Hints and tips
Make your own vegetable stock
To make tasty stock, keep a clear poly bag with a quick-clip in the kitchen freezer. Put all the stems when preparing fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, rosemary etc and the tough green parts of leeks, base plate of onions and any clean off-cuts of vegetables into this bag as you go along. Boil up this glorious mix to make tasty vegetable stock, without salt if you wish! Much better than any cube.
Create your own mixed herbs
Instead of throwing out the last of the contents from jars of dried herbs, tip what’s left into a separate one and add more of your ‘leftover herbs’ each time you have some. You will end up with an interesting jar of mixed herbs. Careful what you throw together if you have spices though - do a separate jar for those!
Great tip for using up ripe pears
How often have you bought a bag of rock hard pears from the supermarket, which seem to take forever to ripen, then all of a sudden you find that the whole bag needs eating immediately before they go off?
When they get to this stage, a great way to use them is to peel them carefully, trim the stalks and place them into a slow cooker and cover with red wine and a little caster sugar. Using mulled wine adds a wonderful flavour & will not need any sugar (luckily I had some left over from Christmas).
Cook on the high setting for about an hour and a half.
The results are a delicious dessert fit for a dinner party, that goes well with yoghurt, cream or ice cream, but are pretty tasty on their own! This dessert can also be made in a large saucepan, although you will have to keep an eye on it whilst it simmers it will probably take about half the time to cook.
Uses for overripe tomatoes
If you find that you've got a lot of tomatoes that have become too squashy for salads or sandwiches, blitz them in a blender and use in place of tinned tomatoes in pasta dishes or chillies.
Easy homemade salsas and dips
You can easily make salsas and dips out of almost anything. Take those scraps left in the fridge you don't want to chuck away, but aren't sure what to with, and cut them up into small dice, add a dash of lemon juice and seasoning and some chilli sauce if you aren't using fresh chilli. Cucumber, onion, tomato, fresh chilli, a few fresh herbs if you have them (corriander works very well), red and green peppers - whatever you have to hand! Use as a dip, or in another recipe. A hummus style dip can be easily made by blitzing together any cooked pulses you have left over in the fridge, don't let them go slimy so they have to be thrown away, blitz them in the food processor with a little garlic and lemon juice add salt and pepper to taste. Lovely with toasted pitta or tortilla chips.
Reducing fruit juice waste
We've found that writing on the juice carton the day it has to be used by (i.e. consume within 3 days of opening) has completely avoided juice waste in our house. More specifically writing a 'drink by' date at the time of opening the carton (or opened on...)
Home cooked saves money at Christmas
It's nearly always cheaper to cook a dish at home than to buy ready made. When meal planning over the Christmas period, think about including recipes for using up all the leftovers. Remember to store food in the best way to keep it fresher for longer.
Refresh limp soggy biscits
Refresh soggy limp biscuits in the oven - making them crisp and tasty again. Use the oven when it's just been switched off after cooking so that you can use the remaining heat.
Refresh limp biscuits
Limp soggy biscuits? Why not refresh and crisp them up in the oven (the best way is to use the oven when it's just been switched off after cooking and is cooling down so that you can make the most of the remaining heat)