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Don’t let the pasteurised go past-your-eyes

February 23, 2011

Excuse disregard for the English language used to create a simple play on words for National Dairy Week. But needs must and I am sure that Louis Pasteur would approve of the subtle reference to the process synonymous with his name; Pasteurisation.

If you delight in dairy you may want to divert your ears / eyes as there is some news that may sour your soul, sorry another ban pun.  As each year an estimated £93 million worth of dairy is disposed by households in Scotland. That is cheese that got chucked, yoghurt that went yuck, butter that turned bad, eggs that went from the box to the bin and the cream that was never consumed.

For me, the diary dilemma I can face on occasion that changes me from being a delighter of dairy, to the “dairy disposer” is often simply time itself. As time passes dairy can be quick to changes. Once it has gone past its ‘use by’ date or for eggs their ‘best before’ date then they will need to go. Am I the only one that can quickly find themselves as the disposer of dairy that I had bought to delight in? If so what should I do?

 
 
 

Dairy delights

 

For me, the diary dilemma I can face on occasion that changes me from being a delighter of dairy, to the “dairy disposer” is often simply time itself. As time passes dairy can be quick to changes. Once it has gone past its ‘use by’ date or for eggs their ‘best before’ date then they will need to go. Am I the only one that can quickly find themselves as the disposer of dairy that I had bought to delight in? If so what should I do?

Louis Pasteur at work

If I was Louis Pasteur, the brilliant French chemist and one of the fathers of microbiology, perhaps I would have some hope of avoiding this dilemma by developing an elaborate system to prolong the life of my dairy further. However I am not that brilliant, as you can tell from the title to this blog. I just need to employ another play of words on the technique that Louis is famous for (Pasteurisation) and encapsulate this into a ‘catchy’ slogan. Here it comes…

Dairy. Don’t let the pasteurised, go past-your-eyes…

There is some method behind the madness of this statement, but not much and it is buried deep. It stems from the knowledge that diary is easy to buy, put into the fridge, then use some of it, before forgetting the rest.  So if you have ever gone into your fridge only to find some forgotten fromage you are not alone.

Here are my top tips to prevent the pasteurised from getting past-your-eyes again, so we can all dispose less dairy. 

  • Have a rummage through your fridge; looking at what dairy you have in there and plan when you will use it by.
  • Rotate the contents of the fridge; bring things that need to be used first to the front of the fridge, such as the cream or yoghurts. 
  • Use your freezer for dairy that you will need to use at a later date.
  • Before heading to the shops have a quick look through your fridge so you get just the things you need.
  • Give a glance to the use by dates on the dairy while at the shops. So you know you will be able to use it all in good time.  

Fromage found whilst fridge foraging.

Finally if you are looking for some inspiration for creative ideas with what to do with your cream or cheese or eggs or yoghut then look no further than the recipe finder. During National Dairy Week make it a time when you are a dairy delighter and not a dairy disposer, and don’t let the pasteurised go past-your-eyes.

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Don’t be left over this Valentine’s Day!

February 14, 2011

This Valentine’s Day cupid needs your help! While he is out firing love infused arrows at prospective couples, he needs you to spread the message of love within your kitchen. To do so you’re going to have to take on the role of Cilla Black (don’t worry he doesn’t need you to practice your Liverpudlian accent or wear a sparkly jacket) and do some matchmaking in your kitchen. Lurking in all of our cupboards, fridges and freezers there will be unloved foods – foods that don’t get used as often or have been forgotten about and left at the back of the cupboard.

Surprise surprise!

This Valentine’s Day the fate of unloved food across the kitchen lies in your hands.

Is your freezer home to a bag of forgotten about peas aimlessly rolling around at the bottom on the drawer? Spoil them this Valentine’s Day with a present of a bag clip – the ideal tool to keep them all safe in the bag! Peas are the perfect partner for most meals! Great as a side dish with a knob of butter and some fresh mint or delicious as an extra ingredient to curries, frittata’s and salads. Why not set them up on a date tonight!

Are you lonesome tonight?

How many of us have spice racks with jars of herbs and spices bought ages ago that you never use…. well now is the time to dust them off and put them back on the market again in some tasty dishes!  Herbs and spices are the perfect partner to all meals. They add bags of extra flavour and have the power to transform a dull meal into something exotic. They are also great for leftovers, one of my favourite things to do is add some chilli powder and chilli flakes to leftover bolognaise sauce to make a simple chilli – perfect with a fluffy baked potato.

Let me spice things up!

Is your kitchen cupboard hiding a bag of unloved lentils, bought last winter to make soups and sadly forgotten about? Well this February show them some love and set them up on a date in your kitchen. Lentils are a great addition to many a recipe such as soups, curries, moussaka’s and hot pots. Even better this ingredient is a cheap date – at under a pound a bag, it’s a great way to bulk up a meal economically.

I'm a cheap date!

If you’re struggling with the role of “Cilla” and need help setting up dates for your unloved foods then the Love Food Hate Waste Recipe Finder is the Casanova for you! Simply type in any leftover/forgotten/unloved ingredients in to the finder and it will come up with a selection of delicious recipes for you. And don’t worry you don’t have to be an expert chef to make them. Our recipes are simple, quick and easy, don’t involve any complex equipment and usually are based around ingredients you will already have in your cupboards.  So no excuses for not cooking your partner the perfect Valentine’s Day meal!

"This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship"

New packaging developed to reduce waste…

January 18, 2011

Most people, myself included, can get a bit confused when rummaging through the contents of their fridge to assess what’s still edible.  So what are the key indicators you base this important decision on?  Do you stand strictly by the best before, use by and eat within dates – which can in themselves be confusing?  Do you go by physical appearance, and deem a food inedible when mould materialises; or would you simply remove it and progress to the sniff test?  Or do you prefer to haphazardly dive straight in for a taste?

Well for anyone who’s ever had a heated internal debate over something which has been festering in the back of their fridge, there’s good news!  Scientists at the University of Strathclyde are developing a new food wrapping which changes colour when perishable foods such as meat, fish, and salad leaves are going bad.  This new technology will help to reduce unnecessary waste and cut down on the £1 billion worth of food wasted by consumers in Scotland each year.  Scientists estimate this new technology will be hitting the shelves of our local supermarkets within the next couple of years; but until then there are some simple steps which can be taken to reduce the amount of food we throw in the bin.

Firstly, make sure you plan your meals for the week before you go shopping.  This means that you’ll resist the temptation of over-buying and only pick up what you need – as well as having the added bonus that you don’t have to think about what you’re going to eat each night.  When you’re doing your shopping, make sure you check the dates on everything you buy to ensure you’ll eat them before they go off.  The key thing to remember here is that use by dates refer to food safety; whereas best before dates refer to food quality.  Fresh foods such as dairy, meat and fish should not be eaten after their use by dates.  Foods with best before dates are safe to eat after this date, but you may find that the taste and texture has changed.  The exception to this rule is eggs, which should not be eaten after their best before date.

Obviously plans can change at short notice, and it’s not realistic to always stick to your meal plan, so if you find you have food which is nearing its use by date, stick it in the freezer for another time.  But make sure you rotate your frozen food so you don’t forget about things.

For more tips on how to keep your fridge fresh, see the Love Food Hate Waste website.

Britain’s Best Dish visits Scotland

January 10, 2011

Britain’s Best Dish, ITV1’s nationwide cooking competition to find the country’s most mouth-watering dish returns in 2011 for a fifth series.

The auditions are in Glasgow on Saturday 5th February 2011 and anyone who would like to be considered for the auditions should contact bestdish@itv.com or call 09011 22 33 11.

Last year saw Jonathon Davies from Leeds scoop the £10,000 first prize with a sumptuous dish of Seared Masala Spring Lamb. Amateur chefs from Norfolk and Hampshire have also triumphed in previous contests – so could 2011 be the year when someone from Scotland rises to the top?

Jonathon Davies’s Seared Masala Spring Lamb, Britain’s Best Dish 2010

The show’s producers are hoping to attract lots of local culinary talent to compete for the £10,000 cash prize.

So, this got me thinking: what would Britain’s best dish be for you?

It occurred to me that although we each have different tastes – what makes one person’s mouth water, makes another turn up their nose – surely there must be criteria that we each agree is important in establishing the very best dish to come out of the county?

I imagine that we would agree that British sourced ingredients would be vital. And that the dish would make the very best of those ingredients in terms of flavour and suitable cooking.

What about how the ingredients are sourced? Would the very best dish in Britain come from ingredients sustainably produced?

It won’t surprise you to hear that, for me, not only would Britain’s best dish consider the source of ingredients, but also its responsibility to minimise waste.

The judges await your waste-free culinary masterpiece

As a judge, I’d be looking to see that the dish uses the whole bird or fish, leaving nothing to waste. I’d be ensuring the dish is a sensible portion, so that – no matter how tasty – half will not be left on the plate.

Wouldn’t it be exciting and refreshing if the best dish in Britain came from sustainably sourced ingredients (or leftovers!), tasted incredible and wasted nothing?

So, my plea to the nation of Scotland is to step up to the plate (sorry) with a dish worthy of truly being called, Britain’s best dish!

To get your creative juices flowing visit Love Food Hate Waste’s recipe pages for some inspiration.

O come all ye wasteful

December 10, 2010

The festivities are almost upon us – the shops are bursting with tasty Christmas treats, the family have RSVP’d  and the blood pressure is reaching heights reserved only for December.

But lords need not be leaping with the stress of the occasion. The easiest way to deal with this mammoth task is to plan, plan and – you guessed it – plan.

Think how many you are feeding and decide what to prepare to satisfy your hungry hordes. Planning meals and writing a list is a great way to ensure you buy exactly what you need and don’t wake up on Boxing Day with more turkey than Norfolk.

If there is a bit of breast or a leg leftover when the family are stuffed and snoozing before the Queen’s speech, cool any leftovers as quickly as possible and store in an air tight container for up to two days. Leftover turkey and other meats are great eaten hot or cold, however remember if you do decide to reheat, make sure that they are piping hot all the way through before you indulge.

Think in advance of a few leftover meals to use up any leftover bird meat –  Wendy Barrie’s Turkey and vegetable stir fry on the Love Food Hate Waste website will ensure you’re not stuck with uninspiring turkey sandwiches!

Like me, over Christmas you probably buy more of your food in advance. But before you buy enough to fill a supermarket distribution depot, check your fridge and freezer to see what space is left (last Christmas, I regretted buying the extra box of mince pies with the short shelf life – by pie six…ugh).

So, when shopping, look out for product date labels so you know you will use them in time and remember to follow all storage instructions on packaging so that you can indulge in your goodies at their best.

And what about the potential arrival of Cousin Jack’s new squeeze? If you are worried about having enough for unexpected guests, make sure what you buy can be frozen – that way if it’s not used over Christmas it can still be enjoyed long after the decorations are back in the attic.

"It's Christmas octopus this year, so we can all have a leg."

Finally, if you’re busy, why not download the Love Food Hate Waste iPhone application.  You can reduce your food waste on the go with its handy portion planner, recipe blender and meal planner. Download here.

Have a joyful and triumphant waste-less Christmas.

Happy holidays!

European Week for Waste Reduction

November 26, 2010

Did you know that this week is European Week for Waste Reduction? What is this I hear you cry! Well it’s all about highlighting waste reduction activities across Europe and raising awareness of what individuals, organisations, education establishments and businesses can do to reduce waste by making simple changes to everyday behaviour.

As part of the week, Love Food Hate Waste is being promoted across the country by local authorities, community groups, schools and universities in an effort to help people reduce their food waste.  Here’s a wee taste of what’s going on!

Caledonia Primary, Mayfield Primary, St Anthony’s and Winton Primary all in North Ayrshire are raising awareness of the amount of waste produced over lunch times in their school. Throughout the week, the schools will be carrying out a food waste audit which will be fed back to catering and parents so that issues such as portion size can be addressed. What a great idea!

Students at St Mary’s Episcopal Primary School in Dunblane have set a target of reducing their food and packaging waste by half by Christmas, and kick-started this campaign during the European Week for Waste Reduction. Another great initiative!

Pupils at Holy Cross Primary in North Lanarkshire are visiting their local food waste treatment facility so they can learn what happens to their food waste once it’s collected. I am sure it’s going to be an eye-opening experience.

In Moray they are taking waste prevention on tour! The Waste Aware team will be out and about at various locations across Moray helping residents learn how they can reduce their household waste.

Is there an event near you? Visit http://www.wasteawarescotland.org.uk/events.asp to see what’s going on in your local area!

The Love Food Hate Waste team also wanted to get involved in the week and decided it was about time we had organised our first television ad! Look out for it on STV until the 28th of November or if you want a sneaky peak…

We’ve updated our iPhone app

November 16, 2010

To celebrate passing 55,000 downloads we’ve doubled the number of recipes on our iPhone application!

Our iPhone app designed to help minimise food waste has proved extremely palatable with consumers – becoming one of the country’s most successful home-grown digital apps – serving up over 55,000 downloads in just eight months.

The first of its kind, the unique food waste ‘blender’ app, previously reached number two in Apple’s free iTunes Lifestyle chart when it launched in February this year. The app also featured in Apple’s coveted `new and noteworthy’ section on the iTunes app store.

 

The Love Food Hate Waste 'Blender' In Action

To celebrate surpassing 55,000 downloads and thank everyone who has downloaded the app; we have doubled the amount of recipes the app holds, with users now able to access over 350 delicious meal ideas. If you are not an iPhone user, fear not as there is currently a Google Android version in development and all of the recipes are available in the recipe section of our website.

The success of the app lies not only in its originality, but in the simple way it encourages and allows users to change their behaviour and reduce food waste.

The easy to use app asks users to place `ingredients’ they already have at home into an on-screen blender, shake the phone and out pops an easy, healthy recipe or meal suggestion. It can also be used to help plan meals when shopping. It also offers a range of hints and tips on how to reduce food waste and a portion size planner to help consumers avoid wastage.

The Love Food Hate Waste app helps users to shop smart

The app is seen as a revolutionary new step in an ongoing drive to combat food waste, a quest that Scotland is leading the way in trying to achieve. The average Scottish household throws away £430 per year of perfectly good food, this can be alleviated by using the app to plan meals and shopping trips.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead MSP, said:  “In order to achieve a zero waste society, we need to be living examples of the Love Food Hate Waste message and utilise modern technology to engage with more people across Scotland”. The app has also attracted praise from Colin Kelly, who is the Gadget guy on STV’s magazine show, The Hour – “This truly is a wonderful piece of home-made, Scottish ingenuity which is clearly going down well with the public and which will no doubt prove a significant tool in the drive to combat food waste across Scotland and beyond”

The application has inspired environmental agencies around the world, including Australia, Abu Dhabi and the Netherlands, who, having seen the success of the app, have expressed an interest in adapting the for use in their campaigns.