Food Waste Stories

Food Dates

Monday 22nd February 2016

We all find ourselves staring at food packets from time to time wondering if it has past its best or that it is safe to eat and often the multiple different dates on the packet confuse us even further rather than help.

This confusion is costing us. In the UK we throw away around 3 million tonnes of food and drink to the value of 600 million pounds every year1, before we have even got round to tasting it! This is often down to our confusion over food durability and date labels. Statistics show that simply by making the most of the food that we have already bought, the average family could save almost £60 a month2.

so what do these dates mean?

‘use by’

These are the most important dates on your food and they refer to the safety of the product. Food can be eaten up to and including this date but not after, even if it looks and smells fine. Products that have Use by dates include things like meat and poultry which can cause food poisoning if consumed after expiration. Use by dates are required by law and it is illegal for a shop to sell products if their use by dates have expired.

‘best before’

These dates refer to quality not safety. If the product is stored according to its packaged guidelines it should still be at its best up to and including its best before date. These products should be safe to eat after their best before date but may not be at their best in terms of taste, texture, aroma and appearance. Products such as bread or vegetables will often have best before dates. Again, best before dates are a legal requirement for most food but shops can still sell food after this date provided it meets legal food safety requirements.

‘display until’ and ‘sell by’

These dates are the source of much confusion. They are for the shop staff not for the consumers or shoppers. Unlike the other dates above, display until or sell by dates are not a legal requirement and many organisations such as WRAP have called for these to be removed in the hope that a simplified system might reduce the confusion and in turn food waste.

In order to extend the life of your food it is important to be aware of these dates and use them to your advantage.

-       Always rotate your food, consuming the oldest items first.

-       Freeze items before use by dates and simply defrost and consume them as required.

-       Store your items correctly making sure that they are fresh for the maximum amount of time possible.

By understanding what these dates mean and how we should use them, we can get them to work for us, we can eat safely and also save a few pounds in the process.

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causa - Peruvian potato salad stacks

Thursday 12th March 2015

As any trendy young thing will tell you, there has been a bit of a growing fashion for Peruvian cuisine over the last couple of years. The trend often focuses on the Andean staple of quinoa or Coastal ceviche. But for our money, the best Peruvian snack is the humble Causa - mashed potato stuffed or layered with zesty salad. It also happens to be a very handy way to use up leftover mashed or boiled potatoes and chicken after a roast. 

 

Ingredients:

Leftover mash! (ideally from yellow potatoes)

Avocado

Leftover chicken

Tomato

Mayo 

Lime juice

Diced spring (or red) onions

Hard boiled eggs

Olives

Salt and pepper

Method:

Mix the chopped spring or red onion, Chicken, lime juice and mayo in a bowl, season and set aside

Flatten out your mashed potato to a roughly even thickness on a baking sheet and use a cookie cutter to stamp out as many rounds as you can get from your leftovers

Put a potato disk on a plate and cover with chopped avocado (seasoned with salt, pepper and lime juice) and top with another disc

Top the second disk with the Chicken salad and tomato and top with another disk

Decorate with sliced hard boiled egg and olives, or whatever you like. If you want to get really Peruvian in your presentation get some ketchup and mayo involved. Variations on presentation and content are practically limitless - go wild!

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Granny Wallace's Scotch Pancakes

Tuesday 17th February 2015

Our Eilidh's Gran kindly made us a batch of her famous pancakes for pancake day today. When we found out the recipe is great for using up milk which is nearly past its best, we couldn't resist sharing it. 


ingredients (makes approx 16)

170g self raising flour

60g sugar

1tsp baking powder

1 egg

milk 

method

Combine all the dry ingedients in a bowl and make a well in the middle. 

Crack the egg into the well and stir to combine. 

Add milk and beat well into a smooth batter, being careful not to make it too runny. 

Heat a flat griddle, or non stick frying pan and grease lightly with some butter. 

Using a tablespoon drop four individual spoons worth of batter onto the pan.

As soon as the batter starts to bubble turn the pancakes over and cook until they are firm to touch. 

Remove the pancakes from the pan and wrap in a teatowel whilst you cook the rest. Then smother in butter and jam...YUM!

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Paul's Pork Ragu

Thursday 10th July 2014

My name is Paul and I’m going on to do my 4th year in Sustainable Environmental Management at the Scottish Rural College (SRUC) in Edinburgh, This summer Vegware have kindly taken me on as an intern working in the Environmental team and on the Food Waste Network.

 I love a bit of cooking and have done ever since growing up helping my dad out in the kitchen, although I was mostly washing dishes and doing the occasional stir.

 Since leaving my home after watching my dad cook for a family of 5, where there was always a large amount of food, I struggled to portion out how much I should cook for one person.

The average family in the UK wastes around £50-£60 a month on food that they don’t eat and I felt as a single person I was wasting about this alone! (http://www.igd.com/household_food_waste)

 Now I cook for two and find that doing roasts about once a week I can make one roast last two-three days for two people. Here’s one of my favourite recipes to do with leftover pork,  Pork Ragu, it’s quick, cheap and easy.

 

Ingredients

  • 200g left over pork,
  • 1 onion,
  • 1 carrot,
  • 1 stick of celery,
  • 1 dried bay leaf,
  • Pinch of chilli flakes,
  • 1tspn of sweet paprika,
  • 1tspn of smoked paprika,
  • 400g carton of chopped tomatoes,
  • 2tbspn olive oil,
  • 3 cloves of garlic,

 

method 

Thinly slice the onion, peel and chop the carrot in to small cubes and then make sure the celery is a similar size. Heat the oil until and before the pan is too hot, crush and add the garlic, making sure that the garlic does not brown too much, this will make the oil taste garlicky! This should take about 5 minutes.

Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pan along with the chilli flakes and bay leaf for about 10 minutes until the onion goes soft and start to brown. Once this happens tear in the left over pork.

When the pork starts to turn a little crispy add both the sweet and the smoked paprika, then stir until everything in the pan is covered. Leave for 2 minutes then add the chopped tomatoes, reducing the heat so that it Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it does not catch.

 This can be served with pasta (I prefer tagliatelle) or a jacket potato for a delicious dinner or thick cut toast for a tasty lunch.

 

Prep time: 5-10 minutes (depending on how good you are with a knife)

Cook time: 35 minutes.

 

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Top tips for Easter leftovers

Wednesday 23rd April 2014

we throw away over 70 million tonnes of food and drink away from our homes every year in the uk. easter can be a lovely time to come together with family and friends and enjoy an easter feast - but this can mean lots of leftovers and potentially wasted food...

If you've found yourself with a heap of leftovers after Easter then why not try some of these top tips from Love Food Hate Waste and reduce your waste!

  1. If you need to freeze leftover lamb, let it cool before you freeze it, cut it up into smaller pieces so they’ll defrost quickly, and seal well in a plastic freezer bag with the date written on – they will keep for up to a month and will taste great in a stir fry
  2. Bubble & squeak can be made up of many tasty leftovers: don’t worry about what you throw in the pan (leftover vegetables, potatoes) as long as you chop a little onion into the pan first – it’ll make a great Monday night dinner. Don’t forget, store onions in a dark cool place and they’ll last for longer.
  3. If you bought a load of eggs to make some Easter cakes don’t forget to put the ones which need using up first at the front. These can easily be whipped up into omelettes with a bit of grated cheese from your freezer. Serve with some greens for a tasty, nutritious dinner.
  4. To freeze sliced up cake put greaseproof paper between each slice allowing you to remove a few slices at a time rather than thaw the whole cake.
  5. To freshen up a day old loaf, hold it very briefly under a running cold tap. Give it a good shake and pop in a hot oven for about 10 minutes; it will be as soft and crusty as freshly baked bread. 

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eilidh's spanish soup from stale bread

Tuesday 11th March 2014

sopa casellana

I recently enrolled in a spanish cookery course and last week we made Sopa Casellana, a traditional warming soup made from stale bread. 

Personally I would recommend using chorizo and don't scrimp on the poached egg...it really makes it! 

ingredients

  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 150g stale bread
  • 3 eggs1L of good quality chicken stock
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 150g Serrano ham or chorizo cubes
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • cumin seeds (optional)

method

  • In a big pot toss the garlic and cumin seeds in olive oil. Allow enough time to brown but be careful not to burn them. 
  • Add the ham or chorizo and fry further.
  • Add the cubed bread and sprinkle with paprika.
  • Immediately add the stock and allow to cook for 2 minutes. 
  • Top with a poached egg and serve immediately.

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Celebrate Chip Week and use up your leftovers!

Thursday 20th February 2014

it’s chip week this week! 

A week to celebrate the nation's favourite potato delights and most importantly eat LOTS of chips! But what do you do with those other leftovers? Love Food Hate Waste have got a great recipe to use up leftovers from your Sunday roast (served up with chips of course!) 

leftover roast beef salad with fat cut chips and horseradish mayo dressing

The beef can be substituted for your favourite meat, with a dressing to suit. 

ingredients

  • Leftover cold roast beef
  • 600g Fluffy potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil
  • 1-2 bags of mixed salad leaves e.g. lambs lettuce, rocket or pea shoots

for the dressing

  • 4 tsps grated horseradish or to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2-3 tbsps low fat mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper to taste

method

Preheat the oven to 220C. Meanwhile peel and cut the potatoes into fat cut chips and lightly coat in a little olive oil on a non stick roasting tray. Cook for 30 minutes turning occasionally.

Next make the dressing by combining the olive oil, lemon juice, horseradish and salt and pepper, mix well. 

To serve, dress the salad leaves and top with thin slices of beef drizzled with more dressing. Serve with the hot oven chips.

Tips: A clean screw top jar makes a great ‘shaker’ to mix this dressing in.

For more information on using leftovers and how you can reduce waste visit our friends at Love Food, Hate Waste

#chipweek

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love your leftovers with Neil Forbes

Friday 14th February 2014

Neil Forbes, Chef Director of Cafe St Honoré

Neil's one of Scotland's most passionate chefs who describes cooking as an "emotional experience that uses all the senses".

Born into a family of chefs, it was his granny's soup that first inspired a young Neil to get behind the stove, and inspires him still.  Like the soup, the menus at Cafe St Honoré make the most of good, honest ingredients cooked simply.

There are no gadgets or gizmos in Neil's kitchen, just him and a team of equally passionate chefs who can't wait to see what will be delivered each day, and what they can create from it.  They pride themselves on producing everything in-house using ingredients sourced from local producers and suppliers.

In 2011, Neil was named the Scottish Restaurant Awards ‘Chef of the Year’, he is a member of the Slow Food UK Chef Alliance and his restaurant holds Sustainable Restaurant Association 3-star champion status.  He regularly demonstrates his skills at a broad range of events across the UK as well as appearing on BBC Radio Scotland’s Kitchen Cafe.

Follow Neil on Twitter @chefneilforbes

Neil's frittata

A frittata is one of the tastiest and quickest ways to make the most of your leftovers, and one of my favourite dishes too. Almost everything can be used up this way - meat from your Sunday roast, veg and herbs, breadcrumbs, scrapings of mustard and pesto from jars, the last couple of olives and the smallest portions of cheese.  If you make more than you want to eat, slices can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days and either eaten cold as a snack, or served heated up as part of a main meal.

Ingredients

X2 large eggs 

Handful of leftovers

Teaspoon of rapeseed or olive oil

Teaspoon of butter

Small clove of garlic, finely chopped or minced

Cheese - as little or as much as you desire. A very small amount of strong blue cheese (which has aged and is maybe too strong to eat raw) is a great match for this dish.

Seasoning

method

Whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt and twist of fresh black pepper. If you're using pesto, mustard or anything similar, add to this mix.

Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the oil and butter.

Once the oil and butter are hot, add your leftover veg and/or meat and fry for 3-5 minutes, or until they have gained some extra colour.

Next, add fresh herbs if you have any (or snip some rosemary from the garden) and the garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the eggs, stirring lightly with a spatula to keep the mixture moving for the first minute or so.

Once the base of the frittata is firm but the surface is still gloopy, crumble the cheese over the surface and then place the whole pan under a hot grill until cooked.  You can also add breadcrumbs or leftover stuffing mix at the same time you add the cheese to give the dish some crunch.

Perfect served with salad leaves.

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Top tips for a leftover lunches

Thursday 30th January 2014

Every day in the UK we throw away the equivalent of:

  • 5.8 million whole potatoes
  • 1.4 million whole bananas
  • 1.5 million whole tomatoes
  • 24 million whole slices of bread
  • 1.5 million sausages
  • 1.9 million slices of ham
  • 1.1 million eggs 

… just from our homes and all of which could have been used to make tasty lunches to take to work, school, university – the list goes on. Why throw away good food just because we've let it go off on us and then have to go out and buy more for lunch! 

so how do you enjoy a free lunch? lfhw have come up with some top tips to get you started...

  • Got a small amount leftover from last night’s dinner? These smaller amounts are often perfect for lunch – just pop them in a tub and keep in the fridge for lunch the next day

  • If you have a microwave at your disposal, a jacket potato can 
    transform a few scraps from the fridge into a tasty and filling lunch.
    Top it with leftovers such as bolognese, chilli, roasted vegetables, beans, or use up bits of cheese, cold meats, tuna … the possibilities are endless!
  • Not only can soup be a healthy option, it is also a great way to use up virtually anything that is left in the fridge. Wilting veggies, odd bits of cheese, leftover meats and fish can all be turned into delicious nutritious soups.
  • Pitta breads make handy pockets for last night’s chicken stir-fry, or leftover roast vegetables and hummus. Yesterday’s Mexican beans or chilli con carne are great rolled up in a wrap.
  • Leftover cold pizza makes a yummy treat for lunch the next day! Add some chopped veg such as carrots or celery
  • Salads no longer mean a couple of soggy lettuce leaves and not much else. Leftover cold meats, the last bit of cheese, fruit, potatoes, pasta, and rice are all great in salads.Boiled eggs, shredded chicken, grated cheese, and even nuts… get creative!

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There IS such a thing as a free lunch!

Wednesday 22nd January 2014

In the UK, we spend £6.5 billion on buying ready-made sandwiches every year - but at the same time we're wasting over £6 billion worth of good food, that we could have used to make our own lunch.

Don't waste money on buying lunch that you could have made from ingredients you already have! Raid your fridge, feezer and cupboards and get creative.

Here's a recipe from LFHW to use up leftover chicken and crème fraiche - perfect for filling your homemade sandwich!

creamy herb chicken

ingredients

125g chicken strips

2 tablespoons crème fraiche

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon, mint or basil

salt

black pepper

method

1. Mix leftover chicken strips with a few tablespoons of mayonnaise mixed with the crème fraiche.

2. Flavour with herbs such as tarragon, mint or basil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Use it to fill a crusty roll or sandwich for a tasty leftover lunch!

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Salmon Soup at Love Food Hate Waste Theatre, BBC Good Food

Friday 22nd November 2013

guest blog - wendy barrie, scottish food guide

 

Motorway food can be a nightmare for us: the provenance of the ingredients and quality of the food, the lack of nutrition and wasteful packaging – take your pick! Imagine my joy then in finding a motorway stop in Sweden where they serve salmon. The fish, the whole fish, and nothing but the fish! From smoked to fresh, hot meals and salads, and best of all a rich flavoursome salmon soup to use up all the scraps.

I went home and tried out some ideas and this is my result that I cooked up as one of my dishes at BBC recently. It was a pleasure to take part and particularly rewarding when the public interact asking supplementary questions. It’s very important to have LFHW present at such an event, to raise awareness with foodies and spread the word.

To make this soup you can use a mix of smoked and fresh salmon – odd shaped pieces are perfect. Often you can buy such pieces for a reduced price but usually I have trimmings left from another day that I have frozen, then when you have sufficient you can make a batch of soup. With deliciously crusty wholemeal croûtons it becomes a meal in itself.

 

salmon soup with croûtons 

ingredients

300g Scottish salmon trimmings – or mixed with other fish

50g butter with a drizzle of rapeseed oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

1L vegetable stock

150mls single cream

Freshly milled black pepper and sea salt

1 large potato, peeled and diced

2 tsps of tomato pureé

1 small glass leftover dry white wine – if you have it

Yesterday’s bread, cut into cubes

Dill/ parsley /wedges of lemon to garnish

 

method

Cut salmon into bite sized chunks.

Heat butter with oil in a generous sized pan and cook onions until soft but not browned.

Add salmon to pan and sauté for a few moments, taking care not to mash.

Add remaining ingredients apart from the cream and simmer gently for 5 minutes until potatoes are soft and salmon opaque and cooked through.

Using a slotted spoon, set aside a few pieces of salmon and liquidise soup.

Add cream, stir and heat through until steaming hot. Check seasoning and adjust as necessary. You can adjust consistency if required - a little extra stock to thin or a blended teaspoon of cornflour brought to the boil in the pan to thicken.

Ladle into warm bowls, adding a few chunks of salmon to each.

Serves 3-4 with toasted bread croûtons.

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Thai Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Monday 28th October 2013

With Halloween just around the corner, Byam Trotter's recipe to use up pumkin flesh after carving is just the ticket. 

ingredients

1 tbsp  vegetable oil

25g butter

1 clove of garlic

4 shallots

2 red chillis

1 tbsp chopped lemongrass

500ml chicken or veg stock

350ml coconut milk

475g pumpkin flesh

fresh basil leaves

method

Melt the butter over low heat and add the oil.

In the same pan (still on a low heat so as not to burn) cook the garlic, shallots, chillies and lemongrass until softened and fragrant.

Stir in the stock, coconut milk and pumpkin, turn up the heat and boil until the pumpkin has softened.

Use a hand blender to achieve your desired consistency.

Serve garnished with the basil 

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Funky Pea Dip

Monday 30th September 2013

Chef Samantha Wells from Random Dining shares her recipe for leftover peas.

                                                      

ingredients

200g of leftover peas (or broadbeans or sweetcorn)

oilve oil

good squeeze of lemon juice

salt and pepper

1-2 cloves of garlic

generous handfull of grated parmesan or goats cheese

method

Pop peas, garlic, lemon juice and drizzle of oil into a blender and blendto form a thick paste. Season with salt and pepper and add in cheese. 

Serve on toast with crispy bacon - yum!

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Vietnamese banh mi baguette

Tuesday 27th August 2013

A Squid and Pear recipe to avoid wasting carrot, meat and bread.

ingredients

1 petit baguette roll or 7 inches of a longer baguette

slices meat or tofu, at room temperature

mayonnaise

soy sauce

3-4 thin cucumber strips

2-3 corriander sprigs, roughly chopped

3-4 thin slices of jalapeno or mild chilli

1 carrot, finely sliced

1tsp salt

½ cup of sugar

1¼ cups distilled white vinegar

1 cup of warm water

method

First make carrot pickle by marinading carrot in a liquor of salt, sugar, vinegar and warm water for 1 hour.

Slice the bread lengthways and hollow out a trough, saving the insides for crumbs to freeze later.

Crisp the bread in the oven and cool for one minute. Now add a generous sread of mayo, drizzle on some soy sauce then lay in the other ingredients. 

Enjoy...yum!

Crunchy tip: 

swap the carrot for red cabbage, beetroot, radish, or peppers

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nick nairns leftover chicken allsorts

Monday 12th August 2013

A good recipe for any leftover roast chicken bits and odd bits of veg in the bottom of the fridge.

ingredients

2 tbsp sunflower oil, to fry 

250g basmati rice

pinch sea salt

100g courgettes, sliced (or/and any leftover bits of veg in the fridge)

150g mushrooms, sliced

½ red pepper, sliced

200g leftover cooked chicken, shredded

rasher or 2 of leftover bacon (optional)

4 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra to serve

1 tsp honey

1 red chilli, sliced

juice ½ lime (lemon would work, too)

freshly ground black pepper

big handful chopped fresh coriander 

                                                                                       

method

First cook the rice. Find a large pan with a tight-fitting lid, fill it with water and a pinch of salt and bring tothe boil. You need 5 times as much water as rice. Wash the rice under cold running water until it runs clear. Pour the rice into the boiling water and return to the boil. Stir once. Boil for exactly 7 minutes then drain well. Return the rice to the pan and slam on a lid. Leave to steam in its own heat undisturbed for 10 minutes. Fork up and it’s ready.

 

While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan over a high heat and add the bacon. Cook for 3 mins. Add the peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes. Throw in the mushrooms and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Now add the courgette and chilli, toss for a minute then add the chicken. Now stir in the cooked rice. Splash in the soy sauce, honey, lime juice and lastly add the herbs. Toss around quickly then serve with extra soy sauce on the table.

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bananas against waste!

Friday 31st May 2013

A Restaurant Associates recipe to avoid wasting blemised bananas

ingredients

125g butter

150g Fairtrade caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 free range egg

2 ripe Fairtrade bananas, mashed

190g self raising flour

60ml milk 

method

  • Melt butter, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat
  • Remove from heat and add banana
  • Add the egg, mix well
  • Stir in flour and milk
  • Bake at 150C for 35 mins
  • Enjoy!

top banana:

Stop bananas going brown by keeping them out of the fridge!

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