Every last bit

For anyone trying to live a sustainable life, avoiding food waste is really important. But it’s also important for anyone on a budget or wanting to save money. I have written before about this issue of throwing food away, so here I’m going to share a recipe for using up bits and pieces.

I don’t mind giving scraps to the chickens, as that just converts one sort of food to another (although I prefer them to eat snails, slugs and weeds), but I much prefer humans to eat food from the kitchen (and garden). And so, I regularly find myself making Glamorgan Sausages. Now, although I do eat meat, these sausages are vegetarian. For them, you require breadcrumbs, cheese, onion, sage and an egg, plus salt, pepper and mustard if any of those things appeal to your taste buds (I tend not to add any of them).

First, whiz up some bread (any sort, with or without gluten, just nothing sweet) in a food processor. To the bowl, add onion (I usually manage to have half an onion hanging around that needs eating up or I use onion tops or spring onions from the garden) and some chopped cheese (fine if you have a piece of cheese that’s gone slightly dry) and whiz it all around again. Then add some fresh chopped sage or dried rubbed sage and give it a quick pulse to mix it before breaking in an egg (or two if you’ve made lots) and whizzing it again until it’s all combined (adingd seasonings at this stage if required). After this, divide the mixture up and roll into sausages before shallow frying.

Glamorgan sausages with garlic potatoes and lettuce

Glamorgan sausages with garlic potatoes and lettuce

I usually serve them with potatoes (especially good with boiled new ones), lettuce and apple chutney, but you can have them with baked beans, vegetables or in a bun. The mixture is brilliant for making vegetarian Scotch Eggs too. The only problem is that I never measure quantities, so you’ll have to be creative! I can say, however, that I always use a relatively small amount of a strong cheddar cheese.

They are, in fact, too good only to make when I have stale bread and elderly cheese and quite often, chez snail, they are made from fresh ingredients… and they always go down well.

 

 

More glut busting

Last night we were visited my friends – both old and new – for dinner. My aim was to feed them on produce from the garden, with any additional ingredients sourced locally. It’s such an abundant time of year that this turned out to be relatively easy (until I got to wanting ice cream).

Our main course consisted of:

  • Yum!

    Yum!

    Frittata, which is a sort of vegetable quiche without the pastry. Ours contained eggs, potatoes, courgette and peppers from the garden, plus onion and tomatoes from a local organic farm.

  • Glamorgan sausages, which are a vegetarian dish made from wholemeal breadcrumbs (flour from the local water mill), cheese (Snowdonia Black Bomber – a Welsh Cheddar) and sage (out of the garden) bound together with beaten egg (home-produced) and shallow fried.
  • Cherry tomatoes (from the garden)
  • Lettuce (from the garden)
  • Boiled potatoes (from the garden)
  • Monkey bread (flour from the local water mill, herbs straight out of the garden)
  • Couscous (haven’t found a local source of this yet!) with home grown pepper, coriander, courgette and tomato

For dessert we had:

  • Strawberries (from a local organic farm) and blackberries (picked in the afternoon from a local hedgerow)
  • Meringues (home-produced egg whites, but bought sugar)
  • Whipped cream (bought)
  • Homemade chocolate ice cream (home-produced egg yolks, but all the other ingredients bought)

You may be wondering why I bother to make ice cream at home when we live near The Hive on the Quay – a great source of locally produced honey ice cream. Well, the issue is that being lactose intolerant, I can’t eat it… so I make my own lactose-free ice cream and it helps to use up the egg glut when there is one (like now).

So, there you have it… a diversity of food, with very few miles on the clock… and now I have a few less courgettes to think what to do with too!

Garden dinner

I love the time in the year when it is possible to eat a significant proportion of our food from out of the garden. We are not quite there yet this year, but last night we did start with spring onions, potatoes and sage from the garden (plus an egg):

Ingredients for dinner

Ingredients for dinner

and ended up with Glamorgan sausages, boiled new potatoes (variety Colleen) and lettuce for our dinner:

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

Not quite  a garden dinner, as the lettuce came from a local farm and the Glamorgan sausages were made with breadcrumbs from a homemade loaf (organic white flour from Shipton Mill; wholemeal from Felin Ganol) plus Snowdonia Black Bomber Cheese and freshly ground back pepper, but with the sage and onions and bound together with the egg. Not entirely home-grown, but very satisfying that almost everything was fairly local.

I am having a slight problem, however, at breakfast time. Despite the strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and red currants being covered in fruit, none of it is ripe yet. Thank goodness for rhubarb to keep me going in this rather lean period!

Eggy!

An abundance of eggs

An abundance of eggs

Recently we have been rather eggy… no, not annoyed, just egg-full! Lorna has pretty much given up laying, despite only being three years old: we haven’t had an egg from her since Christmas. The other three (including Esme, who is the same age as Lorna) are giving us an egg each almost every day. Even with an occasional day off, this means we are getting about 18 eggs per week. I think that this level of production is being supported by the abundant leafy greens that they are consuming: kale, broccoli leaves and a wide variety of oriental leaves from last autumn’s planting (which we too are enjoying).

It’s great to feel that the garden is so abundant, but sometimes the number of eggs does seem overwhelming. The easiest solution is to give them away: our lovely neighbours look after the hens when we are away for a weekend and so we often give them a box of eggs. However, we do like to make use of much of what we produce ourselves and, to this end, recipes that include eggs are really useful. Of course, there’s always cake, but if all the eggs went into cakes, we’d be the size of elephants by now… or perhaps the shape of Humpty-Dumpty! We often have poached or boiled eggs for our lunch – always with homemade bread using our locally milled flour, but even that has its limits.

Recently we have been enjoying Scotch Eggs made with Glamorgan Sausage (breadcrumbs, cheese, sage and onion bound together with beaten egg). This is a lovely combination of flavours, but being deep-fried we don’t want to have them too often.We also quite often have hard-boiled eggs (7-8 minutes so the centre of the yolk is still soft) with garlic mayonnaise (again made with fresh eggs if I have the time) as an element of Tapas, along with patatas bravas, broad beans with spring onions, monkey bread and fried sweet peppers… all of which often have elements from out of the garden. Alternatively, a Spanish tortilla always goes down well – sometimes spiced up with some small chunks of chorizo in it.

Pasta drying on the kitchen table

Pasta drying on the kitchen table

Perhaps the least egg-like use is making pasta. For every 100g of flour in the pasta, you use 1 egg. That’s it as far as ingredients are concerned – it just takes some kneading and quite a lot of rolling. We do have a little pasta machine for rolling it out (like a tiny mangle that you clamp to the work surface) which makes life easier, but it’s not necessary. Mr Snail-of-happiness usually makes the pasta and then I use it for cooking, so it’s a team effort. I usually make it into a layered lasagne, but I think I might have a go at fresh ravioli next time we make it. It’s great because you can freeze it too.

So, those are some of my favourite egg dishes, but I’m always looking for new ones. Do you have any suggestions?

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