A meal made with fresh, expensive, top quality ingredients will likely taste divine, but surely there is nothing as satisfying as making a tasty dish out of the odds and ends in your fridge that were destined for the bin if they had of been left a day longer?
It’s not just the fact that it is fantastically frugal and reduces waste, but also the surprise you get when you end up with a truly delicious recipe – a recipe you may never have cooked if you hadn’t of rescued those ingredients that day.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, you must visit the website Love Food Hate Waste, to both learn about the amount of food we waste in this country every year and to get hundreds of tips for how to stop wasting food in your own home. Nearly everything that you would once have considered throwing away could and should be eaten or mixed with other items to create a lunch or even a whole dinner.
Crunchy vegetable and mackerel salad
This fresh and tasty salad was made with reducing waste in mind. A few beans from a full pack left languishing, a few soft tomatoes, a tiny handful of mixed salad leaves, a few chives and some cooked new potatoes from the previous night’s dinner left in the fridge. A rummage in the store cupboard unearthed a can of mackerel in sunflower oil that gave me the perfect protein source to hang the whole salad around. With the green beans blanched and cooled and everything else chopped into edible sizes it was a matter of making a peppery dressing with olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey and lemon juice with salt and pepper. It was very much like a Nicoise salad and if I hadn’t found the mackerel I would have boiled an egg and added that instead.
Pan-fried caramelised apples with cinnamon
Similarly we always seem to have a few, slightly worse for wear, apples in the fruit basket at the end of the week. My most recent way to enjoy this potential waste is to slice the apples into wedges and pan fry in a large knob of butter (real butter). Once they start getting golden add a shake of sugar and a tiny pinch of cinnamon, move about to coat the wedges and then cook until they start to caramelise. Serve on top of plain natural yogurt or vanilla ice-cream. You could omit the cinnamon and use vanilla sugar instead or consider adding a slug of alcohol.
There is never an excuse to throw food away, you’ll be amazed the delicious meals you can make with a little bit of imagination.