12 February 2014

GUEST BLOG: Saving time

By guest blogger CHRIS YOUNG

We've just run two more of our free Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) sessions in partnership with Recycling For Greater Manchester: on Sunday at the Lifestyle Woodhouse Park community centre in Wythenshawe and on Monday at Limeside’s community centre, Oldham.

Wythenshawe, 9 February

We started the session in Wythenshawe by talking how much food each household wastes each month (5kg!) and what we can do to save that food (and money). We were going to be making a veg and bean chilli, so Cracking Cook Maz got everyone started on chopping the onions, carrots, sweet potatoes and peppers. When making stew-type dishes, almost anything can go into them so look around in your cupboards to see what you can use up. As e chopped, we had an interesting discussion about our shopping habits, where everyone shopped, how often, and if anyone looked through their cupboards and made a list of what to buy before they went shopping. We also talked about use-by dates versus sell-by dates. (Use-by date = you should eat/use the item by that date. Sold-by date = the date it should be sold by the shop, but use your judgement as most things can be eaten/used after their sell-by date.)

Next, we had an exercise, in which the different groups wrote down what they had in their cupboards and fridges – especially items that they were not sure what to do with. One group had 49 things! We then asked the groups to use these ingredient lists to think of meals to make, and they came up with wonderful things such as quiche, flapjacks, trifle, veggie casserole and cabbage soup, just to mention a few things. After the group activity, Maz (pictured above, standing) finished up the cooking and we all enjoyed a healthy veg and bean chilli with rice.

Limeside, Oldham 10 February

CGF’s Kim (below) started out the session in Limeside Community Centre by talking about how much money we could save and how we could help the environment by utilising all of the food we purchase. For example, instead of throwing out the ‘less attractive’ fruit and veggies, use them up in pies and stews.  On average, each household in England is wasting £50 per month by throwing away food!

To show how even "past-it" vegetables can look attractive and taste good, Kim was showing everyone how to make a veg and bean chilli, starting by demonstrating how to easily chop an onion and sharing a great tip to ensure your onions are cooked perfectly in a chilli or stew: be sure to cook them to your liking before adding the rest of the mixture as liquid will stop the cooking process of the onion. We also had carrots, garlic, mushrooms, parsnips and peppers, and Kim showed everyone how to get as much as possible out of each vegetable. It was a good session with shared ideas and tips throughout. While eating the veg and bean chilli with rice, fresh herbs and a dollop of yoghurt (if wanted), even the most avid meat eater agreed that it was an excellent substitution for a meat meal!

See the CGF website for details on upcoming FREE sessions. The next is this Saturday, 15 February, in Salford. Click here for more.

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