Way back in June 2016, I received a message from Anna Pitt, author of ‘101 Ways to Live Cleaner and Greener For Free’. Anna asked if I’d like to contribute towards a recipe book she was compiling to combat food waste. I was honoured and delighted to be asked and duly put my thinking cap on for a recipe that would work. I opted for my sweet and sour pork recipe, which is the kind of flexible recipe that uses up odds and ends of fruit and vegetables hanging around in the kitchen. Leftover Pie: 101 Ways to Reduce Your Food Waste was released in September 2017 during Zero Waste Week and it makes for a fascinating read.
Leftover Pie is not only a recipe book. It is a comprehensive guide to food waste. The first half of the book is dedicated to looking at how we have come to the point we’re at today, where households will end up throwing away a quarter of all the food they buy in the supermarket. Anna takes us through a brief history of food waste, covering agriculture, legislation and food standards. We discover why we waste so much food and, more importantly, some things we can try to stop wasting food. She explains meal planning, portion sizes, consumer habits and the confusion between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’. Finally, Anna covers what happens to our food when we throw it ‘away’ and what the best options are to reduce our impact on the planet and make our food waste work in our favour.
The second half of the book is chock full of recipes, with contributions from all sorts of people. Chefs (Thomasina Miers, Brian Turner), bloggers (Mandy from Sneaky Veg, Vicky from Homegrown and Foraged) and community leaders (Rachelle Strauss from Zero Waste Week, Saascha Celestial-One from Olio) amongst others have all sent Anna their best recipes that reduce food waste. The recipe section is split into a range of sections from store cupboard recipes and soups and sauces to using up leftovers and foraging in hedgerows. I’m particularly looking forward to trying the middle-eastern style lentil and cabbage from Good Food Oxford and the homity pie from Emma Marsh at Love Food Hate Waste. I’m also intrigued by the bean broth, made good recipe from Malou Herkes at Wonky Veg Blog.
Leftover Pie had the perfect combination of being informative whilst maintaining a light, easy-to-read tone. I loved the contributor introductions to the recipes, which often included extra hints and tips. The images and photography in the book complemented each other well. A signed copy of Leftover Pie can be bought here for £12.99, or you can buy it on Kindle for £6.99 at the same link. It would make a great present for someone just setting up home, anyone who likes to get inventive in the kitchen or that ‘green’ person in your life.