April 1st may be April Fool’s Day, but in the elegant surrounds of the Lough Rynn Castle in Lovely Leitrim, it was turned it into April Food Day with the cooking talents of Joe Shannon and Ethna ‘The Burlesque Chef’ Reynolds.
Both chefs turned out delicious dishes for circa 220 attendees, including a veggie cake, soup, pork stir fry, stuffed mushrooms and pasta dish – all made from food that would have been thrown away. Ethna even demonstrated how to turn soggy vegetables into pickled wonders.
Joe provided some simple tips to avoid food waste…using boiled carrot water as a base for soup stock, using every bit of an orange to create a lovely syrup and how to store a vanilla pod in sugar to be reused up to five times when infusing custard with flavour. The resulting vanilla infused sugar turns a bland cup of coffee into a delightful treat.
Ethna is passionate about her food - she explained that soft apples, plums, pears and other fruit should not be thrown out, but used to make stewed fruit for eating with yogurt, porridge and used to make a quick and delicious crumble.
All recipes can be found online using either of the following links:
Leitrim’s Food Rescue event, the food waste reduction initiative of VOICE (Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment) was organised and sponsored by Leitrim County Council.
Mindy O’Brien, Coordinator of VOICE, urged participants to take the message of reducing food waste into their local communities. “We hope this event will inspire you to combat food waste at home, at school, at work and in the community.”
Leitrim County Council also hosted a seminar on food waste and the circular economy for local business and tidy town representatives before the food rescue event.
Carmel Coll, Leitrim Environmental Awareness Officer, believes that “businesses can improve their bottom line while adopting more environmentally-friendly measures”.
Speakers, including Colum Gibson from Clean Technologies Cork and promoter of the Stop Food Waste initiative, Joe Dolan from the environmental award winning Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon and Mindy O’Brien from VOICE all illustrated ways to reduce business costs through waste-reduction initiatives.”
She continued, “the Bush Hotel is inspirational, reducing its operating costs very significantly through a zero waste approach. This ‘zero waste’ template can be duplicated by other businesses.”
A huge thank you to all who contributed to the success of this event – in particular to Ciaran Reidy and all the staff of Lough Rynn Castle and to Eugene Murphy who did a wonderful job as Master of Ceremonies on the night.