‘Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.’ – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Welcome! This is a series of 5 blogs bringing to you the take-outs of workshops hosted by Melbourne Farmers Markers in collaboration with Fair Food ChallengeYouth Food Movement and Leftover Lovers with the support from Sustainability Victoria and The University of Melbourne through a Love Food Hate Waste Victoria grant.

My name is Kameron Chan and I am a student at the University of Melbourne, currently volunteering with the Melbourne Farmers Markets as a Freelance Food Consultant. Over the workshops, I will blogging each workshop as well as provide tips, tricks and take-outs for you to up your food waste game in the home!

From the budding novice to the cluey amateur all the way up to the professional chef, it’s no myth that an amazing meal is based on these foundations: flavour, aroma and texture. Of course, sourcing the best ingredients from your supplier (hint: the farmers at Melbourne Farmers Markets!) would be hugely beneficial but perhaps we’re overlooking certain aspects if we REALLY want to boost the flavour profiles in our gastronomical creations…

In the fourth of five Love Food Hate Waste Student Workshop, Jessie from Leftover Lovers, in conjunction with Melbourne Farmers Markets, the participants learnt that from our abundant selection of ingredients, we can really up the ante on everyday meals (like spaghetti bolognaise!) through some very clever and innovative tricks – yes I will share!

We’re talking about ways that are left over from the ingredients we bought. We’re talking about the sinews, peels, offcuts and scraps. You’d be shocked to know that by disposing these leftovers from our kitchens, we’re contributing to 30% of food waste in Australia?!

But how can these ‘unpalatable remnants’ add that pièce de résistance? Here are a couple of ‘quick tips’ to be a bit more creative in the kitchen:

  • Herbs looking a bit sad? Chop roughly, mix with olive oil or butter and freeze in an ice tray – use this to add a burst of herby goodness in your pasta!
  • Got some vegetable peels and stalks? Give them a wash, caramelize in a large pot, cover with water and simmer – an easy and versatile vegetable stock better than any supermarket prepared soup mix can create (level up by using roast chicken bones for extra flavour!)
  • Don’t throw away that meat fat and trimmings! Render in a fry pan to extract the oils – these oils create the most decadent gravies (with the vegetable stock you made of course!).
  • One of Jessie’s favourite ways to use vegetables leftovers is to create a pickle. Bring to a boil 4 cups of vinegar to 1 tablespoon of sweetener (like sugar or agave syrup) and pour on top of some leftover vegetables (it can be anything!); use a spoon to ensure the liquid submerges the contents so there’s no air bubbles and refrigerate for at least 3 days.
  • And if you’re feeling confident about all of the above, consider grabbing a bunch of spices (like paprika, cumin and coriander seed powder) and creating your own spice mix! Experiment adding these different flavours into your cooking!

Of course there are countless more ways to impart extra flavours into your meals. However, the important takeout is to question yourself what you like to eat and what you feel comfortable doing.

Finally, what about these very clever and innovative ways to transform that spagbol I promised you? Well if you think about each step of the process, you will find you can modernize some/all of the recipe 😉 – I challenge you to think about it. Want to share your innovative approach or want some extra tips? Join in on our next workshop at Alphington Farmers Market!

After all, it’s about reducing the amount of waste that naturally occurs in our cooking and how we can further use them to create the loveliest of foods!

Blog by Kameron Chan, Freelance Food Consultant – Marketing and Promotions, for the Melbourne Farmers Market’s exclusive use.