Waste Not, Want Not – Simple Ideas To Help Eliminate Food Waste At Home

In a bid to exercise Zero Food Waste in the home, the wonderfully clever and creative Jennifer Oppermann shares her top tips and a really delicious recipe with us. 

Leftovers is not a pretty word, to most, it conjures up images of not so appetising congealed stuff at the end of a pot or pan or rotting fruit or vegetables. Food waste is a huge issue at this moment in time and we are all guilty of it to one degree or other. There are champions such as chefs and environmental hero’s trying to educate us to be more mindful of what we do with, leftovers or food that is reaching its use-by date but that is a whole other matter.  We can by trying to use all the food we buy or grow to the best of our ability before its deemed unfit to eat buy incorporating them into tonight’s dinner.

Generally, the types of food which I find are left over in my home would be rice, pasta, different types of cooked meats such as chicken, ham or beef.  With a couple of staples from my larder I usually transform the leftovers into a meal that people enjoy eating. 

At the weekend if I’m cooking a joint of meat or a roast on a Sunday for the family there will be left over meat and one of the ways I use it up it to make a slow cooker meal with some added extra bits, perhaps some onion and garlic, spices and herbs. One of my favourite slow cooker dishes is Aromatic Asian spiced pork. The best part about slow cooker meals is you can have all the ingredients prepared the night before and pop it on before you leave the house and when you return the aromas wafting around the house are heavenly and all you need to do then is cook some crunchy vegetables serving it with bao buns.  

This year I decided to jump the GYO (grow your own) wagon and being a rookie in the vegetable gardening world I found myself in a position that I had a glut of broccoli that was going to seed, which means it had started to sprout yellow flowers.  I did not even know this happened, so I asked Conor of Food Space Ireland was it still good to eat it and he confirmed that it was.  With that in mind I created this recipe for an Asian stir-fry using black bean, pea and Sichuan pepper with the flower sprouting broccoli. I had some leftover fermented black beans which I had rehydrated for a chicken dish the night before so that was one of my base flavours.  This very tasty dish is a quick and easy one, which is great served as main dish for vegetarians or as an accompanying dish to a main meal.  You can also serve it cold in a lunchbox the next day too.


Broccoli Black Bean Stir-Fry Recipe


Head of broccoli 

30g garden peas

1 tbsp dry fermented black beans

1 clove of garlic grated

1 tsp fresh grated ginger

1/8 tsp Sichuan peppercorns crushed 

1 tbsp oil for cooking


  1. Add the fermented beans to a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave for 20 minutes to rehydrate the beans. After the 20 minutes crush the beans in the water and set aside.
  2. Prep the broccoli by washing and chopping into florets(small pieces).  
  3. Heat a pan and add the oil. Add the in the broccoli, black beans and their water, and stir fry for a minute or two. Add in the ginger, garlic, peppercorns and peas, stir and cook for a further 2 minutes. 


FEATURE WRITTEN BY: Jennifer Oppermann 


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