The highlight of my week was most definitely photographing for the Waste Not Want Not pop up the took place on Thursday the 3rd of April at the Putney Pantry, St Mary’s Church. The event was organised in support of Action Against Hunger by Jane Montgomery and Chef Jonty Franks who together created a five course feast from under used and forgotten British produce. The event was organised to highlight how we can make better and full use of the food resources that we have to hand right here in Britain and stop wasting good food.
The menu was a delight highlighting cod cheek tartare served with a delicious British crayfish bisque which came served separately in a open egg shell, bone marrow roasted black pudding, pigs cheek braised in English cider, a scrumptious wild garlic almond pesto salad with beetroot and broccoli.
I spoke about wild garlic in a previous blog post about using seasonal ingredients. It is actually on the way out now but I’m sure you could still find some. It grows in woodlands, so when you spot the bluebells, start looking out for the wild garlic. It has long green leaves and small white flowers. It favours semi shaded moist areas and can also be found on river banks. Don’t forget to make use of the leaves as well as the bulb and remember to be careful and respectful when foraging.
You can buy cod cheek from your local fishmonger. If you are interested in learning how to fillet a cod or any other fish cheeks here is a great video I found on YouTube showing a demonstration:
My husband is a big fan of Ox cheeks which he is often able to get in the supermarket deli counter at reduced prices simply because it’s a forgotten cut. He has made a number of great slow cook casseroles, stews and curries which have been really tasty including braised Balinese curry and braised Ox cheek in red wine. In fact pigs cheek is now considered to be the new lamb shank and growing in popularity. I have in fact come across it a number of times in Spain. Not so much in the tourist restaurants, but in the ones out of they way that the Spanish go to.
Until last week I had never tried bone marrow before, I always had considered it a delicacy for our dogs and not something for humans to eat. I was pleasantly surprised and very pleased with myself for trying it. The black pudding, which I have tried on a number of occasions and disliked, was lightly crumbed on top of the split bone, to my surprise I found the whole dish quite delicious! As pointed out on the menu, it takes 7 kg of grain to produce 1kg of meat, so why are we wasting the bones?!
And to finish off my already full stomach, one of my favourite desserts after crumbles, bread and butter pudding, with bananas. Yum! Astonishingly in the UK we throw away 1.6 million whole bananas and 20 million slices of bread each day! Now that really is a waste! So use up your stale bread and make a delicious pudding. I often also like to make cake with any bananas I don’t get to eat in time.
So to wrap up, here are three things I’d like you all to keep in mind in future:
1. Don’t buy too much!
The next time you are going shopping, be mindful of what you are putting in your basket, buy only what you know you will get through, and if you find you run out, it’s not exactly a hardship to pop to the local store or market to top up. Not only will you be reducing food waste but you will save lots of money too. Government studies suggest that food waste costs UK households between £420 – £610 per year.
2. Use it up!
If you do have too much food that is on the way out, really try to think of ways to use it up. Even if it means making something and then freezing it for use later and don’t forget about making stock from vegetable stalks and bones instead of just throwing them away. Today, I have some leftover buttermilk from bread I made last week, I’m going to make pancakes with it this afternoon, now who doesn’t love pancakes?!
3. Try something new!
Get out there and buy a cut of meat you haven’t used before, try some bone marrow high in protein, calcium and iron. Look around you and forage for free food!