Saturday, 5 January 2013

Stopping the waste - anyone for soup?

2013's Goal number 2:  Stop food waste.

This won't - by any long shot of the imagination - be the most interesting or inspiring blog post I've ever published.  I can see by my stats that the Pizza Pies, the New Years Eve curry and the Crunchie Cheesecake are what you're all loving!  However, two days ago dear readers, I was a woman on a mission.  The mission (that I chose to accept) was to use up all those bits and bobs lurking in the house after the Christmas and New Year period.  And what was the first thing I came across?  A massive box of Black Magic chocolates.  However this has a BBE of June so (sadly) I could not take this into consideration.  I may take it into consideration later tonight though.  Especially when I think about the leftovers I had to play with and therefore the horrors I am going to be consuming this week under the guise of 'food'.  Ready Steady Cook this was not...

How do you solve a problem like... this mini vegetable stall?

Boosted along by my favourite Beatles tracks blasting out in my cosy (pffffffffft) kitchen, George Harrison's guitar was not the only thing that gently wept.  So did I, sobbing and muttering to myself as I peeled 900g of sprouts.

Seriously.  900g of sprouts.  Who makes these decisions for the supermarkets?   What lunatic buys 900g of sprouts?  (Me.  For one.  However in my defence, they were reduced to 25p and I couldn't leave them there for that).  It's a vegetable that nobody likes in the house except me, my husband will have 'a couple' and my daughter 'will have one just to say that I had one' and then she only leaves it anyway!

Soup was the word.  At the end of the day, we all know how to make soup, so I won't bore you with a huge recipe for each bowl.  

I made Cream of Brussels sprout soup - sprouts, water, chicken stock (although you could use vegetable), 200g potato, 200g onion, blitzed at the end with a good splash of cream.

I made Bacon, Tomato and Red Pepper soup - which was a favourite in the kitchen where I worked - saute a little bacon in a little oil, add a sliced red onion, diced red pepper, you could add some potato for added thickness, a little water and some vegetable stock cubes and then I shove in three cans of chopped tomatoes.  Blitz until smooth, don't blitz, part blitz - it's lovely any way.

I made Cream of mushroom soup - chopped mushrooms, a diced onion, water and stock.  Takes very little cooking this one, and at the end when blitzing add some cream.  Not the most appetising looking soup - but very tasty!

Brussels Sprout Soup

Tomato Bacon and Red Pepper Soup

This is what I ended up with after my soup making exercise...

As I said previously the mushroom one doesn't look great... If you've got a weak stomach you may struggle with it, but it's tastier than any mushroom soup I've ever poured from a can.  So, all in all 18 portions of soup, packed up and into the freezer for a cheap and cheerful lunch for hubby and I over the next week. 

It has to be said though - and I know it's from my perspective as a Brussels lover - the sprout soup was absolutely amazing!  I can see how even the ardent sprout hater could comfortably eat this.  It was delicioso! (Too much Dora, sorry!)

I had a large piece of Roast Beef left over that I wasn't confident enough to slice... I once nearly chopped a large piece of my thumb clean off slicing meat, it was under a plaster for about 2 months until I was confident it wouldn't drop off and had knitted together!  I'm useless with blood, needles, illness etc, so I tend to play it safe!  A little too safe sometimes!

I cooked up some potatoes, cabbage, onion, swede and mashed small bits of the cut up beef into the mixture (I used scissors... if you're interested... yes, yes I did).   Used a deep pastry cutting ring to make patties, and put them on a baking tray in the fridge.   Blitzed two almost-stale pieces of bread to make breadcrumbs, and when the patties were cold, dipped them in beaten egg, and into the breadcrumbs, and fried them in a little oil to crisp the outsides, then I put them into the oven.  I'm a bit cross that I didn't take any photographs of this process.

And finally.  I made a huge stir fry mixture, and put it into a large plastic tub in the fridge.  Wilting spring onions, peppers, onions, chillies, mushrooms and carrots.  We had this for tea last night, I just added some chicken breast, and two sachets of Chilli and Garlic stir fry sauce that had been languishing in my cupboard for months and months... a little boiled rice, and that was a meal for 4 of us.

Sometimes things just show up for me - like signs that I'm on the right track.  This article came the same day via my email newsletter from  This is where I turn into my mother and start wagging my finger, muttering about 'starving children'.  It's absolutely disgraceful the amount of food that is wasted in this country, at any time of the year, not just Christmas.  They mention a really good website on there that I've used for about 5 years now.  I think they'd have been very proud of me on Thursday!

That's not the end of it, now I have to tackle what languishes in the freezer and the very few fresh ingredients that remain.  Today's dish is going to be a semi-homemade sausage Casserole - not my favourite dish by a long shot - but I'm determined to 'Use it up' (Goal number 3) and 'Stop food waste' (Goal number 2) in 2013.

M x

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