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Working towards zero food waste

November 28, 2019

Words & photos: Sophie McKeand

I find the best way to avoid food waste in the kitchen is to always cook with whatever’s already there (eg leftovers) as well as checking to see if anything needs eating before it goes off. Building meals that roll along into the next day takes away the stress about what to make as half the meal’s already done, and means we never throw anything away. 

I wanted to give an example here of how I use one lot of leftovers to bulk up the next day’s meal so here’s a three-day-spread!

Day 1
Tagine inspired stew of aubergine & chickpeas with boiled rice

This stew was something I devised probably because we were in Tarifa at the time and I could see Morocco. It was thundering and raining so I wanted to make something comforting and delicious that would fill the van with glorious aromas. It definitely did the trick. 

1x cup cooked chickpeas
1x aubergine diced
1 tin tomatoes
1x red onion diced
2x clove garlic, grated,
1x thumb-sized chunk fresh ginger, grated
Tsp sugar 
Tblsp oil 
Handful of chopped dried fruit: figs/dates/apricots even sultanas would do.
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp all spice
½ cinnamon 
½ tsp chilli flakes (or more if you like spice)
Salt / pepper

Soak the chickpeas overnight and then boil until cooked as per instructions on the packet. Use half of these in this tagine dish and make my favourite hummus recipe (see last month) with the other half.

In a large pan add oil, onion and aubergine and cook until onions are translucent and aubergine is softening. Add splashes of water whenever pan gets dry. Then add garlic, ginger, and all the spices and cook for another two mins. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and half a tin of water, salt, dried fruit, bring to boil then turn down to simmer for about half an hour, stirring regularly. Boil rice. Serve. This makes enough for around three generous portions. 

Day 2
Leftover tagine with sweet & spicy rice.

I first made this rice on Crete as I loved the chestnuts and pomegranates and so it’s lovely to see these foods are also ubiquitous here in southern Spain. It’s another dish that feels rich and expensive but is really easy to make and goes hot or cold with anything. 

There should be one generous portion of tagine left so put that in a small saucepan and heat it for the last five minutes. 

For the rice:
1 cup rice, rinsed
1 ½ cups water
1 cup chestnuts
½ pomegranate 
Thumb sized piece of ginger cut into matchsticks
5x cardamom pods
5x cloves 
1x cinnamon stick

Score a cross into the bottom of each chestnut and put into a hot pan with a lid. Turn down heat and allow to cook for about twenty mins, shuffling the pan every so often. Once that’s done leave to cool slightly, peel and chop.

Put onions in a large pan with oil and sugar and a splash of water along with the cardamom, clove and cinnamon. Simmer on low heat for about 15mins with the lid on until onions are caramelised, keep checking and add another splash of water if it looks like it might burn. This will make the onions taste deliciously sweet and fragrant. For the last five mins add the ginger. I don’t like the ginger too cooked – I like it to really zing in the rice, but the longer you cook it the more subtle its flavour so it’s up to you. 

Next stir in the rice then add the water, put the lid on the pan and bring to the boil, then simmer until cooked. When it looks nearly done, switch off and leave lid on so that it steams for the last couple of mins. Stir in the chestnuts and the fruit from half a pomegranate. Serve warm or room temperature.

Serve with the leftover tagine. This also makes three generous portions so there should still be rice left for tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s recipe came about because I’d bought half a squash in the ‘on offers’ section, and it started to go mouldy in the fridge before I’d planned to use it so I shaved off the green and white bits then diced it and chucked it in a solid pan to roast to with some oil and salt. Afterwards I toasted ½ tsp cumin seeds and ½ tsp coriander seeds in the pan, crushed them, stirred them through the squash and put it in the fridge for the next day because dinner was already planned (see above). 

Day 3
Savoury spicy pumpkin pancakes with leftover rice & hummus. 

I love making pancakes, usually with bananas. I’ve also made sweet pancakes with pumpkin and sweet spices but this time I fancied seeing if they’d work in a savoury dish. It worked a treat. Day 3 is basically taking all of the ingredients in the fridge and assembling them to make a final meal.

To make the pancakes:
Mashed squash (cooked yesterday)
2x tblsp oat flour
½ tsp baking powder or bicarb of soda
2x eggs (optional – to make vegan use oat milk instead) 
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon 
½ tsp all spice 

For the rest:
1x large red pepper
Good olive oil
Leftover sweet and spicy rice
Leftover hummus 
1x avocado
½ lemon

Beat all the pancake ingredients together in a mixing bowl then leave to sit for 30 mins. 

While that’s doing slice a large red pepper lengthways into long strips and put in an iron pan on a hot heat with the lid firmly on, turning occasionally. You want these to go blackened and really soft and the only way to do this is to take your time. 30mins should be perfect! Once they’re done put in a bowl with good olive oil, stir and cover. All the other ingredients are ready: rice and hummus you’ve made on days one and two. Slice an avocado, squeeze juice of half lemon over it and sprinkle a little salt then leave to one side. 

Now put some oil in the iron pan, turn heat down and ladle three pancakes into the pan. Put the lid on and cook for a few mins. When they look done, flip with a spatula and put lid back on. Do this a couple of times until you’re happy they’re done. Keep these three pancakes warm and make another three.

Serve: three pancakes with hummus on top, side of rice and peppers and avocado. Yum. 

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