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May 10

Make your food go further with Hubbub

Reading Time: 23 mins

Our founder Jasmine Birtles recently hosted an Instagram Live with Mark Breen from Hubbub, to discuss making your food go further. Mark makes an Italian dish from leftovers.

You can read the full summary and watch the video below!

 

Jasmine Birtles 

I’m now live. This is great. We’re going to be doing a chat all about food. And I’m going to be speaking to somebody from Hubbub. So we’re going to be talking food, we’re going to be talking how to how to get really good cheap food, how to get free food as well. And also, we’re going to have recipes.

We’ve got Mark Breen joining us from Hubbub, and he’s actually going to make actual food as we talk with so that’s going to be really good. I’m just wondering, I am starting slightly early. And oh, hello, how about right, here we are. I can see you. Hello, hello, Hubbub. But we’re not actually I can’t, I can see that you’ve joined. But I can’t actually see you here. So I’m hoping that it’s going to work. See this is this is what always bothers me about these lives, right at the start, it’s difficult to sort it out.

Oh, so hellohubbub is unable to join. I don’t know why that is. So I’m going to just keep pressing this. Let’s see if we can make it work. Fantastic. Mark. This always happens, you know, beginning of lives you go. Are they there? Can we I tried point in life won’t work. So it’s fantastic to have you might. But do you see yourself? Introduce yourself to the hordes?

 

Mark Breen 

Sure. So it’s actually Mark, not to worry. I worked for Hubbub. I used to be a chef in a previous life. So it’s an environmental charity. And I do lots and lots of things around food and trying to inspire people to eat all of the food they buy, to eat more sustainably, so to eat better for their to the planet, but also with lots and lots of tips to help people save money. So I guess that’s where I kind of, me and you overlap a little bit Jasmine.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Exactly. You might, you’ve mentioned that Hubbub is an environmental charity. Can you explain what it does?

 

Mark Breen 

Yeah, absolutely. So we’re environmental charity. We work with everyone really except we work with people, we work to inspire people. We think everybody’s an environmentalist. Whether they know it or not. Every little action that we take can have a positive environmental impact. We also work with big businesses, local authorities, all that anybody who can who can help us on our mission.

To make things better for the planet. We work across lots of different areas. So I’ve mentioned I’m really interested in food, which is what we’re talking about today. But we look at things like fashion, energy, transport, recycling. So the whole mix really.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Great. Is it coming up with ways that we can all still live a bit more environmentally? So I mean, talking about fashion, for example. I mean, that’s something we’ve written about, I’ve spoken a lot, where fashion is a nightmare for the environment, to say you find a way to all live in a green way.

 

Mark Breen 

Yeah, that’s it. I mean, I think we all will want to do a little bit for the planet. And it’s just making it just making how we do that nice and simple for people. Because it’s not always clear. And there’s, you know, sometimes a little bit of greenwashing out there. So we’re being told that we’re doing the right thing when we might not necessarily be. So, we just try and get that kind of under the skin of an issue. And then we make it as simple as possible for people to make really good environmental choices.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Great. So we are, as you say, here to talk about food, how to get food cheaper, how to make the most of what you’ve got. And I very keen to speak to you because I’m talking about the food situation. It’s it’s not that the prices are going, it looks like they’re going to give up even more this year. Let’s start with which would you start with what you would describe as your tips, your your fundamental rules to live by to make sure that we get fed properly at a lower cost.

 

Mark Breen 

Yeah, absolutely. So I’ll give you five top tips if that’s okay today and the first three are all around food waste. So making sure that we eat everything that we buy, we waste a lot of food in the UK, we waste 6.5 million tonnes of food and about 70% of that could be eaten. So it’s not the bones, it’s not the skin and all that kind of thing. And interestingly, although we all think it’s the big supermarkets and the restaurants that are wasting all the food, we we need, we all need to look a little bit closer to home because 70 to 71% of food waste happens in people’s houses.

I’m sorry to tell you that Jasmine, it’s mean and you causing some of the problem. The supermarkets, the big businesses are quite efficient. So, you know, they want to make money. That’s their aim. So food that they waste is, is money they’re not making and actually it’s the same it’s the same for us. So food that we waste, you know, food that you know, we let go past its sell by date is, is money we could be spending on on something else or spending on food more important.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Things you mentioned, you might consider sell by date, now an issue for me, because I think in the world, there are people like me, who will eat it, so long as it’s not walking out of the fridge on its own legs. And there are others who throw it away. It’s past its best before date even. So what what do you think is the ideal here comes to sell by date? Is it basically the sniff test? Should we actually be doing that rather than the label says this, I must throw away? What do you think?

 

Mark Breen 

I mean, that’s certainly what I do. I mean, that’s what I do. Yeah, you know, if you’ve got some milk, you know, better you can smell it, you can taste it, can’t you, it’s not going to kill you to sniff it. But the other thing is, I mean, this comes back to my five top tips that I was gonna give you actually Jasmine and I might jump into those because the first one is storing your food properly.

So if you’ve, if you bought for example, a bottle, and I’ve got one defrosting here, if you’ve bought a bottle of milk, we’ll say you bought two bottles of milk, you’ve got one in the fridge, you know you’re gonna use that by its use by date or by the time that you’ve had the sniff test. Yeah, quite happy with that. But then the second bottle of milk you’re not sure you probably won’t get through that by the time it needs to be drained. So you know, there’s a few ways to store it.

Number one I’ve said put it in the fridge but if you if you need to put the pause button on that, pop it in the freezer, and there’s I think the freezer is one of our best friends in the kitchen in terms of saving food and saving money. So for example sliced bread I don’t usually leave that on the side. I certainly don’t put it in the fridge because it goes mouldy but I put it from the in the freezer and take straight from the freezer to taste test things off.

But what if people head to our website so it’s actually just Google ways to save food and it will link through. Sorry, Love Food Hate Waste, they’ve got an A to Z of every food so rather than me telling you what to do your tomatoes or what to do your I don’t know apples that’s the best websites check out, absolutely everything that’s why I go there and I kind of know what I’m doing.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Speaking of storage, I’m quite typical female in that I love storage boxes I love these things clip it’s I use those clip it’s you know to a pack of biscuits is wonderful for keeping things fresh weeks months you know. Do you have tips on that sort of storage as well on the site?

 

Mark Breen 

Not not particularly No, I think I think generally the guide is whatever way you do it. Things are generally better kept in it in a sealed container. We know that oxygen and moisture and heat ruin things generally. So certainly my cheese here just like you it doesn’t matter really what there’s probably a couple of types of cheese in there but they’re kept in that they stopped the fridge from getting stunk out but also it keeps getting a little bit fresher.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Yes, actually now what’s interesting now Isabel, she says if carrots and celery in water in the fridge, they last much longer. Is that true?

 

Mark Breen 

I don’t know. It sounds sounds like Isabel’s done the experimentation on that one so I’ll have to trust her and maybe give it a go. I was just gonna say the next way to kind of reduce the amount of money that you spend on food is to plan what you’re going to eat. And you don’t need to be too extensive in that, but just jotting down.

Similarly, you know, when you got chalkboard in your kitchen, or just a scrap paper, what meals are you going to eat in the week. And before you do that, have a little look in the fridge to see what you’ve got, because I think we’ve all been guilty of going to the shops without knowing what we’ve got in. And that’s how, you know, you ship the new stuff on top of the old stuff, and then it all goes a bit haywire, doesn’t it?

 

Jasmine Birtles 

It does, yes. I’ll tell you one thing that I’d say too, and I got to this myself, this is to go through your your store cupboards, and see what’s been there for many years in my face, and make sure that you only buy in the things that will go with what you’ve got in those. Because otherwise, these packets, they stay there for years, you know, start using them. So that’s one thing I’m going to do be I’m gonna be going, I’m very glad we can store cupboards, and see what needs to be used.

 

Mark Breen 

And I think it’s a little bit of, it’s probably a little bit of laziness on all of our parts. There’s so much to do in the day. And there’s really a book you want to read a box search. And it may it’s not the most fun having a look through your cupboard. So how can you make it you know, get some get the shoes on, have a nice cup of tea while you’re doing it and get the family involved? That’s, you know, you got to make these things fun where you can

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Exactly what about your other tips Mark, we’ve been through a couple of them. How many we’ve done so far?

 

Mark Breen 

We’ve done two, it might have felt like 10 that we’ve done. So I’ll come back to my final one on food waste, because I might I might pair a quick dish, actually.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Yes, let’s have a dish that could be rather exciting from an actual chef.

 

Mark Breen 

While we’re chatting, so I don’t know how much. I’ll just angle that down a little bit. And see while I’m chatting to you. One of the best things that we can do is make sure we use everything we’ve got so loving our leftovers, whether that’s a meal with the day before and we’ve got some bolognese left, a couple of jacket potatoes, but also using the bits and bobs that aren’t the best.

So you can hear that piece of bread. It’s not at it’s ripest. We’ve got a glut of tomatoes as I’ve got here. Not quite in season yet. But you know, there will be a time people start thinking about it. And I’ve got some I’ve got some very stale bread. So it doesn’t matter if these tomatoes are squidgy and a little bit over. And it certainly is helpful if this bread is stale, because lots of different things. croutons, bread crumbs, lots and lots of different things.

But while we’re chatting, Jasmine, I was just going to prepare what I call Panzanella. It’s a stale bread and tomato stew. It’s Italian dish. And I think you can basically use what you’ve got in the fridge, but I’ve got a shallot here and I’ve got like a little charred red pepper. That was just an odd as you can see, it’s the very last straggler to go in there. And what I’m gonna do is I’m just gonna chop up the, sorry, it’s either my head or the tomatoes that you

 

Jasmine Birtles 

We want to see what you’re doing with your hands.

 

Mark Breen 

So I’m just going to drop those tomatoes. And as I say, it doesn’t really matter if they’re a little these ones aren’t but if these were a little bit ripe, absolutely fine. So they ignore going into the bowl. And what I’m looking to do is bring the flavour out of those tomatoes to turn this this kind of bread that could otherwise end up you know, getting chuckedd away into something delicious.

And I think, you know, we can all if you’ve been given some really really good ingredients you’ve been given steak and chips to cook and have been a source if you’re into eating meat or veggie what you know, you’ve been given some truffles to cook. We can all cook at that stage, can’t we? Yes, you know, there’s there’s a bit of skill that goes into cooking those dishes, but really, if you can’t cook those foods, you’ve got problems. The real skill comes in When, when you’re using kind of what you’ve got in the leftover odds and sods, or whatever you want to call them.

And that’s where just a little bit of imagination can come in. But it’s not complicated. It’s kind of what I want to get across to people. This is, this is how I cook on a day to day basis. Just, you know, I do a little bit of planning. And then at the end of the week, we have a little look in the fridge. We see what’s there or what’s been left in the freezer.

And we we turn it into something nice and heat it through, I think, is sometimes a little bit concerned about, you know, how can you eat leftover food? How long can you keep it for and that kind of thing? And have you had to make sure it’s safe for you and your family? Well, you know, the idea is say you cooked a bolognese for example . I’m just chopping up the shallot and popping it in with the tomatoes while we do this.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Excellent.

 

Mark Breen

When you cooked a nice bolognese dish, you know, whether it’s veggie, whether it’s meat, doesn’t matter, particularly. You then need to cool it down as quickly as possible. So get it out the pan Get it into a Tupperware with the lid off. Yeah. And then as soon as it hits room temperature, get it in the fridge, get a lid on it. And then you’ve got you got, you know, two days, to be honest, I go to three, but I’m not advising anybody on that. Well, if you think it’s going to be longer, what I mean, what do you do?

I gave everybody a little tip at the start of the IG Live, which was getting in the freezer, and you’ve got your own little takeaway restaurant set up, we need to do is make sure you heat, whether it’s in the microwave, which incidentally, is one of the most energy efficient ways of heating something or in a pan on the hob, you just need to cook it until it’s bubbling. And then happy days, you’ll be nice and safe, it will have killed any bacteria that was ever in there. And you’ll be in good shape.

Just coming back to this Panzanella. So I’ve just the tomatoes and the shallots in there. Okay, I’m just gonna pop, pop just a little bit. It doesn’t really matter what vinegar I’ve got. It’s not particularly expensive one but I’ve got red wine vinegar. It doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to be a fancy one, and a little bit of salt. That just takes the edge off the shallots. And it just starts drawing the juice out of the tomatoes and this juice is we know that bread is rock.

That juice when it starts to come out those tomatoes will be what kind of combines to flavour up that bread. So I’m just gonna leave that a few minutes. Jasmine I wondered if you can tell me, because I know you, and this is something I might know less than you about. I know you’ve got a campaign at the moment around freeganism.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Exactly. Trying to legalise Freeganism. Tt’s something I’ve been interested in for years. Because I used to be that you could basically go dumpster diving behind supermarkets and then they stopped it. I do understand it is that people thing they’re worried supermarkets are worried about people coming back. I had this and I got ill, and they actually got it out of a dumpster, so I do understand that but I think we need to have a way in which it’s it’s legalised.

So there’s some sort of, maybe you put a stamp on on the product or sign something saying I absolve the supermarket of any problems, any food should be just placed on it. Take it, take whatever you like. You know, as we said, we waste horrendous amounts, most of it is us. It’s not as much as markets but supermarkets. You know, there comes a point where they throw it away legally throw it away. So legally, we the people should be allowed to have it. We’ve got a campaign on Change.org saying legalise freeganism, so anybody could go to change.org put legalise freeganism in and sign that.

 

Mark Breen 

I mean, what I’m thinking about here like like sorting through that and it all makes really good sense to me. But at the particular items that you know if people are, looking at picking up free items what, you know, my I suppose my first question is what should they be looking at to pick up in that way?

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Exactly. Well. Probably meat fish are bit tricky. Honestly, again, you can do the you can do a sniff, but pretty much dairy I’ve I’ve seen yoghurt pots thrown out. I had yoghurt in my fridge for weeks, and it’s been tried literally. No. I think yeah. Fish, aybe not. Meat, I’d have to really I’d have to test it. But everything else. Fair game.

 

Mark Breen 

Oh, that’s Yeah, that’s really interesting. Just having a think about our conversation ahead of time, I was thinking about sort of the, the apps that are out there at the moment to help people kind of share leftover food, whether it’s through businesses or or through, I mean, what’s your favourite one of those if you’ve got one?

 

Mark Breen 

That’s really that’s really good. Yeah, I mean, you mentioned kind of sharing with neighbours and that kind of thing. And that’s, I think that’s it and that that is what the Olio app speaks to isn’t it, if you’ve got, in my case too many tomatoes. That’s really good, we’ve also we’ve got something called the Community fridges which is a great way not only so supermarkets food that’s that’s coming towards the point or is past the point that they can sell and also people if they you know if they’ve got an allotment and they’ve grown, too many courgettes.

They can be used as a kind of as a social space where people can can address the issue of food waste as a community. And we got around 300 across the UK at the moment. Yeah, we’re looking to take that those numbers up to 500. So people are means tested, there’s nothing like that it’s a social space they’re often in community centres, cafes, that kind of thing. And it’s just a great way of communities coming together and addressing the issue of food waste. We think seven and a half million meals or the equivalent of seven and a half million meals last year through that so.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Well, there’s Too Good to Go, of course, and there’s Olio, I think they’re both excellent. And so you needed at the moment. And the other things that I mentioned, there are a couple of websites I don’t know if you know that there’s Approvedfood.co.uk It’s worth having a look and Cheap Food as well. I think it’s cheapfood.co.uk.

Well, certainly approved food that’s the one thay I’ve used in the past. The idea of the take foods that are out of season or sort of end of lines. So it’s after it’s best before, not after sell by, not always by any means. Just out of season. I haven’t looked at the moment, they’ve probably got Christmas cakes and stuff like that kind of thing. I know they’ll get some Cadbury’s creme eggs in a few days I’m sure. It’s that kind of thing. You order online.

It’s a really good idea. Just any way to get the food to people’s mouths, I think the landfill another thing that I do and I’m sure you do this as well, I live fairly near street markets, near end of the day sometimes you can get a whole tray or something, maybe tomatoes, I’ve done this the past, a whole tray of tomatoes for a fiver. I need some like you togo right, here’s what you do with all of these. Quite often, I give some to the neighbours you know, because there are so many. And I say put into the freezer.

I’ve been interested in community fridges for a few years now because it’s it’s it’s not very known about and it should be more widely known and more of them.

 

Mark Breen 

That’s right. Yeah. I mean, there will be community fridges in one location. It could be one, two or three, three or four fridges in a freezer. And, yeah, it’s open up for the community. It’s not it’s not it’s not like a food bank, you know that that’s means tested and, and people come together, they might bring something of their own, and they might volunteer. And often the volunteers take taking the food banks, but we, I mean, we all know also that there’s aside from the big issue of food waste, we know that, as you said, the cost of living is going up.

We, we did some polling at Hubbub in March this year, and we picked up the one in six people are worried that they’re gonna go hungry in the next year. I mean, of course, I’m a chit chatter. But let me pause for a second because one in six people in the UK are worried that they’re going to go hungry in the next year. Let’s let that sink in just for a second.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

It’s huge. It’s 15%. Essentially, 15% of the population are genuinely worried that they’re going to go hungry. So wrong, so unnecessary. So yeah, the more people who can come out, help each other, to eat and to stop worrying about being able to eat the better. We need to come together and this is one of the reasons why I so love the idea of community fridges. By the way Mike Childs has commented that he said I always end up sharing surplus food that I’ve grown with neighbours and friends yeah.

 

Mark Breen 

I wish I was your neighbour. Just while we’re carrying on cooking, so sorry, just what we’re carrying on talking about you can see the juices come started to come out of this, I think the juices started to come out those tomatoes. So that is going to do my leftover very, very stale bread in just a moment. Because it’s gonna it’s gonna soak all of that. And just bring that bread back to life. I have got some olive oil. It’s an Italian dish.

And that’s something that a lot of people are doing. Because it’s what their supermarkets so or swap where they buy their food, whether it’s a local market or a product or a cheaper, cheaper supermarket. So I used to I used to love a website called Farm Crop they actually went bust last year but lovely farm produce delivered to your door but their prices went up and up and up and then they went bust the cost of food generally everywhere it’s gone into a nice spot.

So I am you know, I went around a little bit more for where I buy my food. I was in Aldi yesterday and got this one litre of olive oil, which is I think two pounds 69. So you’ve got to look out for those bargains. The other thing I’ve done is I’ve downloaded the Honey app, which gives money off at different different supermarkets from time to time with codes.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Yes, I have it actually I’ve got it on my laptop. Or you get what they call gold, honey gold, which you can use for other things. It is one to have I think about sharing. I’m not a member of Costco, but some people are. And if you remember, you know, you could go and get just huge crates full of certain things and then share it about with family and neighbours.

If you all get together everybody order, you know, I’ll have x number of tins of beans and x packets of crisps, a couple of goes, you get the big lots from from a wholesaler and then that spread down to friends. And that can bring things I mean, similarly, I think like I mentioned about the street markets. Get a few trays of these, then spread it around to some friends and everybody have some.

 

Mark Breen 

Yeah, I mean, those are really, really good tips. And I’m sure everybody in the chats got their own tips as well. I’d love to see more of you. Because I’m always looking for ideas. So if any of you there watching what I mean? What’s your top tip? I’d love to. I’d love to hear some of those.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Mince is a really good one I think it’s a quite a cheap meat eating lots of things in and putting kidney beans in other beans etc, that could really go further and as you set up stuff from yesterday or the day before but in a really clever way.

 

Mark Breen 

Well yeah that’s absolutely it, you know there’s ways to stretch your dishes isn’t that like a bit of a cheffy term, How can we stretch this? How do we keep some really good flavours but how do we increase the profit we’re in? How do we save some money? Actually mince is achieved me but I’ll tell you what’s a cheaper cheaper for them protein lentils.

So get some lentils through that bolognese. We did a price comparison actually on I think five different dishes if you go to the Hubbub Instagram account, it’s one of the more recent posts and compare the plant based version. And I’m not talking about the fancy, too much plastic packaging, plant based versions of things but I’m talking about proper cooking, beans and lentils and pulses, they’re incredibly cheap. And if people are worried about getting enough protein in their diet, that’s where I’d be looking to spend my money because you get so much more bang for your buck.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

I tell you something else I was going to say to you is about allotments. I said brother the other day, my brother lives in Sussex and he’s got a nice garden. He has a vegetable patch and got some fruit trees. But I said to him look seriously if I were in your position I’d turn your whole garden into vegetable and fruit.

Sadly I don’t I’ve got I’ve got a patio see I’ve got nice flowers and I love my patio but I could do with putting some vegetables out there but I will do some tomatoes at least some herbs. Those are something and I have seen certainly I can’t remember because but some of these pictures some vegetables being grown on like little cot and they actually look quite a bit you know some of the leafy vegetables some onions and certainly asparagus look really nice. So get some nice looking vegetables.

 

Mark Breen 

Even things like, I live in South London I’ve got a little tiny yard garden and a few plants, but I’ve gone last year I tried to grow some heritage crops delicious, beautiful but you don’t get many of them. So this year I’ve gone back to basics so I’m going courgettes, tomatoes and beans. And that’s it a bit few herbs all of those three things you can if you’re lucky enough like me to have a little yard or have a proper garden like some people have but you can grow all of those things on a balcony and I’ve seen that so yeah 15 litre pots. Use them again and again year on year.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Excellent. Carrie says grow bags Jasmine, you can grow in small places. Right grow bags and still grow things even in a small space. Now in hanging baskets. I’ll give that a go I guess compost bags as well. Absolutely.

 

Mark Breen 

We’re all learning today. We’re all learning today. We are absolutely.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Well this is what I say you know because I do moneyy courses and I do saving courses within within companies and I tell me your ideas because everybody’s got them, little hacks. They’ll try out like you said you’ve mentioned Honey. Handy ones. I happen to have that.

And then you know something that I often talk about with with getting cheap food is becoming a mystery shopper. I don’t know if you’ve ever done that. Some way back, I put an article on MoneyMagpie about it and I’d get free meals at Pizza Express. I used to get sandwiches delivered by Pret A Manger, I used to have a pub chain. And all you have to do is you have to write about it afterwards. I’m quite opinionated anyway. So be asked, you know, what’s the service? Alright? Did you own all of that?

 

Mark Breen 

Bit of fun as well as getting some free food, then. That sounds good to me.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Yeah, yeah. And also competitions, again, on Money Magpie wheat competitions every day, and some of them involve food. And then there are competitions. I mean, you can put something in Instagram, just put hashtag competition or comp, whatever. And loads of competitions will come up. And quite a lot of them will involve the food. Again, it’s great.

 

Mark Breen 

Yeah, well, that was, there’s lots of things out there, if you look for them. I’ve got one last tip that I wanted to give you I’ll squeeze it in, if that’s okay. And then what I’ll do is I’ll pop pop this salad up i’ve been making while we’ve been chatting out on the plate so people can see what you can do with you know, an old shallot, some lovely tomatoes and the stale heel of bread.

My last tip is around energy efficiency in the kitchen. So this is getting more and more of an issue. We all know what’s happening in Ukraine. And we know the impact that that’s having on food prices. And we know the impact, or we’re going to pass it by now if we don’t know already the impact that’s having on energy prices, which is not pretty. But the kitchen, you know, we’ve got our fridge we’ve got our cook would like and it’s one of the most energy explosive rooms in the house. And it’s the one to really keep an eye on. So I’ll give you just a few little hints but just a little bit of mindfulness.

I think when you’re in the kitchen, like what what’s going on in here, how am I cooking? Why am I doing this? So the first one is with the kettle, I did a little tests actually just to check that what what I was telling people on this was correct, but only boil what you need in the kettle, the kettle for either on or it’s off. And the longer it takes to cook the more energy it uses. So, so boil, the more energy it uses. So only use what you need. And I did a little test as you can someone asked me what about if I boil away the water, use 500 millilitres and come back and use the next 500 millilitres. I timed it.

Like cooking from cold and so boiling, boiling from warm, it’s more efficient every time to boil exactly what you need. And I’ll drop down the numbers for you if anybody’s that interested. The other thing is when you’re cooking, don’t keep opening and closing the oven door to have a look in because you’re letting the heat out all the time. cookers, like if you’re cooking one jacket, potato, cook five jacket potatoes and then chill them or freeze them and just warm them up because you don’t want to be using all that heat at that big space.

Just for one little jacket potato, keep your lids on the sauce pans and that’s that’s a good message for everybody because you know, otherwise the heats just coming out and you’re spending your money on gas and electric. It’s going everywhere. When you’re baking a cake, don’t bake a massive cake. Split the ingredients down and make some beautiful little muffins or cupcakes because they’ll cook in 20 minutes rather than 40 minutes. I think that’ll do for now.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Actually one thing I remember having a discussion with a friend. I said when it comes to cooking and boiling vegetables, you’re better off boiling water in the kettle first. Rather than letting the putting it in cold in the pan and heat up that way. What do you think?

 

Mark Breen 

I’ve had the same discussion. And I well, I’ve actually got a gas hob so I’m in big trouble this year in many numbers. But yeah, for me I think boiling it in the kettle it’s quicker Yes. And electric Electric is better for the environment and cheaper than cheaper than gas. So for me kettle then hob, but I’m willing to be proved wrong.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Yeah, interesting. It’s true, which is on the whole the biggest energy user apart from I’ve been looking at some I mean you mentioned microwave, but there are other way cheaper but Lakelands has a Remoska. Have you ever used one of those?

 

Mark Breen 

Is it a slow cooker sorry?

 

Jasmine Birtles 

It’s not slow. It’s a kind of mini pot, got a big lid, and the lid has an element, a heating element in it. So you just plug it into the wall. And it means that for example, if you just want to do a baked potato, who doesn’t, you can just do it in that rather than oven. I usually do is I sort of half cook it in the microwave And then I finish it off in the Remoska. And you can bake cakes. I do fish, vegetables all sorts. So it’s particularly good if you live on your own or just you just want it you know as you say or heat up.

 

Mark Breen 

That sounds great. Let’s be frank if you can’t afford an oven because probably a fair bit cheaper, isn’t it as well?

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Absolutely. Yeah, you can get I think it’s 50 quid now before but you can get them on eBay as well, secondhand. And the other thing of course is the airfryer I’m planning on people say you know you can cook everything. And it’s really really, really good on energy. Therefore, you know, cheaper to run.

 

Mark Breen 

Yeah, yeah, that’s I haven’t got one of those. There’s an old school cook so I do need to start listening to these little tip haven’t got a microwave, something I should get but I am I mean, I’m so good in many ways around food waste, but I could do a little bit more on some of these. Some of these areas actually. So learning all the time. Right What I’m gonna do I’m gonna plate this food this food and so I’ve been beavering away at while we’ve been been sharing all these great tips.

 

Mark Breen 

So this is this is the Panzanella made with some tomatoes which you know it could be as overripe as you like just in the past we might have thought I’m not sure about those. They’re the ones to use because they’ll be the juciest and then the stalest and we all heard me banging it on the surface, the stalest bread, the staler the better to be honest. Bread doesn’t tend to go mouldy, it tends to go mouldy if you put it in the fridge but it just tends to go hard. So that, I don’t know if we can see that.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

Yes, that looks lovely. And you just put salt and vinegar in it basically?

 

Mark Breen 

Yeah it had some some vinegar and some salt just to start it off. And then just to start to draw the juice out the the onion and the tomatoes and then a little bit of pepper, some olive oil. And I’ve just got a little bit of basil which was actually this this basil and I’m going to pop this out in the garden, 60p from Aldi yesterday.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

That’s good.

 

Mark Breen 

It’s not bad, is it? Happy days. I’m gonna I’m gonna go and have my lunch. I’m gonna say bye.

 

Jasmine Birtles 

It’s been great to speak to you Mark Thank you very much hopefully can do this again soon sometime, do another recipe. Thank you so joining us so Mark from Hubbub, have a look at Hubbub to get ideas for saving money on food and all sorts. Thank you so much.

 

Mark Breen 

Thank you for watching. See you.

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