Tag Archives: food waste

Use it or Lose it Recipe – Breadcrumbs

Shelling peas in the sun.

Shelling peas in the sun.

Today had its ups and downs (R took a little bit of a tumble, nothing serious but a bit of a shock and a sore bump for an already cross, teething baby). But there was a moment in the sunshine when I felt very happy and at peace.  I’d just picked our first pea harvest; mangetout are the yellow ones and Dwarf Early Peas the green ones.  I sat and shelled them by the veg patch so that I could toss the pea pods into the pig pen.  Pigs love things like that but they can’t eat food scraps that have been in a kitchen because of cross contamination.  So I made sure I shelled the peas in the sun, by the veg patch and the hedgerow while the pigs wuffled in the background.  It was lovely.

I’ve decided to make Use it or Lose it Recipes a regular feature on the blog.  I talked a little bit about food waste in the first Use it or Lose it Post.

We make our bread in a bread machine and whilst we use most of it up, there is often a crust or two leftover.  I save them up and then blitz them in the food processor for breadcrumbs.  Then I freeze them.  Breadcrumbs last ages in the freezer and if the bread is sufficiently stale they don’t seem to freeze together in one clump – this means you can take out one portion at a time and leave the rest of the bag in the freezer.

This recipe is for using up stale bread. There are lots of ways of using up stale bread as it happens and I’m sure I’ll come back to this particular type of leftover in the future. As a child my Dad made the most amazing stuffing for Sunday lunch.  He experimented with all sorts of flavours and herbs from the garden but my favourites were the sweetcorn stuffing and his mushroom stuffing.  The other day I was thinking about the huge bad of breadcrumbs sitting in the freezer and remembering the stuffing of my childhood.  I realised that stuffing doesn’t have to be relegated to a Sunday lunch side dish but would make a great lunchtime dish – especially as a good finger food for fat little baby hands. At the same time someone posted a recipe up on a baby-led weaning group on facebook which was basically stuffing and with a bit of tweaking from me I think I’ve got something just right.

So this is my Lunchtime Special Stuffing – good for using up stale breadcrumbs AND wilted veg from the fridge.  Doesn’t that sound appetising? I’m sure Nigella Lawson would describe it as the mouth-crunchingly-perfect miniature beads of bread with juicy sweet carrots and sunshine-jewelled sweetcorn kernels.

Tasty lunchtime meal.

Tasty lunchtime meal.

This should serve 2 adults and 2 children for lunch with a salad/fruit.  It makes great picnic food for going out and about as well.


230g of shredded or finely chopped vegetables/herbs (I used carrots, sweetcorn, fresh basil and fresh parsley)

30g grated cheese (e.g. cheddar)

2 big handfuls of  breadcrumbs

2 medium eggs beaten

tablespoon butter

2 and 1/2 tsp of mixed dried herbs/spices

(I used 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp marjoram, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika but use what you have – this is supposed to be a recipe about using things up – not buying lots more things)

Bowl of ingredients ready for mixin'

Bowl of ingredients ready for mixin’


Preheat the oven to 190c/180fan/Gas Mark.

Mix all the above ingredients together until well combined.  Then either shape into individual patties or press into an oven dish. Personally I usually press it into an oven dish.  Sometimes I have the time to make ultra-cute baby sized portions of things, but this mixture is fiddly and messy and easier to put in a dish.

If you do make one big oven dish then dot the butter over the top.


Dotting with butter

Dotting with butter

Bake for about 25 mins until golden brown on top.

If you used an oven dish then now is the time to cut it into slices, otherwise just serve with fruit and salad.


Use it or lose it… food waste

So one of the areas we are working on is food waste.  I’d like to think we are pretty good about this and yet it often seems that a bit of hummus or a bowl of leftovers ends up going to waste.   I hate the idea of throwing away food especially since out of the 15 million tonnes of food the UK throws away annually – half is from households!  But on a personal level, throwing away food is  throwing away money and I can’t be doing that.

Statistics are from the excellent “love food, hate waste” website which is a goldmine of useful information and recipes.

Now we are growing more of our own food (especially the meat!) waste seems more and more unpalatable.  This food represents something more valuable than money, it represents our time and in the case of our animals it represents their lives.  These are big incentives for me and I’m proud to say that in the case of our pigs we have been careful to really stretch the meat and use every bite.

It is shop bought food that suffers worse though.  My main offenders are bags of herbs (some it always goes off before it is used), celery (why does every recipe call for one or two sticks only!!!) and bowls of leftover meals – good intentions literally gone bad.

So one of my goals in the coming months is to get our food waste down to nothing (or as close to nothing as we can get it).

To this end I’m sharing today’s Use It or Lose It Recipe.

Milk – it is feast or famine with milk in this house.  We either have loads about to go off or I’m popping over the road for a cheeky pint from the expensive mini-Tescos.  Eventually our milk consumption will level out (I hope!) or we’ll work out how to order just the right about.

I had about 300ml left of some full fat milk which was two days out of date today (but NOT off.  When I have too much milk I usually make one of two things Pancakes and Yorkshire Pudding.  This is probably a cheat since in a way a Yorkshire Pud is like roasted pancake.

Today I made Orange and Vanilla Pancakes for breakfast.


Tasty breakfast ready to go.
Tasty breakfast ready to go.

Makes 3 pancakes the size of dinner plates – enough to feed 2 adults and 2 children.


2 medium eggs whisked together

1 mug milk

1 mug flour (plain or self-raising whatever you have)

zest of one orange

1 tsp of vanilla extract/essence

butter for frying

Whisk together the milk, flour and eggs until you have a smooth batter then rest for at least 30 mins and add the vanilla and zest.  The resting time allows the flour to absorb the liquid and apparently makes it nicer. Either way I’ve always done it and feel superstitious about the resting time.

Breakfast parts about to be assembled.
Breakfast parts about to be assembled.

Melt some of the butter in a large frying pan until hot.  Then add enough of the batter to cover the base of the large frying pan (about 3 ladles for me). You should get 3 giant pancakes using this method.

We ate ours with the rest of the orange cut into slices and some strawberries that were about to go off.

Making a giant pancake cuts down on cooking time and I hate standing around making pancakes for ages whilst they get cold and soggy or whilst other people are eating them and I’m cooking.  Make 3 really big ones then cut into slices as you need to like a pizza.  Less cooking time, less gas/electric used, less stress.