Did you know that in NSW alone more than 800,000 tonnes of food is thrown out for garbage collection each year? The average household throws 315kg of food into the garbage each year...that's one stat you don't want to be a part of!That's not even counting what gets thrown into the compost....or the waste from food businesses. It is estimated that this waste of fresh fruit and veggies, meat, chicken and fish, packaged foods and leftovers equates to around $1000 per household each year...mmmm, I'm feeling a weekend retreat with those savings.
We are all doing our best right. We try hard to feed our families economically with nutritious, delicious food. It's hard.
There are loads of reasons for this unintentional waste, including;
We buy too much food (think specials, double ups)
We lose or forget about food in our overloaded pantries, fridges & freezers.
We're scared of offal and secondary cuts of meat.
We cook too much and don't eat the left overs.
Plans change and we don't get the chance to cook the meals we've planned.
We don't plan.
We just prefer to wing it!
There should be a self help group for this kind of thing.... Oh hang on there is...
On Friday 25th July in our Real Simple Food cooking class, we sort out this conundrum and our pantries and fridges (photos only please) We check seasonal food guides, plan our recipes, write a meal plan and a shopping list...
We're also cooking a bunch of delicious dishes using every last scrap of food we bought, we're going to eat it all up and look forward to saving $1000 each year from now on. (That's more than the scrapping of the carbon tax will save you...)
You know you want to...BOOK HERE
Creative cooking with veggie scraps
Since my Asian journey, I have become acutely aware (that is a level above aware, which is what I think I was before I went away) of how we in developed countries are so removed from our food...every part of it.
One of the most delicious meals we had, was prepared for us in a simple dirt floor kitchen from a "bit passed it looking" pumpkin, a piece of taro, some pumpkin leaves, sweet basil leaves and water. The resultant soup was warm and tasty. The pigs looked hungry the next morning so I reckon that particular corner in that particular hut WAS the compost heap.
Anyhow my compost heap is way too full of veggie scraps that I reckon we could probably eat really well from.
So now I rise to the challenge - I am cooking with (pre) compost - that would be the stalks, stems and leaves of veggies that are usually tossed. Some of them have amazing properties, leading to very pleasing outcomes.
Can you guess why my rhubarb is sooo red? And no it's not photo shopped.
Anyone interested in this type of recipe? Oh sooo much fun in the kitchen.
Thelma (the new Thermomix & Kit's replacement) unlike her movie namesake is headstrong, powerful and completely predictable... I am told. Thelma arrived last Wednesday.
To me she is still a total mystery! I am not really the instruction manual reading type (one of my few flaws) and I do cook by feel, rather than recipe book regimentation, so Thelma and I do not always see eye to eye. I realise as the alpha cook in the relationship that our success as a team rests pretty much on my shoulders. So I must keep them horizontal and step it up a notch.
My husband, his hungry eyes evaluating one of last week's meals with which Thelma had helped, said he felt as though he had come home to a novice cook's experiment and he was intrigued to know what else I could do with my new $1939 investment.
That's all I needed really - a challenge! I read the manual. I read the basics cook book. It made a difference. We understand each other better now.
I cooked the basics. I made butter & babaganoush, whipped cream, cooked rice, steamed beans, made sorbet, juices, smoothies (with celery that no-one even detected), cooked mushroom & spinach risotto (and yes to the purists, it was just perfect.) I made an entire meal with the steamer including rice, vegetables, chicken and a creamy tomato sauce. I made bread dough with buckwheat, concentrated vegetable stock, hommus, herby cream cheese dip, beetroot salad (twice) and a gluten free blueberry chocolate cake.
This morning I made sweet dukkah and cinnamon, quinoa porridge. Remember Thelma arrived last Wednesday.
Thelma has been completely predictable. I am happy. My husband is not scared to come home for dinner. Life is good.
Yesterday my food processor kicked the bucket. She was a fabulous draught horse of a kitchen appliance. Not much to look at or talk about, a sensible, frumpy, hard working model. She had toiled tirelesssly beside me for years, 10 in fact. She was a loyal, compliant member of the kitchen team. Her name was Kit.
Replacing Kit had been on my mind for a couple of years. Being a member of the cutting edge healthy foodie business, it is of course my duty to ensure I am up to date with all of the latest kitchen gadgets...and yet the thought of jumping on the Thermomix train made me a little scared of losing that wonderful traditional wholesome cooking experience. Would the thermomix replace all that I hold dear in my beautiful kitchen? The wooden spoon, the french oven and the egg beater - yes I know that most people think this is a party trick these days but I still have one!
On Tuesday morning I attended a thermomix cooking demonstration. I did not tell Kit. The demonstrator was a friend of mine, a brand spanking new consultant, a cult virgin. She did a great job. She sold a machine and signed up a new consultant.
That afternoon, Kit helped me make a batch of Bliss Balls. When cleaning up I could not remove the food processor bowl from the motor. Kit looked a little pale. I filled her with water and ran out the door to the New Thermomix consultant's sign up meeting...
When I came home, Kit had been washed and was sitting peacefully on the drying up rack. I replaced her bowl on the motor and then tried to refit the blade. I could not help her. The blade shaft was cracked in two places. I think it was her telling me it was time to move on. Thank you Kit for all you have done for me and my family and friends.
I took it as a sign that I had done the right thing. I had not rushed out and bought the newest kitchen applicance and thrown out a perfectly good one. I did not feel guilt as my husband and I carried her tenderly to the garbage bin and bid her a fond farewell.
So now with the mourning period over I embark on a new relationship with a new kitchen appliance and I feel that the time is right.