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Scrag-end cookery

Do you know what I love? Not wasting food.

Exhibit A: Candied orange peel

Curly tangy sunshine bits

This idea has been in my Pinterest “To-Cook List” for ages, mostly because it’s so dang purdy. Look at them! Little sticky slices of sun. And after a couple of unusually-thick-skinned oranges, I remembered and decided to give it a go. Super easy!

Eat oranges and keep the peels. When you’ve got a few stockpiled, give them a wash and slice into strips. Simmer them for about twenty minutes, and change the water three or four times: the idea is to get them soft and get rid of any lingering bitterness from the oil in the skins. Once they’re tender, simmer them in sugar syrup (sugar syrup = 2 parts water: 1 part sugar) until all the water’s gone.

TANGY STAT

The recipe I followed suggested this would take nearly an hour: I used an enormous shallow frypan and it took about ten minutes. (So if you’re making candied peel in a hurry, use an enormous shallow frypan and what the fuck is going on in your life that you need urgent candied peel?)

I let the peel slices dry overnight and they still weren’t quite as firm as I wanted them (very bendy indeedy, actually), so I spread them on a tray and put them in the oven, with the fan on and the temperature set to the lowest setting, “keep warm”. That did the trick! (After an hour or so: not all tricks are fast.)

First I was self-congratulatory, as I always am when I cook something new; then I was a little baffled. What am I going to do with all this candied peel? It’s not like I sob myself to sleep due to its absence in my diet. But then I remembered: orangette. The name of an eminent foodie blog and delicious snack: candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate. Oh my, yes. And then I remembered the dried dates and crystallised ginger in the cupboard: orange and ginger? Orange and dates? Orange and ginger and dates? Holy CRAP I’ve got ideas.

Exhibit B: End-of-the-week quiche

Silverbeet? Beetroot? You know I’m not chucking the stems and stalks. Shred and sautée those babies, maybe with a little onion du jour (by which I mean: whatever members of the allium family you’ve got that need using up). I’ll use cauliflower leaves, broccoli stalks, and any leftover veggies from meals throughout the week: tumble it with some eggs, milk, cheese and some herbs or mustard, and you’re halfway to Quiche Town already!

Mix up some shortcrust pastry — if you’re feeling a bit fancypants, you can go ahead and call it pâte sucrée, but you’ll be wrong, because pâte sucrée is sweet shortcrust, ya fool — and you’re ready to make end-of-the-week quiche. (Quick and easy shortcrust pastry recipe: 200g plain flour, 100g cold hard butter, a big pinch of salt, all crumbled together to that breadcrumb/coarse sand stage, then brought together with a splash of cold water. Chill for half an hour before you use it. Also freezes well.) Roll out a pie crust, prick it with a fork and bake that mutha: when it starts to go light brown, pour your filling in and you’re golden.

The best part about using beet stalks is the pretty pink mix you end up with.

Pwetty qweesh!

This week’s end-of-week quiche: beet greens/stems, silverbeet stalks, feta, six eggs, splash of milk. Past features include: cauliflower leaves, leftover caramelised leeks, leftover roast pumpkin, and bottom-of-the-bag mushrooms.

Exhibit C: Spotted on foodgawker

Just as I was mulling over the use-it-up philosophy in cooking, I came across BraveTart‘s recipe for Sour Patch Rinds on foodgawker. Cosmic. And then her post on using stonefruit pits. And then the rest of her site. I might have a bit of a foodie blog crush here.

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