This week I am proud I wasted no food. I have to admit organising my meals isn’t always easy, and that this week I ended up with lots of my lovely Food Assembly vegetables a bit past their best.That’s why I hope the recipe featured below will inspire you to look beyond the soup for a tasty meal that uses up your leftovers.
I am also happy I finally found the time to sit and watch some of the clips from the wonderful Real Food Revolution series on the Community Channel, aired all throughout last month. In several interviews and documentaries, it charters the actions and lives of those who are helping bring about such change in our fast, industrial food world, by encouraging us to eat real, more sustainable food.
At about 10 minutes long each clip, the Brilliant Food Moments offer a great insight in how varied this landscape is. There are food growing projects across the country, classes that teach healthy meal preparation to people from all backgrounds and finally, many initiatives to combat food waste.
There is James from the Save the Date Cafe in Dalston, who tells us how he was inspired by a guy in Australia to ditch his job as a chef and start a “pay as you feel” cafe that uses only surplus ingredients donated by restaurants and supermarkets, which would otherwise go to waste. There is also Jenny, who recounts how a trip to a local wholesale food market, where she saw tons of perfectly good veg being thrown away, prompted her to start Rubies in the Rubble, a company that makes chutneys out of this food.
Shame I still haven’t managed to watch a documentary that aired last Sunday, the Real Food takeover of the Do Something Brilliant series. Featured in this, is one of the most inspiring organisation in my area, Made in Hackney, aimed at teaching those most in need how to prepare a tasty meal that is good for both their budgets and their health. You can watch a clip of Nynke telling what inspired her to become project manager at Made in Hackney here .
And now my recipe. Poaching your leftover veg in a tasty juice allows you to enrich them with flavour. Here my liquid base was a moscato wine I had lying in the fridge after using some of it to make a zabaione sauce for a dinner ages ago. It had lost most of its fizz and none was going to drink it.
I added a touch of apple cider vinegar and for strong flavours I chucked in some peppercorns, juniper berries, herbs, garlic and shallots…Other aromatics you may think of using are cumin, fennel or coriander seeds, turmeric, ginger, star anise and vanilla.
For the liquid you may consider orange, lime or pineapple juice, or simply veg stock. Also, enjoy playing with the textures. You want your vegetables cooked, but some still crunchy. To this end, you may also add some toasted seeds or nuts before serving.
I leave it to your creativity. Let the veg speak to you, don’t shut them up in the bin.
For the liquid:
about 350ml moscato wine
a touch of apple cider vinegar
4 juniper berries
A few fresh thyme sprigs
A couple of oregano sprigs
A pinch of young sage leaves
2 bay leaves
A couple of small rosemary sprigs
3 carrots past their best, chopped diagonally in rough strips
3 small turnips with their tops roughly chopped
half a fennel past its best
1 large clove of garlic
a small bunch of rainbow chard past its best, the stems chopped in half cm strips, the leaves about 2 cm
a handful crushed raw walnuts, dry roasted for a couple of minutes in a pan.
a glug of extra virgin olive oil
Bring your liquid to the boil with all your herbs and aromatics.
Chuck in the carrots, turnips, fennel, chard stalks and shallots and cook for about 6 minutes. Add the garlic, turnip tops and chard, and cook until the greens are soft and wilted. Adjust the seasoning.
Serve with the roasted seeds scattered on top and a swirl of extra virgin olive oil.
Health score: 10