No ingredients left behind: recipes from The Food Saver's AZ

No ingredients left behind: recipes from The Food Saver’s AZ

Green things fritters.

What have you got that needs using up? In the pages of Food Saver’s AZ you can turn whatever ingredients are on hand into deliciousness.

Packed with ideas and advice for reducing food waste and making great meals with what you already have – whether that’s half a jar of tomato paste, a handful of beans that have seen better days or a whole cauliflower you don’t now know what to do with – this cookbook will make sure food waste is a thing of the past.

Here are some examples of why Food Saver’s AZ could be your new best friend in the kitchen.

Big grain salad.
Big grain salad.

big grain salad

Serves 4 as a main, 6 as part of a shared meal

A grain salad is healthy and filling, and you can use this and that from the fridge. Grain salads are great to have under your arm when arriving at a barbecue, they make perfect dinners on hot summer nights, and any leftovers for lunch are always welcome. Add pumpkin (squash) and feta to your grain salad and make like the 1990s – why not?

1. Start by cooking your grain(s). You’ll need 2–3 cups cooked grains: about 390–585g quinoa, 330–495g couscous or 290–435g barley.

2. The trick to this salad is making a flavor base with spiced onions. The onions bring a complementary texture to the grains, as well as flavor, so you don’t need to make much of a dressing. Heat ¼ cup oil of your choice in a small frying pan over medium heat then saute 2 large sliced ​​onions with a pinch of salt until translucent and collapsing. This will take 15 minutes or more. Add 4 finely chopped garlic cloves and continue to saute. Now add seasoning according to the flavor profile you want. For this quinoa version, we add 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp chilli flakes or powder, and pinch each of salt and pepper, to taste. (If using barley or buckwheat, you might want to change this to dill, tarragon and caraway seeds.)

3. Add 40g currants and ¼ cup red wine vinegar, then continue to saute until the onions are very well cooked and browning on the edges. This always takes longer than you think, so keep going.

4. Remove from the heat and add your 2–3 cups cooked grain(s), mixing well to coat in the pan juices. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add ¼ cups toasted nuts or seeds and 1 large handful of torn herb leaves. Match the herbs to the seasoning you’ve used. In this version, we like to use a mixture of coriander and mint, but parsley would work well too. Mix all the ingredients together, taste then add more salt and pepper, and a good squeeze of lemon juice or a little more vinegar. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter.

Green things fritters.
Green things fritters.

Green things fritters

Makes 5-6

Long live the sinter. Could there be a more forgiving and useful trick up your sleeve? When in doubt, make fritters. When the fridge needs a clear-out, make fritters. When the vege patch is looking like it could do with a tidy-up, make fritters. Here’s a green fritter recipe for all of the above. Use spinach, silverbeet, zucchini, kale, celery leaves, peas, herbs, or a mix of what you have.

1. Finely chop 1 bunch (about 350g) spinach. You can include the stems, but make sure to chop them small (you’ll need about 3 firmly packed cups in all).

2. Put the spinach (or other greens) in a bowl with 1 cup picked fresh herbs of your choice, ½ cup grated or crumbled cheese (halloumi and strained feta cheese work well), ¼ cup plain flour and 3 beaten eggs with ½ tsp salt. Mix all the ingredients very well.

3. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a frying pan over medium–high heat and pour in ½ cupfuls of the green mix, cooking 2–3 fritters at a time for 3 minutes on each side. Serve the fritters warm, but they’re also great the next day for a packed lunch.

Spring greens medley.
Spring greens medley.

Spring greens medley

Serves 4

This is a clean-out-the-fridge recipe to use during spring, when all the greens you bought have a short lifespan but you went out for dinner two nights in a row. Use all those greens here – peas, snow peas (mange tout), lettuce, asparagus, silverbeet, baby spinach, watercress, broccoli florets, chopped green beans. It’s light, clean and a perfect springtime meal. Serve as a side with baked fish, roast chicken, a frittata or the green things fritters.

1. You’ll need 500g of any spring greens, so get out the scales and empty out the crisper. Thinly slice lettuce, spinach or silverbeet and cut asparagus into bite-sized pieces.

2. Heat ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan over low heat. Sauté ½ diced brown onion, ½ sliced ​​leek or 2–3 sliced ​​spring onions for 2–3 minutes, then add 3 sliced ​​garlic cloves.

3. Add the greens, a generous pinch of salt and ½ cup water, stock or white wine. Simmer gently, covered, for 5–15 minutes, until everything is cooked. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and a good grind of black pepper. Transfer to a serving plate, drizzle with a little more oil and top with any chopped herbs that need using. You could also crumble some goat’s cheese and/or shave some parmesan on top.

Images and text from The Food Saver’s AZ by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards, published by Murdoch Books, RRP $55

'The Food Saver's AZ' by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards, published by Murdoch Books, RRP $55.
‘The Food Saver’s AZ’ by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards, published by Murdoch Books, RRP $55.


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