World Food Day

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In the UK and other countries World Food Day is celebrated every year on 16th October. The aim is to help fight world hunger and make sure that people all over the world have enough to eat. The theme for 2016 is “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.” Here are three small but significant changes that you can make at home for World Food Day.

Eat less meat

Meat production is not an efficient use of resources. Livestock contributes to nearly two thirds of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. If you normally eat meat every day, try having 2 or 3 meat-free days a week. Try our delicious rice and chickpea pilaff recipe. Rice is a staple crop that supports millions of families all over the world.

Rice and Chickpea Pilaff (serves 4)

You will need:

  • 1 large onion
  • 100g butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 heaped tsp turmeric
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes or powder (optional)
  • 150g brown or other rice
  • 300ml stock or water plus stock cube
  • 1 tin chickpeas
  • 100g frozen peas
  • handful of chopped mint, parsley or other herbs (optional)

What to do:

  • Finely chop the onion.
  • Melt the butter and oil and add the onion. Cook gently on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until soft.
  • Turn up the heat. Add the cumin seeds, turmeric, cinnamon stick, chilli if using, and rice. Continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
  • Add the stock and bring to the boil. Put a lid on the saucepan, turn heat down low and leave to simmer until the rice is cooked. If you are using brown rice you may need to add a little more water.
  • Add the chickpeas and frozen peas, stir through and heat gently.
  • Garnish with the chopped herbs, if using.

Grow your own veg

Buy a few packets of seeds and follow the instructions for when and how to plant them. Start simple with peas, beans, salad leaves, tomatoes and onions. Even if you don’t have a garden you can grow plenty of food in a window box. If it’s 20cm deep that’s enough space for salad leaves. With a 30cm deep window box you can be more ambitious and grow carrots and beans. Fresh herbs are fantastic too.

Reduce Food Waste

Every year we throw away over 7 billion tonnes of food costing 12 billion pounds. Save money and protect the planet by reducing your food waste. Plan ahead so you don’t buy food you don’t need. When shopping check what you already have in the cupboards, and make a list. Check ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. Use up leftovers whenever possible.

Cauliflower and Pasta Bake (serves 4)

This simple family meal uses up old bread and cheese that might otherwise be thrown away.

You will need:

  • 1 cauliflower
  • 200g penne or other pasta
  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 200 ml milk
  • 100g cheese or cheese rinds, grated
  • 100g bread – old crusts are fine!

What to do: 

  • Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 5.
  • Cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces and and steam briefly until just cooked (2-3 minutes).
  • Cook the pasta according to instructions on the packet and drain.
  • Make a white sauce. Melt the butter, add the flour, and cook over a low heat for a minute. Add the milk, stirring well, and bring to a simmer. Cook for a couple of minutes til the sauce thickens. Stir in the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Make breadcrumbs from the bread.
  • Put the pasta and cauliflower into a shallow oven dish and pour over the white sauce. Stir gently and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
  • Put into the oven and cook for 15 minutes til browned on the top. Serve immediately while hot.