Make banana bread not food waste

Picture: Cookery School

Published: 7 Feb 2019

We asked Rosalind Rathouse, founder of Cookery School, to fill us in about the scale of food waste in the UK and what we can do in our homes to combat it. – read on for her top 10 tips and favourite recipe for using up bananas.

So did you know that 7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK annually, much of which is still edible? Cooking in bulk and then freezing the leftovers is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save the pennies at the same time. 

We are so concerned about the exorbitant amount of food that goes to waste in the UK, we ran a survey asking what our customers what their biggest source of waste is. Using these findings, we have created a class dedicated to the browning banana, the surplus potatoes and other bits and pieces people find themselves throwing away at the end of the week.

We want to teach clever, easy and creative ways to use up these ingredients to make tasty dishes whilst reducing food waste.Half of our respondents admitting not to using stalks or peelings as well as tossing bagged salad, potatoes, pasta, bread, fresh herbs and milk regularly. Our Waste Matters cookery class demonstrates not only recipes from popular ‘to be binned’ ingredients but also how to recycle ingredients and what to do with leftovers.

 Here are our top 10 tips for reducing food waste.

  1. Make a shopping list at the beginning of the week so that you avoid those spur-of-the-moment trips to the supermarket on your way home. This massively saves you money and results in more considered purchases.
  2. Don’t dish out too much on to your plate. Leftovers are a lot more appetising when they can be taken out of the saucepan and not scraped off a plate!
  3. Freeze leftovers to extend the shelf life and contain the nutrients in the dish. If you cook in bulk at the weekend, it will save you time and money throughout the rest of the week.
  4. Use your bananas for banana bread! This is such a nifty and delicious way to use up the browning fruit in your bowl. See our recipe below.
  5. Store food in the right place. For example, make sure you refrigerate items that need to be kept cool in order to prolong shelf life of the products.
  6. Remember that sell-by-dates are just guidelines – they are not mandatory. Tesco will scrap ‘confusing’ best before dates on nearly 70 fresh fruit and vegetable products in its latest move to reduce food waste.
  7. Keep track of what you throw away so that you can make a mental note to buy less of that item next time.
  1. Be creative in your kitchen! Think outside the box when cooking with leftovers and don’t be afraid to throw ingredients together that you wouldn’t normally mix.
  1. Add old food to your compost heap – it’s great for growing herbs and veg in your garden or balcony.
  1. Use as much of each product as you can. For example, if making chicken, use the bones for broth. If cooking with broccoli, add the stalks to a smoothie instead of throwing away.


100g/3.5oz brown sugar

50g/2oz butter

4 tablespoons rapeseed oil

2 eggs

4 tablespoons milk

1 cup mashed bananas

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons mixed spice or cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mixed as desired



  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (both fan and conventional) /gas mark 4.
  2. Grease and line with baking parchment a 500g/1lb loaf tin.
  3. Cream together the sugar, butter and oil.
  4. Add the eggs and continue to cream well.
  5. Add the milk and mashed bananas to the egg mixture and mix well.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture.
  7. Mix all the ingredients together as swiftly as possible, but taking care not to overmix.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for about 1 hour.
  9. Check to see that the cake is baked by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
  10. Allow to cool on a wire rack before cutting.

Tips, recipe and photography by Cookery School.