I was saddened this week to read that, throughout Europe, we waste around 50% of the food we produce. Apparently in Britain we throw away around 25% of the food we buy but, before we even buy it, all the mis-shapen or ugly fruit and veg have been discarded before they even reach the shops. The impact of this waste has a profound effect on our finances, the environment and personal guilt when half the world is starving.
The newspapers have been full of stories and statistics not to mention stern lectures about avoiding BOGOFs and ready meals (if not avoiding supermarkets altogether).
I have no intention of adding to the lectures, life isn’t always simple. Most of the time I shop locally and buy just what I want for that evening’s meal but sometimes, after a long day at work, I run into a supermarket feeling tired and hungry and buy random ingredients that don’t quite add up to a meal. Like most people I usually have a lone carrot deteriorating in the bottom of the salad drawer or some herbs wilting sadly on the window sill.
I tend to treat sell buy dates with some scepticism and use my eyes and nose to decide if something is still edible – food usually lasts much longer than indicated on the packet. But I confess to being a bit fussy about milk and can detect the slightest change in flavour even when the label says it is still in date so there’s no way that’s going in my tea.
Soup for me is a thing of wonder. It is usually low fat, full of fibre, contributes to your five a day, tastes great and is quick to make. Now you can add “helps to save the world” to that list as well as (and this is important to a good catholic girl) “alleviates guilt”.
There are of course some really elegant soup recipes around and you might want to buy ingredients especially for them but that’s not what I am talking about here. I am talking about everyday soup, soup you can take to work for lunch or just pour into a mug for a warming mid-morning snack.
Vegetable soup is brilliant because you can just throw in whatever random veg you have lurking in the fridge. Perk it up with some judiciously chosen herbs and spices and you have a simple tasty lunch.
I was prompted to write this piece by some slightly wilted celery. I love celery soup and so does Martin – which is odd because he doesn’t like celery.
Celery Soup Recipe
I fried a chopped onion, some garlic and a lonely leek in a little olive oil until softened. Then I added the celery (leaves and root and all) and some stock. Chicken stock works well but if you don’t have any just use some bouillon powder and hot water. Bring to the boil and simmer until soft then blitz with a stick blender until smooth.
Serve with a little drizzle of left over natural yoghurt or cream, a good grinding of black pepper and some chopped herbs – I used thyme. Alternatively it tastes great topped with a few scraps of stilton or goats cheese if you have bits left at the back of the fridge.
If you want more ideas on how to reduce waste in your house take a look at the tips on Love Food Hate Waste but in the meantime – make more soup!
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