Miranda Gore Browne looks at how you can challenge yourself to make different things with what you have in your cupboard as well as using cooking as an escape.
Isolation has forced us to look at the important things and to change our habits. To think more about community and sharing and the frightening and sudden impact on us all when a few start stockpiling. To think about our food and where it comes from. If you are at home alone, I hope kind neighbours are helping or you can reach out to an online group for food or support. Veg and meat box schemes are a fantastic way to support local farmers and mean you can have the freshest produce delivered straight to your door.
Miranda's top tips for using up your leftovers
I have taken to having a metal bowl in the bottom of our fridge and all the ends of vegetables, the stalks of broccoli, the bits of uneaten mashed or baked potato, the last bits of pasta sauce or ends of cheese are all popped in here.
I then fry a chopped onion in some butter or oil in a large pan. I tip in the bowl full of leftovers, cover with two pints of boiling water and crumble in a vegetable or chicken stock cube. Let it come to the boil and then simmer until all the vegetables are soft, add more boiling water if it’s too thick.
Blend with an electric blender, pop in your liquidiser, mash well by hand with a masher or keep it chunky; whatever you choose, you have a delicious, nourishing soup made all the more tasty knowing you are using up your food waste and saving money as you slurp it up.
Local shopkeepers are a creative bunch, but have been pushed to the limit by recent events. Self-isolation and social distancing has called on all of us to look more closely at our shopping behaviour, to think more about where our food comes from and how hard our local shops work to bring us quality, knowledge and service. It’s easy to turn to online deliveries without first checking if our local businesses can help. I’m constantly delighted by the knowledge and expertise and just how much I learn every time I step inside the door of one of our local butchers, bakers, delis or greengrocers.
Here’s a few tips on making the most of shopping locally.
- Call ahead and pre-order bulk amounts of meat. This means the butcher can sort your order for you when the shop is quieter.
- Ask your butcher to cut your meat for you as they have good, sharp knives and will save you a lot of time
- Butchers are also often busy making and baking great food to sell, too, from delicious homemade sausages and burgers to fantastic ready meals, pies, pasties and accompaniments to go with meat.
- Butchers often have ideas for what to do with the meat you buy from them. Why not try their secret recipes?
- Find out where your butcher sources their meat, the local farms they work with and why it’s special. If you’re isolated at home, phone your butcher and ask about home delivery and box schemes. Perhaps you could share a meat box with a neighbour, if that’s a more viable way to make it work.
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