What To Do With Left Over Bread

One of the aspects of wartime cookery and living on rations was that they really got a handle on ‘waste not want not’. And although we are not living on imposed rations now, there are lots of good reasons why we too still should not waste. During the wartime years, added to the fact that food was strictly rationed, people knew that lots of the food had to be brought in by sea, and that each time those merchant seamen sailed they were risking their lives to bring it in. Also, although the nation needed feeding, the seamen were also needed to maintain the military needs. So people had a social responsibility about their own tiny contribution to that by not wasting what food they had. It could be argued that we too have a social responsibility as more and more of our food is grown, shipped and flown in from abroad. We are asked to think about our planet now, the carbon footprints of our food, how far it has travelled to us and how much energy is used in its production, harvesting and transportation to us. Wastage then is still something which we need to consider carefully, with an eye on not just our own generation, but generations to come.  It is estimated that in the UK, each family wastes around £400 worth of food each year. That is made up of buying things which we then do not eat, as well as not really having a handle on left overs or things left over or beginning to get past their best, such as fruit, veg and bread.

If all our bills are going up and up, and our wages/income are either staying the same, or reducing then we have to admit that £400 a year is a rather handy boost, gained without too much pain by just being slightly more attentive to our buying, and our usage of food. If we were handed £400 in our hands, we would all be very pleased! Well, we can actually gift that to ourselves, and the taxman will not even get his hands on it! Bonus!!

So to start things off, here are a couple of things to do with bread which is going stale, I dont mean growing green mold…! I mean just a few days old and not as palatable or soft as it was!

Fairy /Melba Toast.

Cut wafer thin slices of bread and bake in a moderate oven until crisp and golden brown. Store in an airtight tin. This will keep for months and can be used like buscuits. Great with pate.

Summer Pudding.

Here is an old recipe and it is really tasty.

225g mixed fruits like blackcurrants, redcurrants, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries

150 ml water

40-50g sugar

150g stale bread cut into slices 5mm to 1cm thick

Stwe the fruit with the sugar [or honey] in water until tender. Cut a round of bread to fit bottom of pudding basin 570ml size [1 pint]. Line the sides of the basin with fingers of bread cut slightly wider at one end than the other. Fit the fingers together so that no basin shows. Half fill the lined basin with stewed fruit. Cover with scraps of bread. Add remaining fruit and cover with a layer of bread. Pour over the rest of the juice and cover with a weighted plate or saucer. Leave for at least two hours to cool and set. Turn out carefully. Serve with cream, ice-cream, creme fraiche, natural yoghurt or just as it is.

Summer Pudding


Cut or dice slices of bread into 1-2cm square pieces. Put bread on baking tray and drizzle lightly with oil, then toss well with your hands.

Spread out in single layer and bake at 180 degrees C fan oven for 8-10 minutes. Store in airtight container. Use different flavoured oils for different tastes. Great with soup.


And last but by no means least…my favourite cook, Nigel Slater showing us a yummy new take on an old favourite, Bread and Butter Pudding made with coconut milk.


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