Monday, November 13, 2006

Use it or Lose it

It was many years ago I realised by discarding the bits a recipe told me I should, they had still been paid for. Did this mean, over a year, I could have been throwing away £££s into the bin? Can't bear thinking about.
From then on I began to read recipes more carefully - and the words 'discard' came up often. I then decided it was time to find other uses for the seemingly unnecessary.
There are many recipes which call for just egg yolks, or, vice versa - whites only. Make up your own recipe collection which can deal with these individually. While you are at it, crush the egg shells and put them on the garden to deter slugs.
Tip: If you can get white eggs, then blow the eggs (using the contents in a recipe of course), rinse the shells and paint them with water or poster colours. Spray with hair laquer to set the paint. These can be very decorative and make good presents. OR paint stripes of glue and sprinkle over glitter, hang them from the Xmas Tree.

When making bread sauce, remove crusts from the bread and bake these in the oven. They can then be ground to make crumbs, or left like bread sticks to use as 'dippers'.
Bread Sauce
Milk, onion (to be used twice) , breadcrumbs, mace or cloves, butter, pepper
Pour milk into a pan, add either a few blades of mace, or stick a few cloves into an onion. Put the onion in the milk and bring to the boil. Turn off heat, leave to stand overnight. Also spread the crumbs on a baking sheet to leave out overnight to dry slightly. Next day remove the onion (KEEP THIS) . To make the sauce, add enough of the milk to the crumbs for the consistency you need, season with pepper and reheat, folding in a knob of butter at the end. Any cold bread sauce can be eaten with cold meat the following day.
Remove the cloves from the onion (yes, you can discard these) , cut the onion up into small pieces and add to a home-made or even ready-made stuffing mix.

In an earlier posting I mentioned the dual use of pearl barley when making barley water. The left-over barley could then go into another dish. Normally I would add it to a chicken casserole or soup, but barley in its own right can be used instead of rice. Try making a risotto with barley From raw, it takes longer to cook but is a very satisfying dish.

Even vegetables can offer more. I have seen pumpkin recipes where the seeds have been saved to be eaten (not sure if they need toasting first, must look it up). Vegetable peelings can be collected (I have a bagful in my fridge) to make vegetable stock. Onion skins help to turn the stock a darker brown colour.
Broccoli and cauliflower stems can be kept to slice into strips and used for stir-fries. White cabbage cores can be grated to use for cole-slaw. Celery stumps used when making chicken stock. Pea pods can make soup - along with the outside leaves of lettuce.
Tip: When using a food processor to make cole-slaw, first put the dressing into the machine so that it blends the grated carrot, cabbage and onion in one go. I use half and half mayo and plain yogurt for a dressing. If necessary thinned down with a little milk or water.

Apple peel and cores can be boiled down and pureed giving an extra source of pectin when making preserves.

Use butter papers to grease pans or to lay across a dish that you don't want to brown too quickly. Open sugar bags to shake out those remaining teaspoons of sugar caught in the folds. Use tea-bags more than once (it works), then put them at the bottom of flower pots to stop the soil draining out.
Use layers of newspaper covered by one sheet of kitchen paper when draining fried foods.
Keep large coffee pots or tins for storage containers. Use attractive containers (golden syrup or treacle tins) to hold small pots of herbs.
Scour the printing off large plastic (yogurt) pots, using a Brillo pad and hot water. Make holes in the base with a skewer. Use for growing plants.
Tip: The scouring removes any shine from the plastic so makes a perfect base for painting the name of a herb for instance. A collection of home-grown herbs makes a good present.

The clear plastic lids that cover some pots of cream for example are the perfect size to use as coasters for mugs or glasses and even be used as a cover for a mug to avoid spillages when on the trot
I could go on, but am sure you MUST have some suggestions of your own. Please share.