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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tropical fruit cake

One of the (admittedly many) things in life that winds me up is the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables jettisoned routinely in this country.

According to campaign group LoveFoodHateWaste, ordinary households throw away almost 50 per cent of the total amount of food thrown away in the UK.

This approximates to a staggering 7m tonnes of food and drink a year, more than half of which is food and drink we could have eaten.

The group claims that wasting this food costs the average household £470 a year, rising to £700 for a family with children, the equivalent of around £60 a month.

As long ago as 2008, the Institute of Food Research highlighted the appalling waste of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Here are some statistics: 

  • 359,000 tonnes of potato goes uneaten every year, including 177,400 tonnes of potatoes thrown away whole and untouched (49%). 
  • There are 190,000 tonnes of apples thrown out each year, including 178,800 tonnes thrown away whole and untouched.
  • The food that is bought and then thrown away uneaten in the greatest proportion is salad; in the UK 45% by weight of all purchased salad is thrown away (60% by cost). 
  • 26% of fresh fruit is thrown away untouched. 

Source: IFR report 2008

With this in mind, I have sought to minimise any waste in my house, going to great lengths to, for example, blanch and freeze vegetables, pulp apples into jams, sauces and puree (which can be frozen) and use up any leftovers to create tasty dishes.
Wasting food costs the average household around £60 a month
Last night, I decided I had seen enough of my remaining top quarter of a pineapple, some sad grapes and sorry-looking figs loitering in my fridge. But instead of throwing them out, I turned them into a delicious Tropical Fruit Cake. A note: I always wash fruit before eating/cooking with it.

Tropical Fruit Cake. Photo credit: SimoneySunday
1/4 slightly less fresh pineapple, finely diced
2 slightly less fresh figs, peeled and then finely chopped
1/2 cup of Raisins (fresh and leftover from the Christmas pudding and Christmas Cake)
Grapes, chopped in half
2 tablespoons of spiced rum
3 cups self-raising flour
250g of Flora Light (slightly salted)
2 cups of Demerara sugar
3 medium eggs
1tbsp of ground ginger

How to
Pre-heat the oven to 180.
Whisk the butter and sugar together until it creates a smooth fluffy paste
Add the eggs and stir well
Add the fruit, rum and ginger and stir thoroughly
Slowly fold in the flour until the batter is mixed well
Put into a pre-greased baking tin (I used a 30cm loaf tin)
Bake on 160-180 (depending on your oven) for 30-40 mins or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean*
Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then wrap in silver foil to keep it moist.
Tuck in with a nice cup of tea.

*bear in mind if your knife enters a chunk of pineapple, it will streak, so try stabbing it twice. Go on, it can be quite cathartic. I promise.

The result was a lovely, fruity, spicy cake, soft and moist and crumbly. You can also pretend it is healthy because of the fruit. Ahem. I might also try adding glace cherries next time for some additional lift.

If someone could also please recommend a good camera for food pics, I'd be grateful. I don't currently have a working camera and my Samsung 3S is not great at capturing photos of food or anything remotely close-up. Thanks!

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