About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Waste food? Me? Never!

This week's Change the World Wednesday challenge is to waste no food during the week. Whenever I see people talking about food waste I feel a bit smug. I don't waste food - I'm the queen of leftovers, me! But then I had to admit to myself that there were two clementines in the fruit bowl that had to be thrown out because they were going rotten. And come to think of it, there was that time last week when I made cheese straws with leftover pastry and forgot about them so they burned. That captures two areas where I could improve - buying too much fruit/not eating it quickly enough (it tends to be citrus fruit) and letting things burn in the oven.

At the weekend I begged some cooking apples from a friend to make mincemeat (and consulted her on the recipe. I'd volunteered to make mince pies for a village event without really thinking about the fact that I've never made them before). I only wanted one or two, but she'd given me nine before I could stop her. Two went in the mincemeat (which after a couple of days is looking and smelling very much as it should, which is a relief), leaving seven sitting in a bag.

They were windfalls but even so, it would be a shame to let them go off. As the were windfalls, some of them were bruised and starting to go bad already, so I'd have to use them quickly. Ian doesn't like stewed apple, so it's a bit of a challenge thinking of ways to use cooking apples. I decided that the best thing to do would be to stew the lot and freeze it, so that's what I did.

When I'm freezing sauces that are essentially ingredients rather than a main part of a meal, I prefer to freeze it in the ice cube tray so I can take out just as many cubes as I need. They also thaw more quickly than a bigger block. Seven apples-worth of sauce were going to take several goes of the ice cube tray, though. Then I opened a cupboard and spotted my new chocolate moulds (inspired by Susie) - they'd do nicely. When I opened the freezer I saw another silicone tray that I'd forgotten about, this one with heart-shaped moulds. So now I have seven stewed apples freezing in a variety of decorative shapes.

Stewed apple in several trays, ready for freezing. It tastes better than it looks.

I still don't know what I'm going to use it for, but at least now it's preserved and as an added bonus, not in a bag on the kitchen floor.

Oh, and those bits of beef fat that I forgot to put in the fridge last night? Pebble didn't think they were wasted!


  1. Great idea! I ran all of my surplus basil through the food processor and froze it in ice cube trays this year. And, I made a wonderful green tomato and apple chutney with some nearly gone apples and a bunch of the garden tomatoes that never got a chance to ripen.

    CatMan took one bite of the chutney and said... "Hmmm... tastes like mince meat"

    "Oh, there's not meat in it." I responded.

    Then ensued a rather complicated and confusing conversation about what the heck mince meat actually is. Lordy! I think that one was set up just to confuse me...

    Aw, come on! Give the recovering vegetarian a break!

  2. I have been thinking about getting some silicone molds to freeze pesto in smaller quantities! Great ideas!

  3. Ah, yes, does mincemeat have a different meaning on your side of the pond? In which case does Cat Man hail from over here? In any case, it's a very confusing name. Traditional mincemeat still has suet in it, but mine doesn't, because I don't see the point in making it non-veggie when it tastes just as good without. I think that may affect its shelf life, though, and I'm too mean to include the quantity of brandy necessary to compensate!

    I'm not one to advocate buying new stuff, but silicone moulds are definitely the way to go. It was much easier to get the frozen apple out of the silicone trays than out of the old plastic tray. They tolerate oven temperatures, too, though I'm not sure I'd want to be bothered with such small and fiddly cakes.

  4. You know... I have NO clue what mincemeat is. I thought it was finely chopped meat, but CatMan said it was a spicy fruit compote. I'm now coming to the conclusion that it is something created for the express purpose of confusing me!


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