cherry tomato mozzarella pasta (1)

Roasted cherry tomatoes with mozzarella, basil and penne

This is a Sponsored Post in collaboration with Love Food Hate Waste

What are YOU giving up for Lent in 2017? Over the years I’ve eschewed specific things for the forty days: chocolate and alcohol, puddings and coffee, but this year I’m suggesting that instead of giving up something delicious, we all make a conscious choice to change a certain behaviour for the better.

And that behaviour is binning perfectly edible food.

With Lent around the corner,  I’m very pleased that LibertyLondonGirl has paired up with the Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) charity campaign which aims to help people reduce food waste at home, to encourage you all to Give Up Binning Food Instead from Ash Wednesday – 1 March –  to 13 April, in the hope that this will become a permanent habit.

I’ve got involved because even someone like me, who positively relishes a good fridge forage and can shop locally on a daily basis – I live next door to a fantastic independent greengrocer – can find ways to save food. Whilst I rarely waste cooked food, I am ashamed to admit that each week I find myself throwing rotten vegetables and mouldy dairy into the bin for a multitude of reasons – I had a last-minute job abroad, was tempted into buying too much on special offer, or just plain forgot to do a fridge audit.

That being said, I do try very hard to not waste food: Playing Ready, Steady, Cook with a selection of random ingredients and leftovers isn’t just a fun challenge, it’s often the way in which I develop delicious new recipes for the blog and for my cookbooks.

In fact it’s really how food writing happened here on LibertyLondonGirl – when I lived in Manhattan I would cook lunch from the ingredients that I happened to have in the fridge that day and then write about what I was eating and, when I am at my mother’s house I do the same – this Halloumi, pomegranate & chicory salad with a clementine & pinenut couscous that I wrote back in 2010 is a classic fridge foraging recipe and, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll often see me on Instagram Stories cooking meals I’ve invented on the spot from leftovers.

hand of Thai bananas

Use blackened bananas to make my delicious banana bread

I also take pride in being thrifty; I wrote a piece for The Pool last year on the lessons learned from my grandmother who ran a household under the iron rod of Second World War rationing, and my mother who grew up knowing that stale bread makes excellent breadcrumbs, sour milk gives scones a perfect rise, and the heel of a piece of Parmesan goes in the soup pot.

That delicious dish of pasta at top was made using cherry tomatoes that were too soft for a salad, but perfect for roasting in the oven to store in the fridge in olive oil to extend their life, and for then adding to pasta for a quick kitchen supper. When I lived in New York I cooked in a church soup kitchen  where every single scrap of food was made to count and it was a salutary lesson in kitchen economy.

A hatred of throwing meals away is also the reason why you won’t see a multitude of staged meal pictures on my social media feeds: I loathe the idea of cooking dishes, or over-ordering in restaurants, just for the food to be photographed for digital lifestyle p*rn. It’s unethical and unnecessary.

You may be asking why all this is important. It’s simple:  In the UK in 2015 alone, £13 billion of edible food was thrown away from our homes. In total 7.3 million tonnes of food was thrown away, which if prevented, would have the environmental benefit of taking one in four cars off the road. (It’s the equivalent of EIGHT Wembley Stadiums full of food.) And that’s not including the packaging waste that is also thrown away as a result of buying too much food. And, if that’s not enough to convince you, LFHW have calculated that the average household can save £60 a month just by making their grocery shopping work harder.

If we all make a few small changes and start using up the food we buy rather than letting it go mouldy, together we can make a big difference. Try using the excellent Olio app to give away food you don’t need to people who do, make shopping lists and stick to them, get creative with leftovers and eat in restaurants that practice food economy.

(Check out clever Skye Gyngell’s new ‘Scratch Menu’, a 3-course, £20 set menu designed to combat food waste, using left over ingredients from her lunchtime a la carte menu, which is now being served at her restaurant Spring between 1745 and 1830hrs each evening. springrestaurant.co.uk/menus/pre-theatre-scratch-menu)

If you’d like some inspiration, I’ve made a series of short videos for the www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/lent campaign with lots of simple tips about how to save food – and money – which we’ll be posting weekly on YouTube and on the LLG Facebook Page each Wednesday during Lent and, next week, on 01 March – the first day of Lent, I’ll be taking part in a Facebook Live fridge foraging session where I will be challenged to come up with meals in real time based on the contents of someone’s fridge.

You can also join in across social media by tagging content #giveupbinningfood. I’d love to see what YOU all make by thinking creatively with the food in your fridges, cupboards and freezers this Lent.

This is a Sponsored Post in collaboration with Love Food Hate Waste

 

 

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10 comments

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I just wanted to say how much I love this post, and what a great message it is to share. Like you, I cannot abide food wastage; I was always taught that it was incredibly unethical to waste food when so many others didn’t have access to adequate food supplies, and I still live by that philosophy today (frequently ‘ready, steady, cook’-ing from the contents of my fridge/pantry). It pains me to see wastage in restaurants, or even then amount of food M&S, etc. toss into the bin at the end of each day because they’re not allowed to donate it or sell it past it’s best-before date.

And definitely going to get to Spring to try that scratch menu (thanks for the great tip)!

Briony xx

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You are such an inspiration! Thank you for this LFHW!

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I work from home and eat the most random things for lunch sometimes (usually left overs from previous dinners) but I would much rather so this than see the food go in the bin and then spend money unnecessarily on something for lunch *just because I fancy it* when there is perfectly good food already in the fridge! The amount we waste in this world is shocking!

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I love this!! Also enjoy supporting brands that live by this philosophy – Rubies in the Rubble at Borough Market is a great example. http://boroughmarket.org.uk/articles/standard-bearers-rubies-in-the-rubble

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I hate waste of food too, and these tips are really useful. One thing, me and all our neighbors do is have a fridge put up in one of the common area locations. We put there all food that we suspect we are not actually going to get around to finishing, and anyone is free to help themselves to it. It’s reduced a lot of wastage. It’s tempting to buy a large bag of apples or oranges on discount, but then if we find we are not going to finish them in time, we can give them away.

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God I LOVE this idea. There is a community fridge in Brixton where people can leave food for anyone to take, but I particularly love the idea of communal fridge for neighbours. I use Olio on a regular basis but it would be wonderful to just be able to pop things like half a loaf, or some fruit, which isn’t really enough to post on Olio in a fridge next door. LLGxx

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This is great, particularly when so many bloggers are incredibly wasteful. I’m sick of seeing restaurant shots with enough food to feed 6 people, when you know that the majority ends up in the bin. I find it utterly infuriating.

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Yes, this exactly. Especially when you KNOW that behind the scenes they are gluten-free, carb-free self-involved nightmares who only pretend to eat the lavish food porn they order. It’s wrong on so many levels: the appalling food waste, the self aggrandisation and the misleading lifestyle. LLGxx

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My boss asked me what I was giving up for lent – I think I will do this and him about it 🙂

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Just to say,to avoid nasties – the sour milk that made great scones was not pasteurized. Milk sours differently and rather horribly now.

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