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Reducing food waste in the UK

Catherine Fookes: In May, leading retailers in the UK announced their latest bids to reduce food waste by trialling new packaging in stores that claims to keep fruit and vegetable fresher. Food waste in the UK is a major issue with UK households throwing away over 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink every year - the majority of which could have been eaten. To make matters worse, it’s costing us £12 billion a year and is having an impact on the environment as well. Retailers such as Tesco estimate that the new packaging, being trialled on tomatoes and avocados, could save over 1.6m packs of tomatoes and 350,000 packs of avocados every year - numbers not to be sniffed at.

19 June 2013 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 3

The magic number

Kathie Auton: There are very few things as magically alchemical as the creation of pancakes. The extraordinary metamorphosis of flour, eggs and milk into something so delicious. The truest and simplest example of the amazing transformative power of cooking. Pancakes are so good. So good, in fact, that I fully understand the religious link. For many people, Shrove Tuesday is a religious day that marks the beginning of lent, but in my household it’s just Pancake Day and is a celebration of the sheer cunningness of cooking.

12 February 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 5

In the can

Kathie Auton: I was already getting these recipes down on paper when the mackerel news hit the headlines last week. In case you missed it, the gist is that mackerel, even dear old reliable mackerel, are no longer sustainable. But fear not. Sardines still are. Phew. A recent post of mine for was all about how frozen sustainable fish is the friend of the family cook. But if even a spot of digging around in the freezer is feeling taxing after all the busyness of the festive period and you don’t want to get your hands cold, perhaps I could suggest a ferret around in the tin cupboard instead? Yes, it’s 2013 and tinned fish is the new frozen fish.

29 January 2013 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 1

Something fishy

Kathie Auton: I was already toying with writing a few simple fish recipes when I read a piece in The Guardian by George Monbiot – it’s a very interesting read and raises several important issues about buying fish. From my perspective, as someone who wants to feed my family well, fish can be a scaly issue. Mr Monbiot is right, a lot of fish recipes you see in newspapers and magazines use ingredients that I either don’t have hanging around or can’t really afford, and that’s before I’ve even considered the sustainability question.

16 November 2012 | 4 Comments | Recommended by 10

Organic mince

Kathie Auton: Oh how I love mince! Fine, it might not be the sexiest way to eat meat. It may not have the finesse of a nice piece of Dexter fillet or the chunky gravitas of a lamb shank, but it is homely, comforting, reliably tasty and cheap. And its cheapness is a good reason to strongly consider buying organic. There are many grades of mince you can buy (and I’m not talking about fat content here, I’ll get on to that), from good quality organic to economy mince.

11 October 2012 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 10

Spreading the love in the new (school) year

Kathie Auton: September is here and we might feel justified this year in finally giving up on the summer and embracing the new (school) year. Unlike the chilly, dark and bleak new year in January, the September new year is a more fruitful affair. Both in the sense of a new beginning for children starting school or moving up a year and in the sense that the new season's Bramleys are here, Victoria plums are putting in an appearance and, whilst the Discoveries may be all but over, we have months of apply joy to look forward to. So for me, we should light the fireworks and make the resolutions in September not January, but perhaps that’s just the teacher in me.

07 September 2012 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 4

Vegucation

Kathie Auton: I’m raising city kids. It cannot be denied. They do not have cows and horses popping their heads over the back fence like I did. And this does mean I have less ready opportunities for food education moments. For me these were things like: my dad ALWAYS saying ‘mint sauce’ at fields of lambs, my parents visiting, and naming, our Christmas Turkey and having a chest freezer in the garage so we could fit half a sheep in it. Okay, these were not subtle nuggets of education, but they did mean I grew up knowing where my food came from (usually a few miles up the road). I need to create my own opportunities with my city kids.

01 June 2012 | 123 Comments | Recommended by 15

Organic baby food

Kathie Auton: Whilst I probably can’t tell you in scientific detail what makes an organic carrot better than a non-organic one, I can tell you that it seems super-obvious which one you’d rather feed to a baby. I would think most parents would feel a strong instinct to introduce the very best and purest food to these teeny little digestive systems. And organic does feel like the best, even if I can’t tell you all the detailed reasons why and can only make vague noises about pesticides, chemicals and higher nutritional levels. The Soil Association can explain it better here, although I think their headline ‘no nasties’ pretty much sums it up.

20 April 2012 | 70 Comments | Recommended by 6

Organic eggs

Kathie Auton: The best Easter Egg you can buy this year? Why, the mighty Organic Egg! And I’m not talking about single-estate, fairly-traded, 70% cocoa-solids chocolate (although feel free to send one of these beauties my way), but just a simple, wonderful organic egg. Yes, you probably already buy free-range, but let your eye wander a few centimetres across the supermarket shelf and you will move a long, long way in terms of goodness...

23 March 2012 | 109 Comments | Recommended by 24

The Sunday roast

Kathie Auton: We used to be pretty organic-y, before we dropped two children and one salary. Nowadays our household is still all about enjoying our food, but we're not slavishly organic. It would be easy to put this down to simply not having as much cash, but there's more to it than that. I used to love my veg box, but more because my local greengrocer's was an easy trundle down the hill and a big, sweaty, pram marathon up it. And it's not like we've ditched everything organic. Like a lot of people we buy organic yogurt, eggs and often milk without really thinking about about it being organic. And when you think about it, that's a hell of an achievement for the organic movement, that there are organic brands that are the norm and probably find their way into the least organic households.

14 March 2012 | 83 Comments | Recommended by 13

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