Waste not want not

Panic buying already a distant memory? Well, it was an excellent lesson in ‘waste not, want not’. Now more than ever, we are being encouraged to be resourceful and to use up what we already have in the cupboards before we slink off to the supermarket. This pleasant side-effect of the current lockdown measures has been welcomed by the economically minded, but where to start if your basil constantly turns to sludge and your mushrooms get covered in fuzz within a blink of an eye.

Storing food
This may seem obvious, but how you store your food can have a big impact on the food you waste. Store food correctly, and it will not only last longer but it will taste better too. If you keep your tomatoes in the fridge for example, they will taste of almost nothing. Keep them in the fruit bowl however, and they’ll be juicy and sweet. Ever wondered why your potatoes begin to sprout new life within days of purchasing, even when kept in a cool, dark place? Well, if you also happen to store your onions in that same cool, dark place, then we may have found the culprit. Follow my simple guide below to get more out of your fruit veg and to put a stop to mindless wastage…

Cool, dark and dry
Potatoes / sweet potatoes / shallots / onions / garlic.
Potatoes and onions need to be kept away from each other as they can both cause each other to spoil.
Bananas: Get the bananas out of the fruit bowl and remove any plastic packaging. Keep away from other fruit. If ripe, transfer to the fridge to prevent from over-ripening.
Squash / pumpkin: Keep cool but not refrigerated. 

Room Temperature
Apricots / kiwi fruit / mango / melon / nectarines / passion fruit / peaches / pineapple / plums.
Basically all fruit with the exception of berries.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes don’t like the cold, so keep then out of the fridge. Treat them like a fruit and keep in the fruit bowl.
Avocado: This is a tricky one, as most imported avocados ripen in transit so they’re ready for us to eat straight off the shelves. If your avocado is under ripe, keep it in the fruit bowl and transfer to the fridge when it becomes softer. If you’re in a hurry to ripen your avocado, put it in a paper bag with a banana for 48 hours. Bananas give off high levels of ethylene which will help your avo ripen faster.
Basil: Trim the stems and keep in a glass of water at room temperature and consume quickly.

Refrigerate EVERYTHING else
Artichokes / asparagus / aubergine / beetroot / berries / broccoli / brussel sprouts /carrots / cabbage / cauliflower / celery / cherries / courgette / cucumber / figs / French beans / grapes / kale / leeks / lettuce / peas / peppers / radishes / rhubarb / spinach / spring greens / spring onions / sweetcorn / turnips.
Mushrooms: Store in the fridge, either in original packaging of a in a cloth bag.
Fresh herbs (excluding basil): Keep herbs like you would keep flowers. Trim the stalks and place in a jar with an inch of water at the bottom in the fridge. Alternatively, wrap the herbs in damp kitchen towel and store in the fridge, in a plastic bag with a few punctured holes in.
Speaking of herbs, if you’re interested in growing your own at home, then check out Dr Rachel Petheram’s online course with Learning With Experts to really get the most of your herbs.

Braised vegetable orecchiette

Braised vegetable orecchiette
Braised vegetable orecchiette
Braised vegetable orecchiette

As promised, I have returned from my gorgeous holiday in Puglia with more than just a few extra pounds and a sunburnt belly button – believe me, I’m as surprised as you are.
I come bearing gifts and the first one is this utterly delicious braised vegetable orecchiette. I discovered this dish on our last evening in Bari, in a pleasant little restaurant, next to a rather unpleasant fat Australian who moaned about her pasta being ‘too hard’. Philistine.
Anyway, it turned out that most of the vegetarian pasta dishes I had my eye on were unavailable, due to the ingredients being out of season. Eating seasonally is obviously a big part of Italian culture which is nice, but unfortunately for me, this meant that I was left with the rather dubiously named ‘vegetable pasta’. I didn’t want to show my disappointment, so I simply smiled and willed it to be more than just a bowl of vegetables and pasta.

It arrived and it was just a bowl of vegetables and pasta – but it was one of the nicest bowls of vegetables and pasta I had ever eaten. Local orecchiette floating in a salty vegetable broth peppered with seasonal vegetables. Bellissimo!

Braised vegetable orecchiette
Serves 2 / Hands on time 30mins/ Total time 30mins 
25g unsalted butter
300g baby mixed vegetables (I used 1 small courgette, 2 chestnut mushrooms, 3 baby leeks, 4 baby carrots, 2 baby parsnips. Although you can use whatever vegetables you like)
100g dried orecchiette* or pasta of your choice
500ml vegetable stock (I used 1 Knorr stock pot)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried parsley
Pomora extra virgin olive oil to serve
Handful grated vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan

1. Chop your vegetables to your desired size – personally I think the bigger the better, especially when braising. In a large heavy bottomed pot with a lid, add the butter and spread the vegetables out as evenly as you can. Cover with roughly 500ml of vegetable stock (you want to make sure the vegetables are only just covered). Season with salt and pepper and add the bay leaves.
2. Bring to the boil on a high heat before turning back down low and covering with a lid. Let the vegetables simmer for 10-12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, boil your pasta in slightly salted water and grate the parmesan.
4. Remove the lid off the vegetables, stir in a tsp of dried parsley and turn the heat back up and vigorous boil for another 3 minutes. Meanwhile drain your pasta and put to one side.
5. By now your vegetables will be lovely and soft. Take them off the heat and discard the bay leaves. Pour the pasta straight into the pot and stir through carefully – you don’t want to break the vegetables up too much.
6. Divide into bowls and serve with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan.

Braised vegetable orecchiette
Braised vegetable orecchiette

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

*Orecchiette is a pasta that’s popular in Southern Italy and literally translates to ‘little ears’.
*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.

Christmas leftover hash

Christmas Leftover Hash
Christmas Leftover Hash
Christmas Leftover Hash

Wait! Don’t bin those Christmas leftovers, have them for breakfast! Unlike turkey, I find a roast potato has no business being in a sandwich, neither does a parsnip or a sprout for that matter. It’s for this reason that I find veggie leftovers a bit tricky – I always tend to just eat them cold, slathered in brown sauce.
But this Boxing Day, I wasn’t hung over (for once), so bounced out of bed and straight into the wall… Just joking. I bounced out of bed and straight into the kitchen, where I mashed, mixed and fried, until I created the ultimate boxing day brekkie. Try him, you’ll like him – and by ‘him’ I mean ‘the hash’.

Christmas leftover hash
Serves 2 / hands on time 20 mins / total time 20 mins /
V Df Gf 
2 tsp cooking oil (I use rapeseed)
2-3 leftover roast potatoes
Handful of roasted veg and sprouts
1 egg
½ tsp of cumin
¼ tsp of smoked paprika
¼ tsp mustard seeds
Pinch of chilli flakes
½ sliced avocado and 2 poached eggs to serve (optional)

1. In a bowl, roughly mash the cold roast potatoes with a fork and dice any leftover veg you want to use up such as roast carrots, parsnips and brussels.
2. Add the spices, a good pinch of salt and pepper and give it a good mix (you can use any spices you like or you can leave them out entirely). Beat in the egg and mix well until combined.
3. Heat up a large non-stick frying pan over a medium to high heat and add the oil. Move the oil around the pan until the bottom is well coated. Once hot, spoon the mixture carefully into the pan into 2 messy patties. Cook on one side for a few minutes before flipping (don’t panic if they break and fall apart – this is part of the charm).
4. Cook for another couple of minutes and then serve topped with poached or fried eggs, sliced avocado and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.

Christmas Leftover Hash
Christmas Leftover Hash

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

 V– Vegetarian    Gf– Gluten free    Df– Dairy free