Waste not, want ALOT
BBC Good Food asked me to think about a menu for an entire weekend which would create zero edible food waste at the end of it.
From jars of grainy honey to the half-squeezed lemon you don’t have the heart to throw away (until you do, of course), food waste happens to those of us with even the best of intentions. But what if there are even more ways to reduce food waste by eating or repurposing trimmings? Could you keep the leaves from that cauliflower? Use the skins from your potatoes? The answer is yes.
Every recipe in the weekend plan worked hard to use each ingredient to its maximum potential. I focused on a standard storecupboard, without calling for too many extras, plus one shop for the fresh stuff. Then the idea is you're free to enjoy getting creative in the kitchen – without the guilt trip.
The menu (you can search for all of these recipes on bbcgoodfood.com). Of course I doubt very much anyone cooked the whole thing, but the point is to inspire. Even if you learn one new trick (such as using your potato skins for some pretty fabulous chips) then I've succeeded.
Saturday brunch: Smoky roasted veg, marinated feta & lime
Teatime bake: Pineapple passion bundt
Dinner for 4: Grilled sea bass, crisp potato skins & crab butter; Charred onion & tomato salad Espresso mud cakes, chocolate syrup & ice cream
Sunday lunch: Braised lamb, with spring veg & gremolata; Pan-fried potato gnocchi; Peanut butter berry crisp
My recipe testing photos went awol for this one - for a lesson from the master (that's Photographer Peter Cassidy), take a look at the recipe link here
Getting clever with the leftovers
I made stock with the bones, lime and carrot chilli pickle with lime skins and carrot. Golden pineapple iced tea with the pineapple skin. Home made vanilla extract with 'dead' vanilla pods. and possibly my favourite, Preserved lemon and lime squeezes. if you like preserved lemons, you'll love those, and be amazed that there is so much potential in something you'd ordinarily chuck.
Have you made the pledge to keep your food bin hungry? A few tips:
· Meal planning isn’t a terribly gripping subject but when it comes to reducing food waste it’s really vital to get friendly with lists and what you already have in the house.
· Scan the fridge and cupboards before your shop and think along the lines of like-for-like. No squash for the salad but you have parsnips? Use those. No peas but you have frozen broad beans? Go for it. Canned pulses are mainly interchangeable, as are salad leaves, green leafy veg, roots, even meat and fish to an extent.
· Don’t automatically peel your veg. Most skins are edible and are often the most strongly flavoured part – and high concentrations of vitamins and fibre live just beneath the skin too.
· I’m no green fingers but I have had luck growing on rosemary, thyme and sage from supermarket pots. Sorting yourself a little herb garden gives you meal options without any effort and will save your herbs from withering in the back of the fridge.