Leftovers and disasters

I don’t know about you, but this lockdown I’ve become really fierce about using up leftovers and limiting the amount that we leave to go off or that ends up being composted. I suppose, if I’m truthful, I’ve found ‘time’ in having no time if that even makes sense. Teaching and learning online takes up more time than driving to work, doing my day and then driving home. I find myself in my office often from 7.15 – to around 5.15 and then spend a further few hours now and then creating ‘online-Teams suitable’ teaching material. However, in this found time/no time scenario I’ve also not driven back past the supermarket and ‘popped in’ to ‘grab a few bits’. I’ve had to be strict about meal planning much more, and in doing so, have reduced our compost no end.

I’ve made bread about three times a week and whilst normally all’s well, occasionally I get distracted and find a loaf has over proved. Tonight is one of those evenings.

Yesterday we cooked a ‘beer chicken’ for dinner (you know, one of those barbecue fascinations where you shove a can of triple X in a chicken, dump it on the barbi and walk away for a few hours). It creates a really smoky flavour. I then boiled up the bones for stock with an onion and made an ‘adapted’ version of Chorba Bayda. Ok, well actually I boiled up the bones twice…no harm in trying my luck, one lot of stock for the soup, the other to hang onto.

I originally made Chorba Bayda few months back and everyone LOVED it, so thought I’d make it again, but can I find that same recipe? So it’s an ‘interpretation’ of this algerian soup. Furthermore we’re having it with a ‘kind of’ garlic focaccia from the bread I forgot about. It over proved and so I spread it over a tray stuck garlic, salt, sundried tomatoes and oil all over it, poked some indentations and popped it in the oven for 20 mins. I’ve since cut it into squares and it’ll go just fine with the leftover soup.

The other thing I’ve been experimenting with is lessening our dairy milk intake. I have never had milk in coffee and don’t drink any tea other than herbal so my intake of cow’s milk is purely cheese and butter and my youngest is quite sensitive to too much dairy. My middle child, however, gets through gallons, especially now he’s home full time. We use Milk and More who deliver in glass and take away the empties so that ticks my zero waste box, however, having read some stories about dairies and where/how the milk ‘can’ be produced (this is not starting an argument about the pros and cons of dairy farms), my first thought was to try to find a small local dairy that I could buy raw milk from and make my own butter and…possibly….cheese. However, our nearest small dairy that could provide, appears to be around 25 miles away. They could deliver to us, but it would come in plastic containers. So now I’m back to increasing my food miles and plastic waste. Milk and More do sell oat milk which, we like on cereal and in hot chocolate and the kids like in coffee, but it’s apparently pretty yuk in tea (according to my hubby!) and shop bought it’s pricey and one specific brand is also a little dodgy in it’s ethical choices. Cue my over enthusiastic ‘let’s make it’ head. But, hey, it’s simple! I literally bought a large paper bag of rolled oats from our local refill shop, soaked 1:4 with water over night and then blitzed in my blender, added some vanilla and poured into glass jars. It keeps in the fridge for 7 days and is really creamy. You do have to remember to shake it as it does separate, but so far it’s stood the cauliflower cheese béchamel sauce test and a coffee test. I reckon the 5 pints I made cost me around 20 – 25p! Cheese on the other hand I’m sorry, has to be dairy. Vegan cheeses that I have tried so far have failed the test miserably for me not to mention they have cost the earth. So until such time, you’ll still find me sticking my head in a deli counter for some Stinking Bishop…

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