Thursday, 29 January 2015

Cooking to save money and waste - lots to think about!

A few photos of our efforts last night ... looking forward to the next two sessions with Ali and everyone else. An enthusiastic crowd.

It's surprising how many dishes you can make from a random collection of ingredients - many reduced in the Co-op or forgotten in the fridge or cupboard.

From the ingredients we had we decided to make our own pasta from scratch. Eggs, flour, water ...

It's ready when you can read through it ...

Cut to any shape you fancy - we did tagliatelle strips and a delicious tomato sauce

Hands off ...until the photos have been taken. Mini pizzas and our very own home-made pasta ... really.

Next week we aim to make a main course or two for our group of eight, again using random ingredients and one or two surprises from people's cupboards.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Our first R U Up 4 It? Polytunnel is open for growing! Congratulations to Muirtown Primary.

A few shots from yesterday's lively (if cold) opening ceremony. It was a fantastic occasion, thanks to everyone that came along. This shows that one school, with the support and enthusiasm to do so, can make so much of their outside space - it's just as important a classroom as the classrooms inside the school.   We were joined by the Provost of Inverness, Moray Firth Radio and a big crowd of parents, grandparents, staff and most importantly PUPILS! They served hot food, drinks, apple crumble and my favourite was the plum jam - almost everything came from their school garden (with a little help from a shop or two).

Norman and Toni from RoWAN cut the ribbon (note the colour matches RoWAN's green).

Pupils finding out how much can be grown, and what needs to be done in the tunnel, all year round

The soup and school-made bread warmed us all up. Thanks.

Strawberries and a grape vine being planted in one of the eight raised beds. 

If your school is interested in finding out more about the joys a polytunnel can bring why not look at There are monthly growing guides, top tips and links to the huge number of schools that have tunnels in the Highlands and further afield. The Muirtown polytunnel was supplied and put up by Highland Tunnels based in Nairn, so plenty of choice if you'd like to see if there's one to suit you. Other Highland schools that have tunnels include:
Inverness High School, Lairg Primary School, Beauly Primary School, Tarradale Primary School and Loch Duich to name a few.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Creative Christmas Cooking with Ali

Last week we had a tasty couple of hours at Charleston Community Complex learning some really simple but sparkling recipes from Ali Mitchell, thanks to the R U Up 4 It? food waste project. A quick chat with those that came along came up with lots of new suggestions on how to deal with some foods folk regularly find themselves throwing away. Onions can be kept for a long time (weeks, even months) if kept cool and are in good condition. Old bits of bread can be made into breadcrumbs and then added to sausage meat to fill it out, top off a tartlet and of course go towards bread sauce. It will keep in a bag in a cool place or freezer for quite a while. For more tips have a look at

Ali will be sharing his top tips and recipes for money- and waste-saving cooking on the Charleston Academy Community Complex Facebook pages. Why not do the same?

Dishes we made in only 1.5 hours included
  • cranberry sauce with orange
  • Brussels sprouts and bacon bits with butter and honey
  • Brussels outer leaves (not to be wasted) drizzled with lemon, butter and sugar
  • Sausage meat "roll" with cranberries, sage, thyme and oregano, breadcrumbs and honey
  • Goat's cheese, Stilton, herb and cranberry sauce tartlet
  • Carrots and parsnips tossed in turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, honey and lemon

Bill - carefully considering the Brussels spouts leaves drizzled with lemon, honey and butter

Charlene adding a delicate touch of honey to the sausage meat.

Just cranberries, orange and a wee bit of sugar. Not too sweet as this is to accompany meat.

The evening's favourite - remainder goat's cheese and Stilton and tonight's cranberry sauce on a thin base of ready-made puff pastry. What could be easier?

Top tip - put the shiny side of the foil against the sausage meat. Not on the outside.

Nissil adding home-grown rosemary to the tartlet.

The busiest member of our cooking group was Lucy, a pupil at Muirtown Primary School. Delicately slicing a juicy orange for the home-made cranberry sauce.

Ali showing us the finer points of using knives.

Sausage meat mixed with breadcrumbs from left-over bread, herbs and an egg. wrapped foil and baked in oven for a sausage snack later.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Getting ready to grow ... Muir of Ord Gardeners visit Tarradale's Tunnel

Roy and Eleanor of Muir of Ord Gardening Club checking out the potential of the Tarradale Tunnel.
The polytunnels RoWAN have provided to Tarradale and Muirtown Primary Schools are not just for pupils and staff to enjoy - but members of their communities too. Hopefully with a bigger pool of interested growers the limitations of the school timetable and holidays won't stop some fantastic projects taking place. The next few months provide valuable time to plan prepare and plot for the edible treats ahead.

Let us (toni.clark(at) know what you do over the winter to keep your polytunnel in good shape

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Cooking to save money (and waste) and Charleston Community Complex

Getting to grips with filo pastry for samosas
Here's a similar recipe to the one Ali made up on the night

Home-grown tomatoes are often freely available from neighbours and friends

Fresh herbs add flavour to your dishes and colour and scent to your garden. Chepaer than buying dried ones.

During only 2 hours we made rissoles, pasta, ravioli, pasties, gnocchi,  soup and tomato sauce.
We are hoping to run more sessions very soon, if you are interested in coming along - please get in touch. Email toni.clark(at)

Next round of food waste audits coming up

Just a reminder that Norman and Toni will be visiting you soon to carry out another survey of waste produced at school lunchtimes. We are Dingwall Primary this week and Dingwall Academy next, and hopefully all other schools before the end of the year.
These audits are important as they are the last ones of the three-year R U Up 4 It? project and it's vital we have record of how well everyone has done at reducing the amount of food and packaging that gets thrown away at lunchtimes. It'll help plan what happens next.

Inverness schools now have their food waste collected so let's see if that makes a difference to how much of their school lunches pupils throw away.

Please get in touch if you've got dates you'd like us to come in for. The only space needed is enough for four boxes and room for pupils to get access to put their waste in the right one.

Boxes for sorting cooked food, uncooked food, packaging and drinks containers

Weighing the waste at the end is always popular and gives everyone an idea of how they might do better next time.

Kinmylies Eco Group members make their very own yummy pear smoothies.

Pick a few pears from the school garden
Cut the pears into quarters
Peel carefully

Put the pears with a chopped banana in the pan

  Some of the Eco Group tasting their own Pear Smoothie.

Karen the school's cook loves working with the pupils  
and absolutely no waste - except the pear peel and banana skin which went on the compost heap ...