Save money and help the planet by avoiding food waste. Turn yesterday’s leftovers into to-morrow’s deliciously simple meals with these tips.
Everyone hates seeing good food go to waste. Yet we do it all the time: almost half of all the food in British homes ends up in the bin. It’s bad for the environment and it’s bad for our budgets, costing families up to £700 a year. Experts estimate that if all that food waste could be eliminated, the environmental benefit would be as great as taking one in four cars off the road.
But no matter how careful you are, there’s always bound to be food left over sometimes. So finding creative ways of reusing it is vital. Follow these suggestions for freshening up yesterday’s food in new and appetising ways. Vegetables
Leftover veggies can easily make a delicious soup. All you need is a little butter or olive oil, some stock and the vegetables. For a richer, more interesting soup, add aromatics like onion, garlic and leeks and fresh herbs or spices. Simply chop up your vegetables and aromatics, then slowly brown them in the butter or olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add spices or any dried herbs now. Then add your stock and simmer, with fresh herbs if you have them. After about half an hour, the soup should be ready. Check the seasoning and puree if preferred.Pasta
Add the pasta to the sauce at the last minute, when you know just how much everyone wants. This way, any unused pasta can be kept and added to a new sauce the next day or used in a bake. It’ll taste just as good as if it had been made freshly. And since the sauce is all new – bolognese one night, carbonara the next – no one will know that they’re eating leftovers.Potatoes
Mix mashed potatoes with smoked haddock, trout or salmon to make a delicious fishcake – using up two leftovers in one. Or you can mix with flour and egg to form gnocchi. Leftover mash can form a thickener for soups, like a classic leek and potato soup or seafood chowder. Alternatively, there’s always the old favourite: fry up crushed leftover potatoes with greens for bubble and squeak.Bread
Every culture that eats bread has recipes for using up stale crusts, so you’re spoilt for choice. Try a traditional bread and butter pudding by layering buttered stale bread with sultanas and cinnamon, then pouring over custard, sprinkling with nutmeg and sugar, and baking until golden brown. For a savoury option, try Spanish migas. Fry garlic with chorizo and bacon in olive oil, then add cubes of stale bread along with sweet smoked paprika. Fry for another five minutes, stirring continually. Serve with a fried egg on top.