She penned a global best-seller at the age of just 24 teaching cooks all over the world how to make truly authentic Indian food with her first book, Cooking Like Mummyji.
But now Vicky Bhogal, 39, is focusing on telling her fans how to reduce food waste and still whip up incredible, well-spiced feasts. The British-Asian author of five cookbooks, who moved from London to rural France this year, has revealed her top tips for making sure you use up every last ingredient in your fridge and cupboards so you can work towards running a zero-waste kitchen.
Buy A Mini Grinder
Buying a mini grinder is a godsend for the kitchen. You can whizz up in seconds a delicious marinade for chicken, prawns and any meats or vegetables by combining a few spoonfuls of leftover natural yoghurt, some fresh garlic, ginger and any spices or herbs you have in your fridge and cupboard, fresh or dried.
Freeze, Freeze, Freeze
Make friends with your freezer by freezing leftover meals in portion sizes and clearly labelled. But you can also freeze fruit that has started to get too soft, chop it up or purée it, freeze in lolly moulds or bags, to add to a blender for smoothies, or defrost and heat in a pan as a warm fruit sauce for ice cream. You can also freeze bread and cheese, especially parmesan rinds, which are delicious dropped straight into the pan when making soup, to add flavour.
Don't Pay Close Attention To Sell-by Dates
Try not to be a slave to sell-by-dates, but instead go by how the food looks and smells, and its texture. A lot of sell-by dates are overly cautious. So you could be throwing away perfectly good food for no reason!
Make A Sabji With Old Vegetables
When you have a few lone vegetables in the kitchen, like a wrinkly pepper and a few potatoes, you can make a delicious and filling Sabji dish by finely chopping an onion and clove of garlic, frying in a dash of olive oil until golden, adding a couple of tablespoons of chopped tinned tomatoes, a grating of fresh ginger, some salt, garam masala, and a dash of ground turmeric, adding some chilli if you like. When this mixture has cooked on a low heat for five minutes, add your chopped vegetables, stir to coat, add a dash of water, cover and steam through for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through, and scatter with some fresh herbs. Serve with rice or scooped up with a bread of your choice.
Keep Vegetable Scraps For Stock
It is well known to save chicken bones for stock but there are other stocks you can make. Keep a ziplock bag in the freezer and keep adding your vegetable scraps every time you cook - think the tops and ends of any root veggies, onions, tomatoes, herb stems, stalks from greens.
When it is full and you are ready to use, add to a pan with enough water to cover and simmer for a couple of hours and then strain, for a delicious veggie stock, which you can also freeze. Save your shells from shellfish too, to do the same to make a yummy fish stock.