I don’t generally have a coffee on my journey to work. But the other day there was still coffee in the cafetiere and no time left, so I poured it into my stainless steel cup which falls somewhere between a “coffee to go” cup and a Thermos, and took it with me. By the time I was sat on the train about an hour later it was still piping hot.
Maybe it was because I happened to be drinking a coffee that day that I took more notice of the others on the train, because I had not particularly noticed before. In just one carriage, and it was not particularly busy, I counted 20 people sipping cups of tea or coffee. Now given all the recent media coverage, Hugh’s War on Waste campaign and even articles in the Metro I was reading on the train that morning, you might think awareness of the coffee cup waste issue would be up a bit. So how many do you think had their drink in a reusable cup or flask?
Me. Just me.
So it made me think. Is the message actually getting out there? And if it is, why don’t people care? Are those of us trying to reduce our waste just sharing our disgust at the rubbish produced amongst ourselves? Are we preaching to the converted?
I truly hope not, and that little by little, the number of people thinking about such issues is increasing. I was certainly not expecting to see no disposable cups, but 19 out of 20, now that really is rubbish.
An estimated 2.5 million paper cups are thrown away in the UK each year – that’s almost 5,000 a minute. Less than 1% are recycled. ( rivercottage.net)
Despite my best efforts, we had plenty left from our Easter Sunday roast. This was partly due to the only organic chicken in the shop being a little larger than we needed, partly due to my husband thinking everyone has the same appetite as him, and partly due to him deciding to do bacon and eggs for breakfast ahead of a roast dinner. This was not the weekend to guess that I have been trying to reduce the quantity of meat we eat. As I am also still working on getting us to all eat the same meal as often as possible to reduce the number of times a day/different things I need to cook this is something of a challenge, although we are getting there slowly.
But none of it was wasted – it was all turned into something else for the next day / for future use.
I also baked hot cross buns and a chocolate cake – funnily enough these didn’t create any leftovers.
This is what we made with our leftovers.
Curried chicken and lentil soup
1 onion ( peeled)
1 carrot (peeled)
1 stick celery (trimmed)
1 clove garlic
Coconut milk ( 1 tin or equivalent made up powdered coconut milk)
Chicken stock (approx 500ml)
Leftover roast chicken, chopped into small pieces
Red lentils (50 to 100g)
Do feel free to adjust the ingredients and quantities here depending what you have left – the lentils will bulk the soup out so use more if you are short on chicken or less if you have plenty. Similarly substitute other veg if that is what you have.
Cover the red lentils with cold water and bring to the boil for 10 mins. Skim any scum from the surface with a slotted spoon and rinse with fresh water.
Blitz the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor or chop finely.
Fry the processed/chopped vegetables gently in a little oil until softened but not browned.
Stir in curry powder and other spices to taste (fennel seeds would also go well) – stir for approx 1 min.
Add chicken stock (see recipe below) and coconut milk, and bring to a gentle simmer.
Add the roast chicken and lentils.
Simmer for around 20 minutes, checking the lentils are tender.
Season to taste.
Great served with homemade bread – we are lucky enough to have a bread machine which takes the effort out of this.
1 chicken carcass (include any small bits of leftover skin and meat not used in the soup above)
1 stick celery, halved
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, cut in half (peeled or unpeeled) – you can replace these with saved carrot peelings/trimmed carrot tops
Handful of parsley or other herbs (we got a huge bunch from the market which I keep in the freezer and break handfuls off as needed)
3 bay leaves ( we have a branch trimmed from our garden bay tree from which we take dried leaves as needed)
1 handful of leek tops (thrown in for good measure as we happen to have loads of these in the freezer!)
A little salt and pepper to taste
You can also add/substitute any other vegetable trimmings you have on hand. I added our leftover gravy.
Combine ingredients in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Skim off any grey foam that rises to the surface.
Simmer gently for around 3 hours (check the water level if you are leaving it uncovered – you may need to add more during the cooking time)
When ready the stock should be a golden colour.
Strain the stock carefully. If you want to freeze the stock it is a good idea to boil it again for half an hour or longer to reduce it further at this stage – you can then freeze the concentrated version in ice cube trays for later use ( just pop a few from the freezer into a jug of boiling water)
Allow to cool completely – then you can remove any fat from the surface.
If not freezing you should refrigerate and use within a few days.
Everything sieved out of the stock went into our bokashi bin ahead of composting.
My husband made up these patties for tea:
Roast vegetable and bacon patties:
Leftover roast veg ( we used potato, parsnip, carrot, celeriac).
1 clove garlic
A few slices of streaky bacon
Handful of breadcrumbs ( plus more to coat if you wish) ( we save up crusts in the freezer as they tend to get left and then whizz them in a blender to make crumbs as required)
1 egg, beaten
A little grated cheese ( purely as we had some leftover)
Fry the bacon until cooked through and chop into small pieces. Fry the onion and garlic until softened.
Mash the roast vegetables and mix together with the other ingredients.
Shape into small rounds, coating with additional breadcrumbs if you wish. If they are too soggy you could stir in a little flour at this stage.
Fry in a little oil until cooked through and turning golden on the outside.
As we were making these up on the go we didn’t manage to shape these into patties for cooking but instead just scooped the cooked mixture into balls on serving – not the most attractive but they were tasty and even our fussy 8 year old who claims to hate most vegetables ate them and said we could cook them again which is praise indeed.
What’s your favourite leftovers recipe?
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Du zéro déchet à l'écofrugalité. Faire Mieux avec moins ! Une famille qui se sensibilise aux gestes éco-citoyens et qui cherche à réduire son empreinte sur l'environnement par la réduction de ses déchets, la recherche d'économie d'énergie, de l'anti-gaspi ... Changer ses habitudes pour protéger son environnement : c'est possible!