Foodie Friday: Food Waste and a banana saving recipe!

Food waste and a banana saving recipe

Last night at my monthly WI meeting, I was treated to a talk from Duncan Milwain from Saltaire Canteen, a pay-as-you-feel cafe centred around intercepting food waste. The canteen is part of the Real Junk Food Project, of which Duncan is a Trustee, and he came to tell us about the project and why it’s so important.

I was fairly aware that we waste an awful lot of food as a nation, in part because of silly food labelling and regulations, but I had no idea just how much. The biggest shocker for me was that, averaged out, we waste more than one whole chicken per person per year, which is just awful. And despite bananas being the nation’s favourite fruit, it is also the most wasted one. We consume over five billion a year, but bananas also account for 20% of the 15 million tonnes of food waste produced in the UK each year!

I confess, this made me pretty mad….I know that most of us prefer to eat them before they get too ripe (although there are more health benefits associated with them once they’re brown!) but we never throw any away in our house, because even the over-ripe ones still have plenty of uses! Banana loaf is probably the most well known use for over-ripe bananas (we love it with butter on at breakfast, and I’m currently working on a very healthy recipe using only coconut flour and oil, with no refined sugar!), and indeed it’s better made with brown speckly ones than green ones by far. But that’s not much good if you don’t have the other fresh ingredients to hand, or especially if you don’t have the time to bake one when your bananas happen to be ready. And as a fellow WI member pointed out last night, if you’re watching your treat intake, making cake from fruit isn’t really a good idea.

So, what we do with the bananas we know we won’t eat is to quickly chop them up, stick them in a storage tub and bung them in the freezer. Why? To make ice cream!!! We’ve been doing this for yonks as it’s really the easiest thing in the world, and great for when we want bananas on the side of pancakes or a Belgian waffle but have none in the fruit bowl. And recently we’ve been a bit more creative too, adding things to make a sweeter and more chocolatey version. I know plenty of people do the same, but with so many bananas being wasted I thought I’d share our recipe in the hope that it stops a few bananas going in the bin!

Basic Healthy Banana Ice Cream Recipe

  1. Chop your too-ripe bananas roughly and pop them in a storage container in the freezer for at least 24 hours
  2. Take the frozen bananas out and transfer to a bowl or measuring jug
  3. Blend the bananas, ideally with a stick blender, adding a little milk (we like to use coconut and/or almond milk) if needs be to help the process
  4. Et voilà! Yum up your banana ice cream on its own, with a yummy pudding or sweet breakfast

Slightly Naughty Chocolatey Banana Ice Cream Recipe

  1. Chop your too-ripe bananas roughly and pop them in a storage container in the freezer for at least 24 hours
  2. Take the frozen bananas out and transfer to a bowl or measuring jug
  3. Blend the bananas, ideally with a stick blender, adding a little milk (we like to use coconut and/or almond milk) if needs be to help the process
  4. Add a glug of maple syrup, a drop of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of raw cacao powder, and gently mix together…you may want to adjust the amounts to taste and return the mixture to the freezer for a little if it’s too melty

Both recipes make the most delicious treat, a creamy-smooth gelato-like ice cream…plus it can easily be dairy free. And even the chocolatey version isn’t too naughty at all…the maple syrup provides a sweetness boost without refined sugars, and raw cacao has many known health benefits because of its high fibre and antioxidants. Plus, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ve eaten something that may otherwise have gone to waste. Winner!

 

Ems x

 

 

 

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Labyrinth: the best bits

Such sad news to wake up to this morning. The world is in shock after hearing of the loss of music legend, creative genius and beloved hero, David Bowie. He was the face of British popular culture and a true artist.

I’m not usually one to talk about the death of a celebrity, and as much as I find it sad when any life is lost, I often don’t feel it as keenly as others clearly do. I’m feeling awfully sad today though, perhaps because of the shock of the news, and perhaps because of the incredible impact Bowie had on the music, film, art and fashion industries.

I’ve had the radio on lots as usual, and it’s been amazing to hear all the stories and tributes to Bowie, not to mention such a large sampling of his work. I remember thinking when I finally watched Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes a couple of years ago, about the huge expanse of his work and its influences on other artists. In fact, I just heard an interview with Michael Eavis, who put Bowie up there with Elvis and Sinatra, and I think he’s right when he says that there’ll never be anyone like him.

As a child of the early eighties, and like many of my peers, the film Labyrinth was my introduction to Bowie. Few films were watched half as often as this one in our home, the themes and ideas in it resonating throughout my childhood as well as in my own creativity. The Escher-inspired staircase… the twisted fairytale story… the outrageous, but somehow completely perfect costumes, hair and make-up… the beautiful but frightening masquerade ball… and of course, Bowie’s immaculate soundtrack…

And so, by way of a tribute, and to bring a smile at a sad time, I thought I’d share some of my favourite moments from Labyrinth….

“It’s a crystal. Nothing more. But if you turn it this way and look into it, it will show you your dreams. But this is not a gift for an ordinary girl who takes care of a screaming baby.”

Maybe this was the start of my love for all things shiny, hours spent in crystal shops and even longer spent trying (and failing) to master this trick….

 

“You remind me of the babe.”

“What babe?”

“The babe with the power.”

What power?”

The power of voodoo.”

Who do?”

You do.”

Do what?”

Remind me of the babe.”

Surely one of the most memorable introductions to a musical film scene ever…I defy anyone not to bop along to this track….

 

“I’ll paint you mornings of gold.
I’ll spin you Valentine evenings.
Though we’re strangers ’til now,
We’re choosing the path
Between the stars.
I’ll leave my love
Between the stars.”

This scene left such an impression on me that it became the basis for my first ever event design. I’d love to completely recreate it one day, the swagged chandliers, the golden clock, the haunting music and those magnificent but disturbing masks….

 

“Live without your sunlight.
Love without your heartbeat.
I…I..Can’t live within you.”

I think it’s probably true to say that the film was the start of my fascination with mazes and labyrinths… I always badly wanted Sarah’s wooden labyrinth game for myself, and was desperate to explore anything vaguely maze like as a child (and to this day). And it’s so perfectly fitting that the climax of the film, the end of our journey through secret passageways and hedged mazes, takes us to this thoroughly confusing and disorienting take on the Penrose Steps….

 

“Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City to take back the child that you have stolen, for my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great —You have no power over me.”

Watching Labyrinth back as an adult, it’s always struck me how desperately serious and severe Sarah is…as a little girl though, it all seemed so perfectly matter-of-fact. And it’s with that same ardor that we lapped up this iconic scene, Bowie somehow resplendent in grey tights and metres of marabou, as our heroine wins the day. How could any little girl not dream of being in Sarah’s shoes?….

 

Now, I think I’ll have to go and watch the film in full….it’s been too long. Although you may like to know, if you don’t already, that BBC Radio 2 has cleared this evening’s schedule in tribute…. Simon Mayo’s show will feature an “All Request Bowie” slot, with Rick Wakeman as guest, then at 7pm Ken Bruce presents “Bowie at the BBC”, after which the station gives us another chance to hear “Bowie Live at Maida Vale”, recorded in 2002 and presented by Jonathan Ross.

Ems x