food

From pesto pasta to fruit pie: 4 recipes using commonly wasted ingredients.

Each year, 2.5 million tonnes of food from home is wasted. That's right - the produce we buy gets chucked in the bin at insane rates. 

In fact, food waste is worse for the environment than oil production, flying or plastic production. Did you know a lettuce takes 25 years to break down in landfill, producing huge amounts of greenhouse gas in the process? Not good.

Sadly, a majority of the food we do waste could actually be used, but most of us simply don't know how. 

Thankfully, there are ways to combat this and save ourselves money in the long run. 

Watch: Here's a recipe for rice choco cakes. Post continues after video.


Video via Fiona Nearn (OzHarvest). 

OzHarvest's Use It Up campaign aims to revolutionise the way we cook at home, by taking the stuff in our fridge and pantry we were planning to throw out, and putting it into our next meal. 

Here are some great recipes using ingredients you may already have lying around.

Bagged salad pesto.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pine nuts (or any nuts or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 bunch basil or any herbs that need using up (remove from stem)
  • Any leftover bagged salad/spinach/rocket
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 60g Parmesan
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper

Image: OzHarvest.

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Preparation:

  • Toast seeds in a pan until golden
  • Put everything in a blender, whizz until fairly smooth, adding a little olive oil at a time. 
  • Adjust seasoning and mix through with freshly cooked pasta

Easy as fruit pie.

Ingredients:

  • Fruit – whatever needs using up!
  • Good combinations:
    • Strawberries and bananas
    • Apples and pears
    • Stone fruit and mixed berries
  • Frozen puff pastry
  • A little sprinkle of sugar

Image: OzHarvest.

Preparation:

  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper, put a sheet of pastry in the middle
  • Thinly slice the fruit, pile in the middle of the sheet of pastry and sprinkle with sugar 
  • Fold edges of pastry in to enclose some of the filling and bake at 190deg for 30-35mins. 
  • You can add jam for flavour if you have any 

Note: Always keep some pastry in your freezer so it’s easy to use up soft fruit.

Listen to What I Eat When, a Mamamia podcast that’s all about meals, moments, and memories. Post continues after audio.


Leftover choco rice cakes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups boiled citrus (mandarin or orange)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (cold)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups castor sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup finely chopped chocolate
  • 2tsp. baking powder

Image: OzHarvest.

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Preparation:

  • Simmer whole oranges or mandarins in water until soft. Drain and cool. Cut in half, remove seeds & blend until they form a rough paste consistency. Put in a bowl.
  • Add leftover cooked rice, vanilla extract & sugar to processor, blend until you have a smooth paste. Add to citrus puree in bowl. Add eggs, one at a time until well blended.
  • Fold coconut, cocoa powder, chocolate and baking powder into orange mixture. 
  • Pour into individual silicon molds (cupcake size) and bake in oven at 180°C for 20-25 minutes.

Too easy ricotta.

Ingredients:

  • 2 litres full cream milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. citric acid or 100 ml white vinegar


Preparation:

  • Place the milk in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to 95 degrees celsius, stirring to ensure the milk does not burn
  • Add the salt
  • Mix the citric acid with water, add to the milk and stir. Let sit for 10 mins to curdle, skim the curd off and strain through a cheese basket or damp chux, lining a colander.
  • Voila - spread on toast, crumpets, bagels or your cracker of choice!

Note: you can also infuse flavours into the milk before curdling such as herbs, garlic or spices.

Got any great tips for using leftover food? Share them in the comments below!

Feature image: OzHarvest

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