As you peruse your local farmers market, you see a frenzied crowd gathering over aisles of seasonal produce. Chances are, whatever caught their attention is peak quality sold at irresistible dirt-cheap prices. At first you’re merely curious, but eventually find yourself caught in the hype, scrambling to check if you brought enough reusable tote bags. You buy whatever that was, and you buy a lot of it. What can you say? You’re a sucker for sales and a lover of a bargain.
Sadly, fresh produce reaches its tragic end far too quick and your race against time might see you give some away to family, friends, and even that neighbour who keeps putting their excess rubbish into your bin (we see you!).
Before long, pretty purples become sad, soggy greys reducing into a puddle of slime all too swiftly. Stop! Don’t put the HAZMAT suit just yet. Go get Celine Steen’s ‘No Waste Save-The-Planet Vegan Cookbook’. As Celine will show you, just about everything can be salvaged.
Think baked sweet potato bread smeared with labneh and za’atar chutney for breakfast using dinner leftovers. How about the aptly named ‘Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink leftover veggies stew’? Or maybe it’s the fifth time you’ve opened the fridge today on the hunt for a snack but ignored the apples; if so, lay them to rest and make sheet pan apple crisps.
GRAM spoke to the no-waste wizard herself who said that, while she has been brought up to respect nature by recycling food, it held a new-found importance in her life due to the pandemic.
“We all had to make do with what we had on our shelves at some point, stretching some goods as far as they could go.
“Not to mention, reducing expenses has also been a forced necessity in these recent pandemic times.”
She also noted the importance of acknowledging how wasting food and goods has a direct impact on our lives, not only financially, but also environmentally. She credits these values to her mum, Monique, whose passing is honoured by Celine’s conscious effort in reducing her carbon footprint.
“Now more than ever with global warming, we are seeing the aftermath of humanity’s carelessness. It’s essential we all do our part to help alleviate, or at least slow down, the harm that was caused.”
For my fellow meat-eating folks, don’t be deterred by the title. A few pages into reading this masterpiece, I realised that ‘veganism’ isn’t a secret code to join the cool kids at the ‘no-waste’ club. It’s for anyone feeling guilty about food wastage and finally deciding to do something about it.
She recommends that for plant-based cooking novices, a solid fried rice recipe is the go-to.
“Most regular fried rice recipes have an egg thrown in, but it isn’t necessary when all the umami and flavor punch can be obtained from plant-based sources like mushrooms, kimchi, and tamari.
“All that caramelised flavour, along with a wide array of different textures, make fried rice a good candidate for winning over pretty much everyone,” she said.
I didn’t happen to have any of the ingredients she mentioned above handy, but in the spirit of sustainability, I wasn’t about to purposefully buy ingredients just for the sake of it. I did, however, happen to have an excess of Honey Murcott mandarins.
And of course, I found a recipe for that: peels and all.
Recipe courtesy of Celine Steen, No Waste Save-The-Planet Vegan Cookbook’, page 28. Celine also suggests trying this recipe with other fruits of your choice (but cautions against throwing the whole pineapple or watermelon into the blender. Stay safe and sensible out there, folks!)
Mandarin White Chocolate Scones
Yield: 6 scones
▪ 1 1⁄4 cups (150 g) all-purpose flour ▪ 1⁄4 cup (30 g) sliced almonds ▪ 1/3 cup (70 g) packed light brown sugar (weighed to make sure) ▪ 1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder ▪ 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt ▪ 1 medium-size mandarin, skin on, scrubbed clean and patted dry, chopped
▪ 1⁄4 cup (56 g) cold coconut oil ▪ Plant-based milk, as needed (around 3 tblsp or 45 mL) ▪ 1⁄2 cup (100 g) vegan white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 190°C. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
In a food processor, combine the flour, almonds, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Process until the almonds are found. Add the mandarin and coconut oil. Pulse about 10 times to combine.
Add the milk, 1 tblsp (15 mL) at a time, pulsing just until a dough forms (not too wet or dry). Fold and press the chocolate chips into the dough. Shape the dough into a 15 cm disk and divide it into 6 equal triangles. Flatten the triangles slightly to reshape and place on the prepared sheet, leaving at least 2.5 cm space between each scone.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly before enjoying.
Leftovers can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 1 day. Reheat in a preheated 170°C oven for 8-10 minutes to revive.
Side note My dough did not require the addition of mylk as the mandarin juice was enough to help bind the dry ingredients together. Texture-wise, mine turned out more soft- baked cookie rather than the dense, bread-like mouthfeel associated with “scones”. Either way, I wasn’t one to complain.