I remember many years ago when I was in the early days of my career having a manager who was very strict on portion control. A packet of prawns had to make a certain number of Prawn Cocktails, Apple Pies were cut exactly into 6. This was strict cost control and you could account for every penny and protected the profit made. Waiting Staff and Chefs at the end of every shift would compare how many portions they had ordered and sold and calculated the money taken and made sure it all agreed. They would not finish until it did.

However, the most memorable event was him checking the waste bin. I fit was more than half full there would be an investigation as to why. Waste was not tolerated and indeed he would demonstrate quite clearly by throwing pound notes into the bin representing the value of the items thrown away. How many of us today could do the very same thing?

So many people I know look at items in their fridge and if a day past a best before or use by date will throw it away. The senses should determine whether an item is past usability and certainly many things could be salvaged and used but, so few have the culinary skills or intuition to be that thrifty.

So please when you do you next fridge raid just surprise yourself and put a value on what you are throwing away and maybe you should change your shopping habits and not buy so much. Plan your menu and foods and negate this terrible waste. In 2017 it was estimated that we threw away £13 billion of food. Research shows that as much as 60% of this could be avoided. So please be mindful.

Gratinated Chicken, Broccoli and Rice

1 Small Onion chopped

2 Chicken Breasts cut into cubes

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

4 Cloves Garlic minced

3 ozs Rice uncooked

10 oz Cream of Chicken Soup (1 can)

24 fl.oz Chicken Stock

8ozs Broccoli Florets

4 ozs cheddar cheese

1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped

  1. Heat the Olive Oil in a shallow pan. Add chopped Onion and cubed Chicken. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes until the Chicken starts to brown. Season to taste. Stir in Garlic and cook for another 30 seconds until Garlic gets aromatic.
  2. Add the Rice, Chicken Soup and Chicken Stock. Start with 1-pint Chicken Stock and if more is needed add more until rice is fully cooked. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook over medium heat until the rice is fully cooked, stirring occasionally, should take about 15 minutes or so. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Add the Broccoli Florets and half the Cheese then continue cooking for 2 more minutes, until Broccoli softens a little. Sprinkle over the top with remaining Cheese and place the pan under the grill for a couple minutes, just until it melts and starts to brown a bit.
  4. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.