Angela Day reviews a new cookbook and gets tips and recipes from its author.
Author: Mary Rolph Lamomtagne
Publisher: Struik Lifestyle
Mary Rolph Lamontagne had a light-bulb moment while working at a bush camp in Botswana.
Running low on supplies, she was forced to create gourmet meals for the high-paying guests using available ingredients and leftovers.
The Canadian-born cook, who lives in Cape Town, can’t abide food waste and spreads the message about reducing waste wherever she can.
“We all have to eat,” she says, “and waste will always be produced. It is time to celebrate the small steps each one of us takes to create delicious food while also reducing our waste and food footprint.”
Mary has released a book on this topic called EATS.
It contains a wonderful collection of recipes designed around reducing waste when shopping and cooking.
Unusually, the chapters group foods by colour – greens, purples, reds, yellows and whites. She gives a master recipe for each ingredient, say cauliflower, followed by several recipes using it.
Mary also provides useful information on the health benefits, buying, storing and the growing of each fruit and vegetable covered. – Jenny Kay.
10 TIPS FOR REDUCING FOOD WASTE
On her recipe blog savourandsave.com, Lamontagne provides tips for cutting down on waste in the kitchen. Here are 10 of them:
1 Control plate portion size so there is less plate waste. If there are leftovers in the serving dishes, they can be repurposed into something new and tasty.
2 Keep leftovers in see-through containers at the front of the fridge rather than relegating them to the back. Out of mind, out of sight.
3 Freeze fruits before they rot in the back of the fridge. Place on a baking tray in the freezer. Once frozen, place them in containers and use them for smoothies or fruit coulis.
4 Keep a stock bag in the freezer to collect leaves, stalks and bits of vegetables to make a stock for soup or sauces.
5 Chop leftover herbs or excess herbs from your garden and place on a baking tray in the freezer. Once frozen, put in a well-marked bag for future use in soups or sauces.
6 Keep ginger root in the freezer and use a microplane to grate ginger when needed. No need to remove peel.
7 Use leaves of most root vegetables – beetroot greens, radish greens, etc – to accompany the cooked vegetable. Sauté with olive oil, garlic and ginger, then serve.
8 Most of the brassica leaves can be coated with a little olive oil, sea salt and any other spice, and roasted in the oven to make chips. Most of these leaves have a higher nutrient content than the vegetable they are protecting.
9 Before cutting up citrus, use a microplane to zest the fruit, freeze in ice trays and use when needed. You can also freeze citrus juice for future use.
10 Freeze egg whites rather than throwing them out when a recipe calls for using just the yolks.
I love a good hummus with crudités or in a sandwich. Not only is it healthy, but it also adds great flavour and texture.
Makes almost 2 cups.
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon of butter
half a tablespoon of grated ginger
half a tablespoon of brown sugar or maple syrup
400g can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons of tahini
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
half a teaspoon of chilli powder
a quarter teaspoon of sea salt or more, to taste
Boil the carrots in water to cover until just tender and the water has evaporated.
Add the butter and cook for 5 minutes until glazed.
Add the ginger and sugar and cook for 2-4 minutes. Allow to cool.
Place the carrots with the remaining ingredients in a food processor and whizz for several minutes until thick and smooth.
You might have to stop once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
EGGPLANT AND LENTILS
This recipe uses all of the summer Mediterranean vegetables that are easily grown in a veggie garden. You can vary the vegetables depending on what you have in the fridge or garden.
1-2 eggplants, cubed
salt and pepper
half a medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
half a cup of diced yellow peppers
1 cup of dried green or brown lentils, cooked
a quarter cup of crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander
extra coriander, for garnishing
LEMON & HONEY VINAIGRETTE
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of honey
sea salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and place in a colander for 30 minutes. Wipe off excess moisture and toss with olive oil and season.
Place on a baking tray and roast at 200°C for about 20 minutes until cooked and slightly browned.
Remove and cool.
In a medium bowl, mix the eggplant, onion, tomatoes, peppers, lentils, feta and coriander together.
VINAIGRETTE: In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper together.
Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and serve garnished with sprigs of coriander
Tiramisu is my boys’ favourite dessert. Last year, when I had an excess of overripe strawberries in my fridge, I created this variation of a tiramisu. It was very well received.
4 cups of strawberries, sliced
6 tablespoons of sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 cup of mascarpone cheese
1 cup of whipping cream
1 cup of orange juice combined with juice from the macerated strawberries
1 tablespoon of strawberry liqueur
1 large package of ladyfingers
100g dark chocolate, grated
Put the strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Set aside for at least 4 hours or overnight to macerate.
Beat the egg yolks and 3 tablespoons of sugar in the top of a double boiler until the mixture becomes pale yellow and thicker in consistency, 3-4 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the mascarpone cheese. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes.
Beat the whipping cream until stiff peaks are formed.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the last tablespoon of sugar until stiff peaks are formed.
Fold the cream into the whipped egg whites, then fold the mixture into the marscapone mixture.
Strain the juice from the berries (half cup or so) and add half cup of orange juice and a tablespoon of strawberry liqueur (optional).
Soak ladyfingers in the juice as you use them. If there is not enough juice, use more orange juice.
Put a layer of the ladyfingers in a glass or ceramic serving dish. Follow with a layer of berries and then a layer of the mascarpone mixture.
Arrange a second layer of ladyfingers over the mascarpone cream, then spread the remaining mascarpone cream evenly over the top.
One layer may be enough, depending on the size of the dish.
Dust the tiramisu with grated chocolate.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day before serving.
PEAR, GORGONZOLA AND STEAK SALAD
This is a great salad to use up leftover steak. Serve with a loaf of crusty bread and a glass of red wine.
2 tablespoons of grated ginger
4 cloves of garlic, minced
half a cup of soy sauce
a quarter cup of maple syrup
2 rump or sirlion steaks
3 poached pears
4 cups mixed lettuce leaves, including rocket and baby greens
1 wedge of Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of maple syrup
2 tablespoons of poaching liquid reserved from poaching pears
a quarter cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
SPICY MAPLE NUTS
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
a half cup of pecan nuts
a quarter teaspoon of chilli powder
In a shallow dish, mix the ginger, garlic, soy sauce and maple syrup. Marinate the steaks overnight in this mixture.
Heat the grill and cook the steaks to desired doneness. Medium rare is best. Set aside for 10 minutes before carving. When cutting the steak, be sure to cut against the grain.
Cut the pears into slivers.
Place the lettuce leaves in a large bowl. Add the pears and crumbled gorgonzola.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard. When thickened, add a few drops of maple syrup and the poaching liquid.
Put a towel under the bowl, to secure it, and start slowly pouring oil into the vinegar mixture while constantly mixing to create an emulsion.
Add parsley at the end as well as salt and pepper.
Once the dressing is ready, toss a little into the salad and arrange the steak pieces on top.
Sprinkle with nuts and serve immediately.
SPICY MAPLE NUTS: Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
Stir the sugar, butter and maple syrup together in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the pecans and stir until well coated. Sprinkle with chilli powder and continue stirring for an additional few minutes.
Pour the mixture on to the prepared baking sheet and allow to cool.
CURRIED COURGETTE SOUP
This is a wonderful soup that is quick to prepare and can be served with or without cream. If you need it to be thinned down, then add more vegetable stock.
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of dried thyme
3 cups of grated courgettes
2 teaspoons of curry powder
4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup of heavy cream
grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion until translucent.
Add the thyme and grated courgette and cook until soft.
Stir in the curry powder, then add the stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Purée the soup in a blender or use a stick blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Return the soup to the heat and stir in the cream until heated through.
Serve with a Parmesan tuile.
PARMESAN TUILE: Create four mounds of grated Parmesan cheese on a baking tray lined with a silicone mat or baking paper.
Flatten the mounds to make 8cm diameter rounds.
Bake in a preheated 200°C oven until the cheese begins to melt and turn brown.
They burn easily, so be vigilant.
Remove from the oven and carefully lay the rounds over a rolling pin to give the half moon look. Allow to cool.