Cook clever: how to save time and energy in the kitchen

The Guardian
2020-05-08 | Since 8 Month

Reducing waste in the kitchen isn’t just about saving food: the time and energy it takes to cook food are also important resources that are easily squandered.

The best way to save energy, besides loving your leftovers, is by cooking less: swap out a cooked element of your meal for a nutritious vegetable salad or raw dish (such as today’s coconut and lemon “cheesecake”); or make one-pot wonders that don’t use multiple cooker rings. And when you do need to cook more, make extra portions for the freezer.

Favour stove-top cooking over the oven, use the right-sized pan, with a lid. Invest in a pressure cooker to cut cooking times in half. Steam veg instead of boiling it, to save both water-soluble vitamins, energy and water.

When you do use the oven, fill it with other get-ahead dishes, don’t open the door unless necessary and turn it off 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time, to make use of the residual heat.

No-bake coconut lemon ‘cheesecake’
This plant-based “cheesecake” isn’t just for vegans, because the combination of coconut butter and blended cashew nuts is to die for: creamy, unctuous and satisfying. Unlike most cheesecakes, this one doesn’t need an oven or any heat source to make it, saving both time and energy. It will keep in the freezer for two to three months, or in the fridge for a three to five days. Once it’s set, cut into portions so that you can take what you need, when you need it, and leave the rest in the freezer.

Serves 12

160g mixed nuts – any will do
200g cashews, soaked overnight in cold water and drained
200g soft dates
½ unwaxed lemon, zested and juiced
100g coconut butter
150ml coconut cream
100ml maple syrup or other unrefined sweetener
Edible flowers, to serve (optional)

Blend the mixed nuts and soaked cashews into small pieces in a food processor, then add the dates and blend again until it comes into a ball (add a tablespoon of water if the mixture seems too dry). Tip the mixture into a greased, 20cm cake tin and press out evenly.

Blend the coconut butter, coconut cream, syrup and lemon juice until smooth, then pour on top of the cake base and shake to level. Freeze for three hours, to set, then portion and serve topped with lemon zest and optional edible flowers.

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