Tag Archives: War on waste

My Zero Waste Kitchen – book review

I have said before in this blog how much I dislike the pervading waste culture. We are a throw away society and no longer seem to value our possessions or how much they cost in financial and environmental terms. Easy come, easy go!

This also applies to food. I remember learning about wartime rationing at school. Food was scarce but nobody starved in the UK because nothing was wasted. Now we are guided more by use by and best before dates than commonsense and a lot of perfectly edible food is thrown away with barely a thought.

I am generally careful to avoid waste like this, but I am not perfect and could definitely try harder, so I was delighted to receive a copy of My Zero Waste Kitchen from Dorling Kindersley.

It is a prettily designed, small hardback book and good value at £6.99 I think. The advice given is clear and simple, although probably aimed more for those who have just begun to think about reducing their food waste rather than the seasoned waste free cook.

I like it though – there are a lot of useful tips that I hadn’t come across before, such as the page on eggs. Did you know you could use crushed eggshells as a stain remover or as a calcium supplement? Or that you could revive stale cake by putting it overnight in an airtight container with a slice of bread?

Why not put apple cores and kiwi skins in your smoothie? I am sure they would taste just as nice and add nutrition. I was less convinced about adding banana skins, however, as I think they would be too bitter.

If you want to get maximum value from your lettuce, you can cut off the end and root it in water to start a whole new plant. I have never tried this and I am sceptical, but might give it a go.

The recipes in the book look interesting. I like how a base recipe is presented such as hummus or flapjacks alongside ideas for foods you could add to save wasting them. I will definitely be trying the Waste-not want-not savoury muffins, as they look yummy.

If you want some fresh ideas on how to begin to reduce your family’s food waste, or you want to teach your children more about the subject, then this book will be a great place to begin.

If you decide to buy this book using the link below, I will receive a small commission from Amazon.

Would you eat food beyond its best before date? Check out Approved Food

I haven’t ordered much from Approved Food lately. There is too much temptation in the form of chocolate, crisps and cakes and I have been watching my weight! I had a quick look yesterday and they have some great prices though so I will do an order over the weekend. I focus on store cupboard staples and timesavers such as casserole mixes and curry sauces for when I’m in a rush, pasta and rice, condiments, tinned fruit and veg, etc. Today they have on offer Heinz ketchup for 89p instead of £1.75, Hellman’s mayonnaise for 59p instead of £1.69, 20 small Lindt chocolate bunnies for £2 and 2 500g bags of fusilli for £1. So cheap!! They will all go in my basket, even the Lindt bunnies, since it would be rude not to. They even have toilet rolls and gifts on there, although why they would have a best before date is beyond me!

approved foodI have always liked the principle behind Approved Food; they sell short dated food near or beyond their best before dates but still perfectly good to eat. If they didn’t sell these products  they might end up in the bin, which in my view is a criminal waste of perfectly good food. If you click through and sign up for an account using my link I get a small commission in the way of credits to spend with the company, so if you are interested please use it and I will be very appreciative! The delivery cost for a box is £5.99 so I always get as much as possible – this still allows for massive savings on my grocery bill.

Approved Food Link

The weather has finally remembered it is spring!.It is gorgeous and sunny here. Shame I have to go to work as I would love to potter around my garden. There is still so much to do at this time of year.  I will have to make do with a walk at lunchtime.

I have friends for dinner tomorrow so I  have to do all the preparation tonight. It will be a busy night. I am making three different curries – my chicken and chickpea one here: http://www.shoestringcottage.com/?p=2960, a lentil dahl and saag aloo, so this shouldn’t break the bank. Lots of pulses and vegetables. I hope you are having some nice weather wherever you are in the world. Enjoy your day!

 

 

 

Sixty years of wedded bliss – plus moving towards less plastic waste

It’s another weekend!! How on earth did that happen? And a busy one to boot – I have  DD2 back from university with her boyfriend and we are all over to my sister’s for a family party to celebrate my parents’ diamond anniversary. Sixty years! I am so proud of them. 
  Family dos are always noisy affairs as I am one of four children, we each have our own kids and they bring along assorted boyfriends as well. We haven’t managed to give my parents any great grandchildren yet but I expect they will arrive at some point!

  I recently blogged about how I was looking for ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste I produce. It feels difficult to achieve when you shop in a supermarket. Everything is wrapped and double wrapped and it’s hard to purchase liquid items in glass bottles and jars these days. One of my followers, Sue, asked if I had heard of Splosh, a company with the genius idea of reducing plastic waste by selling their products as refills.  

I hadn’t so I decided to investigate and get a few products to try. You can initially buy a bottle of, say washing detergent, but you use this bottle again and again by ordering a refills. These come as small soluble concentrated sachets that you mix with water.

I have started with washing up liquid and fabric conditioner. I have yet to use them so a full review will follow!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Bring on that wonky veg!

  
As promised Asda have very kindly sent me one of their Wonky Veg Boxes to review. I fully support this idea. Like many people, I have been appalled to learn how many perfectly good vegetables are wasted by the farmers supplying supermarkets because they are considered the wrong size, slightly discoloured or misshapen, a peculiarly first world point of view I feel! 

Asda has certainly received a lot of very good publicity for this move so hopefully the other supermarkets will soon follow suit. I really don’t care if my food isn’t a uniform size or shape and I am quite sure most people feel the same. I just hope that Asda extend this scheme quickly as it is quite hard to get hold of the boxes. I have yet to find one in my local branch, although my daughter has spotted them there a few times. 

They are exceptionally good value at £3.50. The cynic in me says this price will go up if they become too popular as this will impact on the amount of non-wonky veg we all buy. We shall see. What would be ideal is a situation where wonky veg us the norm and none of us bar an eyelid!

I like the fact that my veg arrived in a nice recyclable cardboard box with no plastic packaging on any of its contents. I am looking to reduce the amount of plastic waste I create through my various purchases so this was a bonus.

My box contained the following:

5 carrots
A cucumber
2 parsnips
Cabbage
3 red peppers
3 leeks
9 potatoes
Lots of red onions

The cabbage was a little the worse for wear – probably from sitting around in a warm press office I think! I was relieved to see that the other veg was actually a little wonky as I had read other reviews saying it was fine! It was all perfectly good quality.
  So…what to do with all this lovely stuff? Tonight I will begin with Spanish eggs – a kind of ratatouille base made with peppers, garlic, onions and tinned tomatoes. That goes in a baking dish and I will make little wells in this and crack an egg in each, cover with a little cheese and bake.

A spicy carrot and parsnip soup is a possibility or a parsnip gratin. Leeks and potatoes go well together in loads of things too: soup again or maybe a leek, potato and bacon bake. There are so many onions I gave some away! I use them a lot but already had some in the fridge.

The cabbage will be stir fried with onions and whatever else needs using up and, since my daughter munches on cucumbers like sweets that will disappear pretty quickly.

What would you make? Anyone else managed to get hold of a wonky box?