Archives for category: food recycling

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Fortunate am I to receive occasional parcels of unsold bread from a friend who runs a really top quality bakery here in mid-Wales, Andy’s Bread. A few months back he gave me several loaves of pumpernickel, a dark, dense and sweet rye bread.  His version includes whole rye grain, rye chops, rye, sourdough, molasses,  and old pumpernickel. The loaf is coated in rye chops (and baked in a hot oven which is then turned off overnight); a “lid” is placed on top of the tins to “steam” the loaves and prevent their drying out.  Andy’s pumpernickel is something special– and not so dissimilar from his Borodinski breads which contain coriander seeds and powder, malt extract and molasses.  These are true artisan breads in that they come from long and varied traditions and are expertly crafted in particular, local conditions.

Andy’s pumpernickel makes great croutons for leek and potato, and split pea soup; I will be using some from another batch tomorrow for chocolate Christmas bark as per Claire Ptak’s wonderful recipe here.

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Being gifted with food that is “surplus” or “waste” anyway is really freeing, and allowed me to feel I could experiment.  I’d long been curious to try Bread Kvass, so in the absence of any planned trips to Russia or Russian communities elsewhere, I knew I’d have to try to make it. I also wanted to reproduce an effort from a while earlier in which I made a sourdough cake from recycled bread.  And I sadly found out that the friend who taught me her resourceful and roughshod approach to bread had died– so I was of a rare mind to bake bread. Read the rest of this entry »

Hugh’s War on Waste and Crowdfunder have created a site where local community food projects working with waste can post fundraising appeals.  There are many and will be more.  You can really get the feeling for a movement developing, and appreciate how hard so many people are working on this problem.

This is place to ask and to give.  UK readers, please add your group, support some others if you can, and share the link:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/campaign/hughs-war-on-waste?utm_source=foe&utm_medium=twitter&utm_content=War%20on%20Waste&utm_campaign=campaigns

FOOD WASTE AND LEFTOVERS ADVICE:

RECONSIDERING TAKEAWAYS, READY-MEALS, GRAVY AND CONVENIENCE FOOD… DEFANCIFYING THE MESSAGE…

Hubbub is a UK organisation using creative, participatory events to reduce domestic food waste.  Two of their projects are on my mind right now. #PumpkinRescue is all about giving Halloween pumpkins a culinary afterlife.  (I hope to take part in a Disco Soup event in Salford; check out events in your area.) #ExpressYourShelf asks people to prepare meals based on what they have on hand, and take “shelfies.”  Here’s what we got up to last year at this time.

Fun.  Meanwhile, the estimable Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is soon coming out with a new book and tv series on leftovers, “all about creating delicious meals from all those bits and bobs that are leftover from the last meal we cooked, ” says he.

Conversations about “leftovers” are everywhere these days, as concern mounts about food waste and its ecological impact, as well as the moral issue of throwing out edible food in light of local and global hunger– all pretty well summarised in the video posted above.  Food waste is a large and multifaceted problem, with domestic waste being one part of that; I like to think that by not wasting food individuals can save money and be empowered to discuss and act on systemic problems too.  Connecting different levels.

On the whole I’m pretty good at not wasting — except when life and work get busy and I lose focus on the shopping/cooking nexus– but that’s the point.  Not wasting in our world of excess and too-muchness requires a focus and becomes a task and priority in itself that needs to be made easier.

So we might have to do things differently. Read the rest of this entry »

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LEFTOVERS; FERMENTS; RESISTANT STARCH; GREAT SALADS

Yesterday I made this delicious Moroccan tomato salad inspired by a recipe in Paula Wolfert’s The Food of Morocco.  It’s a great late summer/ early autumn dish, with tomatoes and grilled peppers and onions in a lemony (in fact preserved-lemony) vinaigrette, spiced with paprika and cumin.

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But we didn’t finish it in one meal. Read the rest of this entry »

Source: Anaerobic Digestion: Green Gas or Green Wash?

Hello to you!  Am in busy desperate preserving mode– so much to do, race against time and the forces of overripening, but wanted to share a few random things.

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I’ve made a really nice blackberry jam and threw in actually quite a number of very very soft pears.  (I mushed them through a strainer first, and retained the skins/seeds etc for a scrap vinegar.) Then added a cinnamon stick too.  Decided to strain through a sieve so the jam wouldn’t have that bramble grit of the teeny seeds.  The jam is wonderful, glad to have done this. I put the seeds from the sieve  in water with water kefir grains and have a really lovely bubbly drink happening– didn’t even bother with the whole first and second ferment thing.  Blackberry Pear Soda Pop, pictured above……

Read the rest of this entry »

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Spicy Pumpkin Vinegar, made from pulps I could have thrown out.  A glorious enzymatic condiment for brightening, souring, finishing and … drinking!  Pumpkin Scrap-cum-Vinegar plus Fermented Chilli Pepper Skins is a match made in heaven…  or Upcycling Kitchen-Counter-Culture paradise, at least…

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Once upon a time we carved a pumpkin for Halloween, and instead of roasting the seeds, I fermented them for a scrap vinegar.  This is such an easy thing to do.  Cover your fruit scraps (in this case, the scooped-out pumpkin seeds embedded in the stringy stuff) in about triple the volume of water.  Add a tablespoon or two of sugar, which will inspire an alcoholic fermentation; keep stirring, periodically exposing your mixture to air, and  you will get acetic acid fermentation– that easy.  (The link above will give more detail if you don’t believe me.)

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A.K.A. Pumpkin Wild Vinegar, after lots of stirring and bottle-burping and exposure to air, and time:

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Read the rest of this entry »

What a fun animation with the cardboard figures and toilet and and the green vegetables growing from a field of brown, all in waste paper materials reused and later recycled.

I wanted to share this with my readers and tell everyone: Yes! I save my pee! My husband saves his too. How? I wee into a jug then pour the contents through a funnel into a large plastic 5 litre vinegar bottle. (His method is less indirect.) One of us, every day, takes it to our compost bin. We try to integrate lots of brown matter (leaves, waste paper, cardboard, etc.) which absorbs the liquid. A good balance of brown and “gold,” when mixed with our food waste, and stirred with a garden fork regularly, creates a hot mix that decomposes more quickly. In my life of chaos and many projects, composting is something I seem to do well, and stay on top of.

There’s loads you can learn about nitrogen uptake in greens, and phosphorus as a limited and important agricultural resource, and urine as a historical thing of value.

Here you can read about mixing pee and wood-ash from a fireplace to for successful tomato growing.

I wonder if it’s gross or inappropriate to talk about this on a food blog. I am sorry if you think so. Hmmmm. Really I see eating and cooking and food growing and bodies and health and waste and ecology and resources all as part of it.  Feeling my pee as useful gives me hope.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34mePLZDm7Y

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I have a vision now of a calendrical-seasonal kitchen, in which I find uses throughout the year for ingredients I’ve made at a different moment in the wheel. I was so thrilled by the bright result of using Rosehip Syrup with Rhubarb.  I’m looking forward to making little jam tarts with my vegetables marmalades and carrot jam for summer picnics.  Mostly I have an array of maturing Scrap Vinegars to get creative with — Red Pumpkin, Pear, Rhubarb, Blackberry-Apple… Some are nearly a year and a half old, and still wonderful.  Magical ingredients, for pennies.

Lately I’ve just been splashing a spoon’s worth or so of these in glasses of water, for a kind of body-alkalizing tonic.  (Have I unabashedly revealed to all that sometimes I get kidney-pain that abates if I drink vinegar?)

This morning I strained and decanted a scrap Chaenomeles Vinegar I’d made in late November– from the scrapings and cores of the Japonica Fruit used for the very Christmassy Chaenomeles Preserve I wrote about here.

Do read about Chaenomeles — it’s inspiring to think about the illustrious past and possibilities of what we know as an ornamental in gardens.

And the vinegar is the finest perfume! It’s the fragrance of something you’d spray from a fancy bottle onto your wrist and neck before a date (if you did things like this, or had dates).  I wish the internet had a Scratch and Sniff capability.  Maybe I should put a vial in a Mary Poppins carpet-bag and start traversing Paris…

Read the rest of this entry »

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And Bread Begat Bread, and Pizza, and Cake, OR, How To Use, Not Waste, a Stale Loaf of Bread.

If you are in Mid-Wales, living in or near Llanidloes, and you like good food, there is the wonderful Andy’s Bread — organic, often with Welsh grain, “artisanal,” and truly locally made and enjoyed.  It’s too good, in my humble opinion, always absolutely delicious — mainly and extremely challenging to my wheat problems, because I can’t have just one little sliver– I end up eating half the loaf.

So somehow I must have hidden from myself this hunk of his Vermont Sourdough, because I found it stale- hard as a rock, as pictured above.

I thought to make breadcrumbs, but didn’t fancy grating it, and our food processor is on its last legs.

I could have shaved the stale loaf into pieces, and soaked them in a vinaigrette to use in a salad, or put them in the bottom of a brothy soup, which I imagine as something old-time and nostalgic in France.

Instead, I chose to experiment, and see if I could begin a sponge for a new loaf of bread– in other words, to use it as a mother, or as a baby, I’m not sure which.  So to my children’s consternation, I soaked the thing in water.

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After soaking, as in the photo above, I shredded it, marvelling in the recyclability of bread.  At this point my goal was to make a new, bubbly, yeasty starter– so I added more water, and a little white flour.  Oh, how could I resist throwing in that handful of leftover brown basmati rice, knowing that white basmati is sometimes considered the perfect ingredient in a baguette? –and let it sit, to see if the yeast would come alive.

Two days later, nothing really seemed to be happening, but wanting to take some kind of action I added a hodgepodge of flours: Rye, Khorasan/ Kamut, and Gluten-Free White Flour.  30 years ago, a Goddess of an older Norwegian woman, who herself made incredible, earthy breads, taught me this way, and that’s just how I do it.  Throw it in, mix and match…  Oh yeah, this time I threw in a handful of caraway seeds as I would were I making rye bread.

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Can you notice above, the chunks that remain of the original soaked bread, the brown at the top the crust?

It took more than a day to get a little bubbly,  as the natural yeasts were activated by eating sugars present and doing their emitting of carbon dioxide, at which point I added olive oil, salt, and enough flour to make a proper dough which I could knead and and form into a sweet loveable ball and wait for it to rise.

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And rise it never actually did, I think because maybe some honey or sugar would have helped, or maybe a more vibrant colony of yeasts from the beginning?  But never mind– the original loaf was still NOT WASTED, which was my goal, and I rolled what there was into lovely bases for my childrens’ supper:

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This is to say that bread is a magic ingredient and bread can beget bread, or in this case, pizza dough.

And last year, bread begat cake, a Sourdough-leavened Chocolate Cherry layered cream cake, reproduction of which for the purpose of blogging please stay tuned. x

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