Foodie fans raved over a slap-up feast at an exclusive pop-up diner, but were left eating their words when the chef revealed the main ingredient -- stale bread.
Reigning Great British Bake Off champion Nancy Birtwhistle joined forces with charity, Love Food Hate Waste, to dream up a menu with one requirement - each course had to contain bread which had gone stale.
The national charity cooked up the idea after their research revealed that around 24 million slices of bread are thrown away in UK households every day – and that almost one in five Brits have binned a forgotten loaf without even opening it.
Diners turned up for the three-course meal at a pop-up restaurant in London's Borough Market to find out the ingredient in all three courses was household staple, bread.
It was only after Nancy had supplied three simple, tasty courses of; a niçoise salad for starter with black olive croutons, moussaka with a breadcrumb topping for main course and a summer terrine for pudding, that they found out the bread was in fact stale.
Of the event, Nancy said: 'There’s an assumption with people, my family included, that stale bread means ‘gone off’ bread, fit for the bin.
‘’But in actual fact stale bread is an ingredient, and we need it for every course in the menu I cooked today.
'It wasn't until I came out of the kitchen at the end of the meal and revealed that stale bread had been used in each dish that they all gasped! But though the bread was stale, they raved about how much they enjoyed it.’’
Nancy, who impressed the judges of last year’s Bake Off with her no nonsense approach to baking, has spoken frequently on the importance of being thrifty with food. She has joined forces with Love Food Hate Waste to take part in the Use Your Loaf campaign to help people to make more of their bread and reduce the 24 million slices which go to waste every day in UK households.
Donned ‘queen of consistency’ by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, her journey to being 2014’s GBBO champion even saw her blitz dough in the microwave in the race to come out top.
Diner Holly Harwood, 25, a production assistant from London, said ‘’I really enjoyed the meal, the terrine was my favourite. I didn’t even realise it was bread as it tasted more like cake.
‘’I know that stale bread is often used in cooking and it shouldn’t bother people, because when prepared properly it tastes really good.
‘Maybe those who aren’t into cooking would be wary, but if they tried it they’d probably love it.
‘’I freeze bread a lot, but after today I’ll definitely think about other things I can use it for.’’
Clare Morfin, 48, a business development director from Great Dunmow, Essex, said: ‘’The nicoise salad was excellent; you could really taste the olives in the croutons.
‘’I think we’re all a bit guilty of throwing too much bread away, and with the economic climate we have in Britain right now it’s great to learn of new ways to make it go further.’’
It’s safe to say that Britain loves bread, in fact, almost half of the adults polled (49 per cent) said they munch on bread every day.
But research commissioned by Love Food Hate Waste to mark their ‘Use Your Loaf’ campaign found that bread often goes neglected with one in four respondents often throwing bread away before reaching the end of the loaf, costing us money.
Over one in ten in the survey of 2,000 said they’ll throw bread away when it passes its freshest state. One in five claimed that letting bread go stale was a common reason it goes to waste.
Emma Marsh of Love Food Hate Waste said, ‘’We are a nation of bread lovers; from the classic sandwich to good old fashioned beans on toast.
‘’It is shocking to think of all that bread going to waste each year just from our homes.
‘’That’s why we are thrilled to be working in partnership with Nancy to help the nation ensure that our beloved bread can be used in so many ways.
There are more tips, recipes and waste solutions at www.lovefoodhatewaste.com showcasing how we can all use our loaf.
To help the country get the most out of their loaf, Love Food Hate Waste and Nancy have shared their five top tips for bread success:
- Most bakery products have a “best before date”, which refers to quality. Your bakery products can still be eaten after this date, but may no longer be at their best.
- Sliced loaves and other bread products are all great for freezing and can be toasted from frozen as and when needed.
- Make slightly stale bread and leftover crusts into breadcrumbs by whizzing up in a food processor – these can be stored in the freezer to use later.
- Storing bread in the fridge can make it go stale faster. The best place to store a loaf is in a cool, dry cupboard or your bread bin.
- Freshen up a day old loaf by running it briefly under cold water and popping it in a hot oven for 10 minutes.
The campaign is also on the hunt for Britain’s best leftover bread recipes – enter the competition to win and find more tips, tricks and recipes by visiting england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/useyourloaf