Join the food waste revolution

Waste busters: 'I involve Bridget, so we make food I know she'll enjoy, that way there's less waste from her plate.'
Waste busters: 'I involve Bridget, so we make food I know she'll enjoy, that way there's less waste from her plate.'
Promoted by Zero Waste Scotland

Meet the families fighting back, with wonky veg as a key weapon!

Whether it’s a stale half loaf or uneaten leftovers, across Edinburgh families are embroiled in a food fight that is leaving bins overflowing and money wasted.

Forbes: "There are lots of online recipes that can help use up other stuff, so be adventurous.'

Forbes: "There are lots of online recipes that can help use up other stuff, so be adventurous.'

Every year city families dump the equivalent of 74m full meals – roughly the weight of 165 blue whales.

In a single day alone, we throw away a staggering 8000 eggs. Piled one on top of the other, they’d reach the height of the Scott Monument eight times over.

It’s a phenomenal image which, at a time when some families are struggling to make ends meet, mum Irene Mosota was keen to do something about.

Now she’s gone from concerned consumer to ‘wonky veg’ activist, keen to encourage everyone to be more mindful of what we eat and what we throw away.

Courgette and Sweet Potato Loaf

Courgette and Sweet Potato Loaf

“I found it odd that while some people are relying on emergency food supplies, good food was being thrown away because it looks a bit strange or there’s too much,” explains Irene, 41.

“I’m originally from Kenya. There, food might be lost because it’s hard to preserve and store, but it is really valued and not wasted.”

Irene, who lives in Leith with daughter Bridget, six, launched I’mPerfect, a social enterprise business aimed at sparking a change in attitudes to wonky veg.

It’s an approach to tackling Scotland’s food waste mountain which Zero Waste Scotland hopes we all might embrace. To help, it has launched a recipe book packed with family friendly dishes and online videos which show how easy it is to use it up, not throw it out.

Among the recipes is Irene’s inventive leftover veg dish – a delicious courgette loaf.

“I’m like everyone else,” she laughs. “I have food waste too; I always make too much rice. I mix it with chopped vegetables and maybe add a can of chick peas.

“I involve Bridget, so we make food I know she’ll enjoy, that way there’s less waste from her plate.”

And her secret weapon? “Photograph what’s in your fridge and cupboard with your phone, so you can check what you have at home while you shop.”

Wasting food adds up: it’s estimated a family of four could save as much as £60 a month by cracking down on food waste.

Neil Forbes, who champions Love Food Hate Waste, Chef Director of Café St Honore in North West Thistle Street Lane, says avoiding food waste starts with the weekly shop.

“We won’t get to the stage of throwing out food if we buy what we need and plan to use it,” he says.

He suggests using random veg for warming soups, jars of spices for curries, and leftover peanut butter for brownies to share with the neighbours.

Even stale bread can be reinvented: “Make breadcrumbs and use them for treacle tart, a crunchy topping for a cassoulet, or freeze them. Fry breadcrumbs with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and the sprinkle it over salad – delicious!

“There’ll always been the odd sad fish finger that ends up in the food waste bin, but there are lots of online recipes that can help use up other stuff,” he adds. “So be adventurous.”

To download the What's In Your Kitchen Recipe booklet and view all related videos, go to www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/whatsinyourkitchen

Courgette and Sweet Potato Loaf

By Irene Mosota, I’mPerfect Foods

Ingredients

Serves: 6 Time: 1 hour

5 eggs lightly beaten

1 onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

450g grated courgette

250g peeled and grated sweet potato

150g ground almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup of nutritional yeast or strong cheese

2 tbsp pesto

1tbsp dried rosemary

A few cherry tomatoes to top

Salt and pepper

Method

1. Line a baking tin (20cm x 30cm, or similar size) with grease-proof paper.

2. Grate the sweet potato, courgette, onion and garlic. If you have a food processor, use the grater blade.

3. Mix the courgette and sweet potato with ground almonds, rosemary, yeast or cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

4. Make a well in the mixture and add the eggs and pesto. Mix well.

5. Stir in the grated onions, garlic and baking powder.

6. Line a baking tin with grease-proof paper. Pour in the mixture, spreading evenly, and top with tomatoes.

7. Bake for 40-50 minutes at 400F/200C. The loaf is cooked when a skewer comes out clean.

TOP TIP: You can use any kind of tomatoes to garnish, even ones a little past their best would work well!

To download the What's In Your Kitchen Recipe booklet and view all related videos, go to www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/whatsinyourkitchen