Simon Bryant’s tips for a smart kitchen
We like a man who embraces the exclamation mark with the same enthusiasm he embraces food. Simon Bryant is one such man.
Chef, real food advocate and fair trade ambassador, Simon was beamed into Australian living rooms for many years as Maggie Beer‘s co-star in the ABC’s The Cook and the Chef. Here, Simon has been kind enough to share with FoodWise his very favourite tips for keeping a smart, resourceful and waste-free kitchen. You’ll be on the bandwagon in no time.
Author | Simon Bryant
1. DOWNGRADE YOUR FRIDGE! Just because you get paid weekly it doesn’t mean you need to fill a whopping fridge weekly, some food just doesn’t last that long and we all know what the veggie drawer can look like at the end of the week (semi dried mushrooms anyone!). I actually have a small bar fridge for this very reason and just buy a couple of days worth of fruit and veg a few times a week from the market, its fresher and tastes better to boot
2. GROW YOUR OWN HERBS. Most recipes call for “a couple of sprigs of this or that” and you are often left with a bunch of manky herbs a week later. If you grow your own a quick snip with the scissors in the garden solves all your problems.
3. BUY LOCAL AND PREFERABLY ORGANIC. A well grown veggie that has not been over watered and cold chained for weeks will last for so much longer in your fridge. Hit the farmers market and see that a cabbage really can last 4 weeks!!!
4. LOOK FOR RECIPES THAT GIVE YOU TIPS ON WHAT TO DO WITH THE TRIMMINGS ie. a good chicken recipe that points you to make a stock with the chicken bones, a corn recipe that uses the cobs to make a soup, good chefs are used to using EVERYTHING and their books often give little tips like this.
5. PLANT A FRUIT TREE. It’s like having a green grocer in your garden.
6. MAKE DOG FOOD! My pup eats all my raw fruit and veggie trim, left over grains, raw bones (including fish) from when I process meat, I always work with a dog food bucket when I am prepping…google the BARF diet on what you need to supplement a raw dog diet with (they need some essential oil like flax, minerals from kelp, honey and yogurt amongst a few other items and you have the most nutritional dog food that your dog will love and a smaller amount of waste in your bins at the end of the week).
7. BEWARE OF CONDIMENTS AND PANTRY ITEMS! Whose fridge doesn’t have a million of these little jars lurking and waiting in dark corners, keep a tight little array of staple pantry items that are useful and that you will turn over (like good olive oil, good salt, good vinegar rather than a million types of oil/ vinegar that you will never get through before they are rancid)
8. USE A CLEAN KNIFE/ hands/chopping board and have a bunch or clean rewashed take away containers on hand when preparing food!!!! Often food spoilage is from cutting (eg a cabbage) with a dirty knife. After a couple of days storage the cut surface has spoilage from cross contamination on your knife. When you buy (or harvest) veggies, make a “new” cut where the “farmers knife” may have been before tucking them away in the fridge (often asian greens, brocolli ect will spoil at the base and this spreads up the stem from a none to clean knife cut from harvesting).
9. RESURRECT SAD LOOKING HERBS AND VEGGIES by popping them in tepid water for a few hours and then drying them and repack in airtight containers (ideal for wilted looking greens and delicate herbs). They will re hydrate and come back to life quite often. Always remove any foliage that is getting yellowed or slimy from herbs and leafy greens cause its not just “one bad apple” that will spoil the bunch.
Simon Bryant is a face well known to regional and urban Australia cooking, recently releasing his début cookbook and tribute to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, “Vegies”. For more information, check out his top chef profile or visit his website.