Reduce. My lovely tarte tatin, which was so going to impress our French dinner guest, was reduced to a cinder. I'd popped it in the oven as we sat down to eat and what with the lively conversation and the wine (with a backdrop of hyperactive toddler) I completely forgot to go back and check it 15 minutes later. Because I'd shut the kitchen door, the acrid smell of burnt sugar didn't reach me until it was too late, far too late. There was a time when I would have been devastated by such a disaster. But I'm 40 now and can roll with the punches. I announced cheerfully to the dinner guests, "Dessert's burned - I hope you don't mind filling up on salad and cheese!"
Recycle. A small bit of the pastry I'd made for the tarte tatin, slightly larger than a hen's egg, remained in the fridge. I rolled it out as thinly as I could.
Reuse. I carefully lifted the thin crust onto a small earthenware dish I found in the back of the cupboard. Amazingly, this lovely little dish came with a frozen dinner I bought some months ago. I was trying to get the toddler to branch out a bit culinarily and so bought a frozen gratin de choux fleurs (cauliflower gratin). He turned up his nose but I thought it was tasty. And I loved the dish. So much so that I bought another so I would have a set of two. (Must remember to stock up on frozen dinners...)
I peeled, quartered and chopped a couple of apples and tossed them with two small spoonfuls of flour and two small spoonfuls of sugar. Then I added a small handful of dried currents (no raisins to hand, alas) and a few dried blueberries. As you can see, there wasn't quite enough dough to cover the little makeshift tart. But there was enough tart for two for a little after-dinner treat. I don't often make dessert (well, you can see why, what with the burnt disaster that started this story). So the Critic and I enjoyed it all the more for the fact that it was a rare treat. And particularly good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yum.