Growing and cooking

Another pretend home school day while the boy healed his chest cough. All those vitamins and cod liver oil and probiotics I threw down his throat seem to have helped immensely. Looks like he will be able to play in the league semi-finals tomorrow after all.

But children smildren, the point really is that we got to bake and garden almost all day without bells shaping our lives. Banana and choc chip muffins, mini quiches and chocolate chippie biscuits. The freezer now contains plenty of good food for school lunches next week. Later on I made apple crumble for pudding and turned leftovers from earlier in the week into nachos. But more about leftovers later.

In the garden I pulled out a blackcurrant bush which looks the weaker of the three and is in a good place for more vegetables. Fionn and I dug a large whole and buried the bokashi. I am so excited to announce that we collect five new chooks on Monday, less than 72 hours away! The scraps situation is ridiculous without chooks to turn them into eggs for us. I did a little more work getting the poultry palace in tip top shape.

The beer traps for the slugs are working well. Other years I thought it was only a viable method in late summer when it is dry, but now I realise that so long as I only half fill them, and change the beer every few days, it can work the rest of the year as well. I tipped out more than 20 dead slugs this afternoon. I must look out for some super cheap beer for this job. Finest Monteiths Black may not be essential for slug killing.

I also snuck out when they were not looking (Brighid tends to wreck my seed sowing ventures if she sees them) and sowed some rocket and miners lettuce in the herb garden. There are a few small patches of dirt and I want end to end, path to wall, green-ness.

I also spent some time reading the Guardian Weekly and thinking about these articles on food waste. The first relating to a report on food security in the Uk over the next 40 years. The second is a review of Tristram Stuart's book Food Waste. There is an interesting slideshow of his activism here.

The politics of waste are pretty personal and I had already been pushing the leftover issue up the importance scale this week. I have slipped into a pattern of cooking a lot of meat because it is easily cooked (throwing a roast in the oven or sausages in the slow cooker feels pretty easy compared to mucking around with beans and three days at a time meal planning) and not using leftovers nearly as well as we could. After the death of our three chooks, the waste felt like a mountain and needing to dig the bokashi into the ground every week doesn't fit well with our inclement weather.

So this week I have begun my leftovers project, where I think not just of something for dinner each night when I write the shopping list, but of how food on Monday can be used again (but not repeated exactly) on Tuesday and Wednesday. This Wednesday just gone I cooked lima beans (soaked the day before) and made pumpkin and lima bean stew. I had eyed this recipe for years and now have finally made it. Some leftovers went into sandiwches for Favourite Handyman on Thursday. Tonight I added some roast pumpkin (which I cooked up as part of my prep for the mini quiches) and some of the leftover lima beans which weren't needed for the stew recipe and then made that the topping on corn chips to make nachos.

Not rocket science I know, but I felt a shade clever, given that I have slid into bad habits on the food waste front this year. Now I still have some lima beans to use up and I think tomorrow I will reheat them with more leftover pumpkin (I deliberately make lots of pumpkin for the fridge), some bacon ends from the butcher's and some kale. Plus lots of garlic of course. Bacon, kale and lots of garlic is a fantastic combo.

Thursday is the busiest day of my week and yesterday was no exception. I drove to Jonesy's butchery and asked for a roast to make life easy. I came away with some rolled lamb (cheapest roast option and Jonesy makes beautiful stuffing). So now I have leftovers from that and if they don't go into lunch tomorrow, then I will need to make shepherd's pie with it.

Painful level of detail, but I can see that if I don't plan in 3-4 day meal blocks and assume leftovers, the waste will continue. I'm not even ready to talk about the porridge waste yet - at least when we have chooks again they can enjoy it.


Corrine said…
Good job. It is so easy to just feed the waste to the chooks and not worry about it. I wish I could be more organised about meals. I found a site ages ago called (I think) anyway its all about helping poor disorganised people like me getorganised. It is very good - if very American and cutsey. Some ideas really helped me for awhile. She is very big on planning meals for a whole week, to the extent of listing all the ingredients for every meal. ha ha, not my style at all. I can do three days after going to the super market...and the rest of the week is totally last minute.
However it wasn't always like that.When I was a Hut Warden for DoC and working in the hills two weeks at a time we had to know exactly what we had an hand and what we had to eat. No left overs at all! The porrige problem was solved by mixing it in with the bread baking the next fact we mixed most things in with the bread recipe. Left over rice is good too, my favourite was peanuts and orange peel bread.
My Husband, being gluten free uses up most of our left overs for lunch. ah well.
Mary said…
Snap! We had a pretend homeschool day on Friday!
Mary, I think we're in for another one tomorrow, given the state of Fionn's airways at bedtime. I did like the bit today when he asked me to read him the seed catalogue! We chose different flowers and he asked lots of questions about the symbols beside each listing.

Corrine you are a star! Why I never thought to use up porridge in bread I do not know. Next up using it in a cottage cheese loaf which calls for oats, a frugal recipe which we ate nearly every week as students.

I looked at the flylady site once on the suggestion of a few friends. I ran away in horror. Apparently last thing every night I needed to shine my sink...

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