Even the saddest bowl of cold rice can be turned into an international dish of wonder

German Kartoffelpuffer

Made with: leftover mashed potato


You know how it is when you make far too much mash. It never looks that appealing the next day, especially if you're not covering it in gravy. Enter the Kartoffelpuffer. Aside from having the world's cutest name, these beauties are a delicious way to rehash old mash. Add a beaten egg, finely chopped onion, then roll into balls, flatten and fry.


By all means freestyle with what you've got. Finely chopped leek, spring onion or chives would work at treat mixed into the mash. Serve with an optional dollop of sour cream.

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Made with: leftover risotto / rice


Breathe new life into your cold leftover risotto with this Italian street food special (either that or it's the perfect dish for when you've messed up the rice-to-sauce ratio again). Rather than chucking the extra away, roll it into balls with cheese and/or ham and, cover in 'pangrattato' (they're breadcrumbs and here's how you make them) and deep fry. Beyond delicious.


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Made with: any old leftover veg, curly cabbage and stale bread


The Italians are reigning champions of delicious leftover food and this Tuscan soup is about as close as you can get to an 'anything goes' ingredients policy. Toss in your leftover vegetables and some curly cabbage with a tin of cannelini beans and layer up with stale bread . The bread is said to be a throwback to the middle ages back when Lords ate their meals from bowls made of stale bread. Peasants would gather them up after the meal to eat later.

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Chinese egg fried rice

Made with: leftover rice, meat and vegetables


For a midweek packed lunch or quick dinner that sings of the east add some eggs and sesame oil. In Chinese banquets egg fried rice is traditionally the course served up right before the dessert (because, why not) but you can whizz yours up at any time of day (or night).

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Photograph: Jean Cazals


Frittata di pasta

Made with: leftover pasta


If you find the idea of eating spag bol for dinner and then lunch again the next day a bit dullsville, why not think outside the box? This Neapolitan spaghetti tart made with eggs and a sprinkle of cheese makes your leftover spag suddenly very transportable and is very impressive packed lunch. By all means swap in other types of pasta, the Italians aren't precious about these things.

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Pain perdu

Made with: stale bread


You probably forget this every time you chuck a stale loaf in the bin, but a bit of dry old bread will make you a sensational breakfast. You might still call it eggy bread, but pain perdu sounds much more fun (it translates as 'lost bread'). Of course it is at its most authentically French when made with yesterday's baguette. Top with fresh fruit.

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