Thursday, 23 February 2017

Melba toast recipe



Have you ever bought a loaf of bread forgotten about it and then the next time you look at it, it is past it's best before date? There are loads of recipes for using up day old bread - like these 20 ways to stop wasting your loaf Some of those recipes use up more bread than others and when you are faced with a whole loaf of it, you need a recipe that is more bread than anything else!

Luckily melba toast is one of those perfect solutions to this problem. Once cooked and cooled you don't have to eat it all right away either - you can store it in an air tight container for a few days, so you don't have to speed eat your way through it!

Melba toast is pretty quick and simple to make. 

Ingredients:

Bread (usually slightly stale day old bread that needs using up)

Method:
  • Toast the bread
  • Cut off the crusts
  • Slice the bread in half so that you have two very thin pieces of bread each with a toasted side and a non-toasted side
  • Place the slices non-toasted side up on an oven tray, spread out over the tray (you may need more than one tray if you have lots of pieces)
  • Put in a preheated oven at a temperature of around 180 degrees. 
  • Leave for a few minutes and then turn the pieces over. 
  • Repeat the above step until the slices are browned and crispy. Make sure you keep a close eye on them so they don't burn, but make sure they are fully dried out as otherwise they won't keep well. 
  • Leave to cool.
  • Serve straight away or store in an airtight container and consume within a few days.
Melba toast is delicious spread with butter, dipped in houmous, served with cheese and makes a great substitute for crackers! My kids love it as an after school snack, it would be a lovely complement to a salad and it goes down well with guests as something to nibble on if you are hosting a party!

Monday, 20 February 2017

20 ways to stop wasting your loaf!


Bread is one of Britain's most wasted foods. In 2013 WRAP reported that the equivalent of 24 million slices of bread are thrown away in the UK every day! Ends and crusts are notoriously unloved, but whole loaves go in the bin because too many were made and sold by the shops and too many bought by consumers (often encouraged by cheap bread prices, special offers and larger loaves working out cheaper than the smaller ones).

So what can we do to massively reduce all this bread being thrown in the bin? I asked the members of the reduce your food waste Facebook group what they do to avoid wasted bread and this is what they do:

First of all their top tip was that if you know you won't be able to make it through your bread in time, freeze it! We freeze bread all the time. If I freeze sliced bread, I freeze it at angle because it makes it easier to separate the pieces once it is frozen. If you make your own bread and want some help slicing it to freeze read my post on how to get perfectly sliced homemade bread. Bread will last longer in the freezer and defrosts well. Rolls need to be defrosted in the fridge over night to be able to cut them in the morning (or freeze them cut open and the pieces separated out to start with) and frozen bread defrosts quickly. We sometimes make sandwiches in the morning with the bread still frozen and by lunch time they are fully defrosted. Breadcrumbs can also be frozen until you need them. 

Not everyone has a freezer though and even if you do, you still might find yourself with bread you are not sure what to do with. 

Savoury ideas shared by the group for excess/ stale bread included:
  • Slightly stale bread tastes just fine toasted!
  • Crumb homemade fish cakes 
  • Cover homemade chicken nuggets with bread crumbs
  • Use day old bread in homemade meatballs
  • Top a savoury crumble with breadcrumbs 
  • Make glamorgan sausages (a type of vegetarian sausage which uses breadcrumbs)
  • Croutons are a popular use for excess bread. My kids love these rosemary and garlic challa croutons, which we make every so often.
  • Melba toast to use instead of crackers for cheese
  • Bread sauce - it is meant to be a good eaten with chicken or turkey, but I have never tried it!
  • Strata bakes. I had to look this one up! It is a kind of frittata with cubed day old bread and it is very flexible - a great way to use up lots of leftover ingredients which can be added to the frittata. You could add cubes of potato to this as well or leave them out and just use the bread cubes as suggested by another group member.
  • Savoury bread cases which can be used instead of pastry - to make sure they don't go soggy cook them in the oven a bit first.
  • Sarah shared her marmite and cheese bread and butter 'pudding' recipe and has kindly allowed me to reshare it here:  'I just butter the bread then spread with Marmite. Layer in a dish with grated cheese between each piece of bread. Cover with a milk and egg mix just as you would for a sweet version and then sprinkle some cheese and a bit of paprika on the top before baking in the same way you would do the sweet version.' I think my kids will love this and it's on my to try list!
  • Another one I needed to look up was Bobotie! It is a traditional South African tender and creamy mince meat recipe, which uses a couple of slices of bread - this Bobotie recipe explains more. 
  • Amy shared her article with more ideas on how to use up bread #UseYourLoaf - reducing the amount of bread that goes to waste
Suggestions for sweet uses for bread included

  • Bread and butter pudding
  • Bread Pudding
  • Apple Charlotte, 
  • Summer Pudding.
  • Bread crumb cookies
So next time you are faced with an excess/ stale / day old bread, don't bin it, use it up instead! If you think we have missed something off this list, please share your suggestions for using up bread in the comments below. 

Each week in the Facebook group we will be discussing how to use up a certain type of food and I will do a round up on the blog afterwards. Please join the group here: Reduce your food waste Facebook group and get involved and invite your friends too! Once the group reaches 500 members I will do a giveaway (UK residents only) read more in my blog post here: Reduce your food waste.

Other posts you might like: Making bread the zero waste plastic free way and my readers get a 5% discount on this already discounted food sold by a company that is helping to reduce food waste: How to get hold of healthy foods and products at a discount!

Coming up next: Look out for my upcoming post on how to make melba toast! Now published here: Melba Toast Recipe

Monday, 13 February 2017

Reduce your food waste!



For years I've been working hard to reduce my food waste and I've really fallen in love with the subject. Food is a great material to be inspired by and use it up recipes are some of my favourites! In fact I rely on leftovers and over ripe fruit for some of my meals now! 

I recently decided to start up a Facebook group specifically to talk about how to reduce food waste. Please join and invite all your friends too! You can join the group here: Reduce your food waste Facebook Group. In the group people can share food waste solutions they have found/ the steps they are taking to reduce food waste, share relevant news stories and ask questions about how to avoid food waste.  The aim of the group is to support each other to help reduce food waste and save money in the process! I have also started a Pinterest board to go with the group here: Reduce your food waste Pinterest Board, so if you are on Pinterest take a look and if you want to contribute to the board let me know!

If you are just getting started in reducing your food waste, I recommend taking these three steps:


  1. Do a food waste diary for a week (i.e. record all the food that you have thrown away each day for a week) to see where your problem areas are when it comes to food waste. 
  2. Then once you have done that, do a clear out of all your dried and tinned goods - check dates on everything. Anything past it's use by date will need to be thrown away (preferably composted) but things past their best before date are often fine to use. Do a use it up meal plan and prioritise using the things that are the oldest (but still edible) first.
  3. Every time you go shopping in future, check your cupboards before you go to the shops, write a list of what you are running out of before you go to the shops and stick to that list! Also when you are writing the list take into account what you learned from your food waste diary - if you realise you have been buying too much fresh food for example, then scale it back.
Continuing on the subject of food waste, I was sent a book to review, which has only recently been published! It's called My Zero-Waste Kitchen: Easy Ways to Eat Waste Free. It is a DK book and there are lots of pictures in it. I found it fairly easy reading and there are some good recipes in there. It was a bit light on detail in some areas, but overall I thought it was a good introduction to going zero waste in the kitchen.

I would really like to grow the Facebook group, which is doing brilliantly already - thank you to everyone who has joined! When the group has reached 500 members I will do a giveaway here on the blog to give away the My Zero-Waste Kitchen book, so get sharing this blog post and the group (if you aren't on Facebook or in the group you will still be able to enter the competition)! Please note the giveaway will be restricted to UK entrants. 

This blog post contain an affiliate link and anything you buy through it will help to support the blog as I will get a small commission. Thanks!

Monday, 6 February 2017

3 alternatives to ladles and scoops you probably already own!



We used to have a plastic ladle but in a drive to rid my kitchen of plastic I replaced it with a metal ladle. I used the ladle for scooping porridge out of our bulk bought sack of porridge to top up a tupperware container and for serving soup, stews and sauces. 

Our metal ladle didn't last very long, it snapped not long after I bought it and I decided to see if we could live without one.  It's been way easier than I thought it would. I now use a glass cup to scoop out the porridge from the bulk bag of porridge, which is so much quicker, easier, more efficient than using a ladle ever was (it is easier to fill and can take a larger quantity) and a mug to serve up soup and stews. Another useful substitute is a cup measure - we have some lovely really long lasting stainless steel ones, which make an excellent ladle or scoop as well as being useful for recipes where things are measured in cups.  

I'm not suggesting you throw out your ladle or scoop if you have a perfectly good one, but if you are trying to transition to a plastic free kitchen and yours is plastic or if your ladle breaks, then try these alternatives before you rush out and buy a new one. Reading this you might think these solutions are really obvious and they are, but also really easy to overlook. I sometimes forget that things can have more uses than just those that they were originally intended for and that I don't always need a specific tool dedicated tool to do a job!

Coming up next Monday: Look out for my blog post on reducing your food waste!

This blog post contains affiliate links and anything you buy through them will help to support the blog as I will get a small commission. Thanks!