Now that thoughts are turning to the new school term, we caught up with two of the stars of last summer’s ‘What’s in your kitchen?’ campaign, Cecile Starsmeare and her daughter, Briony, 7. Here are Cecile’s thoughts are on making the most of what time and ingredients are available, to reduce waste and save money.
We always try to eat in season: what’s in the garden and what I can get from the farm I work at. At this time of the year locally grown salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumbers and courgettes are cheap and plentiful, so I make lots of salads and pasta.
I don’t live near a supermarket, but I still prefer not to do one big shop as that can cause waste. Instead I’ll shop whenever I’m in town for other reasons, maybe two or three times a week. For example, we’ll nip to the supermarket when we’re in town for Briony’s swimming lessons.
Briony takes school dinners and as the menu is published, I know what she’ll be having at lunch time, this means I can make sure to give her something different for dinner, so she gets a variety. For my own lunch at work, I’ll take easy items like oatcakes and cheese or leftover falafels and salad. I don’t make sandwiches as I don’t have time; and leftovers make an easier and tastier lunch anyway.
Like with many seven year olds, it’s not always easy to get Briony to eat vegetables and I don’t like to see them wasted. I have Dutch heritage and cook a dish called ‘Stamppot’ which literally translates as “farmers cabbage hodgepodge”. It’s basically mashed potatoes and vegetables such as carrots, kale or endive, traditionally served with sausage. When I make this, I include cheese which Briony loves and I hide diced cheese inside the mash. It becomes a ‘treasure hunt’ for the cheese, but it means the vegetables get eaten too.
My tips for keeping food waste to a minimum?
- Don’t buy too much at a time- little and often is better
- Make smoothies with any fruit you want to use up and the kids to eat- just add ice cream and milk to taste, or if you’re short on time just spray a bit of schooshy cream on the fruit you want eaten and it’ll be gone in no time!
- Vegetable crisps are a great way to use up bits of aubergine, kale, sweet potato, courgette or carrot. Just slice them really thinly, brush with a little oil and either oven bake or grill them. Kale is better in the oven.