Waste not, want not – Great British Waste Menu

Just finished watching the Great British Waste Menu.

It was a BBC challenge in which four top chefs had to produce a banquet for 60 from food that had been (or would have been) thrown away. The scale of waste is shocking – from farmers ploughing crops which don’t meet supermarket standards back into the ground, to bin-loads of edible food wasted simply because its sell-by date is near. Apparently, though the majority of food waste happens at home.

Personally, I’ll always trust my nose over a packaging date and see a fridge full of leftovers as a cooking challenge. I hate throwing anything edible away and I’m glad the Council will now take any peelings away to compost. Even food that looks a bit unappetising to eat fresh can often be cooked to eat or store – we’ve always got a tub of stewed apples in the freezer because we don’t eat them quickly enough and older tomatoes and peppers usually end up as soup.

Before I go over all ‘Dig for Victory’, here’s a roundup of regular leftover recipes.

  • Too many tomatoes or leftover rice in the fridge – try roasted stuffed tomatoes
  • Lots of odds and ends in the fridge like cheese, ham, peppers, boiled potatoes, tomatoes, tuna…add a few eggs for a tortilla style omelette
  • No eggs? Use the fridge leftovers to spruce up a quick salad. Bread that’s past its best can make great croutons
  • Leftover fish bits or some spare mash potatoes in the fridge or freezer? Fishcakes are a regular favourite. I even freeze crusts to make breadcrumbs.
  • Risotto is pretty forgiving and lots of different things can go into the basic recipe. Great for using up cooked meats, a few leftover beans, peas and a bit of onion. It’s a good storecupboard staple too – we’ll often do chorizo and a few frozen veg or half a jar of chargrilled peppers.
  • And one final one – because it’s such good value and can stretch a chicken out for an extra meal every time – a pot of stock. Not only does it get the best out of a roast chicken, it’s a chance to use up a few carrots, leeks or onions that might need using. The stock makes a fantastic risotto or soup (as above) or freezes well.

The programme’s on the iPlayer until 1 September. If you’re looking for other ideas, there’s more here too at the Love Food Hate Waste website*.

*Disclosure – WRAP is a client but I’m not involved in the promotion of this campaign

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Categories: Beef lamb and pork, Chicken and other birds, Eggs, Fish, Leftovers, Pasta and rice, Soup, Veggie

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