A couple of weeks ago I posted about a brilliant book called ‘Making a Meal of It’ by Jane Willcox and Rosemary Cadden, which focuses on the issue of food waste and how to reduce it in your own home. You might recall some startling statistics from that post, such as the fact that Australian’s waste billions of dollars worth of food every year. Someone remarked to me the other day that for every piece of food you save at home, there will be 200 pieces thrown away by the local restaurant down the road. Times that number by 1,000 and that’s a heck of a lot of waste. I don’t know how accurate those numbers are, in fact I’m quite sure he was plucking them out of the air, but consider that scenario alongside the fact that up to 2 million people in Australia alone reported going hungry last year it becomes quite clear that there is a serious disconnect in this system which sees hundreds upon hundreds of tonnes of good food going to waste while people go hungry.
Enter OzHarvest, a fantastic initiative started a little under 8 years ago in Sydney by Ronni Kahn, an inspiring woman who, having worked in the hospitality industry for the last 20 years, was determined to do something to address the mountains of waste that was a natural by-product of the industry. She set up OzHarvest in a small office in Sydney and collected the first meals in November 2004. Since that time, OzHarvest has expanded to most states in Australia, with a fleet of 15 vans collecting leftover meals and delivering to those who need them most. Each month they rescue 441,500 meals or 147 tonnes of food and deliver to over 300 charities across Australia. The yellow OzHarvest van can often be seen cruising around the streets of Adelaide and if you’d like more information about how you can support the work that they do then be sure to head on over to their website.
This month the team from OzHarvest will celebrate their 8th birthday, to coincide with this auspicious occasion they are releasing a cookbook which features recipes from 44 of the country’s most celebrated cooks including Maggie Beer and Adam Liaw. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go to OzHarvest. To give you a taste of the kind of recipes you’ll find contained within these pages, have a look at Adam Liaw’s recipe for Malaysian fried bananas with coconut ice cream below.
- 400ml coconut milk
- 300ml thickened cream
- 110g caster sugar
- 150g self-raising flour
- 1 tbspn cornflour
- 2 tspns baking powder
- 200ml ice-cold water
- vegetable or coconut oil to deep-fry
- 4 large ripe bananas, peeled and sliced in half
- Make the ice-cream first:
- Combine the coconut milk, cream and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for 5 minutes, ensuring it doesn't boil over.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before putting it in the fridge to chill, about an hour.
- Once chilled churn in an ice-cream machine.
- To Make the Banana Fritters:
- Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder into a large bow and add a pinch of salt.
- Mix in the water, take care not to over-mix the batter - ie. a few lumps are fine.
- Pour enough oil into a wok to cover the bananas while they fry.
- Heat the oil until hot (190 degree centigrade if you have a thermometer).
- Dip the bananas into the batter and then slide into the oil.
- Deep-fry for 6-8 minutes until the batter is golden brown and crisp and the bananas are soft and cooked through.
- Drain on some paper towel and serve with the ice-cream.
Used with permission.
Photos by Allan Benson
Recipe from the OzHarvest Cookbook – Used with permission.
Photos by Allan Benson