Monday, 31 March 2014

Extreme food waste.

Food waste makes me sad, I hate it!!  I am really proud that we waste very little food in our house, due to our mutual dislike of waste but also because we have no desire to waste money.  Of course having chickens in the garden really help with those table scraps, that you always get with having young children.
 According to the Love Food Hate Waste website:
"Almost 50% of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK comes from our homes. We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year in the UK, and more than half of this is food and drink we could have eaten."

This is  a subject that has had lots of media coverage of late,  there have been many tools set up to help people use up their left overs and oddments at home.
But what about businesses?   I would have thought that hospitality venues, would be keen to monitor their food waste as after all food waste equals a loss in profits.

"Research from WRAP in 2009 found UK hotels, pubs, restaurants and quick service restaurants disposed of 600,000 tonnes of food waste."
Last week I witness some of this extreme waste for myself.  My hubby started a new position as the Executive Head Chef of a local hotel, knowing that he was extremely busy I offered my services for a few hours.  I was asked to organise the dry store, as I am pretty good at organising and tidying.   So I organised all the shelves for the dry products, then I went on to the fruit and veg.  During this time I threw away two loaves of bread (but I did ask if I could take these for the chicken ha ha) and a couple of lemons.  Hubby asked me to clean and sort the fridges, first the salad fridge that was cleaned with no dramas. I then moved onto the meat and dairy fridge, it was like a graveyard.  I was threw away a whole box of smoked haddock fillets, buckets of duck legs and breasts,  a box of fillet steaks plus countless buckets of oddments, beef cubed up of casseroling, bones for stock, sauces and more.  This detritus had cost the hotel about £400, and someone had not had the sense to use it up.  All the time that I was sorting this out I could not help thinking , that this would have fed my family of five for more than three weeks.  I disgusted me to bin it all, but what can you do when its all rotten?  I tried to think of a way to remedy this situation, but I know that Hubby is much more organised and will not allow his kitchen to get into such a state.  But I have also struck a deal so that hubby brings home bits for our chickens, in return for some eggs for work.  Win win.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Cheese and Potato Bake

Last week a friend sent me a link to a recipe that had become a favourite with her family, she had taken the idea from Netmums.  I have found Netmums a good source of  frugal recipes, but I found that I could tweak them to be a bit more to our taste and budget.  This dish calls for leftover roast chicken, but I think that any bits that you have in the fridge will work just as well. I used a few bacon lardons and a leek from the garden.  I have not given amounts for the recipe, as that will depend on how many you are feeding, and what you have available.
- Potatoes.
- Cheese sauce.
- Cheese.
- whatever left overs you have in the fridge (bacon, chicken, mushrooms, onion, leeks, sweet corn  etc.).
-Layer a ovenproof dish with thinly sliced potato.
-Lightly fry some chopped onion, mushrooms and bacon lardons  or whatever takes your fancy. Mix  together with the cooked left over chicken, if you have it.
-Spread this mixture over the potato slices and top with a layer of cheese sauce. Then a layer it up like a lasagne.  Finishing off on top with a layer of grated cheese.
-Pop in oven (180 C/Gas 4) for about an hour, but check that the potato is cooked. 
This is nice eaten with leafy salad, but again that depends on your budget.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we all did, this is now set to regular appearance on our meal planner.