At the end of January I signed up to a short course (three weekday evenings) run by RoWAN (Ross-shire Waste Action Network). The organisation have had a three year funded project to promote ways to save food waste and have been really active in schools in the Inverness and Dingwall areas of the Highlands. More about the course in a minute but I wondered if you knew that: in Scotland we throw away over 630,000 tonnes of food and drink unneccessarily. This costs around £470 per household, per year. The Love Food Hate Waste website is a great resource for finding out tips, information and recipe ideas for leftovers or any items in your cupboard that you haven’t a clue what to do with!
The course lasts for two hours each evening and there’s lots of time to share ideas and top tips on how to avoid food waste, as well as do some cooking! At the first week of the course there were 8 of us (including 3 children, which was really nice to see them getting involved in the cooking process and coming up with their own original ideas) and we spent a good chunk of the session discussing what we could make with a huge selection of classic food cupboard/fridge ingredients. I was paired with a boy and he was coming up with loads of ideas that sounded yummy. After our chats, the chef – Ali, told us that we were going to make a pasta dish as a starter.
None of us have ever made pasta before, so we were all given a job to contribute to the dish.
Ali started off by making the pasta dough – mixing 300g of strong white flour, an egg yolk and a whole egg, and a drop of olive oil, with some small additions of water in the process. When the dough started to come together, out it came onto the worktop for some heavy kneading until it was a much paler, stretchier dough. A few of us got a chunk to roll out until it was really thin – almost so you could see your hand behind the dough. It was easy to roll out and the dough didn’t stick to the work surface because oil had been included in the dough mixture. Then I cut strips out of the thin dough. The process took about 20 minutes in all – so much quicker than I thought it would be! Then the pasta goes into a saucepan of already boiling water for just a couple of minutes, and your pasta is then ready to serve, and much tastier than the dried stuff we normally use.
While this was going on, an arriabiata sauce was being made by using a chopped onion, some garlic puree (none of this ready made puree – squash some chopped garlic cloves against lots of salt, until it’s smooth) some thyme and a carton of passata.
Once the sauce was cooked, some was put aside for the crostini (topping slices of french baguette, and then a wee slice of cheddar on top which was put in the oven to melt).
It was all delicious – fortunately we got to sample what we made!
We were also given free rein to help ourselves to some resources which would help us save money and waste at home. Of course, I went straight for the recipe cards and books!
I also picked up a brilliant ‘Kitchen Canny‘ kit which will enable me to be more canny/frugal with the things that we buy!
I’ll be doing seperate posts for Weeks 2 and 3 of the course later this week – watch out for them!