The Great British Bake Off star, Flora Shedden from Dunkeld, is guest posting on the blog this week and we're talking food waste and festive recipes. Over to you Flora...
(photograph by Ciara Menzies)
In our house, food waste is a no-no. Since I was wee mum has marched around shouting ‘Don’t waste food!’
If there is a way of salvaging something, she will find it. Nowadays, however, this is a lost art. Between the supermarket out-of-date scaremongering, often over sized portions and our accessibility to fast cheap food, people have become careless with their waste. To the extent that people are throwing money in the bin. And so I’m delighted with the current movement from chefs, and campaigns like Greener Scotland, who are making people aware of just how simple it is to avoid waste.
For example, milk that would otherwise go off can be used in scones and pancakes, while soft over ripe fruits can easily be turned into delicious jams.
During the festive period, there is a lot of food on offer so make sure you think through any waste. Excess Christmas pudding can be stirred into ice cream and then frozen for an alternative dessert. Ends of cheese, from your cheese board, can be melted down into a pasta sauce and any excess roasted veg can be made into soup - made of course with stock from your turkey carcass.
Pretty pretty please, don’t throw out your food unnecessarily!
This particular recipe is one we have used over and over again when left with a stale hunk of bread. It also makes a lovely alternative to Christmas pudding with its warm spiced flavour and fruits.
Flora’s festive currant tart
Serves 4 – 6
For the pastry:
100g unsalted butter
200g plain flour
40g icing sugar
For the filling:
150g stale crumbs, be it bread, croissant, panettone or sourdough
150g mixed dried fruit or raisins
300ml whole milk
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated or ground)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
Demerara sugar to top
Preheat the oven to 200C. To make the pastry, blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until a dough forms, adding a little milk at a time.
Alternatively grate the butter into the dry ingredient, then rub it in to form bread crumbs. Add a little milk and gently knead to bring together. Wrap your dough with cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Once chilled, roll out on a lightly floured surface until 2-3mm thick. Line a 20cm tart case with the pastry trimming of the excess. Press into the sides, then line with tin foil and top with baking beans. Blind bake for 10 minutes. Whilst this is happening, prep the filling.
In a pan heat the milk with the spices, zest and fruit. Once hot (but not boiling), add the bread crumbs. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs to the butter mix. It will split but don’t worry about that. Add the cooled milk and bread mixture.
Remove the tin foil and baking beans from the pastry case. It should be a very pale golden colour. Add the mixed filling (again don’t worry about it being split), sprinkle demerara sugar over the top and return to the oven turning it down to 180C. Bake for 45 minutes or until just set – a little wobble in the middle is fine.
Serve warm with a little ice cream, or cold with some crème fraiche.
If you have excess pastry, store in the fridge until required. You can either use it to make mini mince pies or in a crumble mix. Simply add 1 part rolled outs to 1 part pastry and ½ part of brown sugar and rub together until sand like in texture.
Sprinkle on top any over ripe fruit in need of some love and bake for 30 minutes until golden.