One of the things I like to do regarding food, is to see how long I can go between meal-planned shopping trips. This results in less food waste as I’m forced to find ways to use up the odds and ends in the fridge which might otherwise go to waste.
One of the easiest, quickest, most obvious ways of using up wilting vegetables is soup and so we tend to eat a lot of it – I am a lazy cook! That said, it can get a bit samey if you’re having it a few days in a row. For that reason, I really love to serve it with different things; oatcakes, cheese on toast, porcini bread (more on that later), and the all time favourite – a garlic baguette.
The obvious issue with these is the packaging. Some are better than others, but often you find the bread on a plastic tray within a plastic bag, or two baguettes individually wrapped within a larger bag…
As we were getting through so many of these, I decided to try and find a reduced waste alternative. Unfortunately, I can’t get butter without creating waste, but otherwise, I think I’ve got it cracked!
First, you need your baguettes. You can buy these loose at many bakery counters within the supermarkets. I can vouch for the quality of those from Lidl, Morrisons and Tesco, but haven’t tried any from other outlets. Pictured below are some reduced baguettes I bought for 11p. Yes, they came in plastic, but I’ve been keeping these sleeves after use to freeze loose baguettes so they won’t be destined for the bin for a while yet.
Plus, I’m not going to lie – I’m not going to say no to 11p bread. But that’s a discussion for another time. For now, I’m claiming that my buying them helps to reduce food waste…
In addition to the bread, you need around a third of a pack of butter, a garlic clove and a big handful of parsley. I got the parlsey from the reduced section this time, too, but when my plant outside recovers, I’ll be using homegrown again. I’ve also been known to use dried in the past and it does work though obviously you need less – I reckon about 1tsp is a good quantity.
First of all, melt your butter. Today, I had some just-boiled water in my kettle from the cuppa I was drinking so I used a bain marie, but you could just toss the butter in a bowl in the microwave for around 20 seconds, mashing it at the 10 second mark.
After your butter has melted, mince/finnely shred your garlic and very finely chop your parsley. Mix the lot together and place this in the fridge/somewhere cool until the garlic butter has the consistency of Mr Whippy ice cream.
While you’re waiting slice across the baguette, but leave about 1cm attached the bottom. I don’t know what’s going on with the above picture, by the way. The bread looks miniature but I swear it’s just the angle…
After the butter has hardened a little, it’s just a matter or spooning it in between the slices. Slip the bread back in its plastic, or in one you’ve been saving, or another recepticle of your choice and then freeze.
To reheat these, turn the oven on to around 160C/320F and allow around 20 minutes. To make the most of the oven being on, I usually cook something else at the same time – a cake/some cupcakes/the soup in a casserole dish, for example.
If I’d purchased baguettes loose, bagged them up in my reusable bags like I normally do, and used parsley from the garden, the only non-compostable waste would have come from the butter packet.
Definitely an improvement on the pre-made baguettes, and a fraction of the price.
I would call that a win! What are your favourite ready made foods? I’d love to see if we can figure out a low waste, super-easy alternative! As ever, let me know either here, or on Twitter.