Dish of the Day: Nose to tail baking and the philosophy of minimal wastage

Lily Vanilli

lily 225x300 Dish of the Day: Nose to tail baking and the philosophy of minimal wastageI change the menu week-to-week at the bakery, which leaves me free to experiment, adapt and change recipes constantly. Over time I’ve developed a philosophy of minimal wastage for maximum flavour and I always try and get everything I can from an ingredient I’m using, even the parts that usually get thrown away. With that in mind, here are some tips for turning the bit you don’t need into something you can use.

Peach/Cherry pits:

If you’re making a dish with peaches or cherries, reserve the pits and steep them in milk or cream – if you can use the end result as an ingredient in the same dish, more the better as it will give it a twist that perfectly compliments the fruit’s flavour. (Cherry ice cream would work well, or a peach cake)*

Use 1 peach pit (or 3 cherry pits) per 200ml cream or milk, place in a small saucepan over a medium heat, bring to a simmer, then take off the heat and allow to steep overnight. Return to a simmer briefly, then strain and allow to cool before using in your recipe.


Reserve the seeds from your pumpkin or butternut squash to make a salty spicy snack or to use as a finish for your soup. Toss the seeds in a light coating of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and paprika to taste and toast on a baking sheet in an oven preheated to 180C for 8 mins. Allow to cool and sprinkle on top of your soup just before serving.

lily 2 225x300 Dish of the Day: Nose to tail baking and the philosophy of minimal wastageEggs:

The ultimate baking waste product if you’re not careful: a meringue recipe will call for half a dozen egg whites without yolks, while on another day you’ll be making a custard and end up discarding the whites.

To avoid this reckless wastage here are my top tips:

You can keep leftover whites or yolks for up to three days in the fridge if sealed. You can also freeze them airtight for up to three months. Remember to label the container with either the weight or the number of yolks or whites.

Save leftover whites for: Flourless cakes, meringues, marshmallows, Swiss buttercream or macaroons.

Save leftover yolks for: Custard, ice cream, egg wash, pâte sucrée or pastry cream.

*Note: peach pits contain very small traces of a substance which breaks down in digestion to form cyanide (as do apple, cherry, nectarine seeds) – which sounds like cause for alarm, however, to put it in perspective, it is less than is contained in the equivalent weight of black beans, and is similarly rendered harmless in the cooking process. Although, if you are unsure or concerned, avoid using them.

Lily is also running the world’s first agony aunt baking column:“Recovering from a Bad Bake-up”. Send in your baking disaster stories of unexpected failures in the kitchen/recurring problems to

On the third Friday of the month we will feature a Q&A with advice to help you recover.

Lily Vanilli’s Sweet Tooth is available from Cannongate books, 2012

Follow Lily on Twitter @lilyvanillicake

For more information visit

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  • bellebrise

    At least the pips can be saved.

    What you do not see in the Great British Menu is the 80%+ of ingredients that never end up on a plate. For example, one cauliflower is used to make green smears on four plates.

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