WASTE NOT

GINNY GRANT’S CHRIST­MAS MENU IS BIG ON TASTE, NOT ON WASTE.

Cuisine - - CONTENTS - Recipes and food styling Ginny Grant /

Ginny Grant’s Christ­mas menu makes the most of ev­ery in­gre­di­ent

IN­SPIRED BY THE RE­CENT In­ter­na­tional Food De­sign con­fer­ence and the Love Food Hate Waste ini­tia­tive, I’ve been think­ing a lot about the amount of food waste my fam­ily cre­ates. I’ve al­ways been an avid re­cy­cler, re­use my own shop­ping bags, have a worm farm and a com­post bin. We cook most nights, and, as both my part­ner and I work mostly from home, left­overs usu­ally be­come lunch. I’m pretty good at freez­ing meals (and re­mem­ber­ing what I’ve frozen) for later use on those nights when the chaotic round of sports and events makes for a huge rush.

But I’m guilty of buy­ing too much – es­pe­cially fruit and veg­eta­bles, which of­ten end up in the com­post – and I rarely plan meals for the week.

This also set me think­ing about ways we could make a Christ­mas meal with lit­tle or no waste. There is no time when wast­ing food is more likely than at Christ­mas. We tend to over­es­ti­mate the amount each per­son will eat, for­get­ting there is of­ten more than just one day of end­less rounds of nib­bles, mul­ti­ple-course meals, a plethora of desserts, and then just a few more nib­bles. No won­der we over-cater and strug­gle to use the left­overs, or fail to find them when they are pushed to the back of the fridge.

It’s also known to be a time of ex­trav­a­gance, yet the added fi­nan­cial pres­sure for many fam­i­lies isn’t helped by throw­ing away per­fectly good food – not only is it waste­ful fis­cally, but also eth­i­cally. My own rather poor ef­forts to grow veg­eta­bles have made me aware of the re­sources needed to do so, and how throw­ing them away if I’ve al­lowed them to rot makes a mock­ery of those at­tempts.

So I thought about a meal that used the same in­gre­di­ents in a num­ber of ways and that kept the ex­pen­sive in­gre­di­ents to a min­i­mum (or could eas­ily be omit­ted or sub­sti­tuted) while still feel­ing a lit­tle in­dul­gent.

This year I’ve de­cided to use turkey breasts in­stead of a whole turkey. But if your bud­get won’t bear the cost of the turkey, I’d sug­gest us­ing a whole chicken (or two if you are serv­ing a large crowd) in­stead.

I’ve al­ways blitzed the ends of stale sand­wich bread in the food pro­ces­sor then thrown them into seal­able plas­tic bags and put in the freezer for use later for crumb­ing, us­ing in meat­balls and the like. I love a bread stuffing (which was surely in­vented to use up stale bread) and here the crumbs are used for that pur­pose.

All the veg­etable trim­mings are kept to make stock – if you don’t think you have enough for a stock, store them in the freezer for a later date (and if you are us­ing a whole chicken in­stead of turkey breasts, then bones from the roast can also be put into the stock).

The mild win­ter in Auck­land meant my lemon tree was over­loaded and by mid June they were drop­ping off ripe in hor­ri­fy­ing num­bers, so I made an ex­tra large batch of pre­served lemons. Some of th­ese have found their way into the turkey stuffing and the dress­ing for the salad.

I’m us­ing the in­gre­di­ent of the mo­ment, aquafaba (the liq­uid from a can of chick­peas or beans), which is the base of the meringues. Aquafaba is bril­liant if you are un­able to eat eggs or are ve­gan. In keep­ing with that, I’ve made the en­tire dessert ve­gan; al­though if you re­ally like whipped cream on a meringue, there is noth­ing to stop you from adding it. Don’t worry about there be­ing a chick­pea taste – the aroma and flavour dis­ap­pear through the cook­ing. The meringues are crisp but rather chewy and they col­lapse quickly, so be sure to put the top­ping on just be­fore serv­ing. And the chick­peas them­selves? Well, they end up in the rice pilaf, where they pro­vide a good tex­tu­ral com­po­nent.

Whether you cook the whole menu or sim­ply take a tip or two from the fol­low­ing pages, I hope you have a very happy, waste-min­i­mal Christ­mas! For more tips and in­for­ma­tion, check out love­food­hate­waste.co.nz.

WASTE-BUSTERS WORLD­WIDE

Food waste is a big is­sue around the world. Here are a few ex­am­ples of what’s be­ing done to com­bat it:

Early this year, France banned su­per­mar­kets from throw­ing away un­sold food – they must do­nate it to char­i­ties and food banks or face hefty fines.

In Au­gust, the Ital­ian gov­ern­ment passed laws to en­cour­age su­per­mar­kets to give un­sold food to the needy, and to urge din­ers to take home un­eaten food in doggy bags.

Top Ital­ian chef Mas­simo Bot­tura, whose restau­rant Os­te­ria Frances­cana was named the world's best ear­lier this year, set up Re­fet­to­rio Gas­tro­mo­tiva in Rio de Janeiro dur­ing the Olympic Games, us­ing food waste from the Olympic Vil­lage to feed the needy.

In Den­mark, Copen­hagen’s We­food gro­cery store sells only food that other su­per­mar­kets are throw­ing away.

Launched in Den­mark and now avail­able in the UK, Too Good to Go is an app that con­nects users to lo­cal restau­rants that want to sell left­over high-qual­ity food at a cheaper price.

Cal­i­for­nia has passed leg­is­la­tion that will make it il­le­gal by 2025 to dump or­ganic mat­ter into land­fill. In­stead it will build or ex­pand up to 200 com­post­ing fa­cil­i­ties.

Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Greta van der Star

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