Food waste Friday

Filed in Blog by on May 14, 2010 23 Comments
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rice cake with lemon and coriander houmous

rice cake with lemon and coriander houmous

We have a teeny bit of food waste this week, caused by my lack of concentration.

I made a snack lunch of rice cakes, various toppings and salad for Little Miss Green.

I absent-mindedly spread the houmous onto hers, remembering that last time she had raved about the yummy ‘spread’ as she called it.Only I forgot that this was not the same type.

Last week she had enjoyed roasted red pepper houmous (red peppers being one of her favourite things to eat).

This batch was lemon and coriander. She and I both have a serious aversion to coriander. As far as I’m concerned you might as well eat a bar of soap; it’s surely a herb of the devil’s own making. Mr Green, however, true to his name, will happily eat half a bunch of the stuff with everything from sandwiches to Sunday Roast.

I spread it thickly on the rice cake (thankfully I’d spread the other two with toppings she DID enjoy) and gave it to her.

I’ve got to hand it to her; she ate far more of it than I could of before finally admitting defeat.

As luck would have it, the worms seem quite partial to a bit of rice cake and houmous – lucky for me …

We have some landfill waste too. This week we took a stroll around Morrisons to see what they were up to with their packaging. We were very impressed to see a range of ‘faces’ on their packaging indicating whether or not you could recycle it. We came across the pizza section (one of Little Miss Green’s favourites, but alas something I always say no to for two reasons: First, I think shop bought pizzas cost a LOT for what they are. Second, I’m yet to find a landfill friendly pizza.)

These Morrison’s own label pizzas sported a smiley face on the back and told me the box was card and the pizzas were wrapped in LDPE (which I can recycle with carrier bags in my local Sainsbury). Mr Green was in a generous mood  and said he would buy Little Miss Green a pizza for a treat.

We got it home, unwrapped it and just like any other pizza, it was sitting on what appeared to be a polystyrene circular base. Aaaaargh! We hopefully prodded it about willing it to be cardboard, but we’ve come to the conclusion it’s something plastic. We’ll be calling Morrisons next week to see what it is and talk to them about the recycling information on the back of the box.

Don’t forget to head on over to Kristen’s The Frugal Girl, to take a peek at other’s food waste. Tell me about yours too – anything to report this week? Any dustbin demons to share?


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (23)

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  1. Greenlady says:

    Well never mind too much about the rice cake error – at least it is compostable, you have made a lot of worms very happy with a goumet lunch, karmic debt will thank you 😛 I’m a coriander fan ( altho not fond of it in humous ) but a rocket frowner – funny thing, people’s tastes.

    Argh hate ninja naughty packaging waste. Will be interested to see what Morrisons have to say about the offending disk. Have to agree re shop pizzas value for money etc – I do very occasionally buy them if reduced in price though. Some takeaway pizzas are better value, even if more expensive – bit better quality and at least they come in cardboard boxes, no plastic !

    My food waste this week was 3 slices of corned beef and a couple of potatoes ( raw with eyes sprouting, but still edible ) The corned beef was also still edible even though past date, but I freely confess that I threw them out because I couldn’t stand the sight of them any more – I’d originally planned to make corned beef hash earlier in the week, had a bout of feeling really poorly/stressed so couldn’t face doing that, and still can’t. Much as I would love to at least make up something & freeze it, I just can’t. Dustbin Demons 1, Greenlady 0 !

  2. Sarah says:

    I’m with you on coriander, makes me heave. Disgusting stuff.

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @Greenlady: Ah, Mr G loves rocket too – on it’s own, in big handfulls from the garden. Maybe he was a rabbit in a previous life. Good point about the takeaway pizza. You’re right – they are more expensive but much better value – LMG ate 7/8 of this pizza in one sitting because it didn’t fill her up 🙁 Oh well, I admire your honesty on the food waste this week 🙂

    @Sarah: A woman of taste 🙂

  4. Sooz says:

    I have a really good pizza base recipe I can copy out for you if you fancy making your own (or getting little miss green to have a go…if I can do it I bet she can!), it takes a while for it to rise and stuff, but the actual amount of work you have to put into it while you’re not waiting for it to rise is minimal, you can make a big batch and freeze it and it’s really yummy (and no polystyrene)! I’ve had to turn to making my own becuase you can’t buy vegan pizza readymade anway, and all the pre-made pizza bases have too much packaging!

  5. Jane says:

    Couldn’t cardboard be used as a base? I’d forgotten how easy pizza is to make – definitely an experience the kids should experience. It is fun adding your own choice of topping to each quarter and a good way of using up odd things from the fridge!

  6. Jane says:

    And here am I thinking of growing coriander. I love it mixed with orange segments, lettuce and flaked almonds in a salad with an orange flavoured dressing.

  7. magdalena says:

    Our food waste was a half litre of soured milk, which I had not intended to throw out. Despite instructions to the contrary, a houseguest poured it down the sink. I intended to use it for baking. Then I found a banana that had arrived from the store bruised beyond redemption, as were three strawberries at the bottom of the store tub. (The full whiny story is over at my blog.)

    Someone sent over a meatloaf last night, and since two of our house occupants are gone part of this week, it may have to be frozen, as I have quite a bit of leftover roast beef to use. Hmm, meatloaf or roast beef? Which would you eat first?

  8. Jane says:

    Congratulations to LMG to having a go at eating something she didn’t like last time she tried it. Sometimes things you don’t like when eaten with something else aren’t so bad or even taste good. I remember the pickled onions at school which I used to hide in a large forkful of mashed potato. I now rather like the taste! We tend to be rather spoiled nowadays expecting our favourite foods available all year round and being asked what we want to eat at each meal instead of just having to eat what is put on the table!

  9. Mrs Green says:

    @Sooz: Sooz I would love it please – is it on your site? Can I freeze just the base, then defrost and assemble the topping or do I freeze the finished product and cook from frozen?

    @Jane: I LOVE the idea of different toppings on each quarter; that’s brilliant. I think cardboard could be used too… LMG did really well and I don’t ask her what she wants very often; but occasionally it’s nice to be treated to your favourite meal. She’s not well today so I’ll defintely be giving her the food she gets cravings for – I’m a great believer in that 😉

    @magdalena: Oh no! I’ve had things thrown out as well just as I had a plan for them! I’m not sure what meatloaf is, but I’d definitely use up the roast beef first and make good use of your freezer.

  10. Karen says:

    @Jane: @Jane: Jane , I went through my spice cupboard and as I had a lot of coriander seeds I decided to plant some. It is growing well on my kitchen window ledge. I have also planted some dried peas . I intend using the pea shoots in salads. I have lots of chilli plants grown from seeds from my spice cupboard. Nothing has happened with the cumin. Try growing coriander from seed . it has been so easy and cheap.

  11. Karen says:

    I over ordered my size of veggie box this week not realising ” Himself ” is off to Germany. He is boarding as I write this. The Ash has not stopped the flight. However not wanting to be left with a lot of veg I made 2 pots of soup intending to freeze some of it. My freezer is in the garage but the strip light has stopped working. As I took one containers to the freezer in the dark one of them burst all over the floor . It was a horrible mess. Took a long time to clear up. I will definitely be more careful next time.

  12. Sooz says:

    I don’t think the recipes on my site, but here it is….
    I freeze the dough raw in blobs, then get them out the morning of the day I want pizza and they’re defrosted and ready for a bit of a knead and roll out by tea time, I suppose you could roll them out ready and top them before freezing if you have room, I’ve never tried it so I couldn’t really say for sure!

    250ml warm water
    1 ½ tablespoons sugar
    10g pack of active yeast – I use dried yeast and follow the instructions on that packet instead (I think I use 15g of dried and far less sugar, this recipe is too sweet for my tastes!)
    2 tablespoons of olive oil
    350g plain flour
    1 tsp salt

    1.Prove the yeast – dissolve the sugar in the warm water add the yeast (make sure it gets wet) then leave for 10 minutes until it’s all foamy and bubbly (if it doesn’t go foamy and bubbly you need new yeast!)

    2.Mix dry ingredients together, add oil and yeasty water gradually, until the dough forms a ball and doesn’t absorb any more of the flour.

    3.Flour your work surface and knead the mixture for 10 mins (the mixture should be slightly sticky – if it’s too sticky add more flour and knead it in – when you’ve finished kneading it should still be slightly moist and tacky)

    4.Form the dough into a ball, put some oil in a clean bowl (at least twice the size of your bowl) put the dough in and swirl it about a bit so it’s covered in oil, flip it over so you can cover the other side of the dough with oil, cover with a damp tea towel and leave in a warm place for about an hour.

    5.After an hour punch the dough so it deflates, then knead it on a floured surface for about a minute.

    6.Put it back in the bowl and cover to rest – at this point you can either freeze it to use later, or leave to rest for between 10mins to – 2 hours (2 hours is better) (recipe says it should make 2 14 inch pizzas, but we get 4 smaller ones out of it, I suppose it depends how big/thick you want them to be) then roll out and stretch with your hands, put whatever toppings you like on and cook in oven at gas mark 9, 240C, 475F for about 10-20 mins depending on size.

  13. Jane says:

    @Karen: Growing coriander from the spice jar seeds – what a brilliant idea then I don’t have to buy a whole packet. I must trying sprouting things again too – including chickpeas. Yum.

  14. Jane says:

    @Mrs Green: Definitely agree with some extra extra tlc when not feeling too well. Having a go at making her own pizza and choosing the topping and assembling it will be constructive and fun. Thanks to Sooz we now have a new recipe to try. With leftovers from the fridge it could be really crazy – or maybe just a crazy quarter!

  15. Jane says:

    Aubergine is my shameful waste this week. The aubergine tomato and mozzarella bake just didn’t happen. Exhaustion overtook me and the tomato sauce never got made so the bake never materialised. Supper was simplified to ham… sandwiches! I just bought too much and life didn’t go according to plan. It is so much easier with less.

  16. Elaine says:

    I’m new to this site (Think it’s a Fab idea), just journeyed over from the Able and Cole website.
    Thank you Sooz for the pizza base recipe, I made it last night for my son and hubbie and it was a great success! Made one large pizza and froze the remains for another day!

    It was very easy to make and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to avoid all the wasteful packaging that supermarket pizzas involve.

    Also very relaxing working the dough……


  17. Mrs Green says:

    @Karen: Oh no about the soup – that is So disappointing. I hope you manage to get through your lovely box of veg and thanks for the inspiration about the seeds. I didn’t know you could just take shop bought seeds used for cooking (I assume this is what you are talking about?) and plant them.

    @Sooz: That’s fantastic, thank you sooz! I might put this up as a post for others to share 🙂

    @Jane: You’re right; life is easier with less. It’s my new mantra, in all aspects. I hope you are feeling refreshed now and your exhaustion was short lived.

    @Elaine: Hi Elaine – welcome! Glad you enjoyed Sooz’s pizza; I’ll be having a go soon. I love kneading bread and working dough too – the ultimate stress reliever!

  18. Karen says:

    Yes Mrs G it was the seeds bought from spices shelf in Tesco. The dried peas came from a supermarket too. About 38p a box. I put them in a shallow but wide flower pot. I started them off on wet kitchen paper for a few days until they started to sprout a little. I found it did not work putting them directly in the soil before the sprouting started. They are about 3 inches tall now.
    Thanks to Jane for giving me the idea to sprout chickpeas.
    I now have 12 chilli plants to pass on to friends. My kitchen window and patio windows are a bit full. Tomatoes ,chillies, cucumber, coriander and a couple of pots of flowers.

  19. Mrs Green says:

    @Karen: Gosh that’s brilliant – thanks Karen; what an inspiration! I imagined supermarket things had been somehow treated so you couldn’t do anything with them. Now I shall experiment!

  20. Karen says:

    We had the pea sprouts in a salad last night. The flavour was lovely. i just nipped off the top couple of inches and mixed them with lettuce, baby toms, cucumber and pine nuts . Served with a bacon and chestnut bake. The chestnuts were a left over from Christmas. I did buy quite a lot as I love using them in beef casseroles.

  21. Mrs Green says:

    @Karen: Sounds like a wonderful meal, Karen – those flavours sound an interesting combination 🙂

  22. Ben says:

    I have a food waste related problem with packaging. My usual packaging waste is now largely from short dated items I buy from the local shop’s bargain bin. The positive is that it potentially saves the item from being wasted (someone else may not buy it), and it saves me money, but I still end up with non-recyclable items I would normally avoid now.

    I could avoid the over-packaged bargain bin items too, but that might just mean more food waste (I’m often the last shopper in there before they close), and my food bills would go up too, so I’m reluctant to do this.

    I’m wondering if anyone else buys stuff from the bargain bins and has any suggestions for the packaging?

  23. Mrs Green says:

    @Ben: Hi Ben, I hear you on this one, I’ve had a similar issue in the past. I do still sometimes buy items from the bargain bin, but I just make the same choices as I would regarding packaging if I were buying at full price. I avoid really badly packaged stuff (but I totally understand that the idea of food waste because no one buys it is just as bad) and buy things that I can deal with the packaging – it might mean cleaning it up, storing it and posting off to a company such as GHS … The other option is to unpack at the checkout.

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