Caerphilly Cheese Scones

On Saturdays’ check of the fridge, I discovered a whole host of dairy products dangerously close to their use by date. A couple of eggs, the remnants of a yoghurt pot and a whole block of Caerphilly cheese that I’d bought (despite all my own advice) in a BOGOF offer.

Lacking in inspiration, the only meal idea I could come up with was a cheese omelette and a high cholesterol omelette at that. Also, following a rather unhealthy few days of eating out, the thought of a cheese filled week was filling me with indigestive dread.

But a quick google search  came to the rescue showing  me that caerphilly cheese and eggs are the perfect base to a delicious batch of savoury scones. I followed the following recipe from  Goodtoknow.co.uk:

Ingredients

  • 200g (7oz) self-raising flour
  • Good pinch of cayenne pepperImage 5
  • 100g (3½oz) butter
  • 125g (4oz) Caerphilly cheese, grated
  • 3 spring onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 2 level tbsp plain yogurt

The best thing about the recipe, was that I had all the items (except the spring onions) already in stock. I opted to buy a bunch to use later in the week,  but I’m sure the scones would still taste great without them.

Now I’m not much of a baker but even for the me the recipe was super simple to follow:

Method

  • Set oven to Gas Mark 6 or 200°C. Sift flour and cayenne pepper, into a bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add just over three-quarters of the cheese and the chopped spring onion, and mix well. Stir in the eggs and yogurt. The dough will be very soft. Knead very lightly on a floured surface.

I got to the breadcrumbs stage pretty quickly:

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However, I was uncertain about the consistency of my  dough. It was super sticky but rather than adding more flour to the mix, I just made sure my work surface and rolling pin was super floured and rolled extra gently.

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  • Pat out dough to about 2.5cm (1in) deep and cut out 5 rounds. Knead the trimmings and pat out, then cut out another 2-3 scones. Put the scones on the baking sheet and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, and more cayenne, if you like.

I’m also not sure I’m very good at measuring as my scones certainly weren’t 1 inch deep.

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  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. Best served warm with butter and a sliver of cheese

Despite the sticky dough and my inability to measure, the scones turned out super fluffy and light and are a great snack sized portion.

Image The best thing about the scones is that they can be frozen, so 3 ingredients on the edge of their use by date have now become a great savoury snack to be eaten at a later date.

I also can’t wait to sample Goodtoknow.co.uk suggestion of having them as a savoury meal with some poached egg and spinach.

And, if you’re wondering what happened to the rest of the block of cheese and remaining spring onions, I discovered a delicious recipe for some Caerphilly Cheese & Leek Pancakes where I substituted the leeks for the left-over spring onions and half a red onion that I found in my fridge.

So from potential food waste came 2 delicious meals, all costing pennies in additional ingredients, and no boring omelette in sight.

Shop but don’t drop! (How to shop to reduce food waste)

Following on from last weeks blog about the basics of meal planning, the next stage is the shop.

You should already have your list for all the ingredients needed for your planned meals, so make sure that you don’t leave the house without it. Sticking to the list should make your shop relatively easy, although the supermarket can be littered with many potential food waste mine fields.

Now I have the benefit of living very close to a supermarket, this means that I can pick up ingredients throughout the week with little or no effort. I tend to pick up the bulk of my shop on the Saturday but leave any perishables that I know I don’t need until later in the week. I’ll pick up these remaining items later in the week which means they’re fresher when I come to use them and if there’s been any curve balls during the week, with meals being missed, it will help to reduce food waste.

One of the important things about the list is to ensure that you’ve got down quantities needed for the recipes, this will stop you buying bulk ingredients that aren’t needed and will later rot.

The fruit and veg aisle for me is the most likely to result in food waste, I tend to never buy pre-packaged vegetables. Generally the quantities are much higher than needed, you also can’t always assess the quality of the vegetables and quite often pre-packaged fruit is actually higher priced than the individual items.

Another supermarket trick that I find can lead to increased food waste is the BOGOF and multi-buy offers. Now I’m all up for saving cash but in reality, you’re not saving if the food ends up in the bin. Before I take advantage of any offer, I ask myself the following 2 questions:

Will I use it before the use by date?

If not, can it be frozen?

If the answers no to both of these questions, then I leave it on the supermarket shelf.

My final tip would be the food storage, I basically freeze all items that can be if I’m not using them over the next two days. This again means that if any thing crops up during the week and I have to skip any of the meals planned, the products don’t have to be thrown away. Before I freeze the shopping,  I split up the packages into portion sized freezer bags to avoid having to defrost more than needed when it comes to use the food

And to be honest, as shopping tips go, that’s all I have. The meal plan and list really is the key, but I would love to hear from anyone who has their own tips.

Fail to plan, plan to fail (the basics of meal planning).

Now I’m certainly no saint, and food (very occasionally) gets thrown away in my house. This tends to happen when I’ve not planned ahead.

Saturday mornings in my house are spent with a cup of tea, a scurrage around the kitchen cupboards to see what perishable items need using up, and some time in front of my computer planning the meals for the week ahead.

This might not be the ideal Saturday morning for many of you, but believe me, a quick 30 minutes of planning will not only reduce your food wastage, but is likely to reduce your food bills as well.

THE BASICS

Little Miss Hubbard…

The first step in my weekly meal planning is to see what ingredients I already have in stock. These ingredients will form the basis of the following weeks meal plans. Perishable items such as fruit and veg are to be used up first, whilst any items that are frozen or have long-shelf lives can be used if they fit into a recipe that incorporates the “must use” perishables.

Planning ahead…

My partner and I have pretty busy lives and our schedules are never the same each week. Sometimes we’ll be home and eating together every night at 7pm, other weeks we’ll only see each other at breakfast. To ensure that this doesn’t result in thrown away food, I check our expected schedules for the week before I plan the weekly shop. This means that I’m not planning additional meals that won’t get eaten, it also takes into account time available which impacts whether I’m cooking up a culinary storm or emptying a tin of beans into a saucepan.

Where to start…

So, mentioned earlier were the perishable items already lurking in the kitchen cupboard, these will be the starting point for the meal plan. The ingredients might include an onion, some potatoes, cheese on it’s use by date etc…so therefore my recipes for the week have to contain these items. How you plan your recipes is up to you, you might have a full database of recipes in your head, be an inventive chef who can knock up a new invention with the available ingredients, or be like me who uses the powers of the internet and a meal planning app.

The meal plan…

To start, I’ll use the above 3 ingredients as a basis for my meal plan. I’ve got potatoes and onions, and I might have some sausages in the freezer, therefore with a few extra ingredients I reckon I can knock up a yummy sausage casserole. What I have will make 4 portions, therefore I can take left-overs for lunch, save them for a night when I haven’t got time to cook, or freeze for a later date.

I’ve now got some cheese to use up, I probably had to buy some tomatoes for my sausage casserole and cheese and tomatoes sound like a pretty tasty base for a pasta bake. I’ve now used up all the perishables that I had in, but probably had to buy some additional ones for the recipes above. Therefore I repeat the same process for the new ingredients and keep repeating until I’ve got a full weeks plan.

Don’t worry if you’re not a confident cook, the fundamentals of meal planning still apply, whether you cook everything from scratch or rely more on sauces and meals that come out of a jar or packet. However, hopefully you’ll find that introducing new recipes into your meal plan will increase your kitchen confidence.

The List…

The final piece of the plan is the shopping list, write down all the ingredients and quantities needed for your weekly meals, don’t forget the weekly essentials and add any snacks that you want for the week ahead, and hey presto, your meal plan is finished and you’re ready for your shop…