Lke us, you may be becoming more closely acquainted with the hidden depths of your kitchen cupboards. Re-evaluating those odd jars and tins of things that, despite good intentions, you never quite got round to using – until now.
I’ve always been careful not to waste food, but now I’m discovering I can still do more. I’m using up those odd bits and pieces hidden away in the freezer for the day when they would ‘come in handy’. It seems that right now there are more and more of those days, and fewer and fewer of the little pots in the freezer.
Want to provide a tasty treat to go with the morning coffee? Well, apparently that’s what I can do with the egg whites frozen when we needed just the yolk for something (ice cream; custard for trifle…) and the part-used packets of ground almonds in the cupboard (because someone keeps buying new packs without finishing up the started one). Put the two together with not very much else, bake them, and apparently we have riccarelli (Italian biscuits) – at least I hope so. Mine are drying out overnight, and tomorrow morning I will bake them. Nigella’s looked beautifully neat in the photo in the recipe book; mine not so much. But I’m optimistic they will taste as good.
The kale that’s going to seed is in fact green sprouting, the not-such-well-known not-so-pretty sister of purple sprouting. Just as tender and just as tasty, just not quite such a looker. The cauliflower leaves that make an extra lunch dish. Plus today I discovered that the centre of the chunky stalk I normally throw away makes a tasty salad grated with some carrot – kind of like a coleslaw, but I’ve run out of hard cabbage.
The sourdough starter – discard is no more: these days it becomes pancakes, or sometimes I give it away to neighbours who want to begin their own sourdough journey with a head start.
At the weekend Malcolm cooked roast chicken. A whole chicken provides us with two roast meals for each of us, plus another meal from bits and pieces of meat, plus another meal from the carcass plus the giblets (sometimes a hearty soup; this week he made a delicious risotto). Each time we roast a chicken I add the liver to a container in the freezer. When the container is full, I make chopped liver (as I did this weekend, providing 4 lunches). Any fat is skimmed from the top of the stock and gravy and kept in the fridge – I use this to start off all sorts of dishes, or sometimes we use it to roast potatoes. The only thing left by the end of this is clean bones, which go into the food recycling box collected by the council. Nothing we can use is wasted – that chicken will have provided us with 4 meals each for the two of us, plus contributed to a lunch dish. (Several meals worth are now in the freezer).
I could go on, but you get the picture. I guess the thing is to extract every last bit of possible food value from whatever we have. And right now, with our food chain and system creaking at the seams, it feels even more important than ever to do that.
It’s interesting to see just how many parallels there are between what we need to do in this current crisis, and what we need to do in those other crises we’re not focussing on so much now but which remain ever present and ever pressing – the climate crisis and the ecological crisis. I’m heartened to see how the measures I’ve been taking to help address those crises are equally valuable for the coronavirus crisis. My fervent hope is that many more will adopt different and less wasteful habits that will stick.
Garden/allotment – just watering the seeds and seedlings today; too many other things to do.
Exercise/staying fit – I went for a lovely walk this morning. I noticed when I went to bed last night that my right ankle was quite swollen, almost certainly caused by walking less. So I really need to prioritise going for a walk every day. Sometimes that will mean it’s hard to fit everything else in, and that’s fine. (Photos below show some of what I saw as I walked)
Craft/making – over the years I’ve kept an increasing pile of old shirts that are too worn out for the charity shop but still have a lot of good cloth in them. Today I felt inspired to at last get round to cutting them up and repurposing them. I’ve cut them apart to separate what I can use from what I can’t use. The ‘can’t use’ pile went into the compost heap (these shirts are made from 100% cotton). The ‘can use’ pile is now neatly ironed and folded, and tomorrow will be cut into squares ready to be sown into patchwork. More of this as it progresses.
House/home repairs, improvements – nope.
Admin – yes! a few more tasks ticked off the list.
Kind deeds/something for others
- Sometimes what goes around comes around, and that’s the good stuff not just the virus. A few weeks ago a neighbour brought me a huge sack of shredded paper, for which I was very grateful – I use it for the hens’ nesting box. Today I took her some eggs to say thank you. We got chatting and I mentioned the patchwork I’ve just begun. A couple of hours later she popped back with some of her late husband’s shirts for me to add to my pile. [Cautionary notes: we are all careful to keep at a sensible distance from each other; we are fortunate to have a porch at the entrance to our home. These days we leave any packages coming into the house untouched in the porch for up to a week, just in case they carry any virus. Unless it’s something perishable of course, in which case we have to take care to clean it].
- Today is Thursday, and right now, in the UK, 20:00 on Thursday means going outside and joining all our neighbours to clap our heartfelt thanks to all those working hard to keep the rest of us safe – the NHS staff, the emergency services, the care workers, the cleaners, the delivery people, the people working in the food chain – many of them low paid and low status until now, when at last they are recognised for their true value to society. Maybe one day soon that recognition will also be reflected in their pay and status – I do hope so.
Stay sane! – today was a surprisingly good day. No yoga (again), but fortunately it wasn’t too much needed.