Waste Not Want Not

Reviewed by Vicki Ravlich-Horan  Recipes by Sarah Burtscher

Food waste, it’s a bigger problem than plastic yet one many of us are not concerned about.  What’s the harm in throwing that crusty dry loaf of bread away? Or that over ripe banana you know no one is going to eat?

The problem is this all adds up and contributed to an estimated $1.7 billion worth of food being thrown away. Worse still if it heads to landfill, where roughly 157,389 tonnes of food ends up according to Love Food Hate Waste.

Waste Not Want Not is a cookbook tackling this problem. Author Sarah Burtscher is a mum of three with a zest for cooking. Not a trained cook but one that knows her way round a kitchen, both at home and commercially, Sarah hates wasting food.

The book tackles the 10 most wasted foods, from bread (the most thrown away food with 15,174 tonnes wasted a year) through to bananas, apples, potatoes and rice. The book is divided into chapters from the fridge, pantry and fruit bowl and within these are recipes spanning from breakfast to dinner using those ingredients we all waste.

Incidentally, leftovers are the second most wasted food group, but Sarah says, “I don’t like the word ‘leftovers’. It somehow conjures up ‘unworthy’ food. Food is food … to be eaten not binned.” Therefore, there is no section dedicated to leftovers in Waste Not Want Not, but instead many tips on how to use, store and avoid having leftovers which she often refers to as ‘last night’s’, or ‘forgotten’ or ‘to be reimagined’ food.

While there are recipes in the book any competent cook could create (Leek and Potato gratin or Forgotten Vegetable Soup), there are many more innovative ones to really get you thinking what food waste is and how you can use it, like the apple cider vinegar recipe using apple core and peels. Or the cake using banana peels!

Whether you are trying to save money or the planet, this book is a great start!
RRP $39.99


Dishevelled Sausages

This is a cheeky take on a Kiwi classic from the Jurassic years – some of you younger lot may not have heard of Devilled Sausages.

This is relatively quick and easy with fewer pantry staples than in the original recipe. The BONUS is that you get to use up apples, which I keep harping on about because we throw out 5117 tonnes a year totalling a grand $14,818,152!

Serving Size: 5–6 portions

10 small or 6 large sausages – plain beef works best but any favourite works (there are great non-meat sausages on the market these days and these work a treat too)
2 tbs (approx.) high heat oil – I use grapeseed oil
2 brown onions, roughly chopped
4 large garlic cloves , smashed and roughly chopped
1 leek , finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced or grated
dash of Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar
2 or so cups of chicken stock – low salt is preferable
2 tbs of Ten Minute Tomato Sauce (page 154) or store bought
2 apples, cored and cut into thick segments, not too thin – green apples are ideal as nice and tart
squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbs cornflour/potato flour

In a large pan that has a lid, add some of the oil and saute the sausages till browned.   Set aside on a plate.

If the sausages are really fatty I lightly rinse out the pan. Replace on stove on a low to medium heat, add more oil and saute the onion, garlic, leek and carrot until soft.

Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar.

Add the partly cooked sausages back into the mixture.

Add the chicken stock to cover plus the Ten Minute Tomato Sauce and bring to a boil; lower heat to simmer gently.

Add apples and cook with the lid on till the sausages are cooked through.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Put a couple of full spoons of the liquid into a cup and quickly stir the cornflour/potato flour in till smooth, then add to the dish, stirring thoroughly to thicken.

Let cool with the lid off and serve with mashed potatoes.

They are the family favourite: if no spuds, rice, pasta or a grain would be fine to serve.

I add a handful of chopped baby spinach, the kids don’t. Sigh.

French Toast Tray Bake

There are a number of bread or bakery product recipes in this book and for good reason!

29 million loaves of bread each year are wasted by New Zealand households.


This is quick and easy to make in the morning: let the oven do the work, and it makes a good pud. In France, the dish is called ‘pain perdu’, meaning ‘lost bread’. Why lost bread? Originally, people made French toast from stale bread in order to make use of bread that would otherwise have been thrown away

Serving Size: 4–5 portions (photo is a double mixture)

6 slices bread, buttered
1 cup frozen berries of your choosing
2 eggs
2 tbs sugar – I used coconut sugar
2 cups milk/milk alternative – I used oat milk
1 tsp vanilla essence ½ tsp cinnamon
icing sugar, to dust
maple syrup and fresh berries to serve

Preheat the oven to fan bake 180°C

Cut each slice of buttered bread in half diagonally to make two triangles. If you are using a loaf of bread, carefully slice thin slices then do the same.

Lay four bread triangles butter side down.

Sprinkle with frozen berries and repeat to form layers.

Finish with a layer of bread with the butter side up.

Beat the eggs and sugar together, add the milk and vanilla. Pour over the bread and butter and sprinkle the top with cinnamon, if using.

Leave for 15 minutes or so for the bread to soak up the custard.

Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown and the ‘custard’ is set.

Dust with a little icing sugar and serve with some yoghurt or cream and fresh berries, drizzled with maple syrup. Also lovely with fried banana and bacon!

For a less crispy top, cover with foil when cooking (I like it crispy)


About the Author

Vicki Ravlich-Horan

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