Before I even start on this post I confess upfront that I'm guilty of wasting food, I rarely finish a meal when I go out and often I have all good intentions of using all the vegies in my fridge but somehow that doesn't happen and they get wasted. Now that I have attended a masterclass thanks to KitchenAid and OzHarvest it's really got me thinking about how wasteful I can be and ways to stop this happening.
The Masterclass was held at Camperdown Commons; a small community farm smack in the middle of an urban sprawl. There are plenty of these places happening around Sydney now which helps build communities and encourage sustainability. If you haven't heard of Camperdown Commons then check them out here: camperdown.commons.com.au/farm
The KitchenAid and OzHarvest masterclass, hosted by their Executive Head Chef Travis Harvey, was to demonstrate ways to use ingredients that could otherwise be discarded and turn them into flavoursome dishes quickly and effortlessly by using the KitchenAid Pro Line Blender. Now This is one mighty blender and KitchenAid have collaborated with OzHarvest to help them continue their good work. No doubt you have heard of OzHarvest; in a nutshell OzHarvest is the first perishable food rescue organisation in Australia that collects quality excess food from more than 2,000 commercial outlets and delivers it, direct and free of charge, to more than 800 charities.
We (bloggers & media) were split into groups to experience how easy it is to make delicious food using the Kitchen Aid Pro Line Blender in just minutes. Here's what was on the menu:
Banana & Coconut Ice-Cream Pumpkin Hummus Macadamia & Coconut Butter Nut Free Garden Pesto Boxing Day Fritters
My table made the Nut Free Garden Pesto which was delicious! It was made with toasted pumpkin seeds!
Following our demonstration it was time for lunch at Acre the restaurant on site. Acre uses local produce grown on the urban farm where possible. Executive Chef, Gareth Howard, is originally from Wales, (same place I was born by the way) and has a background in French, Mediterranean, and Spanish cuisine, he was in his first Head Chef role at 24 years of age at the renowned Loch Fyne in South Wales.
The meal was sensational, starting with Beetroot Hummus. Lovosh. Dill Wagyu Bresaola. Tomato Jam. Horseradish Smoked Potted Fish. Garden Crudites.
Roast Chicken. Seasonal Roasted Vegetables. Celeriac Puree. Chicken Gravy. Pan Roasted Market Fish. Summer Squash. Pickled Cucumber and Sea Herbs. Crispy Chips. Garden Green Leaf Salad. Parmesan.
The lunch was served to share and elements of the menu used were made using the KitcheAid Pro Line Series Blender and produce from the urban farm.
Now to end this post I'll share with you Travis Harvey's Food Life Hacks.
Frozen Smoothie Packs – if you want a nice cold smoothie, full texture and flavour, chop up yummy seasonal fruit and portion into freezer bags. Great for bananas that are on the turn. Make sure you wash and re-use the bags!
Wilting greens - instead of throwing away all the veggies at the bottom of your fridge, add them to the juicer or blend them into smoothies for breakfast. Chop and drop into soups and stews for extra flavour, or add to any stir-fry, even bake them into muffins (think carrot cake and zucchini bread).
Soup it up – throw in frozen cubes of cheese to add some tang to soup. If you have leftover brine from fermented vegetables, or sauerkraut juice, throw some of that in too.
Take stock – save all the odds and ends when prepping vegetables, you can freeze all the ends, scraps and peels and soon enough you will have enough to make a delicious broth. Add them to simmering salted water for an hour and then strain out the vegetables. You can do the same with bones leftover from your Sunday roast.
Happy herbs – when herbs start to look sad, blend them with some olive oil and freeze in an ice cube tray, they’ll be ready and waiting next time you need to add herbs to a recipe.
Leftover pasta and rice – warm through the next day with herbs, dressing and roasted nuts for a beautiful side salad.
Sunday roast dip – blend leftover roast vegetable with ricotta, lemon juice, garlic and sea salt for the perfect dip!
Crunchy topping – toast stale bread then blend with herbs and parmesan to make a lovely crunchy topping for fresh pasta.
Keep your compost happy – puree leftover food scraps to keep your worm farm or compost moist.
Go nuts – use the awesome power of the blender to create your own nut milk, just add nuts and filtered water and hey presto!
Push the boundaries – you don’t always have to stick to the recipe. Experiment with similar flavours and textures to add some pizazz to your cooking.