Michelle Darmody: Easy recipes for using up leftover bread

Stale bread — a most versatile ingredient
Michelle Darmody: Easy recipes for using up leftover bread

Reducing the food you throw out at home will help with the food waste problem, but it will also save you money.

Food waste is a pressing issue. The majority of it happens on a large scale among industrial food producers and big retailers, but everyone along the food chain is becoming more aware.

Reducing the food you throw out in your own kitchen will help with the food waste problem, but it will also save you money.

Along with salad leaves and potatoes, bread is the item that gets thrown away most often. I started to list all the uses for leftover bread and found myself writing a list so long it left me thinking of stale bread as a resource rather than a leftover.

Eat the Streets is a food and sustainability festival taking place in the National Museum of Ireland Collins Barracks today, and Conor Spacey is one of the chefs appearing. As well as his huge and creative innovations around food waste, he is also the Irish ambassador for Chef Manifesto, advocating for a a better, more sustainable food future, especially zero waste in restaurant kitchens. Conor also makes a very good cake using leftover bread and has kindly shared the recipe.

Here’s a selection from my list: Breadcrumbs can be used in burgers, meatballs, breading chicken or aubergine, making stuffing. Toasted lemon breadcrumbs are ideal for adding to pasta or topping a casserole. A strata is a layered casserole made with bread, eggs, cheese, and sometimes vegetables or meat and Ribollita is a Tuscan bean stew that uses day-old bread.

Croutons, bruschetta, crostini, garlic bread, Italian panzanella salad, bread sauce. Pita bread chips for dips. French toast in all its guises. A betty or a charlotte. Bread and butter pudding is always a fallback and it can be made with different additions, dried fruits, nuts, spices — leftover brack or current buns make an excellent pudding. A savoury version with ham, cheese and bechamel is very tasty.

Or simply make toast, melted cheese optional

Conor’s leftover bread chocolate cake

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

Use your leftover bread to make this delicious dessert.

Conor’s leftover bread chocolate cake



Preparation Time

18 mins

Cooking Time

20 mins

Total Time

38 mins




  • 400g stale bread

  • 140g brown sugar

  • 60g cocoa powder

  • 10g baking powder, sieved

  • 2 large free-range eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 300ml milk

  • 100g chocolate pieces

  • To decorate:

  • 300g chocolate

  • 300ml full fat cream

  • a selection of fresh berries to garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 150°C and line an 8-inch round cake tin with parchment.

  2. Break the bread into pieces and put in a blender, blend until it becomes breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, cocoa powder and the baking powder and pulse until mixed through.

  3. Add the eggs, vanilla and milk, blend until it becomes a cake batter.

  4. Scoop the batter into your prepared tin and sprinkle over the chocolate pieces.

  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Once cool enough to handle place onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  6. To make the ganache slowly heat your cream, but don’t let it boil. After two minutes, pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for two minutes then slowly whisk the cream and chocolate until totally combined, allow to cool to room temperature.

  7. Pour the ganache over the cake until completely covered. Place in the fridge to set.

  8. Garnish with fresh berries and enjoy.

Peach Charlotte

recipe by:Michelle Darmody

A great way to use up leftovers.

Peach Charlotte



Preparation Time

15 mins

Cooking Time

25 mins

Total Time

40 mins




  • 6 thick slices of leftover bread

  • 25g soft butter

  • ½ tbsp lght muscovado sugar

  • the zest of an orange

  • 500g of peaches, destoned and sliced

  • 1 tbsp of honey

  • 4 green cardamon pods, lightly crushed


  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C and butter an ovenproof dish, that is about 1 litre in volume.

  2. Butter the bread and cut each slice into four triangles. Sprinkle with the sugar and orange zest and set aside.

  3. Blitz a quarter of the peaches with the honey. Toss the remaining peaches in the puree with the cardamon pods and tip everything into your prepared dish.

  4. Place the triangles of bread on top, overlapping them slightly so they cover the fruit beneath.

  5. Place a lid on your dish or alternatively cover it in foil. Bake for 15 minutes then remove the foil and bake for a further ten minutes until the peaches are soft and the top is golden.

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