Food waste. Shocking stats - the latest numbers I remember are that here in the UK alone we throw away 5,000 chickens and over 1m sausages every single day. Plus around 4m apples and potatoes - again every single day.
Whatever we can do individually to combat this, no matter how seemingly small, has got to be worth doing.
Not buying too much in the first place is easiest, buying more food fresh as it's needed. Planning ahead for the week.
And, of course, using up leftovers.
Leftover rice can become a kao pad. Risotto turns into Arancini (stuffed rice balls), and stale bread into that lovely Italian salad, Panzanella. So many good things to make through being aware of not wasting food.
I decided to see how many meals I could make from one roast chicken, and it was more than I'd expected! There was probably a little less meat at each meal than I would usually serve, but that's no bad thing and something I'd like to consciously continue to do.
Last weekend's roast chicken started off being cooked in my remoska. I love my remoska - I asked for it as a birthday present over ten years' ago and it makes the best roast chicken and the best jacket potatoes. I think it's because it's a small space so it really steams beautifully as it cooks. Whatever the reason, chicken is incredibly moist and the skin perfectly crispy. I also use it for one-pot dishes like a savoury rice or stews - in fact I feel a whole remoska post of its own coming on one day soon!
But back to the roast chicken ...
I mixed up some lemon/thyme salt that was in the cupboard with butter and rubbed that under the skin of the chicken (careful not to tear the skin) and put a couple of squashed garlic cloves (no need to remove the skins) in the cavity along with a quartered lemon, after squeezing the juice over the bird.
I also massaged it with a little olive oil. And then cooked for an hour and a half or so.
Sorry about the horribly unappetising photo!
I totally forgot to take any when it was cooked, or looking delicious with a colourful fresh salad - but I did want to show how snugly it fits in the remoska which is why it cooks it so beautifully.
We had slices of hot chicken with a big couscous salad - couscous cooked and cooled with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, chopped fresh mint and parsley leaves, a little olive oil, black pepper and lots of lemon juice.
Roast chicken + couscous salad: for two
I just put the whole board of leftovers in the fridge that night and the next day made myself a noodle soup for lunch, using a packet of instant noodles.
Put the kettle on so you'll have boiling water when you need it.
Then just stir fried a squashed and chopped garlic clove and a chopped chilli in a little oil for a few seconds until it smells good.
Add the noodles, their seasoning packet and a small pinch of sugar, some sliced spring onions plus boiling water (I just put in as much as I think I want depending on if I want it soupy or not, rather than measuring it out).
Simmer for a few minutes until the noodles are done and just at the end throw in some spinach leaves or pak choi and coriander (if liked).
Chicken noodle soup: for one
That evening, I needed something just for me, so cooked some rice and made my favourite fakeaway, a chicken jalfrezi.
I changed the recipe a little as I was using cooked chicken so added it later on in the timings.
Chicken curry: for one
Next, time to make a very simple stock.
I'm a bit lazy when it comes to stock making and don't spend ages getting every scrap of meat off. I tend to just stick the whole carcass and all the meat and bits straight into a big pan.
Add one roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery stick, a few black peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves and then cover with water.
Bring to the boil, skim off any scummy bits that have risen to the surface, and then simmer very gently for an hour or two.
I then turned off the heat and left the stock overnight on the hob with a lid on it as it was late and I wanted to get to bed!
The next day, the stock had become very gelatinous so I warmed the whole thing for a few minutes on the hob until it was liquid again, then strained. Before throwing away the bits in the strainer though, I picked out all the meat I could and threw it back in the liquid.
To make my Thai-influenced soup, I started with sweating half a chopped onion and a clove of garlic in a big pan - oh and one chopped chilli too!
When these were soft, I poured in the stock liquid, added half a chicken Knorr stock cube and some more boiling water - to increase the volume to what's needed. If you don't need more, you might not need to add the extra stock cube too.
Once this comes to a simmer, I added cooked rice, some spring onion, a little dash of fish sauce and one of soy and some black pepper. Taste and taste and see what you think!
I'd meant to add a squeeze of lime juice ... but forgot ..
Served in bowls with coriander leaves (just omit if you don't like coriander; I know a lot of people don't) and some sliced red chilli.
Kao tom gai / chicken rice soup: for two
There was only a little left in the pan, after we'd gone back for seconds (that's why it's worth adding the extra water and a bit of stock cube) ... and normally, I might well have thrown it away.
But it looked enough for a bowlful and it is so cold at the moment - I thought it would make a good and nourishing breakfast.
So in the morning, I just turned the gas on under the kettle for tea, and the gas under the soup pan to heat the chicken rice soup.
Do make sure it boils and heats through thoroughly.
I cracked an egg into a bowl and ladled the boiling soup on top, which on stirring, lightly cooked the egg. I added coriander leaves and some sliced chilli and that was that.
Very simple and very good. Especially on a very cold morning!
Rice soup for breakfast: for one
So, my one roast chicken made made five recipes (roast, noodles, curry, stock, soup) and seven meals.
(Oh, and Tiny Dog loves chicken and had a little piece chopped in with his biscuits for five meals too!)
Would love to know your favourite leftover recipes too so do reply in the comments!