Zero Waste veggie peel fritters

How often do you peel a carrot or a potato and chuck away the skin? Imagine if these nutritious strips could be turned into a whole ‘nother meal.

Well dream no more.

Recently I was cooking a bunch of carrots and parsnips, and didn’t have the heart to bin the peels — so I developed this frugal fritter recipe to make the most of them. It actually transforms them into caramelised discs of savoury goodness, with a subtle earthiness. You’ll never bin a peel again.

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RECIPE

ZERO WASTE VEGGIE PEEL FRITTERS

Serves 2 with leftovers. Cooking time: 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.5 cups parsnip and carrot peels*, chopped finely (peels of approx 5 carrots and 4 small parsnips)**
  • Half a brown onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp whole fennel Seeds
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • For serving: Greek yoghurt, salsa or chutney

METHOD

  1. In a biggish bowl mix together the eggs, onion, parsnip and carrot peels and any other veg. Add the flour, turmeric, cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well.

  2. Heat a little vegetable oil in a non-stick fry pan on medium heat. Add heaped tablespoonfuls of the fritter mix in the pan pressing it flat into 1cm thick fritters before the mixture sets. Cook in batches for 2-3 mins per side or till golden.
  3. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and keep warm. Serve fritters with salad and greek yoghurt, salsa or chutney.

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COOKING NOTES

* You can swap in and out any of the following veggie peels with this recipe: potato, sweet potato, beetroot and zucchini (if you weirdly were peeling zucchini for some reason, though it might make the mix watery so add flour to counteract).

** If you’re peeling veg but don’t feel like fritters, the peels will store well in a ziplock if used within a few days.

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Supercharged Instant Ramen (feat. old mushrooms)

So late one night, my partner and I were watching a Bon Appetit video – the one where Claire painstakingly recreates a gourmet version of instant ramen – and suddenly we felt super-inspired to pimp up some packet ramen for ourselves.

We found some ageing mushrooms holding on for dear life at the bottom of the fridge. Usually I’d just throw them in with something meaty to add flavour, but I figured adding them to ramen would be a far more interesting way to use them up and extract their umami goodness.

But for any good ramen you need a good broth — and given its vital role, it’s preferable to use a homemade stock. It’s nicer than the salty store-bought versions — but in a pinch you could easily use a good quality liquid stock (with added pan-fried mushrooms), or even a stock cube or flavour packet if you really cbf.

Luckily, in the freezer, we rediscovered some frozen homemade chicken & miso mushroom stock that we decided would be an easy and tasty base. I won’t go into the detail now (of how this stock was made), but the short of it is, I’d made a regular chicken stock a few months ago, and just for the heck of it added some rich umami juice obtained from roasting huge miso-covered mushrooms. If you’re interested in the full recipe, please comment below!

From there, we got way too enthused — the resulting ramen was so light and satisfying, and although it wasn’t a thick, 24-hour tonkatsu broth, it was super flavourful for the amount of time we put into it. Enjoy!

IMG_20181202_085156_body.jpgRECIPE

SUPERCHARGED INSTANT RAMEN

Makes 2 servings. Cooking time 15-20 minutes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 litre of chicken and miso mushroom stock (or good quality liquid chicken stock)
  • 2 bricks of instant ramen
  • 300g almost-bad mushrooms, halved and sliced thinly*
  • 2cm piece of ginger, sliced
  • Few pinches roasted ground Szechuan pepper (or white pepper)
  • 2 tsp neutral flavoured oil (like rice bran, vegetable or grapeseed)
  • Sesame oil (to serve)
  • 1/3 cup dried seaweed (miyeok or wakame)
  • 2 tbsp dried diced porcini mushrooms
  • 3 eggs

METHOD

  1. Put 3 eggs into a small pot and cover with cold water on medium heat. Once boiling turn heat down to medium-low and start a 5 minute timer for slightly set (not runny) soft boiled eggs. Once done run under cold water till eggs are completely cool to stop them cooking.**
  2. In seperate small bowls, rehydrate dried porcini mushrooms and seaweed with boiling water. Reserve the liquid from both to add more umami flavour to your stock in Step 4.
  3. Heat a medium fry pan on medium heat and add 2 tsp neutral flavoured oil. Throw in sliced mushrooms with salt and ground Szechuan pepper to taste. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes or till roasty and slightly golden. Take off the heat and reserve.
  4. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, bring your frozen stock to the boil – adding in the sliced ginger plus the reserved liquid from both the rehydrated seaweed and porcini mushrooms. Taste your stock – if it needs more flavour add soy sauce to taste, but keep in mind when soup’s too salty you get sick of a whole bowl. Break both bricks of ramen in half (they’re probably too wide for a small pot) and drop into the pot to cook ensuring they’re submerged in the stock. Stir to ensure even cooking. Allow to boil for 3-5 minutes or till ramen has reached your desired doneness. ***
  5. Peel eggshells off the eggs and cut each into halves. To serve tong the noodles into 2 deep bowls and pour over the soup. On top of the noodles in each bowl place half the seaweed, mushrooms and 3 egg halves. Sprinkle with a dash of sesame oil to taste.

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COOKING NOTES

* If your mushrooms are slightly dried out and look a bit worse for wear we can work with that – new ones are totally fine too but I just had sad ones!

** To level up your eggs: make soy sauce eggs (shoyu tamago) the day before. This Momofuku recipe sounds great!

*** I took the ramen off when it was al dente, with a bit of bite. This is okay as they’ll sit in the stock for a few minutes while you prepare everything else, so they’ll cook further without going too soft.

Cauliflower leaves become deliciously crispy when roasted

Whenever you have a cauliflower with the outer leaves and stalks in tact it’s almost second nature to pull them all off and bin them. I started this process recently and noticed there was almost as much leaf as actual cauliflower. That got me thinking…there had to be a way to utilise them…

cauliflower leaves

To clarify by ‘leaves’ I mean the green outer leaves and the stems they’re attached to. After a few experiments I whacked them in the oven with some seasoning I’d typically use on cauli. Once roasted, the leaves become incredibly crispy, in a kind of unexpected way. They taste like deep fried kale chips and nori (roasted seaweed, often used for sushi), while the stalks retained their cauliflower nuttiness.

I mixed the roasted cauliflower leaves into a little breakfast salad – but you could also enjoy them as a side, with other roasted veg or in a more substantial salad.

roasted cauliflower stems

RECIPE

EASY CAULIFLOWER STEM BREAKFAST SALAD 

Serves 1 as a light salad

INGREDIENTS
Cauliflower leaves (middle stalk intact)
Olive Oil
Cumin
Smoked paprika
Chilli flakes
Salt and pepper

TO SERVE
Fried egg
A few big handfuls of mixed salad leaves
Caramelised white balsamic

METHOD
1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Rinse the cauliflower leaves off and trim any woody ends off. Pat dry, then place on an oven tray. Drizzle with olive oil and toss well to coat.
2. Sprinkle cauliflower leaves with a bit of cumin, smoked paprika, chilli flakes, salt, pepper.
3. Pop into the hot oven for 10-15 minutes or until the leaves start to become golden and crispy. 10 minutes is enough for some light colour on them – while at 15 minutes they’ll look more like mine did with more char on the stalks and super crispy (almost deep fried looking) leaves.
4. To Serve: I tossed them with mixed salad leaves, a bit of caramelised balsamic and a fried egg on top.

roasted cauliflower leaf salad

roasted cauliflower stem salad with egg

BAM!

I definitely want to have another play around with these next time I get a leafy cauli and I can’t believe how many times I’ve just mindlessly thrown these delicious stalks away. Never again.

What do you use cauliflower leaves for?

 

Homegrown sweet potatoes are easier than you think

Recently I visited my dad and he gave me a gift: An old sweet potato from the very back of his fridge. It was sprouting and looked mostly unsalvageable.

“Ummm… thanks… dad…?”

He pushed it into my hands, “You should plant it.”

I assumed this was another one of his harebrained ideas, but I googled it and was surprised to find that it’s a thing. There’s a bit more of a process to it than just digging a hole and chucking in your sprouting sweet potato though…

1. Grow the slips

Slips are long, vine-like and leafing growths near the tip of a sweet potato – and it’s these that sprout baby sweet potatoes for you to enjoy (you can actually grow up to 50 slips per half). To grow slips, use a new sweet potato or one that’s already begun sprouting by itself. Cut it in half and place each cut side down in a bowl, glass or jar half submerged with water (pictured below). Leave it in a warm place and change the water daily to keep it fresh. I left mine for 2 weeks.

growing sweet potato sprouting slips

2. Let the roots grow

Once the slips have developed nice and long, it’s time to separate them from the mamma potato so they can grow on their own. Carefully twist the slips off where they connect to the sweet potato and place them in a shallow container with a little water to cover the bottom half of the stems.

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The roots will begin to grow and sprout leaves within a few days. When they’re 2-3 cm long they’re ready to be planted.

roots

3. Plant the slips

This step’s pretty straight forward. Dig 10cm deep holes and 7cm wide holes for each slip to be placed into. (P.S. I know this soil is suuuuper dry – but I’m going to try these tips here to rejuvenate it: https://soiltosupper.com/simple-ways-to-fix-dry-garden-soil/ ).

plant

4. Water!

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plantsss

Soon I’ll never have to shop for sweet potatoes again – well at least that’s the plan. Stay tuned for updates on my sweet potato babies!

Save Your Stems! Easy Raw Kale Pesto

I bought two massive bunches of kale on special, thinking I’d use it all quick smart. I was wrong. After a huge batch of kale salad and a tray of kale chips, there was still a big bunch in the fridge plus all the stems I’d kept (don’t judge me).

I thought I could make it into a pesto, and saw that some people blanched the stems first – but to be honest I tested it blanched versus raw and they both taste amazing, so save yourself the effort.

With that, here’s my recipe for a raw kale pesto that uses up every last scrap of kale and is prime to slather on pretty much anything.

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RECIPE
Raw Kale Stem Pesto

Yield: Approx. 1 ½ cups of finished pesto (1 x 300ml mason jar full)

INGREDIENTS
1 packed cup kale leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 ½ packed cup kale stems, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves – peeled
25ml lemon juice (approx. ½ a medium lemon)
Zest of ½ a medium lemon
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp pine nuts or roasted walnuts
80ml olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

You could also add any herbs you have on hand like parsley or basil.

METHOD

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor, and pulse in controlled bursts till crumbly-looking without any big chunks. Scrape down the sides regularly to ensure everything’s processed relatively evenly.
  2. Add more lemon, salt or pepper to taste. And add a little more olive oil if you want a thinner pesto.
  3. To store, keep refrigerated in a hipster-looking glass jar for added effect, and top with olive oil to stop it browning. Freeze batches for later use in small containers or plastic freezer bags.

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Easy, right? Mix this pesto into pasta, soups, salads, spread it on toast or sandwiches for a herby garlicy, use it as a pizza sauce, toss veggies through it, top eggs with it, eat it with a steak or mix through meatballs. There’s so many ways to use it!