One of the best bits of FoodCycle – certainly for me – has been adapting recipes I’ve found, or even making up new ones depending on what we get in our weekly food pickup. We’re already bracing ourselves for the annual end-of-summer courgette glut – in fact, I’m practicing my ‘why yes, we always need more marrows’ face right now. And most FoodCyclers would probably agree that there’s nothing like being faced with 6 boxes of bananas to make you start thinking up new recipe ideas fast!
We’ve come up with some pretty weird and usually wonderful concoctions over the years. People often ask us where we get our ideas from, so we thought we’d start sharing some of our favourites with you. I should point out before we start, that we’re not that precise with quantities or measurements. Actually, we’re not precise at all, except when baking – and sometimes not even then! So don’t be surprised if we start talking about ‘a load of tomatoes’ or ‘a few onions’. That’s the FoodCycle way – you learn to put the recipe book down and just go with the flow.
Broad Bean Shell Soup
We were lucky enough, a couple of weeks ago, to be given the amazing gift of a huge box of broad beans from someone’s allotment. That Saturday we were making another hub favourite, veggie tagine with homemade chermoula paste (recipe to follow at some point). We podded the beans, steamed them and mixed them in with our golden couscous – et voila! As much as I dislike bananas (FoodCycle heresy, I know) I love broad beans – so, as you can imagine, I was dancing around the kitchen with glee. Until I spied the giant pile of broad bean shells. That got me thinking – I mean, if we’re really serious about food waste, then surely we wouldn’t throw them away either?
I’ve been doing the Cambridge Carbon Footprint Rationing Challenge this month, and I knew you could make a soup out of pea pods – so I figured I’d have a go at making one from broad bean shells. We took the results along to the Cambridge Sustainable Food AGM and it all disappeared, so we’ll call that one a success! Here’s how we did it…
1. Take a big load of broad bean shells and chop them fairly small, discarding the woody ends and any really brown and battered bits.
2. Gently sauté a few onions (everyone can always find an onion, right?) in some oil for a few minutes until good and soft (but not browned) before adding the broad bean shells. If you’ve got any garlic, then so much the better – chuck that in too, but it’s not necessary.
3. Cast your eyes around the kitchen or garden for whatever else looks good. We’d picked up a single solitary lemon, a few slightly sprouty potatoes, and had also been donated a load of herbs from the local community garden at Hanover and Princess Court – perfect!
4. Add the potato (if you’ve got some, for a thicker soup) and cover the lot with some vegetable stock.
5. Bring to the boil, add a few good handfuls of roughly chopped chives and parsley stalks (because that’s what we had, and the parsley leaves had already gone into the tagine with the mint). Cover and simmer the vegetables until soft, adding more liquid if needed.
6. Liquidise, season and add a generous squeeze of lemon juice to lift the flavour. We found we also needed to sieve the soup, as the shells were stringier than pea pods. You can add cream if you want, but we didn’t have any and also wanted to keep it vegan so more people could enjoy it!
And that’s really all there is to it. No muss, no fuss, no nipping down the shops to buy extra ingredients – just using up what you’ve got, instead of throwing it away. The ultimate leftover lunch!