Cooking and environment are Lisa Casali's passions. They are also how she earns a living, which perhaps explains why she has managed to combine the two so successfully.
Lisa, who lives in Milan, Italy, began experimenting about seven years ago when she wanted to learn more about what was in her food while at the same time reduce packaging waste. It was when talking with friends, chefs and nutrition experts that she learned something that changed her life: 'food scraps' are edible.
The food scraps to which she refers, of course, are things like peels, pods, cores, the stems of asparagus, the green part of leeks, the outer leaves of artichokes, the stems of asparagus - all things many of us would ordinarily throw away, unless we have a compost heap.
And so began her adventure to test and develop recipes using these 'scraps', which has since resulted in a cookbook, “La Cucina a impatto (quasi) zero
” Gribaudo, 2010 which means: “Cooking with (almost) no environmental impact”.
There are three rules to eco-cuisine: the basis of the dish must be a food scrap or leftover; all extra ingredients should be basic staples; and preparation must be quick and easy.
Her blog is filled with the most interesting and delicious-looking recipes. What looks very similar to angel-hair pasta is, in fact, noodles made from leeks. Cute cookies are made from the pulp left over in the juice extractor; there's also a delicious savoury quiche using vegetable pulp.
A leek tart, taglietelle with asparagus stalks, a vegetarian meatloaf made from vegetable peels and stalks all sound divine, as do pumpkin (or butternut) rind cheesecake and tutti frutti sorbet.
There's also a brilliant recipe using vegetable skins, peels and leaves to make your own vegetable stock powder.
Many of these are on my list of recipes to try, especially the leek tart, leek noodles and vegetable stock powder.
Find Lisa's blog (in English) here
. If you can read Italian or don't mind using an online translator, there are even more recipes at her Italian blog, here
All images by Lisa Casali, reproduced with permission.