Recycle for Lewisham

A blog written for residents of Lewisham


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Food and cooking demo goes down a treat

There might have been a bit of a chill in the air but there were plenty of hot and spicy treats for the large crowds that gathered throughout the day for Lewisham’s first Love Food Hate Waste (LFHW) cooking demonstration.

Richard cooks up a few treats for all the on lookers.

Richard cooks up a few treats for all the on lookers.

On Monday 21st November, celebrated chef Richard Fox spent the day just outside the shopping centre near Lewisham market showing people how to make simple yet wholesome food from ingredients that they might on another day have considered throwing away.

 First up on the menu was a biryani accompanied by flat bread made from left over chicken, sausages, peas, green beans an onion, some rice, some flour and a few herbs and spices that are probably lurking in everyone’s cupboard somewhere. This was all cooked and dished up within 10 mins or so and served to show the shopping residents of Lewisham just what could be achieved using simple everyday ingredients.

 As well as showing people simple and easy to cook recipes, Richard was also giving out many tips on how to make food last longer and therefore increase its chance of being used up and of course not wasted (which is what the event was all about). For example, he demonstrated how to make coriander last at least a week longer by simply wrapping it in paper towel, sprinkling it with some water and then wrapping some cling film round the stalks.

He also showed a plastic punnet filled with mushrooms that didn’t look their best and asked the crowd how many people would throw the mushrooms away with many agreeing that they would. Richard then cooked the mushrooms in some hot rapeseed oil before leaving them to cool. Once cool they could be put back into the fridge where they will keep for up to another 4 or 5 days and can be added to stews, curries etc. when required. This method was also demonstrated with some very overripe tomatoes which Richard explained were probably at their tastiest now and would be ideal for pasta sauces.

Shoppers gather to watch Richard in action

A second cooking demonstration is being planned for tomorrow (24th November) just outside the shopping centre again where chef Leigh Adams will be in action showing people how to make simple dishes and to think about not wasting food when there is really no need to.


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Top 10 tips for cooking and storing food in the home

So how do you go about cutting down on food waste? Here are some top tips:

 

1. Make the most of foods approaching use by date: why not cook and freeze for later use? For example, cook those sausages, freeze them and then turn them into a sausage risotto on another day.

 2. Remember to check the fridge daily (not just to get the milk out!) and look at dates and what needs using up – use this information in your meal planning. For example, if the eggs are approaching their ‘best before’ date then it might be omelettes for tea instead!

 3. No need to throw carrots and cucumbers away if they’ve gone a bit soft. Just put them in a glass of water in the fridge – they’ll perk up in no time. You can then peel and chop carrots, onions etc, bag them and freeze. When needed, just take out as much as you need and reseal. No more soggy veg at the bottom of your veg box.

 4. A curry is a good solution for just about any unused or leftover food, even vegetables that are on the soft side will be fine in a curry or casserole.

 5. Always finding the half used jar of pesto at the back of the fridge? Why not freeze the leftovers for another day?

 6. Understand the best way to store foods to keep them fresher for longer. Keep your fridge at the correct temperature: below 5°C.

 7. Storing fruit in the fridge can extend its life for up to 2 weeks (this does not work not bananas and pineapple).

 8. You can keep food safely in the freezer for years, in theory, as long as it has stayed frozen the whole time. However, the taste and texture of food changes if it’s frozen for too long, so you might well find that it’s not very nice to eat.

 9. Plan around your schedule and choose a time to plan when you will not be interrupted (too much) – include meals from the freezer, leftover recipes (e.g. pasta for tea, leftovers for lunch), cooking double and freezing half. If possible, use the time to look through cook books and recipes.

 10. Get others involved in menu planning – this ensures there’s something for everyone.

(image: Ambro/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


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A ‘Cheesy’ Story.

As families look for ways to save money on their household bills, many of us aren’t aware that food waste not only hits us in the pocket – up to £50 a month – but has a serious impact on the environment too. Think of a pack of cheese. The resources that go into maintaining the land, raising cows, processing the milk into cheese, transporting the cheese, refrigeration (both in transit and at the shop), packaging and advertising, getting us to the shop to buy it – it would be a crying shame if any of it went in the bin, but it does. In the UK we throw away the equivalent of more than three million slices of cheese a day! But it’s easy for us all to make a real difference. 

Love Food Hate Waste, in partnership with Lewisham Council, has some great solutions to help us reduce the amount of food we throw away. Here’s a nice cheesy one. Hard cheeses can be frozen then grated without defrosting to use as pizza toppings or cheese on toast. Stilton freezes really well without grating and can be defrosted for the cheese board, a quiche or soup. Cheese can also be kept fresher if you wrap it in foil. For more information on storage, freezing tips and great recipe ideas visit www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

(photo: Suat Eman)


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Food on the go Litter

Nobody likes seeing litter on the streets of Lewisham (or any streets for that matter!), it can be bad for business and tourism, dangerous to children and animals, attracts rodents and encourages further anti-social behaviour. In Lewisham, we have collected 193 tonnes of food on the go related litter, that was not properly disposed of!

Last week we launched our “Food on the Go” campaign, this is an ongoing effort on the part of Lewisham Council and Keep Britain Tidy to reduce the amount of food and drinks related litter found on Lewisham’s streets as well as encouraging the correct disposal of litter from food on the go. This includes not only fast food packaging but drinks cartons and bottles, confectionary and sandwich packaging. The campaign ran from 15th November until 28th November .

The campaign involved working with local businesses and schools to help get the message about the responsible disposal of litter. It is a mixture of enforcement and education as the message is that there is a fixed penalty fine of £75, or failure to pay the fine within 14 days can lead to prosecution or a fine of up to £2500.

During the campaign period, The Natural Theatre Company were employed to engage the public in an interactive way to help spread the message. Council Officers were on hand to distribute ‘Wrap its’ – a folded cardboard pack including recycled paper for people to responsibly dispose of gum responsibly. We hope the campaign will be succesful in reducing the amount of litter on Lewishams Streets – if you want any more info, please email recycle@lewisham.gov.uk

If you do see any large amounts of littering on the streets of Lewisham or throughout London you can report it using Love Clean Streets (recently mentioned by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaking about Cloud Computing at the Government Leaders Forum in London)


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Love Food Hate Waste

Lewisham Council are putting on some free Love Food Hate Waste workshops …

What’s it all about? Love Food Hate Waste is the ‘Waste Not Want Not’ of the modern day, providing handy tips, advice and recipes for leftovers to help everyone waste less food.

Why? 8.3 million tonnes of food is thrown away by households in the UK every year. Reducing food waste is a major issue and not just about good food going to waste; wasting food costs the average family with children £680 a year and has serious environmental implications too.

Lewisham Council are holding the workshop to discuss handy tips on how to store or use up left-overs, give you some great ideas about meal planning and discovering all the types of food that can be frozen. If you’re interested use the contact details below.