Tag Archives: foodwastechallenge

Mess inna Pan or Recipes from the Bottom of the Fridge

As Josh has already mentioned we are having a go at the Guardian Food Waste Challenge.

I’ve shamefully purged our Fridge of non-edible food and will be composting the lot in our hot composter.  I don’t mean tired looking limp vegetables though, I mean leftover curry from two months ago with a deep garnish of mould.  Yum yum! For the next few days we are going to try and not add to that pile and hopefully blog a bit about how we do it.  This will be interesting as we have guests coming for the weekend who don’t necessarily want to be eating nothing but limp carrot sticks.

Scraping the literal bottom of the fridge.

Scraping the literal bottom of the fridge.

So here is my raiding the bottom of the fridge lunch. Or as it used to be called when I was a child… Mess inna Pan.

3 tomatoes

2 green peppers

1/2 a small savoy cabbage

handful of spring onions

1 leftover Venison burger

1 half of a lemon


I fried up the spring onions, chopped cabbage, tomatoes and peppers with some smoked paprika, thyme and a squeeze of lemon.  I shredded the leftover burger and added it to warm through. In another pan I heated some oil and fried off 125g of Gnocchi (I opened a fresh bag but only because the recipe I’ll be using the bag for requires less than a full bag!) to go with it.


Cunningly transformed into edible eating food.

Cunningly transformed into edible eating food.

It was very nice and I would have missed out on eating up the remaining burger if I’d left it much longer.

So 1 meal down and raring to go.

I think our main problems with food waste come down to 2 areas:

1. Making big meals and then forgetting about the leftovers; and

2. Not always eating up all the fruit/veg before it gets a bit tired looking.

We do a lot of composting but I’m sure we occasionally compost edible food and I want to cut this out.

My plan to fix these problems is:

1. Be stricter about portion size when cooking meals and if we are making leftovers have a plan in mind for when they will be used.

2. Since I work from home I should be looking to eat a couple of meals a week which are based on raiding the bottom of the veg drawer.


[The biggest challenge will be the HUGE amount of celery mouldering in the fridge.  I mean, I use a bit of celery here and there but you always get way more than you need and I feel it’s uses are limited. If anyone has a tip for getting through large quantities of celery then spill the beans!]

Food waste challenge: junior edition

[Cross posted to my parenting blog Diary of a Daddy Dinosaur.]

Becky informed me this morning that the Graun are doing something called a food waste challenge in which readers attempt to reduce to zero the amount of food they throw away for a week. Great, I thought – I’ll show off how our baby (codename T Rex) generates loads of waste and what we do about it. Well, it didn’t go exactly as planned.

(By the way, before I get started, I’d like to highlight my last two posts in which I turn a pig’s head into a delicious terrine as a sort of pre-emptive food waste challenge contribution.)

T Rex needs no encouragement to look a the camera.

T Rex needs no encouragement to look a the camera.

T Rex has been feeding using an approach slightly pretentiously referred to as “baby led weaning”. What this means is, we give him food – real food, not just purees – and he is left to eat it without prodding or assistance. T Rex has been doing this since Christmas, which was about a week before he turned 6 months old. (You’re supposed to wait for 6 months, but fuck that shit, right? It’s Christmas!)

Baby led weaning is fairly messy in the early days (I can’t really attest to whether it is more or less messy that purees, but let’s just say we usually change his clothes after a meal). Food is liberally scattered around, regurgitated, smeared over clothes, face, hair. So there’s vast potential for mess, and for waste.

T Rex has the usual defences against this stuff. He sits in a plastic Ikea high chair, which has an easily removable tray and is simple to wipe clean. He has the Boots scoop-style bib, which catches much of what he drops. Finally, we put a tablecloth down on the floor under his chair, which is the last line of defence, and which again can be easily wiped down after a meal.

Exhibit A: peaches caught in bib.

Exhibit A: peaches caught in bib.

Crucially for t’Graun’s challenge, this enables food recycling. If T Rex drops a load of food on the floor, it doesn’t fall onto dirty carpet or tiles. It lands on a (hopefully) freshly wiped tablecloth, or in his bib. We then scoop it up and put it back on his tray, where he enthusiastically has another go at it.

The next stage of food waste minimisation takes place after the meal is over, when we collect any uneaten food (seriously, you can’t expect an eight-month-old to eat every last bite, and as dedicated as we are to reducing waste, we’re not eating leftovers that have already been regurgitated twice) and put it in our hot composter. The hot composter is protected against rats and other vermin, and reaches high temperatures (supposedly… my moans about this will wait for another post) which break down any organic waste you put in, including meat and other cooked food.

Exhibit B: approx 2.5 segments uneaten peach.

Exhibit B: approx 2.5 segments uneaten peach.

Anyway, on this occasion T Rex was so enthusiastic about his tinned peaches and soured cream that there was almost nothing left for the composter. He has always been very into his food, but this is probably his best performance yet: half a tin of peaches and three tablespoons of soured cream and almost nothing to throw away. I think he probably deserves some kind of prize from the Graun. Anyway, what little remains will eventually go on our veg patch.