Cracking Good Food blogger CORIN BELL updates us on the last Recycle for Greater Manchester free cooking class and looks back over the last 12 months.
I can’t believe it was the grand finale of our Love Food Hate Waste sessions – what an adventure it’s been! We spent the afternoon with some lovely folk in St Herbert’s Parish Centre in Chadderton showing them how to make Mexican quesadillas with refried beans and spicy salsa… yum! Cracking Good Food sessions are never a spectator sport, so after a quick intro from our cooking leader Maz, the group was straight in to learning safe chopping skills. Rule number 1: If you want to keep all your fingers, chop awkward shaped veg in half and lay them on their flat surface – that way they don’t roll around and you don’t slip with the knife – thanks Maz!
While Maz cooked up the beans and salsa, our participants helped by chopping and preparing other ingredients and took part in our favourite food waste ‘fix-it’ game. This involved sharing ideas about foods that tend to go to waste in fridges/cupboards; getting tips on how to use them up rather than let them go off. We were all surprised when someone asked what they should do with leftover wine… this resulted in a few raised eyebrows and a very obvious answer!
We had loads of good tips from the group, my favourite one of the day was about using up those “super grains” which we buy for one particular recipe and then leave in the back of the cupboard. One of our lovely Chadderton locals had discovered that you can make porridge out of quinoa, millet, wheat flakes, and all sorts! Some just need a little more sweetness, which means you can also use up honey, golden syrup or even jam.
After 12 months of cutting, chopping, cooking and talking, I think that the LFHW message is becoming much more popular. People are smarter with their leftover food and we found that they are eager to pass on their handy tips; like grating hard cheese before it goes mouldy, making breadcrumbs from stale bread; both can go in the freezer.
Now we have finished all our cooking sessions for Recycle for Greater Manchester we have taken some time to reflect on how good we have been at spreading the messages of reducing food waste by keeping food fresher for longer, making meals from leftovers, shopping smarter and using more of what you find in your cupboards.
We’ve cooked with over 300 residents at 24 different community and social centres across Greater Manchester. The feedback shows we have inspired around 80% of participants to use their leftovers to create cheap and tasty meals. One resident said “I will be more creative with the bits of food left over in my fridge..”. Others have decided that they would plan meals and write a shopping list to avoid impulse purchases and those very tempting BOGOF offers.
It is sad to see these sessions come to an end, so here’s hoping we’re back soon with lots more free classes and tips! In the meantime you can be inspired by the fantastic leftover recipes on the Recycle for Greater Manchester website.