Using up the fridge first

Suddenly we’re all much more conscious that food is a precious commodity as the London supermarket shelves empty and the online delivery slots shrivel up.

I’ve always hated wasting food, but now more than ever I’m making a concerted attempt to use up what we have and make the most of it.

There was a pack of pastry reaching its use-by date and some rather dried up spring onions lurking at the back of the fridge that probably would have been thrown out. Instead I thought that if I mashed a potato, grated a handful of mature cheddar, added the spring onions and some seasoning and mixed the lot up as a filling, that we had the makings of cheesy potato pasties.

Just what was needed to keep us going for a late lunch after a morning of remote working from home.

Dinner tonight is more leftovers. I’ve chopped the cold roast pork remains from the weekend with a few remaining cold roast potatoes (I know! Who knew it was possible to leave roast potatoes 😊) along with chopped onion, garlic, greens and chillies to make a fried hash which we’ll eat with runny eggs and some crusty bread.

Not at all what I would have served up for supper a few weeks ago, but the best use of food that would otherwise go off or be wasted.

Because who knows when there will be more coming…

The taste of autumn

There are old crab apple trees lining the streets in this part of London. They’re well established, probably twenty metres tall, and planted closely enough that their crowns touch in the wind.

At this time of the year they drop their fruit – tiny, hard, sour crab apples that crunch underfoot in the leaves as you pass by. I walked through them at the weekend, smelling autumn in the air, and it made me crave the apple and blackberry pie that my mother used to make.

This was one of my mother’s specialities. She made it infrequently enough that it was a treat, which considering her busy life, it was. Her pastry was crumbly, sweet and slightly biscuity, with a hint of lemon zest.

The blackberries were never bought from a shop in those days. When the season was right, we kids were dispatched out with a bowl to collect them from the bushes, bribed with promises of pie, crumbles and turnovers. We’d return with purple juice-stained fingers and mouths, and enough pickings to fill the kitchen for a week.

Served with a spoonful of good cream for richness, this is the taste of autumn for me. I can’t wait until we’re picking our own in the hedgerows on the island next year. Bring on the pies, the jam and the blackberry wine!