Guest Post – Author: Rachelle Strauss on behalf of Anna Pitt
There’s something about ‘modern Western life’ that isn’t adding up when it comes to food. WRAP tell us that the average household throws away £60 of avoidable food per month. According to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers 50% of the food grown on this planet never reaches a human stomach. While the World Food Programme remind us that one in nine people in the world go to bed on an empty stomach each night.
Look back a couple of generations and it was a different story. Moving into winter, as we are now, it would have been a time of living off reserves. The past few months would have been busy carefully harvesting and preserving food. There was nothing flown in from the other side of the world, no shelves stacked high with ‘Buy One Get One Free’ and certainly not a scrap to be wasted!
While we are undoubtedly grateful for the amount of food available to us – and have little desire to go back to the ‘olden days’ – there are certain values from our Grandparent’s generation that still stand true. In fact, a recent study shows that 77% of adults are concerned about the amount of waste produced in the UK. So what can we do?
With the art of Hygge hitting the mainstream, there’s never been a better time to move through winter with a sense of cosiness, contentment and wellbeing. There are plenty of articles online telling you how to get more Hygge in your life – from candlelit meals to cashmere socks – and of course food plays a pivotal role. After all, Winter is the quintessential season of comfort food! And many seasonal foods have longer storage times which can automatically help reduce food waste. It’s the perfect season to enjoy hearty soups and casseroles. Be sure to make friends with your slow cooker and come down to breakfast with a warm aroma in the air!
Enjoy roasted root vegetables with horseradish; include vibrant winter colours of red onion, bright orange carrots and creamy parsnips. Indulge in creamy swede and cinnamon soup or treat yourself to red lentils, sage and onion with rich mushroom gravy.
Puddings can be stewed dried fruits (grab those packets from the back of the cupboard that you’ve never eaten!), baked apples stuffed with almonds or apple and pear crumbles.
Nature provides us with just the right foods at just the right time:
Cabbage was described by Jean Valnet as ‘the medicine of the poor.’ Try making cabbage and potato soup with thyme and fennel or a favourite winter comfort food – bubble and squeak!
Leeks can be beneficial during the colder months. Try ginger, carrot and leek soup for coughs, colds and sore throats. Fried with potatoes, garlic and thyme, leeks make a wonderful dish which is soothing on the digestion. Beetroot cools an overheated liver – just the tonic to get you through the Christmas festivities! Bake small, whole beetroot in the oven until softened and top with any leftover bits of cheese (you know the hard bits which nobody wants to eat) then allow it to melt into a creamy sauce.
The key to making the most of your food is planning (learn about the foods that are in season, both in the shops and the hedgerows), gathering together a few favourite recipes and being willing to experiment. Unleash your creativity, don’t be afraid to break rules and have fun in the kitchen!
Here’s a basic soup recipe which is great for using up all the odds and ends of vegetables, including things you might normally throw away such as the green ends of leeks, broccoli stalks and the outer sprout leaves.
Frugal Green Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
ends of leeks, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
handful of sprouts or outer leaves
broccoli stalks, sliced
½ bag kale
1 medium potato, diced
herbs of your choice (I usually use mixed, dried herbs for ease)
water or stock
half a tin of chickpeas or some shredded chicken (Optional to make it more filling)
- Soften the onion and garlic in the oil in a large pan.
- Add the rest of the veggies except the kale and mix around for a minute or two in the hot oil.
- Add the water or stock, tamari and herbs to taste. Add however much water or stock you want depending on your preference for a thick or thinner soup.
- Bring to the boil, then simmer for around 12 minutes until the potato is cooked through.
- Add the kale and warm through for another few minutes until it wilts then remove from heat.
- Add any other ingredients to make the soup more filling such as chicken, chickpeas, lentils etc plus seasoning.
- Blitz until desired consistency.
About the author
Anna Pitt is a writer and speaker on food waste and green living. She has combined her love of cooking with a passion for reducing food waste to create Leftover Pie: 101 Ways to Reduce your Food Waste. Follow Anna on Facebook.
Contact Rachelle at: firstname.lastname@example.org