Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The never-ending journey

OK so Waste Free Week is for many of us a distant memory as our thoughts inevitably turn to Christmas. With only about two weeks to go, most of Norfolk can invariably be found pounding the streets of Norwich and our local market towns looking for the perfect gift for a loved one. But Christmas is a very wasteful time, and that means us recycling officers will be working extra hard to help people cut down their Christmas waste! It is estimated that around 3 million tonnes of waste will be created over the festive period, and piles of black bin bags on the roadside are not an uncommon site come January.
Without trying to spoil everyone's fun, we at Breckland are encouraging our residents to give some thought to the issue of food waste this Christmas. We will be running five Christmas roadshows during the week of the 15th-19th of December where residents can start reducing their food waste immediately by picking up some waste-free recipes and a complementary spaghetti measurer. Check out for details - raodshows are also happening elsewhere throughout Norfolk.

I'll let you know how I get on with my spaghetti measurer in due course. As for my own experiences of waste reduction since the zero-waste challenge, I must say that the improvements have been slow, but steady. We now have a big box outside the back door into which goes everything that cannot go in our recycling bin but which can be accepted by one of Norfolk's many recycling centres. Our recycling rate for things like batteries has, I imagine, increased by over 100%. Honestly. Cooking habits have also improved - I'm getting much more savvy with portion sizes and the freezing of leftovers for later use. I've also renewed my appreciation for bubble and squeak, a recipe for which (the first I've ever written) is below. I have also been intrigued by Alex's pre-grated cheese confession, although I have a question - can frozen grated cheese be used directly from the freezer for things like cheese on toast? If so, this seems like a very natty way of cutting down cheese wastage (a huge bug-bear of mine). So anyway, it's time to go Delia on y'all...

Bubble and Squeak

You will need:
  • One load of leftover mashed potato
  • One load of leftover cooked veg such as cabbage, spouts, carrots etc.
  • Cooking oil


  • Heat up a large frying pan with a dash of cooking oil
  • Meanwhile, mix together the mash and the veg to form a mash-and-veg mixture
  • Put the mixture into the frying pan and spread out to cover the base. Leave to cook (agitating regularly) until each side is lovely and brown (about 3-4 minutes per side).
  • Serve immmediately

This recipe can be served as part of a fry-up, or forms a perfect accompaniment to all manner of rustic stews.

Sorry about the rough measurements. And the lack of accompanying wine reccomendations. However, if this recipe has tickled your fancy then there are many books out there with great ideas for cutting down food waste. My personal favourite is 'Eat Well, Waste Less' which I received after waste free week. If you missed out on a copy then come along to one of our roadshows where you can enter a draw to win one of a HUNDRED copies!

And so the journey to zero waste continues...