Tag: cooking

Spook-tastic ways to use pumpkins this Halloween

26th Oct 22 by Megan Romania

Across two ‘Halloween’ seasons alone, Feedback rescued around 45 tonnes of would-be-wasted pumpkins.

Join us for some Pumpkin gleaning in Sussex on November 2!

Crisp apples. Cosy sweaters. Colourful leaves. Why yes, Autumn is by far my favourite season. And with this changing season comes my favourite holiday: Halloween.

Halloween, and even the whole of October, is characterised by spook and scare. One thing is for certain, the most frightening part of Halloween isn’t the ghosts, the ghouls, the black cats or broomsticks. Instead, what sends a chill down my spine are the pumpkins. Or rather, the unnecessary food waste incurred by their existence.

Carvings pumpkins is great fun, there’s no doubt. However, in an age where food production and consumption are the greatest impacts humans have on the planet, it’s becoming ever more prudent to reconsider the role that our holiday celebrations play as well. Halloween, and our meticulously carved pumpkins, can be no exception. Boo*.

In 2021, Feedback rescued 5.3 tonnes of pumpkins from farms. This represents a massive waste of precious resources used to grow pumpkins ultimately thrown away. We can personally attest that they are tasty and would be better used for a variety of autumnal recipes!

The Alchemic Kitchen, Feedback’s social enterprise based in the North West of England, have been leading Feedback’s creative efforts to use pumpkins that would otherwise be left to rot in the fields or on front porches. Savoury pumpkin scones, a Thai yellow curry, and a delicious dahl are just a few of the possibilities.

Have a pumpkin recipe you’d love to share? Tweet us at @feedbackorg or tag us on Facebook!

*Pun intended?

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How the Alchemic Kitchen is responding to Covid-19

2nd Apr 20 by Keenan Humble, Development Chef, Alchemic Kitchen

As a team we put our heads together and decided on how we could best utilise our resources to help our community during this difficult time.

In these uncertain times, the team at Alchemic Kitchen put our heads together and decided on how we could best utilise our resources to help our community; which resulted in putting the marmalade making to one side to focus on tackling potential food shortages in the region. We have been overwhelmed at the support we have received from chefs and restaurants over the last couple of weeks, their response has been fantastic and has aided the work we are doing to ensure people are being fed. We have received donations of food from places that have been forced to close as a result of government advice and have been turning it into hearty soups. We are working with partner organisations to then get the food to where it needs to be.

We have figured that we have the capacity to feed up to 250 people per week, providing there is an appetite for it, and we can get enough community partners involved to run the operation safely and within the guidelines set out by government.

That is a lot of soup to make over the coming weeks and months and so far we have either made or had donated:

Celeriac, Apple & Wild Garlic
Leek, Carrot & Fava Bean
Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato
Spiced Tomato
Thai Corn & Sweet Potato
Potato, Mushroom & Basil

However, this is just the beginning. We have received a fresh delivery of lentils, fava beans and split peas from Hodmedod’s and I am still working through a mountain of produce that has been donated to the cause.

My life isn’t just all soup now, though. I am also writing recipes that might be useful for people at home who are leaning on their store cupboard a little more than usual and we are also running a kitchen diagnostic on social media so if you need a little inspiration get in touch with us on Thursday’s by tweeting @AlchemicKitchen with the hashtag  #AlchemicKitchen with your cooking quandary and we will reply between 5pm-7pm.

Stay well,

Keenan Humble and everyone from the Alchemic Kitchen.

Help us get good food to those who need it

The global pandemic means that our work in getting fresh, nutritious produce to people has never been more critical. We need your support to help make this happen. Any funds raised now will be committed to our COVID-19 food rescue, preparation and redistribution work.

Donate now

A load of tripe?

12th Mar 20 by Christina O'Sullivan

To eat meat or not to eat meat, is that the right question?

Big Livestock, the rearing of livestock on an industrial scale, has a massive negative impact on our planet, 36% of world crops are used to feed livestock, not people. Meanwhile, animal-based foods (meat and dairy) only deliver 12% of the world’s food calories. For environmental reasons many of us have turned to meat-free diets to reduce our carbon footprint. For those of us who want to eat meat we need to adopt a ‘Less and Better’ approach and I have an offal-y good place to start.

Recent research focusing on Germany’s meat supply chain showed the single most effective way to reduce emissions from producing meat is unsurprisingly to eat less of it, showing that halving meat consumption could reduce Germany’s meat emissions by 32%. The study also showed that eating more offal could significantly reduce emissions. If 50% less offal was wasted, then emissions could fall by 14%. If we are going to eat meat, we should eat the whole animal. Eating more offal and reducing overall meat consumption means less intensive meat production i.e. less animals living in factory farms.

This approach should be adopted across all the food we eat; nose to tail, fin to gill and root to stem. Waste is not just what goes in the bin but in the food we often opt to overlook. Feedback’s productivity principle stipulates minimal environmental damage for maximum nutrition consumed and the same principle should be applied to how we eat at home. It takes so much precious natural resources to produce the food on our plates it is important to make the most of it. Plus, if like me you enjoy getting creative in the kitchen it is a fun challenge. For some inspiration check out our Alchemic Kitchen who work magic with surplus food.

“Offal opens up the sense of the whole beast to the Western world, gives greater value to those cuts and brings back greater skills into our kitchens,” Trevor Gulliver, co-founder the first nose-to-tail restaurant, St. John, in London

Maybe the answer isn’t solely focusing on restricting our diets but enjoying a greater more sustainable variety. Less chicken breasts and more tripe – try it you might love it!


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Swap salmon for mussels

11th Feb 20 by Caroline Rye

For me, sustainable seafood is about eating a wider variety of species. There are hundreds of edible types of seafood out there.

For me, sustainable seafood is about eating a wider variety of species. There are hundreds of edible types of seafood out there, but in the UK we continue to mainly eat the so-called ‘big five’ of cod, salmon, prawns, haddock and tuna. There are lots of delicious alternatives that are just as tasty, accessible and easy to prepare. My #neptunesbounty project is aimed at showcasing all the wonderful species of seafood that we can enjoy beyond the big five.

This mussel recipe is quick to make; a comforting pasta dish with lots of creamy sauce. Mussels are inexpensive, sustainable and easy to get hold of; you could use clams or cockles if you can get them too.

Mussel pasta with cream and pancetta

Serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil

2 banana shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

100g diced pancetta (if you don’t eat meat swap for diced courgette or red pepper)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

A few cherry tomatoes, diced

150ml pot double cream

250g fresh mussels, cleaned

250g fresh long pasta (linguine or spaghetti)

Juice of half a lemon (keep the other half to serve)

Small handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

Black pepper

  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan or wide pan that has a lid. Add the shallots and cook for a few minutes on a medium heat.
  2. Stir in the pancetta and garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Put a pot of water on for the pasta.
  3. Add the tomatoes to the frying pan and cook for a minute, and then add the cream. Give everything a good stir, then add the mussels, put the lid on, turn the heat down slightly and cook for a four-five minutes till the mussels have opened.
  4. Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain well and reserve a cup of the cooking water.
  5. Stir the mussels and sauce through the pasta, seasoning with lemon juice, half the fresh parsley and black pepper. Add a bit of the cooking water if it needs a bit more sauce.
  6. Serve with a wedge of lemon on the side and more fresh parsley sprinkled over the top.

Check out Caroline’s website for more cooking inspiration.



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Turning surplus produce into vinegar and ferments

11th Feb 20 by Keenan Humble, Development Chef, Alchemic Kitchen

At this time of year there is an abundance of citrus fruit in markets, which means that there is (sadly) a large amount going to waste.

At the Alchemic Kitchen we have spent the first few weeks of 2020 replenishing our stocks of jams, marmalade and chutney after a busy Christmas period sending hampers across the country.

We received an abundance of cranberries, strawberries, apples, blood oranges and limes (all produce that was destined for the bin). With them we have made Berry Crush Jam (cranberry, strawberry & basil), Coco-Loco Marmalade (orange, limes, cardamom & coconut) and Gamekeepers Chutney (cranberry, apple, onion & ginger). As we are suitably re-stocked and ready to do it all again for Valentine’s day, the beginning of February has been all about fermenting and making vinegars from fruit peels and cores.

We currently have jars of apple peels, bruised cranberries and citrus & chilli trimmings fermenting, ticking over, which will develop into the first batches of vinegar of Alchemic Kitchen’s tenure at our base in Stanley Grange. I am planning on using the apple vinegar to make an apple balsamic product that can be used for a sweet onion marmalade, we do not have such clear plans for the other two but I am sure we will find a use for them. It will be handy to have them to pickle vegetables as we get them, lift dishes we prepare for catering events and accent future products. I personally love this as we are reducing the costs of our products, becoming more self-sufficient and really making the produce we rescue stretch as far as possible.

At this time of year there is an abundance of citrus fruit in markets, which means that there is (sadly) a large amount going to waste. Rather than turn all of it into marmalade, we decided that we would use some in savoury pickles and condiments. We are therefore waiting on the results of our salted limes, which will go on to become lime pickle and blood oranges, which are sitting in a salt brine made of their own juice and scotch bonnet chillies.

Once the fruit has served its time in salt brine, it will be cooked with spices like mustard seed, coriander and ground ginger before being jarred and left to mature. We can then pop them open as and when we need them. I plan to use them in cheese toasties at the container (for the other tenants’ lunches, not just mine).


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Swap salmon for a different kettle of fish

30th Jan 20 by Christina O'Sullivan

With so much diet chat focusing on restriction - what if we opened ourselves up to exploration?

Veganuary? Dry January? The chances are some of you have started the year attempting to change your diet. Changing what and how we eat is necessary to tackle the Climate Emergency. The global food system is responsible for up to 30% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions – the single greatest impact we have on the planet.

My beef (pun intended) is not with shifting our diets in a more sustainable direction but instead with the way this is often communicated. So much diet chat focuses on restriction and promotes the idea that certain foods are inherently good while others are inherently bad. When in reality a sustainable diet is a balanced one. The food system is incredibly complicated, so whenever I see a silver bullet solution being touted I indulge in some healthy scepticism.

Enter the ‘super-food’ (this term doesn’t actually mean anything – it is purely a marketing phrase) that is salmon. Salmon is an incredibly popular fish choice in the UK – purchases of salmon have risen by 550% over the last 50 years and a recent survey showed that salmon was voted people’s favourite fish to eat. Salmon is good for us but our dedication to the salmon is a super-food mantra puts pressure on our ocean.

The salmon on your dinner plate is probably farmed, around 60% of the world’s salmon production is farmed, and in Scotland this figure reaches 100%, with the last commercial wild salmon fishery closing in late 2018. Farming salmon at an industrial scale requires large quantities of feed including wild caught fish. The current quantity of wild fish fed to farmed Scottish salmon, 460,000 tonnes, is roughly equivalent to the amount purchased by the entire UK population.

Even worse, research shows that 90% of wild caught fish used to produce feed are edible – what if we ate that fish instead of feeding it to salmon? Last year we worked with Michelin-star chef Merlin Labron-Johnson to explore that idea. Merlin cooked up herring, anchoveta and whiting – see the video below for a taste.

We are asking you to swap salmon for something a bit different – turns out there is plenty more (interesting) fish in the sea.  Sign up here to receive recipes and ideas for what to eat and make sure to tag us and use the hashtag #SalmonSwaps to show us what you cook up.

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Roast dinner leftover soup

29th Jan 20 by Keenan Humble

A great soup to make after a Sunday roast using leftovers and things from your cupboard.

This recipe is great to cook after the weekend, if you have made a Sunday roast, as you may well have the leftovers and peelings from vegetables. The recipe is really versatile and any left-over veg or veg peelings you have can form the base of the soup. The same principle can be applied with the main body of the soup; boiled potatoes, cooked rice, cooked pasta and cooked noodles can all be used. The herbs and spices you use is also completely versatile, whether you have dried or fresh – use whatever is in the cupboard!

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion (peeled & chopped)

4 garlic cloves (peeled & crushed)

3 leek tops (sliced)

2 tbsp oregano (fresh or dried)

2 tbsp smoked paprika

2 tsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

1.5 litre veg stock

Carrot peelings (from 4/6 carrots)

Potato peelings (from 4/6 medium potatoes)

Broccoli stalks (chopped)

Cauliflower leaves (chopped)

Mashed potato/ boiled potato/ cooked rice/ cooked pasta

1) Put your oil into a large saucepan and add your chopped onion, crushed garlic and sliced leek tops. Sweat for 3-4 minutes over a low/ medium heat until the contents of the pan have softened. At this point add your smoked paprika, oregano, salt and pepper.

2) Pour over 2/3 of the vegetable stock and add the peel from the potatoes and carrots, cauliflower leaves and broccoli stalks. Allow the veg trimmings to cook until tender, this should only take around 10 minutes in simmering stock.

3) Once your veg is cooked and tender, add your mashed potato/ boiled potato/ cooked rice etc. If you are using cooked rice, ensure it has been stored in the fridge and then cooked through fully in the stock. Whatever carbohydrate base you have chosen to use, cook it through in the stock, stirring regularly.

4) Once all of the ingredients have been added and heated through, use a stick blended, or regular blender to blitz the soup until smooth. It is here where the last of the stock may come in handy, if the soup is a little thick, add more stock until it is the right consistency for you.

5) Once blended, put the soup back on the heat and warm through. Check the seasoning and serve.

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Campaign win – Arla to remove ‘Use By’ dates on milk to reduce waste

11th Sep 19 by Christina O'Sullivan

We should be crying over spilled milk and taking tangible steps to reduce food waste in the face of climate catastrophe.

In February, we launched our ‘Milking It’ campaign calling on supermarkets to address their date labelling policies and reduce milk waste. Arla, a massive dairy cooperative who supply supermarket brands such as Cravendale, have committed to scrapping ‘Use By’ date labels on milk and encouraging individuals to use the ‘sniff test’. We are calling on the top four UK supermarkets to do the same.

Write to your supermarket now.

Why we should be crying over spilled milk

The Amazon is on fire and a large driver of this is our current dysfunctional food system. Cows are often fed large amounts of soya which leads to deforestation – read more on soya in our recent blog. Globally, the meat and dairy industries exact a huge toll on our global environment and are major drivers of climate change, estimated to account for 15% of total global emissions – more than the entire global transport sector. At an individual level, although milk is not the most wasted food, milk waste represents the highest contribution to Greenhouse Gas Emissions compared to other food as it is so widely consumed and resource-intensive to produce. Wasting less milk has many positive trickle down effects.

Supermarkets hold a massive amount of power in the food supply chain, and by changing their date labelling policies they have an opportunity to make a real difference

Write to your supermarket now.

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