Rachel Allen Plans Food Without Waste

Ever wondered if you can freeze something? Or thrown away leftovers because you’re not sure what to do with them? Rachel Allen has the answers.

No waste

Confused about how long you can keep your roast chicken? About to throw away some sad-looking fresh herbs? Stop right there. Rachel Allen takes us through everyday recipes and how we can transform the leftovers into whole new meals.

It doesn't have to be difficult. It's about knowing which food rules are important and which have a bit of flex, planning ahead and keeping your store cupboard well stocked.

"I kind of assumed that everyone knows how to use leftovers to make meals so I was actually writing different kind of show and book," says Rachel when I meet her London ahead of the series starting. "But I kept hearing people saying they didn't know what to do with leftovers and you keep hearing about food waste. It was my sister who finally said, you should do a show about that.

"A lot of people are worried and they don't trust their own instincts because fewer and fewer people have been brought it with it at home. It's not second nature anymore."

Here are her top tips for saving time and money and not throwing away food.

EAT ONE, SAVE ONE

"If you're making a lasagne or a pie, make two and freeze one," says Rachel. "If you have any fresh herbs in your fridge and you don't think they're going to last, you can whizz them up with a tiny bit of olive oil and freeze that or keep it covered in the fridge and that will preserve it, like a pesto. They can be expensive so try to grow some even in one small pot. You can put parsley, chives and rosemary in one pot.

"So many things freeze, people are always surprised by it. One thing to remember is that if it's not good now, it'd definitely not going to be good when it's been frozen and thawed. Freeze things like fish as soon as you buy it so that it's fresh. If you're buying really nice sausages, freeze them straight away rather than risk having to throw them out later.

PLAN YOUR MENU

"If you've got enough time to plan in advance, then it really is worth having that extra lasagne in the freezer," says Rachel. "It's also about knowing what you can whip up very quickly, like simple quesadillas, a soup using up the vegetables you have in the fridge.

"A bit of organisation goes a long way and the busier you are, the more important it is for you to sit down at some point to write down what you're going to eat for the week. It helps with your cooking and shopping. If you know you're going to be busy on Thursday night, make your pasta sauce on Wednesday night and make double portions s you can freeze half."

SHOP WISELY

"Choose less expensive cuts of meat," says Rachel. "They are the ones that people don't have the confidence with. I cook a neck of lamb in the show and it cost less than £4 and feeds 4-5 people with leftovers for a shepherd's pie the next day.

"Your butcher is the expert and we should we using them more and going in and asking them what costs less."

STOCK YOUR STORE CUPBOARD

"Always have chopped tomatoes, always have tins of beans, like haricot beans, butter beans and chickpeas, always have onions and garlic," says Rachel, reeling off her store cupboard must-haves. "I always have chorizo or salami for chopping up into a tomato sauce for pasta. I always have cheese in the fridge, it does last.

"I hope that I'm making people think and giving them confidence," she says. "We've all become so scared of food, so paranoid of getting food poisoning. Obviously there are some very basic rules, like if you're handling a raw chicken to wash your hands straight after. But I think best before doesn't mean bad after. Take the food out, smell it, taste it - we need to trust our instincts instead of just chucking."