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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Ghetto Elderflower Cordial

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“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.

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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.

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RECIPE

ELDERFLOWER CORDIAL
Yields 2 big bottles. Takes 15-30min to cook, plus a wait overnight.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.25 kg white sugar
  • 3 medium lemons (washed)
  • 50 grams citric acid
  • 15 large elderflower heads, stalks trimmed

METHOD

  1. Using a small knife pare the zest off the lemons in strips, then juice the lemons. Reserve the squeezed lemon halves for later.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the elderflowers, reserved lemon halves, zest, lemon juice and citric acid to the pot of syrup. Stir well. Allow to cool.
  5. Once cooled, pop a lid on the pot and leave to steep overnight.
  6. Now your syrup has become elderflower cordial! Strain it into sterilised bottles and refrigerate to store.

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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.

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.