I love food waste!

Ok, the title might not be strictly true, or even remotely accurate. I do, in fact, hate food waste. But when those who are less fervent planners than you or I go on holiday, there are usually goodies to be had.

I have no shame in offering to take any perishable goods of the hands of those who won't be able to use them before they go away, and that is how I ended up with these goodies (plus a bag of mangoes, some veggie samosas and a huge carrier bag of onions and potatoes, not pictured). I was delighted. I make sure to thank people profusely and - if appropriate - will give a thank you card or a jar of something homemade to show my appreciation. One by one friends and family have realised that we're not ashamed, but delighted, to take their unwanted food, and now we quite frequently get big bundles of perfectly useable produce.

The UK throws away over £13bn of food every year which is, frankly, rather disgusting.  We are determined not to be part of the problem. I've not had to bin anything of any significance at all this year, thanks to careful planning and grim determination. On the rare occasion we have anything going spare, and not enough freezer space, we will offer food to our neighbours. There are now food sharing apps, like Olio, which allow you to find and give unwanted food locally. Unfortunately there don't seem to be any members in our area, but Freecycle is great for excess homegrown fruit, and we manage to give and receive food quite well within our own circles.
Yay, hand outs!

 This morning I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen, listening to the Mad FIentist podcast (if you haven't listed to it, I would highly recommend) and chopping, cooking and baking using the free ingredients. I made basil and walnut pesto, jars of rhubarb compote (perfect for porridge - or ice cream), chopped and boxed fruit to be frozen for smoothies, and boiled loads of new potatoes to be used in salads this week.

The pesto - much like my wild garlic pesto - was a simple mix of a handful of walnuts, a few sunflower seeds, 3 cups packed basil leaves, two cloves of garlic, half a lemon (juice and rind), half a cup of olive oil, salt and pepper. We will have it later in the week, tossed into spaghetti with frozen peas and a sprinkling of chilli flakes. Perfect, and far fresher than anything you can buy in a supermarket.

I've sterilised the jars in the oven so they will last a few months in the cupboard, not that it will last long in this house! As well as porridge, the rhubarb compote is gorgeous to flavour cakes and yoghurt. To me, it's what British summer tastes like.
We had an indulgent breakfast of fried Jersey Royals, mushrooms and shallots, with some baked beans and munched in the dining room, with light streaming through the window and the radio humming in the background. Bliss. I'd much rather eat in my own home with a plateful of home cooked food which cost pennies, surrounded by my little family and pets, rather than give a hours (days?!) of my potential retirement away for the privilege of sitting in a fancy cafe eating food ladened with salt, fat and sugar.

My like the adage of smoking reducing one's life by X minutes, I think of spending money in the same vein; every pound I spend now is another little chunk of work we will need to do before we can escape to the country and be together as a family full time. If that fancy meal or nice coat is worth that, fine, but it's a useful tool to use to justify expenditure.

It's lovely weekends like this - and the gently contentment which accompanies them - that solidify my resolve to escape the rat race. And our no spend Sunday just brought us that bit closer.


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