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Food Waste at Home

Have you ever thought about food waste and what you might throw out each week?

Well Griffith University are asking us to to do just that with their pilot project Waste Not Want Not.  In a Nine News interview with Mia Glover yesterday, Professor Sharyn Rundle-Thiele discussed how much food each week we waste and what we can all do to avoid throwing food away.

As a Chef, I’m always looking at ways to avoid food waste. This campaign has allowed me to develop some simple and tasty recipes for Queenslanders to turn ingredients they may already have on hand or leftover from a previous meal into something great.

If you would like to find out more about the Waste Not Want Not program, how to save money while helping the environment check out my blog from last week here.

Waste not want not – food waste

As a chef, it is part our job to order each week what the kitchen needs, maintain stock levels and make sure that no ingredient goes to waste. As our lives get busier and busier how do we at home make sure that we are not wasting the excess food from the shopping two days ago that wasn’t completely used in last night’s dinner? The answer, planning. Yes, a little bit of planning can go a long way and save you time and money!

Did you know Australian households dispose of $5.2 billion worth of food annually and this is estimated to grow. Food waste costs the city money and impacts the wider environment through food production, transport, waste-collection and landfills generating methane.

Most of household food waste is avoidable and one way to bring about change and reduce waste is to start with food wasted in the home. This week I am involved with The Waste Not Want Not Campaign, a pilot behaviour change project developed by Social Marketing @ Griffith, in collaboration with Redland City Council, Griffith University and supported by Stockland Shopping Centre, Cleveland.
I have developed a range of recipes to support the campaign to help give people at home tasty ideas on how their leftover food can be turned into something new. Yes, no spaghetti bolognese four nights in a row!

Top tips:

  • Create a menu plan – Know when you are going to be home during the week and plan the meals for those days. You can create the weekly menu plan around some of the pantry items you already have in stock. Are there a few items already in the fridge that can also be turned into creative meals?
  • Make a Shopping list– Don’t go to the supermarket without one and don’t buy if it is not on your list. Remember you have a plan!
  • Food Storage – find out  how to store your fresh food properly so that it keeps for longer. If you do make too much for one meal, take the rest to work for lunch the next day or freeze for another meal in the future.
    Use leftover food for another meal – If the stir-fry recipe you are making requires only 1/2 cup of broccoli but you bought a whole head, make sure you use the rest of the broccoli in a meal or in a salad later in the week.

These top tips can help you reduce food spoilage, save you money by not overspending as well as help your local environment by reducing food waste.
If you would like to find out more come and see me at Stocklands Shopping Centre, Cleveland this week!
Keep an eye out next week for a tasty leftover recipe!!!

8 Tips for organising your fridge

Make you fridge the sanctuary of your kitchen…

To me a healthy, organised and clean fridge means a healthy body and an organised kitchen! If you have stumbled with your new year’s resolutions of starting the year on the right foot and making some changes in your eating and lifestyle, and your fridge is still full of left over pizza, soft drink and something unrecognizable growing in the vegetable crisper, then I am here to help. These 8 tips for organising your fridge will have you on the way to cooking with ease, eating a wider variety of healthy foods and give you all the pleasure that you will need from your chilled kitchen companion.

  1. Start by going through all those little bottles and jars in the fridge door, check the use by dates and decide if the ones that8 Tips for organising your fridgeyou haven’t used in the past 3-4 months are ever going to get used…if not then I hate to say but its time to say goodbye. Those of them that you use regularly, sit them where you can see them and if you have two or more of the same product open, then combine them into one jar and think where you can incorporate the relish, mustard, condiment in your next dish, it could be added as a marinade for grilled or barbeque meats, as a condiment to have on the side of your next roast or mixed with olive oil and a little vinegar as a tasty dressing for your salad.
  2. Home made salad dressings are so easy to have on hand and can use up the bits and pieces of left over herbs that you have lying around as well.
  3. Keep all your dairy items together and incorporate a wide variety including yoghurts, cottage cheese, hard cheeses, quark (a German cream cheese – very low in fat and extremely versatile for dips, desserts and spreads) ricotta, cream cheese.
  4. For quick snacks and even quicker dinners have your celery, carrots, capsicum and any other vegetables that you enjoy, prepped, peeled and cut into batons, store them in containers that allow the air to circulate and stay fresh, that way they are ready for you to dice, slice or simply munch on when you get hungry.
  5. Keep a variety of cherry tomatoes, round and gourmet tomatoes for salads, sandwiches and adding to vegetable or side dishes.8 Tips for organising your fridge - vegetables
  6. Instead of having whole fruit in the fridge which I find boring at times to eat, buy one each of your favourite fruits and make a container of fruit salad, keep it stored in an airtight container and it will last the week, that way you have a wonderful mixture of flavours and colours as a high fibre low fat snack to take to work, for the kids at school of for a simple dessert with ice cream or yoghurt.
  7. When you buy your lettuce whole, wash it and break it up into leaves storing it in a lettuce crisper so that it’s easier for you to toss together a delicious salad.
  8. Along with your basic vegetables commit to buying 3-4 other vegetables that you haven’t tried and change them weekly to give you variety. You will eventually make it through all of our wonderful vegetables we have on offer and build up your repertoire of recipes. Aim to cook a different vegetable dish every night using up to 4 different vegetables.

Taking on these 8 tips for organising your fridge you will notice a huge difference in the way you feel, and the ease of which you can prepare your meals. Aim for a clean out the fridge day every week or fortnight depending on when you go shopping to use up the leftover fruit and vegetables, that way you will not only keep your fridge fresh, you will save money, save on wastage and you body and wallet will thank you.

WASTE LESS, SAVE MONEY; 8 Tips for maximising left overs

All the time and energy we put into our sumptuous festive banquets need not go to waste when the day is over, with some careful planning and a little inspiration your following day festivities can also keep the taste buds excited.

Left over’s are a wonderful treat not only because for some reason they always seem to taste just that little bit better the next day they can definitely save you dollars in the pocket and time in the kitchen.

OzHarvest logoThis year I’m participating in Brisbane’s first OzHarvest’s CEO CookOff, where top CEOs, chefs and companies work together to make a difference to Australia’s most vulnerable and reduce food waste. We’d love your support! Click here to donate online to OzHarvest!

8 Tips for maximising left overs   Here are 8 tips for maximising left overs and reducing food wastage!

Meat

  1. Left over roast meats like chicken, lamb, turkey can easily be turned into delicious, pastas, sandwiches or rolls, topping for pizzas and of course a mixed array of salads.
  2. With the addition of wonderfully spiced or zesty dressings, some salad leaves and perhaps the addition of rice, cous cous or burghal or your favourite grain you have a nutritious, filling meal that could feed the multitudes.
  3. Roast meats also make great pies, pasties or filo’s for a quick lunch snack. Saute the meats with onions, leeks, herbs and a white sauce or rich gravy wrap in pastry and bake.

Seafood

  1. Prawns and the seafood platter that may be lingering around can also be used for beautiful seafood crepes for breakfast, tossed through some freshly cooked pasta with a dressing of lemon juice, sliced cherry tomatoes, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic and a touch of chilli makes a quick healthy pasta salad or warm pasta dish for dinner.
  2. Fresh prawns, peeled and served with avocado on toast make a delightful brunch idea or even chopping up the prawns and mixing them with a little mayonnaise, splash of champagne, squeeze of lemon, diced cucumber, avocado and chives and served as a entree or quick lunch with some crusty bread.

Fruits

  1. Our summer fruits lend them selves to these hot days although if you find that you have an excess, chop them up and puree them folding them through vanilla ice cream and re freezing for a dessert treat, simmering pitted cherries, sliced peaches or plums with a little sugar, splash of your favourite wine and a cinnamon stick until they soften and caramelise and serving them with French toast and a dollop of yoghurt cream.
  2. Peaches are also great in salads with some of your sliced turkey, rocket or salad leaves and a chutney dressing of your favourite chutney, a little olive oil, verjuice or splash of white wine and a squeeze of lemon.
  3. Toss this through your salad and enjoy. If you have over indulged on the alcohol, create a fruit spritzer with chopped cherries, peaches, pineapple and any other fruits that you have, add in some soda water, your favourite cordial or some chilled tea and a squeeze of lime, sit back and relax.

Follow these 8 tips for maximising left overs and reduce food wastage!