Stock your freezer with stock!
Vegetable peels, stems and roots will all add flavour to both vegetarian and meat stocks. A great tip to build up enough produce to pack-a-punch with your stock creation, is to freeze your vegetable scraps in a large snap lock bag. Continuously add to it when you have bits and bobs that would otherwise end up in the bin. Once the bag is full add everything to a big pot with a touch of salt, pepper corns and a bay leaf. Fill with water and simmer for a few hours. This can then be transferred to small containers ready to freeze. Pull out one container at a time to add flavour to your soups, risottos, stews and curries!
For meat stocks the same principle can be applied with saving vegetable scraps. Add the bones of your Sunday roast (cooked chicken carcass, lamb and beef bones all work) and again add some seasoning, plenty of water and cook low and slow until you have a flavourful and wholesome stock ready for gravies, sauces or any culinary creation that requires liquid!
Broccoli Stem Pesto
Do not, and we repeat, do not throw out your broccoli stems! Blitz in a food processor with some parmesan, toasted pine nuts, garlic, a squeeze of lemon and extra virgin olive oil to create a mouthwatering condiment. Stir through cooked pasta or use it for a simple pizza topping for an easy and quick meal. Or have it on a platter with crudities or cheese and crackers!
Parmesan, or any cheese rind for that matter, should certainly not be determined as garbage. This is such a simple way to add a boost of savoury, umami depth to soups such as minestrone, or leek and potato. Simply throw in the pot and let the flavour infuse into your dish.
If you have vegetables on the brink of extinction turn them into pickles! In a large, sterilized jar layer chopped vegetables (you can use onion, cucumber, radishes, carrots, chilies or cauliflower) with aromatics (try a combination of peppercorns, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, juniper berries, cumin or dill seeds) and flavour with herbs and the zest of citrus. Create a pickling liquid with 2 cups of white vinegar, 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of salt and 4 tablespoons of white sugar by heating it up in a pot on the stove. Carefully pour the hot liquid into the jar and allow to cool before transferring to the fridge. The flavour will develop overnight and your pickles will last for up to two weeks in the fridge!
Use your pickled vegetables in sandwiches, on a cheese board, as a side condiment to spicy dishes, toss through salads or enjoy on their own for a quick snack.
Leftover cheese may not happen in your household, but if you're found with bits and pieces laying around in your fridge or from a cheese platter save them up in a snap lock bag to add to your cheesy bechamel sauce.
Cheese sauce is crucial for creating morish winter warmers such as lasagna, cauliflower bake and mac and cheese. You can even create a chicken and mushroom casserole or go gourmet and try making a croque monsior at home by layering dijon mustard, ham off the bone and cheese sauce in-between two pieces of good bread and brown off in a pan slathered in butter. Top with a sunny side up fried egg to create a croque madame!