Saturday, January 19, 2013

Waste not, want not

Like most people, I really hate wasting food. But you know, there are those weeks where you buy fresh ingredients with every intention of using them, but it just doesn't happen. You unexpectedly go out for dinner, you get home too late to make that complicated recipe you meant to try, or you just forget about those corn cobs in the bottom of the crisper. Then shopping day rolls around again and you sadly dispose of over-ripe or mouldy fruit and veg to make way for fresh stuff.

I've been determined not to have this happen again, and yet... this morning, I rummaged in the fridge and pulled out half a butternut pumpkin with mould spots all over the cut surface, two zucchini that had gone a bit soft and a peach that was so ripe, it was at risk of bursting from just picking it up.

Instead of throwing them in the bin, I decided to salvage them. I turned on the oven (thank goodness it isn't 40ยบ here today!) and got started. The pumpkin was easy - I sliced off the top few millimetres, scooped out the seeds, cut it into four big chunks and chucked it on an oven tray. Having baked pumpkin in a container in the fridge is always handy - I use it in pancakes, or just add it to grilled meat and steamed veggies for a balanced lunch.

The peach was a cinch too. I had a small amount of ricotta left over that needed to be used pretty quickly, so I cut the peach in half and baked it for ten minutes, then crammed ricotta on top of each half, sprinkled chopped walnuts on them and added a little maple syrup. Instant dessert! Or in today's case, lunch...

Normally, I turn over-ripe fruit into fruit compote, but I didn't want to spend time slicing a big pot of fruit up at that particular moment.

That left the zucchini. What to do with that? Fritters, frittata....nope, I was on a sweet roll here. So I created a zucchini chocolate cake, with spelt flour. It turned out pretty good, really light and moist, but could use more sweetener. Two tablespoons of agave syrup, one of a stevia/erythritol blend and some apple sauce aren't quite enough, as it turns out. I'll revisit this one and blog the recipe when it's right.

We also had half a punnet of cherry tomatoes that were going soft and a bit wrinkly. Those were called into service last night for pizza topping.

Bike Boy is a whiz at making pizza dough, and he cooks them in our charcoal-fired barbecue  giving them the best flavour. I topped mine with bocconcini, mushrooms, prawns, the aforementioned cherry tomatoes and basil leaves.

It was magnificent. But not wheat-free ...I'm a total failure at my 30-day challenge. *hangs head in shame*

Anyway, I'm pleased to have not thrown one single thing out this week. Just call me Captain Frugal. I'm interested in any other brilliant ways to use up limp veggies or squishy fruit. If you have some, feel free to share.



Liz N said...

Love it! It's satisfying when you get rid of those leftovers, eh?

Sara said...

I just had to throw out two whole cabbages that had been waiting too long to be 'sauerkrauted'. I hate waste too. I think I inherited a WASTE NOTHING attitude from my Grandma.

Shauna said...

phwoar how good does that pizza look! and always such a satisfying feeling to use something up like that :)

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