Wednesday, 4 January 2012

2012 - the year to reduce food waste

Regular readers of my blog will know that I often find myself making one recipe, which leads onto another recipe and then another and so on, using up as many ingredients as possible. During the summer you will find me tirelessly trying to come up with new and inventive ways to use up the gluts that come off my allotment. I hate food waste and always do what I can to avoid throwing food away.

In Milton Keynes we have been provided with a green wheelie bin in which to put garden waste and food waste. I hardly ever put garden waste in it as that goes into one of the 3 compost bins I have on the allotment. In theory, all food waste can go into the green bin, including animal products, meat and bones but all my fruit and vegetable waste from the kitchen finds its way into the compost bin on the allotment so again doesn't go into the green bin. That just leaves the food waste that can't go into the compost because it would attract vermin and become very stinky. The combination of my compost bin and my efforts to avoid wasting food means that all that does go into the green wheelie bin once a week is one small paper bag of food waste. It is quite nice to have it all gathered together like this so that I have a measure of it to monitor.

Anyway, having decided that I'm actually quite good at avoiding buying too much food in the first place and using up leftovers in a practical way, I thought I would share with you on this blog any instances where I have made good use of leftovers along side my usual recipes for using homegrown food. Hopefully, you'll find this useful as well as inspiring and that 2012 will be a good year for reducing food waste.

So to get started, here is a short tale of using up excess potato.

My parents went away for 3 weeks over Christmas and asked me to pop into their house a couple of times whilst they were a way to check on things. On my first visit, I discovered a bag of huge onions and half a bag of huge potatoes under a t-towel on the kitchen counter with a note asking me to take them away and make good use of them. So on Monday night I used three of these huge potatoes to make some mashed potato to go with our sausages. It was the usual stuff - boiled potatoes, mashed with butter, seasoning and a little finely grated mature Cheddar. But because the potatoes were so huge I had over estimated the amount we needed and had made enough mash for 6 people. The left over potatoes went into a box in the fridge for the night. The next day, I cut it into slices and fried it as potato cakes. This I served with a mix of mushrooms and the left over bacon lardons from Christmas. Not a great meal for anyone trying to lose weight but, hey, my New Year's Resolution is to avoid food waste so I'm happy!

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