Making your own vegetable stock is incredibly simple and uses up ingredients you would otherwise be throwing away. In an effort to make your kitchen as low-waste as possible, this is a great way to get the most from your veg.
Food waste bins are a good way to minimise landfill, as food decomposes a hell of a lot faster when surrounded by other natural matter than it does when it’s in a big mound of plastic, but not everyone has access to one and if you haven’t got a garden to make compost in it can be tricky to reduce your waste.
To start with, set up a bowl in your kitchen and throw in all your vegetable peelings. The size of your household and how many vegetables you cook with will alter how many scraps you end up with but whatever amount you have can be frozen in a container or reusable sandwich bag and added to throughout the week.
1 onion, unpeeled, quartered
2 carrots, unpeeled and cut into large, rough chunks
2 sticks celery, cut into large, rough chunks
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled, crushed with the side of a knife
1-2 bunches herbs of your choice, left whole, preferably fresh thyme and parsley but use whatever you fancy/have
1.5 litres water or enough to cover all your veg and fill a pan of your choice
Great vegetable scraps to use and freeze:
Broccoli and cauliflower stalks and leaves
Spring onion ends
Celery leaves and bases
Carrot tops, tails and peels
Onion and garlic skins
Scraps of any other veggies, whack them in!
Throw all of your ingredients and frozen scraps into a deep saucepan and cover with the water. Season as much as you would like or not at all. Bring to the boil and then simmer partially covered for 1.5-2.5 hours, the longer the better. Season if you like but this is not essential – I sometimes add a pinch of peppercorns in to give it a bit of punch.
Take off the heat and remove the big chunks of veg with a slotted spoon and discard. Strain the rest of the stock through a fine sieve. It should have a good, relatively dark colour from the onion skins.
Store in a sealed jar or container of your choice in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for later. Use to make delicious soup, rice dishes, ramen and the ultimate veggie gravy!
A seasonal queen, this recipe uses asparagus, jersey royal potatoes and wild garlic pesto for the ultimate springtime lunch. I used to think that potatoes were pretty much all the same, just different sizes. I was wrong. Jersey royals taste SO sweet when they’re in season and are bloody delicious. Eating seasonally is one of the easiest ways to lower your kitchen’s carbon footprint. You can of course make this recipe out of season using baby potatoes and regular pesto 🙂
Time: 45 mins – 1 hr
1 pack puff pastry
200g jersey royal potatoes, or new potatoes, thinly sliced
200g asparagus, ends trimmed
Pinch chilli flakes, optional
Handful of wild garlic leaves, or other fresh herb, chopped
2 tbsp wild garlic pesto, or green pesto
Drizzle of chilli oil, optional
Large handful of rocket, to serve
Wild garlic flowers, to decorate
20g pine nuts or seed of your choice, lightly toasted, to decorate
Optional addition: goat’s cheese or feta, crumbled over the tart on top of the asparagus in step 3.
Heat oven to 180C. Roll out your pastry to fit a lined baking tray of your choice. Fold over the edges of the pastry to form a crust then prick the base all over with a fork and cover with baking beans if you have them (I don’t and a good spatular bashing over the puffed up areas seems to do the trick just fine). Blind bake the pastry for 15-20 mins until just starting to colour.
While the pastry is in the oven, boil the potato slices in salted water for 10-15 minutes or until just softening. Quickly add the asparagus to the water and cook for 2-5 mins more depending on the thickness of the asparagus.
Remove the pastry from the oven and top with the potato slices, followed by the asparagus. Season generously and sprinkle over the wild garlic leaves and chilli flakes if you choose. Return the tart to the oven for 20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the asparagus just catching.
In a small bowl, mix the pesto with a little water or olive oil until of a drizzle-able consistency and liberally dress the tart. Drizzle over the chilli oil and decorate with wild garlic flowers and pine nuts/seeds. You may want some extra pesto on the side (I needed to add more after taking the photos). Serve with fresh rocket.