocado, a salsa and a little sour cream is all that’s required to fill a crispy corn shell. Leftover veg can be tossed with salad dressing or stir-fried with 90-second rice. Chopped ham is excellent in tossed salads, pasta dishes, stir-fries and frittata — or sliced and barbecued with pineapple. If you’re up to cooking something special for your mid-morning break then add diced ham to cheese scones or muffins.


A tasty recipe for using the leftover festive ham. To make ahead, prepare up until the baking stage. Cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

8 large eggs

Boxing Day Ham Bake

1 1/2 cups milk

2 teaspoon thyme leaves

2 cloves garlic, crushed

freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups leftover cooked vegetables eg potato, kumara, chopped beans, peas

2 cups French bread cubes (hard crusts removed)

250g ham diced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, thyme, garlic and black pepper in a large bowl.

Butter a 28cm x 21cm baking dish. Place the vegetables evenly over the base then cover with the bread cubes, ham and cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden on top and just set.

Can be garnished with fresh thyme sprigs. Serves 6.

  • Jan Bilton is a Cambridge-based, professional food writer. For more of her recipes visit her website here.

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