Not Camping ~ Days Four and Five



Too Much

Catering for two when one is used to catering for five takes some getting used to. When I was little my grandmother was forever telling me that my eyes were bigger than my tummy and she was right- I have bought too much food (again).

 I have been over-optimistic about how much salad and vegetables I will eat especially when there are tempting treats around. Salad in particular is difficult to buy for one. Even in the farmshop little gems come in twos. Why? Surely there are lots of single people who want just one small lettuce. Tom is not a lettuce eater, not unless it is in a BLT. So we have had BLTs which fortuitously used up the bacon that was about to go out of date.

Lots of things are going out of date, and even going off completely. My homemade bread doesn't have a date on it and neither is if full of mould inhibitors which was why the huge loaf I defrosted last Friday had gone mouldy by Tuesday with half of if still to eat. Reluctantly I had to throw it away. I baked two very small loaves and put one in the freezer. The other one still hasn't been finished, if I am not careful that will mould too.

The two extra pints of milk I bought on Monday because it looked like we were going to run out remain unopened and this morning I see the use by date is today. Not that I take much notice of use by dates, even so there is more then Tom and I can drink so I will be making yogurt later today and maybe a small bread and butter pudding to use up the bread.

A dish of sliced tomatoes I prepared to eat with one of our meals was untouched. A red pepper and a courgette were wrinkling. There was half a red onion in a plastic tub in the fridge. I stewed the lot slowly in olive oil, ratatouille-ish. I put it in the freezer. Next week I will spread it on puff pastry and top with the goat's cheese I bought for this week but have not touched. Or perhaps I will use it as a pizza topping. Saved from the bin thank goodness. There are bendy carrots and drying leeks in my fridge. I will save those from the bin today by making stock.

 Throwing food away because we have so much we cannot eat it all is downright immoral, so I have donated to the Trussell Trust and vowed to make next year's Not Camping better planned and less greedy.


At least I am not having to throw away meat. It's easy to buy just enough meat for two. Two chicken breasts cooked with cream, wine and mushrooms. I have a variation on this every Not Camping and quite often make it for the whole family. I need to use up the remaining mushrooms today as they are getting a bit shrivelled. Why did I buy so many when it's only me who likes them?

This lamb dish looks burnt, it isn't. It's been cooked with honey which always blackens. Lamb steaks are coated with olive oil, honey and chopped rosemary, plus a couple of squashed garlic cloves and salt and pepper and baked in the oven at 160°c (140°c fan oven) for two hours. I put a dish of new potatoes in the oven halfway through the cooking time.


And today we find ourselves at the end of July and heading into late summer. Yesterday I noticed elderberries and blackberries ripening and damsons already falling from the trees. The year turns again.



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Comments

  1. Anonymous10:24 am BST

    I am with you on wasting food being immoral. We are a household of 2 and it IS sometimes really hard not to get greedy and buy too many different things, especially during holidays or whenever you allow yourself an extra treat. And mouldy homebaked bread? Yep, sadly I know that one too.
    Your blog is actually one of my best ressources when I need a (new) idea for using something up. Being from Denmark a lot of your classic British leftover dishes are new to me so you are a great source of inspiration.

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  2. Our fluctuating numbers have ben very hard to cater for recently. Often at short notice either + or _ food needed. My biggest waste is coriander. There were carrots wizening until I made stock in a guilty late night fashion. Let's hope I use the stock.

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  3. I know how you feel about food waste, it's a rotten feeling binning food.
    An addition of three new hens have just arrived so surplus salady bits will be thrown their way.
    My apricot jam has ended up floppy, even after boiling it all over again. Maybe I'll label is Apricot Compote....
    Loving these diary posts and that very colourful mosaic.

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  4. It does annoy me when food comes packaged in larger than required quantities. As a permanent family of two we're often left with no option but to throw surplus away, even after I've frozen what I can. That and the unreliability of growing your own. I've just had to throw away about a dozen cucumbers. They've had a really good year. If I had grown just the one plant you can bet it would have been a flop.

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    1. You should have tried bread and butter pickles! Recipe here.

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  5. Oh my, may I join you for dinner?
    And I agree throwing all that food away is immoral. We should all watch portion size - and that includes restaurants and the like.

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  6. Over-buying is my besetting sin, but as I love cooking with leftovers or things that need to be used up, it's not usually a problem; I do sometimes find unwaxed lemons have gone green overnight! But today, a semi-liquid lettuce forgotten at the bottom of the fridge just had to go.... Thankfully, we have weekly food waste collection here, so peelings and teabags ands on don't hang around for long.

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  7. I hate throwing away food. I used to do it fairly often but I've mended my ways in the past few years. It's wasteful and wrong. I'd rather scrounge around the pantry for a can of beans instead of buying too much fresh food. You should know that I thought of you while I scrubbed my shower this morning. It was very good for me to learn I'm not the only one who does it that way...

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  8. Cooking just for two is a constant juggle-either you have too much and end up with endless samey meals, or you're forced into buying just for each meal which can be expensive and doesn't leave any base for further meals in the week. Just come back from holiday to empty fridge. Supper will have to be store cupboard and freezer gleanings. Three peaches came away with us and have returned a bit wrinkled but a burst in honey in the oven should fix that.
    Lamb looks fab.

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  9. Your food all looks beautiful! How nice that you take the time to feed yourself so wonderfully! I cook for two since my children are gone. When I bake bread, I keep a part loaf out and I slice all the rest and wrap it in Saran by a couple of slices. This gets packed into freezer bags. Then we can grab what we need. I do the same thing with a batch of muffins. I always have a bag or two on the go so my husband can grab one while packing his lunch.

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    1. Now that is a good idea Holly. I shall have to remember that when I am cooking for two permanently.

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    2. HollyM, we do the same thing with homemade bread etc. Bread is eaten once fresh from the oven, then all else is sliced, bagged, and frozen. Pancakes, and muffins the same, two in each pack. Some leftover veggies wrapped in pancakes makes a lunch or light dinner for one. Rice and pasta can be bagged in one cup servings. Cooking just enough rice for one or two is a useless task.

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  10. Hi! :) Your blog is so wonderful: I loved the colours.. and the recipes of course! I'll keep following you!

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  11. Well done on using most of everything, I always try to use up what I can too. Like Holly, I slice the freshly made bread and what isn't eaten immediately is frozen. If there are odd bits in the bread bin I turn them into breadcrumbs and freeze them or make bread pudding (Delia's recipe for spiced bread pudding, but without the brandy). No doubt your ravenous hoards will be home soon to help out with the eating.

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    1. I am pretty practised at using up stale bread (I have bags of crumbs and crusts in the freezer) but it is very rare that it actually goes mouldy as it did this week.

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  12. Did you know you can freeze milk? I do this if we are going away and have some left. It does take a while to defrost though so have to purchase some more for when we get back.
    Julie

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    1. Yes indeed I did. I already have some in the freezer. This milk was on the turn though and I ended up making it into chocolate ice lollies with it which I suppose is the same thing as freezing it!

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  13. Thank you, Sue, for this wise post, and thanks to the prior commenters, too. It's grand to find more ways to make the most out of what's to be found in the kitchen. There's always something more to be learned.

    Since I am almost always cooking for one, I am very mindful of only buying quantities that I know I can use immediately or manage to store in cooked/frozen form for future use. Once you get into the habit of this sort of thinking, it only takes a little extra effort when making a list before going to a grocery store or farmers market.

    My summer shopping list is very different from the winter version, which is good...keeps me from boring myself with daily meals. Again, I thank you for helping with so many great ideas!

    xo

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  14. I hate throwing food away too. Seriously - I avoid it at all costs. But being a food-lover who struggles to ignore goodies at the market (which I somehow justify buying because they're local and seasonal etc.) we often end up with a few sad-looking specimens by the end of the week.
    The heat hasn't helped either. I dislike refrigerating fruit (particularly things like peaches and nectarines) and they then end up mouldy.
    And, as you say, food without chemicals to extend its shelf-life tastes better but doesn't last very long. I find a bit of self-control when buying fresh food often goes out of the window because I am, essentially, greedy.
    Sarah.
    PS I also get annoyed at the over-packaging of (particularly supermarket) food, which is why I like to go to the butcher and market as much as possible. And why is it now virtually impossible to buy fish and chips wrapped in paper instead of sweating away in Styrofoam boxes?
    Sorry.

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  15. That lamb dish looks amazing. I also hate throwing away food but find it difficult to judge amounts to buy, especially when the number being bought for changes for a while.

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