Three Recipes, a Mission, and a Veg Box: Welcome To Our Sustainable Dinner Party

Connor Durkin and Emma Hilary Gould with art by Holly Brown

Each year, about 1.6 billion tonnes of food is wasted globally. In the UK, that’s  about 15 million tons of food wasted, with nearly half of that estimated to be from households. And while it’s surprising to hear the big numbers, we knew how much food went to waste in our student flat. For us, this meant designing a book of recipes that took into account practices of sustainable eating like sourcing locally, going meat-free, choosing in season produce, foregoing animal products when possible, and, crucially, throwing away less food. 

Every recipe we have selected here is centered around produce from this week’s vegbox from The Tree, a student-run program that partners with local farms around St Andrews to bring students a seasonal selection of vegetables each week. With the majority of students moving out of halls after their first year, we want to bring our love for and belief in the importance of cooking to other students because, from both a health and environmental perspective, cooking is the most sustainable option. 

We want this to be a space where we all can share and learn recipes using ingredients found in St Andrews, like the nearly-rotting kale at the back of your fridge or the delicata squash just dropped off in your vegbox. Thus, we would like to invite you to our sustainable dinner party. We start with a delicata squash and kale salad, both from The Tree, with a warm cider vinaigrette. Next, we have a potato, leek, and parsley soup made with local potatoes and leeks from The Tree. Finally, we finish off with a carrot cake, both the carrots and eggs brought to you, again, by this week’s vegbox. Let’s get cooking!

Delicata Squash and Kale Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette (Vegan)

Salad:  

  • 1 bunch kale 
  • 1 delicata squash  
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 5 oz goat cheese 
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries 
  • ¼ cup pecans 

Vinaigrette:  

¾ cup apple juice 

2 tablespoons cider vinegar  

2 tablespoons minced shallots 

2 teaspoons dijon mustard 

½ cup olive oil 

1 teaspoon salt 

½ teaspoon pepper 

Salad:  

  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees celsius. Cut ends off of the squash then cut it in half, lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and then cut into slices about ½ inch thick.  
  2. Place squash slices in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until evenly coated.  
  3. Spread out squash slices on baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Flip slices over and continue roasting for 15 more minutes. 
  4. Meanwhile, cut off stocks from kale and chop leaves into bite sized pieces.  
  5. Add to a large salad bowl, followed by goat cheese, dried cranberries, and roasted pecans.  
  6. Pour dressing over the salad and toss.  
  7. Add slices of squash to the top of the salad and serve.  

Dressing:  

  1. Combine apple juice, cider vinegar, and shallots in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook 6 to 8 minutes.  
  2. When the apple juice is reduced to about ¼ cup, remove the saucepan from heat.  
  3. Wisk in the mustard, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  
  4. Pour dressing over the top of the salad and toss.

Potato and Leek Soup

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil  
  • 2 large or 3 medium leeks 
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced  
  • Half a bunch of celery 
  • 1 ½ pounds potatoes thinly sliced 
  • Salt 
  • Ground black pepper 
  • 2 dried bay leaves 
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme 
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage 
  • One cup and 4 sprigs of parsley  
  • ¼ cup dry white wine  
  • 7 cups vegetable stock 
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme 

Steps:  

  1. Cut leeks in half vertically and carefully wash out all silt and dirt. Then thinly slice the leeks horizontally. You can include the dark green part if you like but feel free to stop at the light green and white parts. 
  2. In a large pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add sliced leeks and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Heat for 7 minutes, stirring as necessary.  
  3. Add the celery, potatoes, bay leaves, sprigs of thyme and parsley, and dry sage to the pot.  Season with additional salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. 
  4. Add a quarter cup of white wine and cook while stirring occasionally for around 3 minutes until the liquid is almost dry.  
  5. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer. Add half a teaspoon of dried thyme then cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. 
  6. Remove the bay leaves, thyme sprigs, and parsley sprigs. Now, stir in parsley leaves.  
  7. Either using an immersion blender or regular blender, blend soup until preferred smoothness.  
  8. Garnish with parsley and celery leaves and crushed black pepper. Serve warm with some nice bread and enjoy! 

Carrot Cake

Cake:  

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda  
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • ½ a teaspoon nutmeg  
  • 3 cups finely shredded carrots 
  • 1 cup vegetable oil  
  • 4 eggs  

Cream Cheese Frosting:  

  • 6 oz cream cheese 
  • ½ cup of butter 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 3 ⅓ cups powdered sugar 

Steps:  

  1. Grease and lightly flour two 9 inch diameter baking pans. Preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  
  3. Add in shredded carrots, vegetable oil and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on medium until combined. Then continue beating for 2 minutes.  
  4. Split the batter between the two baking pans and bake at 160 degrees celsius for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  5. Cool on a wire racks  
  6. Meanwhile, in a mixer, beat together cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla extract. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar, beating until smooth.  
  7. Frost the cake. If desired, add chopped pecans around the top edges of cake. Slice it up and enjoy!

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