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.
ZERO WASTE VEGGIE PEEL FRITTERS
Serves 2 with leftovers. Cooking time: 30 mins
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and keep warm. Serve fritters with salad and greek yoghurt, salsa or chutney.
* 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.
“Is that elderflower?” I wondered, while out on a walk with my partner one late spring eve. The tree was just off a main road by a bicycle path, near where highschool kids smoke pot and people walk their dogs.
Elderflower is a bit tricky to find. It grows wild in spring, dying out toward summer. Keep an eye out for a bushy tree of small white flowers in any parks, nature strips, yards or scrub you happen to be in. Up close, the flowers have four tiny white petals with light-green stems. The leaves are about as stock-image as you can get, think and green. Once you’ve confirmed your find, come back with scissors to claim your prize. You can hold onto your discovery tightly, or share it with friends or public forager groups.
Needless to say I pocketed the flowers as quickly as I could (especially since the bush was already dying from the looming summer heat), and refined a recipe for a delicious cordial that would preserve these flowers’ hard-to-find and beautiful taste well into summer.
Yields 2 big bottles. Takes 15-30min to cook, plus a wait overnight.
- 1.25 kg white sugar
- 3 medium lemons (washed)
- 50 grams citric acid
- 15 large elderflower heads, stalks trimmed
- Using a small knife pare the zest off the lemons in strips, then juice the lemons. Reserve the squeezed lemon halves for later.
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and give the flowers a dip to wash off any bugs or dirt. Gently shake off excess water and set aside on paper towels.
- Pour 750ml of water into a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and heat on low (without boiling) until the sugar dissolves, stirring every now and then. Once the sugar has dissolved and thickened into a syrup bring it to the boil, then turn off the heat.
- Add the elderflowers, reserved lemon halves, zest, lemon juice and citric acid to the pot of syrup. Stir well. Allow to cool.
- Once cooled, pop a lid on the pot and leave to steep overnight.
- Now your syrup has become elderflower cordial! Strain it into sterilised bottles and refrigerate to store.
Just add water and a few ice cubes for a refreshing summertime drink. You can also use it undiluted as a syrup for desserts such as pavlova or ice cream to add a lemony highlight, or fold through whipped cream.
Growing up, my Filipino mum would whip big batches of chicken adobo for dinner each week. This classic mix of chicken, soy sauce, vinegar and garlic makes for a punchy flavour that hits the spot between sweet, sour and salty. 100% comfort food.
This recipe puts a new spin on that classic Filipino taste, by encasing it in a classic Aussie crust. This dish is kinda like me! A mix of my Filipino and European heritage, with ghetto banana ketchup – a tropical innovation that stemmed from a WWII tomato shortage, and pairs surprisingly well with the pie.
CHICKEN ADOBO PIE WITH HOMEMADE BANANA KETCHUP
Makes 4-6 pies. Cooking time 1.5hrs
- 1.5kg bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (thighs or whole chicken cut into 8)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (can also use white Filipino cane vinegar or white vinegar)
- ½-1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 10 large cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 very ripe bananas, mashed till smooth (approx. 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup eschallots, finely diced (or brown onion)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 60ml white vinegar
- 60ml water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon, ginger finely grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh turmeric, finely grated (1 teaspoon if using ground turmeric)
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
- To make the chicken adobo filling place the water, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large pot. Place the chicken skin side down in the pan. If the chicken it isn’t covered in liquid add ½ to 1 cup water.
- Bring liquid to the boil on medium high heat, then turn down to medium low and simmer with the lid on for about 1 hour (or till chicken is cooked and juices run clear). Stir and turn the chicken every once in a while.
- While the chicken is cooking prepare the banana ketchup. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot and cook the eschallots till translucent, then add the ginger, garlic, turmeric and all spice. Cook till the spices are fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute, stirring well. Follow with vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and mashed banana. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring often till it starts to thicken.
- If the banana ketchup is too thick add a bit of water to reach desired consistency. To store allow sauce to cool and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
- Once chicken adobo is cooked take it off the heat and allow to cool, however if the sauce is too runny remove the chicken and allow sauce to thicken on medium high heat. Next pull the meat off the bones and into bite sized pieces. Toss it with the thickened adobo sauce ready to go into the pies.
- Preheat oven to 220C and place a baking tray into the oven. Grease your pie pans of choice with butter (I used a medium 6 cup muffin tin). For the pie bases cut 6 x 15cm circles from the shortcrust pastry to line the base and sides of your pie tins. Brush the top edges with water. Fill with cooled chicken adobo mix. For the pie lids cut 6 x 15cm circles from the puff pastry. Place over meat and press to seal with a fork. Trim the edges to neaten and brush the tops with egg.
- Place pies onto a hot tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Serve with the banana ketchup.
It’s a long one, but I swear it’s worth it! Deliciously crispy pastry, filled with salty-sweet fall-apart chicken, finished with a fresh tang from the banana ketchup… As an extra tip for your effort: Make a double batch of the chicken adobo and freeze half of it for more pies later or to chow down with rice. You’ll thank yourself later!
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…
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.
EASY CAULIFLOWER STEM BREAKFAST SALAD
Serves 1 as a light salad
Cauliflower leaves (middle stalk intact)
Salt and pepper
A few big handfuls of mixed salad leaves
Caramelised white balsamic
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.
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?
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.
Raw Kale Stem Pesto
Yield: Approx. 1 ½ cups of finished pesto (1 x 300ml mason jar full)
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.
- 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.
- Add more lemon, salt or pepper to taste. And add a little more olive oil if you want a thinner pesto.
- 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.
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!