As a cook, I know that it is easy to allow a bunch of herbs wilt and die, or a handful of fruits turn extra ripe and brown. Food waste happens in every kitchen, on every farm, at every retailer, and in every institution to the point where over 88 million tonnes of food are wasted in Europe every year and 30% to 40% of the supply is discarded in US. Needless to say that this has serious consequences on our resources and environment, and fighting food waste is now hot topic. Chefs across the world mobilize to create meals with unwanted ingredients. Companies donate their expired goods to charities, and initiatives promoting undesirable produce multiply.
Growing up in Lebanon, I watched economy and ingenuity determine the way mountain people cooked. Foraged wild plants from the orchard next door, stalks, meat scraps and bones resulted in simple yet tasty meals.
We, in our kitchen at home, can also make a difference by tapping into tips from the past or simply using our creativity. A bowl of withered cherries, a peach so ripe that it almost dissolved in my hand, and a few shriveled apricots were the idea behind this light and moist cake.
- 140 g / 4.9 oz. butter softened
- 200g /7 oz. sugar
- 4 whole eggs
- 190 g / 6.7 oz. ground almonds / almond meal
- 50 g / 1.7 oz. plain white flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 40 g /1.4 oz. corn flour/ corn starch
- 600 g / 1.3 Lb mix of stoned apricots and cherries
- 2 tablespoons cognac
- 40 g / 1,4 oz. milk
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar/ powdered sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C / 320°F and weigh all the ingredients.
- Butter and flour a cake tin.
- Place the stoned fruit in a bowl and stir in the Cognac.
- Place butter and sugar in the mixer bowl with the paddle attachment and cream until soft.
- Add the eggs one at a time, and incorporate the vanilla.
- Keep beating the mixture for 5 minutes.
- Combine the flour, almond meal and corn starch into the batter.
- Finally add the milk.
- Arrange few apricot halves and whole cherries in the bottom of the tin and roughly chop the rest of the fruits before folding them into the cake mixture.
- Pour the batter into the tin, smooth the surface with a spoon and bake for 60 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Turn out onto a serving dish. Leave to cool completely before dusting the surface with icing sugar.