It is impossible to cook without having any extra food all the time, leftovers are inevitable. It’s how you use them next that matters. I really couldn’t comment on how much people use and how much they throw away outside of my nearest and dearest, but I do reckon that there is far too much waste and that is one of my pet hates. What I do love is having a fridge full of bits and pieces to throw into lunchboxes or to add a little something different to what’s on the stove. For the lunches it’s easy, just choose, chop and mix up whatever you can see, adding leftovers to cooking though is a slightly more refined process.
For one the flavours have to either be similar or match up well. Like you wouldn’t mix leftover gravy into a creamy pasta dish, but it would be great in a casserole or stew. I love using the last little bit of a dip or a pot of cream to chuck into a meal to add some jazz, there are some leftovers that are much more versatile than others. Last week I made by classic Beef Stew for the kids and upon the daily enquiry ‘what’s for dinner?’ as I answered I looked around the bench for something to add to the end of ‘beef stew AND…’. It was too late to put on potatoes and was thinking toast when I spied the baguette ends (that never get eaten) and added ‘… with breadsticks’. Chopped them up into finger shapes and have now a new item to join my leftover-using repertoire. Using up food in different ways is not only good for the environment, it is an awesome exercise to expand you culinary skills.
This week I turned leftover waste into gourmet delight with Spaggy Bog Balls. Now while the name may seem like something you don’t want to eat, I promise you they are so super tasty! And just another example of how easy it is to use up the leftover food. Good for the cooking skills, good for the environmentally conscious, and the ‘no waste’ ethos has so many benefits. So give it a try, ask yourself what you can do with that bit of food before you chuck it in the bin.
Emma Eastman 2015