If you love food and hate the idea of wasting anything then I am starting a series of ‘Waste Not Want Not’ blog posts, in honour of the ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ national campaign to get people shopping and cooking smart to prevent food waste and save people money.
In the UK the average household throws away £480 of food waste per year (£680 for a family with 2 children) and almost half of this is estimated to be food that we could have eaten. The foods we waste the most are vegetables, fruit, drinks and bakery items such as bread and cakes. A lot of the wastage is down to either preparing too much food and having to throw it away or buying too much food in the first place.
The Love Food Hate Waste website has some brilliant ideas, including recipes and ways to store food better, to prevent waste and save us all money.
Here are my suggestions for something that tends to sit in the fridge for a long time in our house….the humble jar of mint sauce (please note, this is not the same as mint jelly – mint sauce is more of a vinegar-based dressing usually used with lamb).
1. Courgette and mint salad
- Trim the ends off 1 courgette and grate it lengthways into wide(ish) strips.
- Thinly slice 4 spring onions.
- Make a dressing out of 1 tsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar, 2-3 tsp. lemon juice (fresh or bottled), fresh black pepper and a tsp. of mint sauce.
- Mix courgette into the dressing.
- You could add bits of diced red pepper too.
2. Pea, Mint and Ham Soup
This is a recipe I have previously posted on Relish Health’s blog (September 2013)
3. Yogurt and mint dip
Mix 4 tbsps of low fat plain or greek yogurt with 1 tsp of mint sauce, 1 tsp lemon juice, ¼ – ½ tsp of ground chilli powder and a handful of coriander chopped fine.
Use this as a salad dressing for tinned chickpeas mixed up with diced spring onions, red pepper, and shredded roast chicken or as a dip for falafel or samosas. If you want to have a thinner sauce, blend – it will go a nice shade of green.
4. Mix 1/2 – 1 tsp. of mint sauce into a portion of fresh or frozen garden peas to serve as a side to your sunday roast.
5. Mix 1/2 – 1 tsp. of mint sauce with 1/2 – 1tsp of melted butter or olive-oil based spread. Dress some boiled new potatoes with this mixture and serve with your sunday roast or on the side of some baked or grilled white fish (haddock, cod, bass, bream, etc.)
Serves 2 (just double ingredients and use a larger baking dish to feed 4)
This is a real humdinger of a leftovers dish. It allows you to use up your roasted chicken meat leftovers (or omit the chicken for a vegetarian dish) and any odds and ends of Mediterranean vegetables that you might have (courgettes, aubergine and mushrooms would work just as well in this dish).
The real beauty of this lasagne is that you can pack in as many vegetables as you like and, because you are roasting them, they don’t need to be in perfect form – you can catch them as they’re starting to wilt or shrivel a tad and they’ll still taste delicious roasted in oil and covered in pesto. No need for food wastage and, even better than that, one portion packs in half of your daily fibre requirements and is low in salt and saturated fats. It would make a great post exercise meal as it is high in protein to help repair muscle. Serve with a salad or some steamed green beans or mange tout.
110g lasagne sheets (approximately 6 sheets)
1 tbsp. olive oil (10g)
½ butternut squash, peeled and diced into 1.5cm cubes (700g)
1 medium red or yellow pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped (160g)
1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped (150g)
100g pre-roasted chicken, shredded
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped fine
125g fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. green pesto (25g)
2 tbsp. reduced fat crème fraiche (30g)
30g grated parmesan cheese (you could use a mature cheddar if you prefer)
Freshly ground black pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
- Boil a kettle of water. Place the lasagne sheets (separated from each other) in a large deep flat dish and cover with the boiled water. Place in the bottom of the oven to allow them to soften and par-cook in the hot water. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t overcook and break apart (they shouldn’t do).
- Heat the olive oil in a large, deep roasting tray in the oven for 3-5 minutes. Add the butternut squash cubes and stir to coat them in oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
- Add the chunks of onion and pepper to the roasting butternut squash. Stir all the veg round to coat in oil and replace in the oven. Roast for a further 20 minutes, until all are softened and starting to brown slightly.
- Add the chicken, pine-nuts, garlic and chilli to the roasted veg and stir round to coat in oil. Place the shredded spinach leaves on top of the veg and replace in the oven. Roast for a further 5-10 minutes to wilt the spinach and allow the vegetables to become infused with the chilli and garlic flavours.
- Remove the roasted chicken and vegetables from the oven (leave the oven on though cos the lasagne is going back in!) and stir the pesto through until they are all coated.
- Remove the lasagne sheets from the oven and drain off the water carefully, making sure the sheets don’t stick to each other. Hopefully they are par-cooked at this point.
- Start to assemble the lasagne. Place half of the roasted ingredients in a square or rectangular glass dish (one roughly 7” x 7” / 18cm x 18cm). Place half of the lasagne sheets on top – you can cut them to make them fit.
- Add the rest of the roasted ingredients on top and then another layer of lasagne sheets. Squash it all down as much as possible to allow the juices in the veg to cook the pasta through.
- In a separate bowl mix the low fat crème fraiche, half of the grated parmesan and nutmeg together and add black pepper to your own taste.
- Spoon this mixture on top of the lasagne and spread out smoothly to the edges. Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan evenly over the top.
- Return to the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.
Per whole lasagne
Energy 1132 kcal / 4737 kJ
Total sugar 62.5g
Per portion (serves 2)
Energy 566 kcal / 2369 kJ
Total sugar 31.3g
Got yourself some bruisey apples that you really don’t want to eat but can’t bear to throw away?!
Well, there’s always apple crumble, of course, but I always make this soup when I’ve got some slightly less than perfect apples. It’s delicious, sweet, spicy and creamy and I love it!
** WARNING** Wear an apron if you are wearing anything you value! Turmeric stains like a demon and any splashes may result in you requiring new clothes!
3 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and chopped (400g)
½ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. vegetable/olive oil (10g)
½ – 1 x green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (4g)
1” piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped (7g)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped (4g)
1 white onion, peeled and chopped (140g)
2 tsp. honey
3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (280g)
2 tsp. garam masala
150g low-fat fromage frais
½ tsp. salt
Black pepper to taste
- Put the parsnips, turmeric, cumin and coriander in a medium-sized saucepan with 600ml of water. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
- In a large saucepan heat the oil over a medium heat. Fry the chilli, garlic and ginger for 30 seconds. Add the mustard seeds and fry for a few seconds, until they start popping.
- Add the onions and honey and fry for 5-10 minutes, until they are softened and browned.
- Add the parsnips in their cooking liquid to the onions. Add the rest of the water (a further 1.1 litres) and the apples also.
- Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes.
- Add the garam masala, fromage frais, salt and pepper.
- Use a hand-blender to blend the soup until smooth.
Energy 760 kcal (3180 kJ)
Total sugars 78.6g
Per Serving (Serves 6)
Energy 130 kcal (545 kJ)
Total sugars 13.1g
1 x white or brown crusty bread roll (50g) = 130kcal / 545 kJ
As above but with seeds on top (60g) = 190kcal / 800 kJ
¼ pre-packed garlic bread (french baguette style) = 150 kcal / 630 kJ
40g (2” piece) french stick, sliced and toasted with 20g cheddar or parmesan = 200 kcal / 840 kJ
Suggested Ear Candy
How could I not have whacked something by The Apples in Stereo on the hi-fi whilst making soup with apples in?!
Travellers in Space and Time is one of the most lively, fun and brilliant albums my ears have had the pleasure of listening to in a long time and I urge everyone to try it out. It’s got excellent soundbytes, electronica, amazing tunes, comedy and is absolutely the greatest for jumping around the soup kitchen to!
I love a bit of the Andrew Sisters for their twee-ness and a gentle reminder of how sweet and innocent music used to be! Some 1940s/50s era ditties seem like a good pairing when making soup out of ‘salvaged’ fruit too! Just what grandma wudda done!