You know what? Sometimes it is just too damn easy to get stuck in a foodie rut.
It seems like many of us *myself, the food obsessive of the group, included!*, reach for the same old meals week in week out – and doing that is not only down right boring for the taste buds, but also for our digestion. Come on, we really need to be more considerate to those poor enzymes here… Like, did you ever even stop to think about how what it’s like trying to break down that ‘go to’ stir fry of yours – or the easy pasta dish you swear by every freaking night? Huh? HUH?
Nah, didn’t think so. Pretty shameful, really.
It was when I got talking to the guys at Costcutter about their #CCLoveYourLeftovers campaign that we came to the conclusion that the good news is that the resolution to this scenario really is quite simple: We just need to start mixing things up a bit.
Am I talking about having to fork out three quarters of your monthly pay check on the latest superfood ingredients so you can smugly whip yourself up an adaptogenic latte? Or shopping at specialised foodie markets lined with hip coffee shops for exotic vegetables to throw in to a curry you found in that must have recipe book? Hell, no! Rest assured that it doesn’t call for nothing overly painfully drastic or time consuming. I am merely talking about channeling a little more of ‘thinking outside the box’ cooking in to our weekly routine; which basically means using seasonal goods in a fresh way in order to, you know, spice things up in your working lunch or average your week night dinner. After all, it’s the whole cooking process that is part of the therapy and the fun… So we may as well make the most of it, right?
The second thing I wanna talk about here is food waste.
I mean, the whole ’embrace your leftovers’ thing kinda makes a whole lot of sense, doesn’t it? Financially it works out because in the long run we can save ourselves quite a fair few dollar. Sustainably, we are being much kinder to the environment. And lastly – we are ultimately being more mindful (‘mindful’ being a word I don’t like to use often because CRINGE AF (!!), but it is rather fitting for this point I am *attempting* to make so let’s just roll with it for now) about what exactly is on our plates and where the food has come from. I for one would much rather take an abundant box of leftover goods that were the outcome of a relaxing evening of cooking out with me, as opposed to a sad old Boots meal deal or overpriced Pret sandwich. If you happen to be with me on that one, then I am sure you and I would get along juuuust fine.
The other beauty of leftovers is that you can really get creative; there are absolutely no rules for when it comes to reinventing last nights meal. Made too much of that roasted cauliflower? Blitz that bad boy in to a soup ready for that hipster flask from Urban Outfitters (that you definitely just bought for the gram). Got some juicy thighs leftover from that big ass roast chicken you made over the weekend? Toss them in to a fresh salad with whatever grains you have going – and you better promise me that you boil up those bones for a gut healing broth while you’re at it!
All of the above leads me nicely on to my collaboration with Costcutter, which in case you couldn’t already tell – I was all kinds of excited to jump on board with. Their latest ‘Love Your Leftovers’ campaign is all about preaching to the public why leftovers should be your new BFF (particularly if you find yourself ‘too busy to cook’) – and so I have rustled up a couple of recipes using what was remaining from a tray of humble roasted vegetables that they provided me with. Trust me when I say they were easier as hell to put together – and even easier to devour!
So – what exactly does one do when given a box of seasonal veg, some herbs and olive oil?
Why, you bung them all in a baking dish ready to roast, of course!
Here we have some sweet potato, red potato, sprouts, parsnips and carrots: AKA the dream opponents for when it comes to versatility.
Just season well with dried herbs, a decent amount of salt and pepper and a proper glug of olive oil.
Roast in the oven for around 40-50 minutes and you are set, my friend!
I think that it’s fair to say that the outcome is pretty beautiful.
Just excuse me while I salivate over those roasted caramelly sweet potatoes.
And don’t get me started on those crispy sprouts!
And how could you possibly go wrong with a simple roasted potato? Cripsy on the outside, fluffy on the inside. Just how I like ’em.
Got my ‘snips on fleek too.
All well and good when served with the weekly roast… But what about all of those leftovers?
First up: make them in to a creamy, make-everything-better soup. Roasted vegetables blended with a little sauteed onion, garlic and real stock is the ultimate easy and comforting winter lunch to pair with some crusty toast – and you don’t need to be a pro chef to do it. Here’s how I made this bowlful of heaven…
- 2 tbsp olive, coconut or avocado oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pint chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup each of roasted potatoes, parsnips and carrots
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Simply sautee the onion in the oil in a large pan until soft before adding in the garlic and cooking for a further minute. Add in the veg, the stock and bring to the boil.
- Allow to cool and blend until nice and smooth before serving up. Season as you like.
You can always add a swirl of oat cream and put some veg aside to top at the end if you’re feeling extra wild.
So I think it’s pretty fair to say that the soup was pretty straight forward: You cannot go wrong with the classics, right? That creaminess is just on another level given the minimal effort it requires – and when it yields enough to feed a few hungry mouths, you know you’re on to a real winner.
But let’s go back to the start of the post when I mentioned channeling your inner adventurous cook and take a look at what I have in store for you right here…
Asian. Cabbage. Wraps. HELL YES!
Not only is cabbage in season and ridiculously cheap – but it is also one of the ‘clean’ vegetables that you don’t actually have to buy organic. If you associate these underrated leaves of total deliciousness with the sad infamous cabbage soup diet – then perhaps I can swiftly divert your ideas to these bad boys… Total game changers, if I do say so myself!
Once steamed (for easier digestion), you can fill them up with all of those leftover vegetables you weren’t quite sure what to do with. And then you’re going to want to add some sort of protein – so just do as your stomach desires, babe!
Here, I tried a soft boiled egg (good if you’re a veggie, or a sucker for yolk porn)…
A little smoked salmon action (for those who are all about that shmokey salty fishy life)…
Or simply toasted cashews with LOTS of tahini sauce (vegans – you are not going to regret trying this!)
They are so simple to prep and really bring out the oh-so wonderful flavours and different textures you get from the vegetables. I decided to give these an Asian spin and topped with seaweed, crunchy radish and the dreamiest tamari tahini dressing – which ties everything together oh-SO perfectly. So who’s down for a lil try?!
- Large savoy cabbage leaves (the outer leaves work best here)
- Leftover roasted veg (sweet potato, sprouts, carrots, potato, parsnips)
- A few radish, finely chopped
- Seaweed (if you can get your hands on it!)
- Protein of choice (soft boiled egg, smoked salmon, toasted cashews)
- LOTS of the dreamy dressing
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp water, to thin
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp tamari
- Simply wash and steam the leaves lightly before filling with the roasted veg and your protein.
- Garnish with the radish, the seaweed and finish off with the dressing. Feel free to just add any extras you like!
And with that – I will leave you with this short but sweet message: Sustainable cooking is in, food waste is well and truly out. LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS!
Let me know if you try the soup or cabbage wraps – and be sure to tag me on Instagram @sophbradshaw @costcutter so I can see your beautiful recreations while you’re at it. Enjoy, lovers!