By guest blogger HELEN ROADHOUSE
We were in Cheadle Hulme on Monday for another of our free sessions to promote the Love Food Hate Waste message. Once we had introduced ourselves and explained that we were going to be cooking a tagine with golden mash, we set about getting everyone to help us prepare the veggies. Maz wasn't keen to peel the carrots, potatoes and parsnips because the were lovely and fresh and the skins contain so many nutrients that would be lost by peeling, so we just cut out any bad bits. Of course, this also reduces waste, so that set the session off to a good start.
We had the onions frying after a few tears and Maz went through the spices with the group as we cooked the carrots and potatoes, then once the tagine was cooking away we started with the storecupboard quiz. The great thing about this was how engaged everyone became, sharing all their ingredients and admitting which items had been left for ages in the back of the cupboard or fridge. One participant said she had some miso in her fridge that she had no idea what to do with - helpful ideas for her included using it to flavour soups, stews and gravies, and she said she had every intention of giving it a go! There were loads of great recipe ideas for using up old tins and the like, even anchovies - pizza toppings and tapenade, for starters...
This group members were very interactive and asked loads of questions about how to make veg last longer and about storage to avoid wasting food. It was great to see people really caring about the subject. We discussed in detail how to save on wastage especially if you live alone, as several participants did. We discussed buying the right portions and not being seduced by the 'bog of' (buy one get one free) items unless they knew they would eat or freeze them. We discussed sharing large bags of spices with friends and family so they don't go to waste. We also discussed that going to the shops when you're hungry is a huge mistake! I've done it so many times and ended up overfilling my basket. Using a shopping basket rather than a trolley was a great tip from the group - it reduces what you can physically carry - while taking no more cash than you need to spend was another good idea.
This was a really confident and chatty group who really seemed to take on board the LFHW message, and all agreed they had learned ways in which to save themselves money, waste less food and be more versatile with their cooking. And let's not forget the tagine, which also went down very well. We'd gone easy on the spices as one or two of the participants didn't like too much heat, but that's the beauty of this dish - you can easily tailor it to your own tastes. Once again a successful session.
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This session was part of a rolling programme. The next session is on Tuesday in Swinton. Full details of how to book your free place are available on our website.