Tuesday Tips ~ 12 March (on Wednesday!)

Yes, I know…I’m late…again!

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

And here is today’s yesterday’s tips………….

🙂  To rescue overcooked meats, slice thinly and cover slices with a salsa made from olive oil, lime juice, chopped tomatoes, onions and chilli.  The acid and oil replace the moisture in the meat.

TT:  Sounds good to me even if you don’t overcook the meat!

🙂  Don’t add soy sauce to the wok until right at the end of the cooking time.  if added earlier it will cause the food to stick to the pan and may give a bitter taste.

TT:  I’ll have to try this next time I make a stir-fry.

🙂  Clingfilm/plastic wrap can sometimes be very difficult to handle.  Try keeping it in the fridge ~ it also helps with finding the end.

TT:  Sorry, but I’m not keeping it in the fridge….too inconvenient.  My rolls of foil and clingfilm, plastic bags, etc. are in a drawer right at my work area.

entertaining guests🙂  Whether planning a dinner party or a meal for someone special, never try a new recipe and/or a new ingredient at the same time.

TT:  Instead, test it out on your family first!

🙂  If a recipe calls for self-raising flour and all you have is plain flour, use 1 level teaspoon of baking powder to every 110g/scant 4oz of flour.

TT:  Tried and tested and yes, it works.

🙂  Coffee grounds, filter paper, teabags, egg cartons and scrunched-up paper wrappers can all be added to the garden compost.

TT:  Raw egg shells can also be added.  Just crush them up first and with the egg cartons, tear it up into pieces.

tomato🙂  Put fresh tomatoes into boiling water for one minute to loosen skins before peeling and adding to sauces.

TT:  I usually score an ‘X’ on the bottom first as it helps to start the peel coming off.

browngrocerybag🙂  Drain foods cooked in oil on an empty brown grocery bag rather than paper towels, as this will retain the crispness.

TT:  Well this is fine IF YOU LIVE IN THE U.S. WHERE THEY ACTUALLY HAVE THESE!!  This country does not have brown grocery bags…everything is PLASTIC!  I wish we had brown grocery bags as at least they could be recycled.  I have a real problem with this tip considering it’s from a UK calendar!  (as a side note:  We bring our own reusable canvas bags when we go shopping so that we do not add to the already-full-of-plastic landfills areas)

OK kids, there you go.  I will try not to be late next week with my tips, but you know, sometimes life just….happens!

♥  Terri  ♥

Advertisements

Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Jan 8

Hello!

I’ve got a new calendar with lots of kitchen tips so thought I would share these with you on a weekly basis.

Here’s the first round along with my two cents….

BOGOF♠ It is estimated that food worth £420 ($638) per person is thrown away every year.  Turn over a new leaf at the start of the year ~ avoid BOGOF (by one, get one free) offers in supermarkets which encourage waste and plan the weekly menu before shopping.

Terri’s thoughts on this one:  I see nothing wrong with these as long as it’s a product that you actually use.  We tend to get these more on store cupboard items, such as coffee or pasta; something that isn’t going to go bad in a short amount of time.  Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale.  Yeah, that BOGOF offer on the 20lb. bag of flour is great, but unless you run a bakery or do a sh!tload of baking, do you really need 40lbs. of flour??

♠ Use the unpopular chocolates from a selection box by melting them all together and making a fudgy chocolate sauce to pour over ice cream for an instant dessert.

Terri’s thoughts:  Unpopular chocolate??  This was definitely written by a member of the male species or Martha Stewart.  That’s like saying ‘leftover wine’. The only chocolate I don’t eat is if it’s wrapped around marzipan or a sickly sweet cherry.  And of course, that’s what most of us want to do, especially if you’ve decided to start a healthy eating regime!

♠ If a recipe calls for thinly sliced meat, freeze it for a couple of hours as it will then slice more easily.

Terri’s thoughts:  This actually does work!

♠ Put a damp tea towel under the chopping board to prevent it slipping or under a bowl while mixing.

Terri’s thoughts:  I actually have a piece of that rubbery shelf liner under my cutting board and I have a stand mixer so no need for it under the bowl.  Even if I’m using my hand-held mixer, I usually have my other hand on the bowl, turning it.

♠ When preparing a packed lunch in the morning, use frozen bread.  It will defrost and taste fresh by lunch time.

Terri’s thoughts:  A good idea if you take a lunch to work.  Taking a lunch is always a better idea than buying your lunch.  Think of the money you save!

Cheap-white-bread♠ To freshen a slightly stale loaf of bread, steam in a pan with a lid on until warmed through.

Terri’s thoughts:  Not a bad idea if you want to use it for a sandwich, but slightly stale bread will taste just as good as fresh when toasted.  It almost doesn’t seem worth the trouble.

Next week, how to sooth a sore throat, an idea for tissue paper and making a tastier cup of tea!

Terri  ♥

Bargain of the Day

Hello Campers and welcome to Wednesday!

What a beautiful morning it has been down here in the Garden of England!  It was rather cool

Autumn in Kent

and crisp when we got up at 5:00am.  The sun finally showed its bright face later on in the morning and it has been pleasantly warm, yet cool.  Autumn has definitely arrived; in fact I was almost tempted to put the heat on this morning!  Instead, I’ve now got a long sleeved top on and a cardigan and I’m quite comfy.

The kitties too, are all enjoying the warmth of the sun as they are all in their favorite sunny spots, snoozing.

***********************

On Monday, Chef P stopped at the store on his way home and checked out the Reduced to Clear section, as he always does.  He called to ask me if I wanted any plums, but I still have a few left to turn into something yummy, so told him not to bother.

When he got home a little while later, he came in with a big grin on his face and said ‘Wait until you see what I found in RTC!’

This has got to be one of the best bargains he’s ever found, even better than herbs for 5p.  Out of the bag, he pulls a whole salmon.  Now as some of you may know, we often find whole salmon at reduced prices so this was nothing new…until I saw how much he paid for it.

The normal price was £8.00/kg and had been reduced/rolled back to half price; £4.00/kg.  The salmon weight was 1.896 kg, so you figure almost £8.00.  Ah, but remember, this was at an even lower and reduced price. Take a look….

Awesome!

Do you believe this??  £1.50 for a WHOLE SALMON!  Woo hoo!  At the normal price, it would have been £15.16.

So yesterday I scaled it and cut off its darling head and fins and filleted it, removed all the pin bones and cut it up into 10 serving pieces and frozen.  All the bits I cut off get thrown into a pot and boiled, then I pick out all the meat and freeze it to use for fish cakes later.  The remaining bits get thrown out back and then all the seagulls come down to have a feast.  Not one bit of this fish (except the bones) gets wasted and we can get a few meals out of it.

So let’s see what dinner cost last night (plus leftovers for Chef P’s lunch)…..

3 pieces salmon = 45p,  1/2 of an RTC cabbage = 18p,  egg noodles, home made (200g flour, 2 eggs) = 23p,  incidental condiments (olive oil, salt & pepper, butter) = 25p

So for a grand total of £1.11 or .37p a serving, we ate salmon and home made egg noodles.  OK, so it wasn’t very fancy, but we had a decent meal!

I don’t want to hear anyone say they can’t eat well on a budget.  You can if you know where the bargains are.

When was the last time you found a great bargain?

  Terri  

Waste Food? Don’t Do It!

What kind of person throws away perfectly good canned items?  Well, a certain family member has done that but I managed to retrieve the items and save them from an already overflowing land fill.

Here’s the scoop:

Chef P’s aunt (M) passed away a year ago and her children are now in the process of cleaning out her house as it has now been sold.

We were asked if we would be interested in any of the furniture in the house so we now have a new bookcase at the top of the landing.  When we were there a couple of weeks ago to pick up the bookcase, we noticed all the canned goods sitting on the kitchen counter along with a couple of jars of mustard and two full spice jars (cinnamon and mixed spice).  As I’m always on the lookout for jars, I wondered what they were going to do with them.

Just this past Saturday, Chef P’s cousin (S) was back at her mother’s house packing up more personal items.  We were at my mother-in-law’s and she said that she was going to take M’s microwave as it was bigger and newer.  We went over to M’s and got the microwave and while we were there, I asked S about the canned goods and the jars.  Her response?  ‘Oh, we just put them out in the bin’.  I asked if they were in bags and they were so we grabbed all three bags, left and headed back to mum’s with her new microwave.

We sorted out the canned goods when we got there.  We kept some and gave some to mum.  There were 3 or 4 small cans each of baked beans and chopped tomatoes plus one large can.  There were also two cans of peaches, one can of fried onions, one of steak and kidney pie and one can with no label which we dubbed ‘chef’s surprise’ and I later found out it was a can of apricots.

The jar items included two jars of mustard (one wholegrain, one English), a jar of blackcurrant jam, one of orange marmalade (which I ended up throwing away as it looked a little fuzzy and green around the edges!) and full jars of cinnamon and mixed spice.  There was also a tin with a non-opened bag of loose tea which I’ve already sampled (a lovely jasmine tasting tea with camomile) and another full tin from Harrods with Assam tea bags.

It’s bad enough that UK households waste 25% of all the food they buy.  I absolutely hate when I have to throw something out, although it’s not really that much; usually the last 2 inches of a cucumber or some spring onions that got stuck at the back of the veggie draw.  However, rotten veggies don’t really get thrown out in the trash…they get put on the compost heap so at least they are going to a good cause!  We don’t really throw away much of anything else.  Leftovers are used for Chef P’s lunch or mine.  If bread starts going stale, I cut it up into cubes and throw it in the freezer to use for stuffing.  If it has a few moldy spots, I just cut them off.  I even save apple peeling and cores in the freezer to use to make my own pectin.

You want to read some more interesting and saddening facts about food waste?  Read on…

The UK, US and Europe have nearly twice as much food as is required by the nutritional needs of their populations. Up to half the entire food supply is wasted between the farm and the fork. If crops wastefully fed to livestock are included, European countries have more than three times more food than they need, while the US has around four times more food than is needed, and up to three-quarters of the nutritional value is lost before it reaches people’s mouths.

There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world, but the approximately 40 million tonnes of food wasted by US households, retailers and food services each year would be enough to satisfy the hunger of every one of them.

All the world’s nearly one billion hungry people could be lifted out of malnourishment on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK and Europe.

A third of the world’s entire food supply could be saved by reducing waste – or enough to feed 3 billion people; and this would still leave enough surplus for countries to provide their populations with 130 per cent of their nutritional requirements.

Between 2 and 500 times more carbon dioxide can be saved by feeding food waste to pigs rather than sending it for anaerobic digestion (the UK government’s preferred option). But under European laws feeding food waste to pigs is banned. In Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, by contrast, it is mandatory to feed some food waste to pigs.

2.3 million tonnes of fish discarded in the North Atlantic and the North Sea each year; 40 to 60% of all fish caught in Europe are discarded – either because they are the wrong size, species, or because of the ill-governed European quota system. (this one really gets my goat!)

An estimated 20 to 40% of UK fruit and vegetables are rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets’ excessively strict cosmetic standards. (as does this one!)

24 to 35% of school lunches end up in the bin.

The bread and other cereal products thrown away in UK households alone would have been enough to lift 30 million of the world’s hungry people out of malnourishment.

4 million people in the UK, 43 million in the EU and around 35 million in the US suffer from food poverty.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

What have you thrown out this week?

What do you do to save waste?

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

What a Waste!

In the magazine section of this past Sunday’s paper, there was an article, or rather a picture data graphic, showing the top 50 foods that are thrown away each year, in tons, in the UK.  Some of the items I wasn’t surprised at, but then yet, there were some that I was curious about.

We are not keen on wasting food in this house and will use every last bit possible, but we have had times where things were tossed out because they’ve gone off.  Yes, I’ve had to throw away the odd tomato or a piece of cucumber or a half carton of cottage cheese. Those things I  can see having to throw out because they’ve definitely reached their ‘use by’ date, mostly because I’ve forgotten they were in the fridge and well, I didn’t see them.  Nothing like reaching around in the crisper draw only to pull out a half a cucumber that looks and feels like something you would find in a sewer…yuck!

Many of the items listed, the ones I wasn’t surprised about were things like yogurt (80,000 tons), citrus fruits (19,000), soft fruit like berries (41,000), cucumbers (31,000), milk (360,000), bread (540,000) and tomatoes (61,000), etc.  All quite understandable, albeit astounding numbers.

Then there were things like cheese (38,000).  Depending on the cheese, if you see a little mold, cut it off; the rest of the cheese is fine and there’s no need to toss out the whole block.  Other items, things like ready meals (490,000), sausages (29,000), fish/shellfish (32,000), bacon (14,000), and processed potato (74,000), can all be frozen so I can’t understand why these items are wasted.  The processed potato had a picture of a bag of frozen roastie chips/fries, so this one is really confusing as they’re already frozen!

Then there were the items that really boggle the mind.  The first one is pasta (42,000)…it didn’t specify cooked or dried, so I can only assume they mean cooked.  I can’t imagine why anyone would throw away dried pasta.  The next item was…bottled water (69,000)…huh???  It’s water, what’s the problem?  Perhaps they mean that someone drinks half the bottle and throws the rest away?  This action is a double whammy because the bottle could have been put into the recycle bin.  Next is rice (64,000)…See pasta.

Another item is oil and fat (20,0000)…with the obesity problem in this country, I find this hard to believe.  Then there’s carbonated soft drinks (280,000)…will assume this goes along the same lines as bottled water and again, the can could go into recycling.  Here’s another good one…tea (86,000).  Again, do they mean what isn’t drank at the bottom of the cup; perhaps the tea goes cold and it has to be dumped down the drain?  The UK are tea drinking fools and I can’t imagine anyone throwing away unused tea bags.

The next item is squash (53,000).  For those of you not in the know, I don’t mean squash as in the vegetable.  Squash here also refers to a concentrated fruit juice which is mixed with water.  This again, I will assume goes along the same lines as tea.

There’s several other foods listed, but I think my favorite item listed is chocolate (24,000).  What is wrong with you people?!!  How could you waste something as precious and wonderful as chocolate???  For those of you who waste chocolate, you should be put in the stockade!  (I was going to suggest another form of punishment, but I didn’t want to be put in the same category as Jeremy Clarkson with his remark a few months ago)  😉

The problem is not necessarily that the food is off or has gone bad, but it’s got to do with the so called confusing  ‘use by’ or ‘best by’ dates on food labels.

Most people can use common sense to determine whether food is off or not, but there are some who can’t.  Look at it, smell it, even taste it.  If it doesn’t look bad, smell bad or taste bad, then it probably isn’t bad.  However, when in doubt, throw it out.

LOVE FOOD, HATE WASTE!

♥♥ Terri ♥♥

Happiness is a Clean Fridge

Looking through the fridge this morning trying to find I-don’t-know-what, I said to myself; well, out loud actually, ‘I really need to clean this fridge.’

Even if you tend to keep a clean kitchen, not being vigilant about cleaning the shelves, doors and drawers in your refrigerator could make it a source of potentially sickening substances.

Studies have shown that many consumers don’t even think about how to organize a fridge when putting away groceries, rarely even clean them and sometimes continue to use food that’s well past its prime.  All of that could mean that you and your family are unwittingly ingesting bacteria.

It may be more pleasant not to think about it, but juices and sticky substances lingering in your fridge could be getting into your fresh food.  About a third of consumers don’t clean their fridge before filling it with more groceries, according to a survey of 2,571 by home appliance maker Whirlpool. That could make your fresh foods go bad more quicky, so if you see or feel something moldy, gooey or sticky, wipe it up!

I know it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.  Cleaning the fridge is a good thing but can also be a bad thing especially when you come across something you can’t identify or when an opened container of cottage cheese has turned a lovely shade of emerald green and has grown fur!

How your fridge is organized can be key to food safety since temperatures can vary in different areas. Yet 27% of consumers surveyed reported randomly putting groceries wherever they’d fit in the fridge, the Whirlpool report found.

Refrigerator-maker Sub-Zero observed customers habits when putting away chilled items and also saw some potentially nasty habits, the Journal adds.

As one might assume, the crisper drawers in your fridge are meant for fruits and vegetables. Temperature and humidity are actually regulated in these drawers to keep produce fresher longer, yet Sub-Zero observations found that some people tend to put meat and soda cans in the crisper drawers.

Refrigerator doors aren’t a good place to put your milk, even though it fits there perfectly. The door is the warmest place in your fridge according to food safety officials and if left in the door, your milk may spoil faster and could attract bacteria which can grow quickly if it’s not colder than 40F/5C, the Journal reports. Eggs shouldn’t be stored in the door either.

The temperature of your fridge should always be below 40 degrees. Bacteria can grow rapidly on food stored between 40F and 140F (5C-63C), a so-called danger zone, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. The agency suggests buying a thermometer, and keeping it in the warmest area of your fridge.

Obviously a fridge belonging to a student or batchelor

Even if you’re not a food hoarder, having too much food in the fridge can lead to food safety concerns. If a fridge is too packed, there may not be enough cold air circulating to keep your food at a safe temperature.

Refrigerators should be checked for spoiled food at least once a week, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Shelves and drawers can be cleaned one at a time and the dirtiest part of the fridge, below the bottom drawers, should be thoroughly cleaned as well, the Journal says.

You may want to schedule your next fridge cleaning for the day before you go grocery shopping so that you don’t have to take out and leave out chilled items for too long.

Take out everything in your fridge and throw out anything moldy or old, especially if an expiration date has long since passed, suggests Health.com. Next, scrub down all the removable parts like shelves and drawers as well as all of the inside and outside surfaces, especially door handles.

The plastic parts inside your refrigerator may be damaged with hot water, bleach or other household cleaners, so check the manual that came with your fridge. If you don’t have it anymore, you may be able to find one online on the manufacturer’s Web site.

If you can’t get the manual, Health.com also suggests using warm water and mild soap to wipe down shelves and drawers, then rinse them with warm water and dry them with a cloth.

To absorb any funky smells, open a box of baking soda and put it in the middle of your fridge. (And DON’T use this for cooking.  When changing over to a new box, pour the used one down the kitchen drain to keep it smelling fresh)

Some scientists say that activated charcoal is more effective than baking soda, however, so if you tend to keep especially stinky foods, like cheeses, in your fridge, the charcoal might be a better option for you.

Not surprisingly, fresh lunch meats and cheeses should go in the deli meat drawer (if you have one) and raw meat should generally be kept on the bottom shelf since juices can drip from their packaging and could end up on fruits and vegetables, or other products that you may not heat up, the Journal says.  Place meats and fish on a plate or in a bowl to help prevent drips even on the bottom shelf…it’s less to clean up.

Remember, E. coli could be present in meat even if you don’t get sick from it since it’s killed when meat is properly cooked. Drip trays, drawers, shelves and the bottom of your fridge should be cleaned regularly.

Vegetables should be kept in the crisper.  You may forget that you have veggies in the fridge if you keep them in a crisper drawer, especially if it’s not transparent, but if you clean out your fridge on a regular basis, you’ll be less likely to forget about what you have in there.

Americans clean out their refrigerators so rarely that there’s a designated National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day.  Several Web sites have taken the day as an opportunity to post pictures of some of the worst-kept fridges, but we hope that these help convince consumers to start cleaning them out regularly, and by that we don’t mean once a year.

“Molds have branches and roots that are like very thin threads. The roots may be difficult to see when the mold is growing on food and may be very deep in the food,” says the USDA.

And fresh foods don’t need to be touching moldy foods for the mold to be spread to them.  When spores are dry, they become airborne in order to reach the nearest and best conditions, according to the USDA.

Condiments generally aren’t meant to last in the fridge for years.  In fact, “most will stay fresh for two months on the door of the refrigerator,” according to MedicineNet.com.

The refrigerator door is an appropriate place to store condiments, since the acids they tend to contain help them resist contamination by bacteria, but for the best quality, the site suggests using them within a few months.

Office refrigerators can be the most offensive and the most hazardous to your health, especially if no one is designated to clean it every now and then.

Last year, one San Jose, Calif. office fridge containing rotting food was so noxious that it sent seven office workers to the hospital with nausea and vomiting, according to reports from local television station KTVU.  It was so bad that a HAZMAT team was called to evacuate 325 people from the office building.

The HAZMAT fridge incident appears to have been caused by the stuffed refrigerator being unplugged for too long, causing the food to decompose.

If the power in your home goes out, or your fridge is accidentally unplugged, your food can be kept safely for about four hours if it’s not opened, according to the USDA.  If it’s opened, cool air will escape and raise the temperature inside the fridge. Food in a full freezer can last about 48 hours if unopened, the USDA says.

So remember to clean your fridge regularly,

as a clean fridge is a happy fridge!

My happy fridge!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

♥♥ Terri ♥♥

Wasting Away Again in Fooditaville

WHAT DID YOU THROW AWAY THIS WEEK?

A few slices of moldy bread?

Some apples with a few brown spots?

A container of yogurt or sour cream that’s past its ‘sell by’ date?

Some veg at the back of the fridge that you forgot you had and looks like a science experiment?

Leftovers that nobody ate?

Food waste.

We’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another.  In this day and age and economy, we can’t afford to waste food.  Continue reading