How to be an Everyday Kitchen Magician

kitchen Every year, we Britons throw away 4.4 million tonnes of food and drink, an amount that apparently equates to a £480 loss for the average household. Richard Fox has produced a recipe book that shows how we can reduce the unnecessary waste and save money by stretching leftovers.

Fox describes Everyday Kitchen Magician as: ‘So much more than a recipe book’. It’s a lifestyle change that has you using up all those foods lurking in the depths of your cupboards, or hiding behind the ketchup on that top shelf of the fridge. It’s all about being creative with what you’ve got.

The layout of the book is excellent; Fox has cleverly gathered ingredients into food groups then listed them individually with the ‘feature ingredient’ of each recipe being the one most likely to be wrinkling or sprouting. He also includes alternative ingredients and configurations for many of the recipes to suit what you have.

One problem with Everyday Kitchen Magician is the photography. Fox creates recipes from his real leftovers then quickly snaps them before gobbling the meal down. Some of the recipes don’t have pictures at all (problematic when trying to visualise innovative inventions such as ‘Instant croissant trifle’ or ‘Cheesy profiteroles’), while other photographs are grey and uninspiring.

Fox doesn’t expect the reader to ‘keep vigil over the hidden corner of the fridge like an over-zealous traffic warden’, although this rather hits home in my experience: I stride brazenly into my parents’ house and plunge my hand into the back of the fridge – a perilous ‘unlucky’ dip – and compulsively rearrange the cheese shelf. So this book may not be for the likes of me, but would suit people who want to change their behaviour but are not sure how to go about it.

Taking Fox’s advice to ‘read the recipes with an open mind and a hungry heart’, here’s one simple snack to try – you can adapt the quantities to take into account how many bendy carrots you have.

RECIPE: carrot, onion and cumin fritters

Makes about 9 two-bite fritters


1 carrot, grated

1 onion, finely sliced

2 tbsp flour

3 tbsp double cream

1 tsp ground cumin seasoning

oil for frying

Combine all the ingredients, except the oil, in a bowl. 

Heat a heavy-based, non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the oil. Scoop up a tablespoon of mixture and form into a more solid mass with your other hand while still on the spoon. Gently lower the tablespoon of mixture into the frying pan, pressing down gently with the back of the spoon. Repeat the process until you’ve used all the mixture.

Fry each fritter for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown. Remove them from the pan and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.