Food and Entertaining

Turning Trash Into EDIBLE Gifts | How To Cook That Ann Reardon

Welcome to How To Cook That, I’m Ann Reardon and in this week’s episode we are re-using trash and other things to make gifts. When you add up household waste, agricultural waste, building and civil engineering and industrial waste, all the human beings on Earth produce 15 billion tonnes of waste a year. Or 2 tonnes each every year! One way we can help with that … you’ve probably heard it before. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repair. We are going to look at a few different ways you can recycle and re-use things for gifts. The first one involves chocolate because it’s yummy. And instead of buying molds, food at the shop often comes in plastic trays to protect them like these dried mushrooms, which are great in soups so I’ll use them later. This has a really nice shape to it, so we can just re-use that instead of chucking it out. Pour in some tempered chocolate. Now if you don’t know how to temper chocolate I have a whole video explaining that and I’ll link to that at the end. Tempering just makes it set at room temperature. Give it a bit of a shake to level it off and get rid of any air bubbles and then add some toppings of your choice … I’m using some roasted coconut
some freeze dried strawberries and some dried fruit and nuts. That takes it from a store bought gift to a homemade gourmet block of chocolate. Lots of biscuits or cookies also come in trays. Just have a look at the packaging things come in before you throw them out. See if you can use it to make a unique gift. If we take the tray that the wafers came in and add a layer of chocolate across the bottom, then we can push some of the wafers into the chocolate in a single layer and then cover the top in chocolate and you’ve got a Kit Kat style block of chocolate that’s homemade. You could of course use one of the longer biscuit trays
just add some tempered chocolate in to the tray, making sure it’s all the way to both ends. and then give that a little bit of a shake to level it and then add some chopped up cookies. Now depending on who this gift is for, you can choose their favourite type of cookies or lollies or whatever you want to sprinkle on top. I’m going to add some mini M and Ms for some colour. Now if yours is bulging at the side, like mine is, the chocolate is pushing it out of shape just add a little bit of string or tape to the sides to hold it in place while the chocolate sets. We’ll come back to those in a little while. If you need to give a gift to a friend, instead of buying something new, why not visit your second-hand store and see what other people have given away. It’s going to be different every time you visit obviously, but normally you can pick up some nice looking glass jars and even some unique things. Just take a look around the whole store for ideas. I found a candle fondue burner, I can definitely use that. Now when you get home you obviously want to remove any labels and give them a really good scrub to make sure they’re clean. Now to make something to put in them. First let’s make some meringues. All you need for that is egg whites and sugar. You can add a little pinch of cream of tartar if you have it or a squeeze of lemon juice to help stabilize the egg whites. And then whip that on high speed until you get really stiff peaks. I’ll write out all the recipe quantities for this on the howtocookthat.net website for you so you can easily make them there. Pipe them onto a lined baking tray you can make little small cute meringues or large ones and then you just bake them in a slow oven to dry them out. Once they’re baked leave them on a tray to cool completely and then just pop them into your jar. You’re going to need an airtight container for meringues and if you’re short on cash, then baking things like meringues that have lots of air in them makes an ideal gift because it fills a large volume and it looks big. Another thing that has lots of air in it is marshmallows. To make them all you need is glucose or corn syrup sugar and water in pan and then some gelatine. I’m using sheets, you can use powdered gelatine if you can’t get the sheets. The sheets do have less flavour to them so they’re better for this sort of recipe. Then I’m going to add some vanilla, you can add mint or whatever flavour you like there you can even swap out the water for some lime juice that makes a really nice lime marshmallow. Heat the sugar mixture until all the sugar is dissolved. Just lift up your spoon to check that you can’t see any sugar crystals anymore. And then pour that into a mixing bowl and add in your gelatine and let that melt. It should do that pretty quickly. Then you want to whip that on high speed. This is making a foam and the gelatine as it cools is going to stabilize that and make it set. Pour that into a lightly greased lined container, look at that marshmallow! And then just leave that to cool completely. It doesn’t need to go into the fridge, just room temperature is fine. Once it’s set, pull it out of the container, sprinkle it with some icing sugar and cut it into chunks. Look at that huge chunk of homemade marshmallow. I want to put that into the fondue kit but I think I should put honeycomb with it too, another candy that has lots of air in it. In a pan, put some sugar glucose syrup and water and get this ready, this is just baking powder and bicarb soda but you need it ready to go. Heat the sugar mixture over high heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Again just lift up your spoon and check if there’s still sugar crystals, if there is, keep stirring until it looks nice and clear like this. Now you want to wash down the side of the pan using a wet pastry brush. You do this to get rid of any sugar crystals that might be on the side of the pan, and if you don’t do that, it can cause the sugar in the mixture to crystalize back out, which we don’t want. Keep heating without stirring until it starts to go golden and then turn off the heat and sift in your baking and bicarb powder. Give it a super quick stir, you don’t need to stir much, just enough to mix it in and then tip it immediately into a lined baking tray or you can use a lined heat-proof bowl. Anything with sides works best and then leave that to cool. Then you can shatter that into chunks and store it in an airtight container or wrap it immediately so it doesn’t go sticky. Put the fondue burner into a box with some chocolate melts. You’d need to melt these in a microwave and then the candle just keeps it warm, the candle is not going to melt it. And then add a bag of your homemade honeycomb and a packet of the marshmallow you made, and I have heaps of marshmallows left over too, and that makes a great gift. But what if you have zero baking skills and you’re looking at my honeycomb and marshmallow and thinking that’s too hard for me then all you need to do is look up my chocolate chunk cookie recipe and measure out the ingredients and layer them up in a jar. Putting different coloured ingredients next to each other makes it look more interesting. Write the instructions neatly on a label, they just need to add half a cup of melted butter and bake the cookies for 15 minutes. And tie that onto the jar with string and you didn’t have to do any baking yourself. Now before we check on our chocolate, let me tell you about the sponsor of this episode CuriosityStream. This is one of the best-value streaming services you can get, it’s just $14.99 for a whole year if you use the coupon code ‘How To Cook That’ when you sign up and there’s so much on there that I want to watch. They have 1000s of curated original documentaries and shows about things like history, nature, science, tech … check out this 2 storey camera! And so many other topics. There’s even an episode about innovations in recycling plastic waste. Can you believe this building is made from recycled plastic, they made all these air bricks and locked it all together, it’s pretty impressive. You can stream to any device, anywhere and I’ll put a link to that below so you can check it out. Now for our blocks of chocolate. Tip it out of the mold, wrap it up, now you should probably use foil here, not plastic but I’m using plastic so you can see the chocolate in the video. Then wrap your own custom label around it, you can put happy birthday or personalize it with the person’s name, whatever the occasion is. The pattern on the wafer one turned out pretty cool, I like that one. The only thing I don’t like is the recycle symbol so I’m going to stick a H2CT sticker over that bit. The one in the mushroom tray is my absolute favourite, it looks like it was made as a chocolate mold because you’ve got little sections where you can break off pieces of chocolate. Now both sides looks equally good. Which one of these would you prefer to get? The wafer block, the patterned fruit and nut block or the cookies and M&Ms block. Or perhaps you’d rather the fondue set, or the cookie mix or the meringues. Here’s the ‘how to temper chocolate’ video for you. Thanks to all my patrons for your support, these guys are absolute legends. And if you liked this video, let the algorithm know by liking, commenting, subscribing and watching more H2CT episodes. Make it a great week and I’ll see you all on Friday.
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNiDJHq11J8

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