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Talking about food waste with Radmore Farm Shop



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Radmore Farm Shop, about food waste and cooking with leftovers. The recipe is a dry aged bacon quiche. Picture: Keith Heppell. Picture: Keith Heppell
Radmore Farm Shop, about food waste and cooking with leftovers. The recipe is a dry aged bacon quiche. Picture: Keith Heppell. Picture: Keith Heppell

Vicky Rogers, of Radmore Farm Shop, is trying to change the way she thinks about food and cut down on wastage.

When you buy something from a packet in the supermarket, it seems easier to throw it away. All you’ve wasted is money.

But if you think of a homemade version of the same product, it grieves you a lot more to waste it, because you have a higher appreciation of the time, effort and resources, as well as the money, that went into making it. If you buy a quiche from a shop and put in the back of the fridge and then you don’t eat it (I’m sure it’s happened to us all), it’s annoying and it was a waste of money. But if you have made the pastry, rolled it out, chopped up all the bits that go in it, grated the cheese, cracked the eggs (in our case, fed the chickens and collected the eggs), and baked it... it seems like a travesty to allow it to go to waste.

What I’m saying here is not that we should make every item we ever consume from scratch, that’s an unrealistic goal. Instead I’m trying to bring to the forefront of my mind how something was made, what went into it, how long it would have taken to make, how I might have made the equivalent thing at home, or made it differently at home. I’m finding that adopting that way of thinking is putting a lot higher value on the food in my cupboards.

I talk a lot about the past generations on the farm, particularly my two great aunts who never married and lived together on the farm into their late 90s and early 100s. Never do they pop into my head more than when discussing food waste, and excess packaging. They never wasted a thing. They could make something out of anything, and I honestly don’t ever remember seeing a bin in their house. They grew all their own veg and only picked it as they needed it, they kept meat in the freezer and just got it out to use as they needed it. If they had a glut of anything they bottled or pickled or jarred it. They lived through two world wars, and showed the 10 year-old me what a ration book looked like, and told me what it was like to first encounter a banana.

They knew what food shortage looked like, and as such appreciated and respected their food.

They have instilled in me so many tips for reducing food waste that I don’t even realise until I think back – make yourself a small serving (you can always make more, and it’s often wasted if you make too much), get food into its usable state as you need it, cover and wrap things well so they last, pick and gather whatever you can from the natural world, freeze whatever you can, and if all else fails, make it into jam.

But aside from all these tips, of which this is just a few, what I’m trying to learn from their lifestyle is the value we place on our food. With that in mind today’s recipe is for quiche with air-dried bacon. I chose this because I first started making quiche to use up a glut of small eggs on the farm. Also, bacon was traditionally made years ago to stop pork being wasted, and air drying would be how it used to be done in cellars and barns. And any veg that’s going a bit wrinkly, or cheese that’s going a bit dry, can be thrown into the quiche which makes it the ultimate “leftovers” meal.

Recipe: Air-dried bacon & vegetable quiche

Ingredients

For the pastry:

100g butter, softened

200g plain flour

Little cold water

For the filling:

Half a diced onion

2 rashers air-dried back bacon, chopped into thin strips

Grated cheese (enough to cover the base of the pastry)

Chopped veg to top (I used red and yellow tomatoes)

3 free range eggs

100ml double cream

100ml milk

Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat over to 190c.

Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour with your finger tips until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water so that the pastry comes together in a ball. Knead lightly until smooth. On a floured surface, roll out until approx the thickness of a £1 coin, and press into the base and sides of a large flan tin. Trim around the top and press the edge together into a nice pattern. Put the tin onto a metal baking sheet ready to cook. Inside the case, scatter the onion, and 2/3 of the bacon. Cover with grated cheese. Top with the sliced veg and the rest of the bacon. Whisk the egg and mix with the cream and milk and pour over the filling, without allowing it to overflow. If the egg mixture doesn’t cover all the filling, whisk an additional egg with a touch more cream and milk and add. When the egg is 3/4 up the pastry case it’s full enough. Top with salt and pepper and bake, with the tray underneath it, for about 30 minutes, or until the top is firm, and the pastry is dry underneath.



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