Monday, September 9, 2013
Fighting Food Waste and Monday
Today I have done... pretty much nothing. It has been one of those days. It rained. I am trying not to get a cold. You have to feed a cold, right? So I did, all day. Then I had a nap. Now I am feeling like I possibly never need to eat again. I am cleaning up the kitchen while the girls do their homework. Well, I sort of am. Clearly I got a teeny bit distracted from doing that.
Last week was Zero Waste Week, I believe, so true to form, I am writing about it this week. Particularly thought I would write about food waste, because I am trying very hard on that front right now. Today I furthered the cause by making sure I ate up all the cheese, and the nice bakery loaf.
I need to have systems in place for using up left overs, because, as with most other areas of life, without a system in place I am very, very vague. I try to always eat last night's dinner for lunch the next day if there are left overs. I love left overs. That's how I judge the success of a meal - are the left overs yummy? If a pot of leftovers sits in the fridge for days and dies there, probably no one liked it in the first place, so I shouldn't cook it again.
There are things that I should do, but don't. Like chop up the celery into sticks when I get it home and store it in an airtight container. I have a friend who does this religiously, and her celery never dies. Last week I had to compost slimy celery. Sigh.
I did save half a beetroot by making pink salad yesterday, and ate the rest today, between cheese fixes. Pink salad is one of those wonderful dishes that improves the next day, as all the flavours meld. And it gets pinker, too.
Up above are two pumpkins. The Boy's girlfriend brought them over. Her dad bought them, then left the country, and her mum works full time and has no intention of cooking up giant pumpkins. I am glad they thought of me, but I wonder what it is about me that says, 'Bring me your pumpkins, your huddled masses of unwanted garden produce..' Possibly the fact that the kitchen bench is always covered with some kind of vegetable matter, and I make all the children's friends eat zucchini cake and homemade jam. Posy made the pumpkin happy.
Now the egg whites. Chocolate macaroons are what these little beauties are destined to become. I was going to make them today and take photos of the finished product, but... didn't.
Here are some of my food saves:
Chopped, frozen banana. I used to just throw whole blackened bananas in the freezer. They defrost into mush, absolutely perfect for banana cake - no need to mash! But I make terrible banana cake, like bricks, and the family complained they made the freezer smell like banana. Then, after seeing this post, I started chopping bananas, freezing them on trays, then tipping them into the freezer container. Brilliant! Simple ideas are often the best. Now the kids pull out a few slices to throw in their smoothies.
Under the banana is the flavoured breadcrumb box. I save frozen bread crusts, throw them into the food processor with oil, salt, spices, herbs, whatever is in the garden. I use them for gratin toppings and coating chicken nuggets!
Terrible photos! On the left are cubes of frozen cream for cooking, on the right, cubes of lemon juice. So easy for throwing into the dinner.
Something I do a lot. Accidentally dry mushrooms in their paper bag at the bottom of the fridge. These can be crumbled into a stew or rehydrated in a teacup of water. You have to stick a saucer over the top because they float. The mushroom water makes a good addition to stock.
Ok, the photos are getting really terrible, I should stop now. This is not technically left overs. It is a crumble mixture. It is a brilliant freezer staple to have on hand, because any slightly squishy fruit can be stewed up quickly, you can pop frozen crumble mixture on top, and ...almost instant dessert!
This recipe is adapted from one of Jamie Oliver's. I halved the sugar.
Throw 100g plain flour
100g cold butter
100 g oats
1tsp ground ginger or a thumb size piece of grated ginger or orange or lemon zest
into the food processor.
Whiz till crumble-like.
Add mini choc chips if available.
Store in freezer. Try not to use this as a snack food...
I believe this may be called a fruit crisp in the US?
For some really very sensible and motivational ideas for zero waste food, see Frugal Queen's list. She is the bomb.