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?
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.
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.
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.
Leftover mash! (ideally from yellow potatoes)
Diced spring (or red) onions
Hard boiled eggs
Salt and pepper
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!
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.
170g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
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!
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.
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.
Wednesday 23rd April 2014
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!
Tuesday 11th March 2014
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!
Thursday 20th February 2014
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!)
The beef can be substituted for your favourite meat, with a dressing to suit.
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
Friday 14th February 2014
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
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.
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.
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.
Thursday 30th January 2014
Every day in the UK we throw away the equivalent of:
… 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!
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
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!
125g chicken strips
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon, mint or basil
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!
Friday 22nd November 2013
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.
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
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.
Monday 28th October 2013
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 clove of garlic
2 red chillis
1 tbsp chopped lemongrass
500ml chicken or veg stock
350ml coconut milk
475g pumpkin flesh
fresh basil leaves
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
Monday 30th September 2013
200g of leftover peas (or broadbeans or sweetcorn)
good squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic
generous handfull of grated parmesan or goats cheese
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!
Tuesday 27th August 2013
A Squid and Pear recipe to avoid wasting carrot, meat and bread.
1 petit baguette roll or 7 inches of a longer baguette
slices meat or tofu, at room temperature
3-4 thin cucumber strips
2-3 corriander sprigs, roughly chopped
3-4 thin slices of jalapeno or mild chilli
1 carrot, finely sliced
½ cup of sugar
1¼ cups distilled white vinegar
1 cup of warm water
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.
swap the carrot for red cabbage, beetroot, radish, or peppers
Monday 12th August 2013
A good recipe for any leftover roast chicken bits and odd bits of veg in the bottom of the fridge.
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
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.
Friday 31st May 2013
A Restaurant Associates recipe to avoid wasting blemised bananas
150g Fairtrade caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 free range egg
2 ripe Fairtrade bananas, mashed
190g self raising flour
Stop bananas going brown by keeping them out of the fridge!go back to the previous page