By guest blogger HELEN ROADHOUSE
We had an excellent turnout at Ashton Town Hall for our Love Food Hate Waste session in partnership with Recycle for Greater Manchester last Monday, when we were cooking veggie chilli. This was a brilliant opportunity to show everyone just how easy it is to make this tasty meal.
Some participants wanted to peel their veggies but after Maz explained some of the benefits of keeping the skins on, we had very little peelings to be recycled. Even better, one of the attendees, John, asked if he could take the few we did have for his wormery! Result! No waste at all! We got all the veg chopped and into the pans with the spices and tinned tomatoes. We opened the tins of beans and showed everyone the different types. All were pretty familiar with the kidney beans but most had not had much experience of aduki and pinto beans. Lots of questions were asked as to their taste, price and availability. Of course people tried them and some were surprised at their 'nuttiness'. We also discussed their high protein content and cheap cost, and how they could be bought for very little dried so the excess could be shared with friends.
Our quiz went down well again and it was agreed that some great recipes could be put together using up the ingredients left in our cupboards and fridges, while making a sandwich can just as easily be a good way to use up food. Shopping habits were discussed and questions asked about the best places to buy certain items and how planning and portion control are great ways to limit wastage as is freezing any extra portions. By now, the chilli was ready to serve and the rice had fluffed up a treat. One or two people were cautious about chilli heat but Maz explained that you can make this dish as hot or mild as you like, just as you can include in the recipe whichever veggies you happen to have in. As it turned out, the hotter of the two pans was the popular one - lots of chilli fans in this session! Some containers were filled with what was left so, true to the session ethos, there was no waste whatsoever!
We had some really lovely comments from the participants about what they had learned and how much fun they had discussing reducing food waste and learning tips they could pass onto their groups and communities. They said it made learning to cook uncomplicated and fun.
Visit the Cracking Good Food website to find out the dates and details of the upcoming FREE events we're running around Greater Manchester until the end of March. Click here for more.