Focus Corner

Love food, hate waste, and make Cornucopia’s Sweet Potato, Coconut Milk and Coriander Soup

December 8th, 2008 by   (View Author Profile)

Today I will be talking about sweet-potato.gifhow to avoid food waste and still eat great food. Handy hints and a recipe for Sweet Potato, Coconut Milk and Coriander Soup.

Did you know that 45% of purchased salad leaves are thrown out, according to research cited by the WRAP report? 4.4 million apples are thrown out in the UK each day. In Ireland, we don’t yet fully seperate food and other types of biodegradable waste in our stats (is that symbolic or what!) but we do produce 2.28 million tonnes of what is called biodegradable municiple waste. This is 177% more than was produced in 1995.

So how do we avoid this?

People are rightly concerned about the price of food. And yet, 1/3 of the time with food, people do the following: choose, purchase, drive home, pack away, look at, wonder about, ignore and then, finally, let it go off and throw it away. I’m as guilty as the next person. Look up the love food hate waste site for their cook once use twice tips. Their site is full of useful ways to avoid wasting food.

While I love the quadrant (local seasonal organic and fair), winter presents its own unique challenges. It is also the case that there are other worthwhile eco foodie tendencies to consider. These include raw, vegan and what could be classed as the love food hate waste approach.Each of these has merit.

Along with the quadrant, and recipes from the cornucopia book, we’ll dip our toes into these tendencies over the next short while. (All the time, however, the quadrant remains the rock upon which is built a solid food world.)

I decided to rummage around the back of my presses for todays recipe and coconut milk was one of my first finds. While coconut milk is fairly kid friendly, I’ve found it hard to get my kids into it. Also, it tends to be matched up with spicy dishes (Korma being one of the mildest) so again, its out for the kids – for now!

Celery too – can’t seem to get overly enthused about celery. However, I seem to have it occasionally, and know it works well in soups. So, aided and abetted with the new Cornucopia cook book, I found a great way to prevent the waste of that coconut milk and celery at the back of my press. You probably have something there yourself you aren’t using – check love food hate waste for tips

For a longer article on food waste: here

Without further ado, here is a recipe for sweet potato, coconut and coriander soup, based on making full use of the dark corners of the presses, taking into account the kid’s love of sweet things and maximising the availability of organic veg food in the shops. A distinct soup.

(slightly abridged) recipe for

Sweet Potato, Coconut and Corriander Soup

1 onion
1 carrot
2 sticks celery
1/2 leek
5 medium sweet potatoes
1x200g block creamed coconut
50g fresh corriander
unrefined sunflour oil
salt and pepper
2 lt water

Note: I tend to use butter instead of oils in soup, because it tastes better and is actually healthier when cooked (not an option for vegans)

Roughly chop the onion, carrot, celery and leek. Rinse the leek. Coat the base of a large pot with sunflower oil and place on a medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables and stirr briefly to coat them. Cover the pot with a lid ,turn down to a low heat and sweat for 15 mins, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, peel the sweet potatoes and chop them into medium pieces. When the veg have sweated, add the sweet potatoes, as well as the block of coconut (broken up a bit) and the water. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce to a low heat and simmer for c.30 mins.

Remove the pot from the heat, add the fresh corriander (keep a bit for garnishing) and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary, season to taste, garnish.


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