Wednesday, 8 September 2010
For anyone who's looking for refreshing ways to use up any excess chicken from their Sunday Roast, here's some more inspiration from Saints Cafe on Day 3 of National Zero Waste Week.
Today's lunch was Feel Good Chicken Soup, which regularly features on the Specials menu, using whichever vegetables are available on the day. The contents may change each time but the flavour is consistent thanks to the delicious home-made stock. This lunchtime, the ingredients included courgettes with onions as well as some leeks. I've had this soup before and remember there being chunks of potatoes and carrots at other times.
Over the autumn and winter months I become a real fan of heart-warming soups, but tend to use stock cubes or my own chicken stock, which never reaches the taste quality of the soups that are served at Saints, so I couldn't resist tapping Engin for some top tips on making stock.
And the tips I am taking away today include a reminder to use potatoes and a balance of green vegetables as well as the usual bay leaf, herbs and seasoning. But what's grabbed my attention today is Engin's advice to grate vegetables such as carrots, which really helps to release and intensify the flavour, and is a more eco-friendly style of cooking too as the flavour is brought out more quickly.
Today's soup was served with toasted garlic ciabatta, using perfectly edible loaves that would be too dry to live up to the quality of Saints' fresh ciabatta sandwiches. Quite often these loaves are also toasted and used for making croutons too.
I also had a surprise treat this lunchtime, which was a smoothie made up of strawberries that were too soft to serve as a dessert, so were whizzed up with orange juice and a dash of lime - delicious.
So, I am totally feeling like a very spoiled customer, making this the most enjoyable Zero Waste Week ever. However, there have been a couple of mishaps at home, which I will tell you about at the end of the week.
In the meantime, skirting away from my haphazard happenings on the domestic front, please do say hello to Sandy who dropped in to keep me company today. I know Sandy from when I originally joined BuryLETS, but these days she is more heavily involved in the Suffolk's Wildlife Trust's Barn Owl project.
Sandy's taking an active part in this year's National Zero Waste Week too and has already made a pledge at myzerowaste.com to get creative in the kitchen. While we sat over coffee I got the low down on how she made some fabulous muffins this week using some stewed blackcurrants that were still in the fridge.
After stewing the blackberries last week, Sandy added extra sugar to the top of the jar to preserve them for longer, and used the intact pieces of fruit (as a replacement for blueberries) to add to the muffin mixture, which incorporated 3 eggs, 6oz self raising flour, 6oz caster sugar and 6oz Bertolli's spread.
This has definitely encouraged me to check out the remains of the stewed blackberries that I've got sitting in my fridge and have a go at making them at home. They only take about 15-20 minutes to cook so could be a lovely surprise for the kids later.
However my biggest challenge this week is to see if I can get a photo of the elusive Engin, cafe owner and chef extraordinaire, who seems to disappear every time I pull out my camera. I'm sure you'd all like to see a snapshot of the man behind the fabulous food I've been enjoying this week. So watch this space and see what happens.
More information about National Zero Waste Week can be found at www.myzerowaste.com. While you're there, please take the opportunity to visit this urgent post, encouraging readers to take part in an online Defra survey about how England should manage its waste. The deadline is 9 September, which happens to be this Thursday.