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Thursday, 5 May 2016

A letter for contributors to #LeftoverPie

Hello lovely food-lovers and eco-warriors,

This blog post is for all the lovely people who will be contributing recipes to my forthcoming book...

Thank you so much for agreeing to contribute a recipe to Leftover Pie: 101 Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste. I hope in this blog post I can give you enough details in just a few short paragraphs so you can decide what recipe to contribute and so you can send it with the minimum time and effort on your part as, being one of the movers and shakers of the food waste revolution, I’m sure you are very busy.

Like my previous book, 101 Ways to Live Cleaner and Greener for Free, Leftover Pie is written for teens and their families. Its aim is to teach young people about the importance of food waste reduction, look at how we have arrived at food waste crisis point and share tips and recipes to help reduce the amount of food that is wasted.

Leftover Pie needs recipes that are not too prescriptive. The idea is to help people use up things they may often have left over, so a bung it all kind of recipe and a bit of flexibility saying you can use this, or this or this, will work well.

I'll be including ideas for using up gluts from the garden, seasonally abundant produce, things that are easy to grow in a garden or a pot on the windowsill, things that we can easily forage for without too much expert knowledge as well as meals we can make by going foraging in our fridge and freezer!

I also want to include recipes for simple stand-by meals entirely from store cupboard ingredients. For some people I have guided them towards specific things I’d like from them, and others I haven’t. You are very welcome to contact me to discuss your ideas before you decide what to send, but we would need to do that soon.  If I have mentioned something in particular, but you'd rather send something else, that's fine. I really want this book to be full of favourites, so that the passion shines through.  Our job is to inspire, just like with any cookery book, and just because we are using something up that might have been wasted, we want it to be delicious, because we know it can be and all food is precious and gorgeous even when it is past its prime.

I realise that by not being prescriptive about what people send in I may get 37 different recipes for banana bread, but I'll cross that bridge in a few weeks.  I have faith that all will be well.

There will also be an opportunity for people to read the text of the book and to chip in if they would like. I want to raise awareness about all the wonderful things going on to help cut down the amount of food we waste and to get people thinking differently about food in general so there will be opportunities to include text about all the wonderful organisations, causes, companies who are part of the sustainable food movement. A lot has changed since I wrote the main text of the book nearly two years ago, so I’ll be rapidly updating and adding. If you want to make sure that something you are passionate about is included, don’t wait for me to come to you, you can come to me and I will do my very best to spread the word accordingly. So, get in touch, ask questions, challenge me (let’s make sure I don’t miss too much important stuff, right?) and, oh yes, encouragement too, will be most gratefully received.

Thank you


How to contribute: Please email me at
I will need your contribution by 30th June 2016. Thank you.

Please include:
· Your Name
· Your Restaurant/Website/Company/Cause or any other information you would like me to show in the book alongside your name
· Name of Recipe
· Why you have chosen this recipe
· Recipe details

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Mum, I need your help

JD has been away for five months teaching skiing in Switzerland.  She has been sharing a chalet with 11 other ski instructors for the season. Last Sunday, a couple of days before she was due to come home, I got a WhatsApp message saying, "Please can I ring you?"

As I message back, "Of course," my heart is racing and my stomach is churning. What is wrong? The three minutes it takes her to ring me back seemed like three hours. Then finally...

"Mum, I need your help!" Her voice is shaky. I am scared...really scared.

"Mum, it's awful, there's so much food left. I can't use it all up. I am trying to pack as much as I can but I can't fit it all in. What can I do?"

My answer (after silencing my massive sigh of relief)...The pub, of course!

JD's favourite pub was Pub Montfort.  It's a popular pub with 'seasonaires' and JD was a regular visitor.  Although there would be lots of seasonaires leaving, I felt sure she would find a few people staying on for the famed mountain biking in the resort.

So JD and one of her fellow instructors packed up the remaining food from the cupboards and fridges into a couple of big bags and set off up the hill to the pub.  She said she was a little tentative, but in fact, when she got there she and her food offerings were very well received.  Everything was welcomed - yes, the pack of pasta with just one portion left,  a 'random mustard and honey sauce', half a bottle of cooking oil, the remains of three boxes of salt, various more interesting and complete items, two part rolls of cling film and she said she could never have imagined the excitement caused by dishwasher tablets.  Apparently no-one ever wants to buy dishwasher tablets so they are a rare luxury in a seasonaire household.

I was very glad that my daughter managed to waste nothing and was interested to hear about the last Verbier feast, which apparently mixed baked beans and lentils - who knew that was a thing?  And, 'not gonna lie' as they say, it was a proud mummy moment when I realised that I have set a good example to my children, and one they are happy to follow.

But... sometimes things back fire, don't they?

Not long after enjoying listening to the tale of the food bags and their trip to the pub as well as JD's interesting innovations in the kitchen, that she has promised to repeat for us sometime, disaster struck.  On unpacking one of her bags, she was puzzled to find some brown powder on her ski jacket (well technically my ski jacket, but we won't go there!). She thought it was some form of make-up spillage, but when I start to poke my nose in, I discover the tub of cocoa, with its lid half off.  It went everywhere.  In fact I can smell cocoa as I write this. We both keep going back to the task of hoovering everything clean and we are still not done. The creatures in my compost heap will probably be on a chocolate high for weeks.

Cocoa filled hoover!

Shame the cocoa missed the trip to the pub!