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Jamie Oliver's use-up tips and tricks

The best way to save money in the kitchen? Jamie knows it’s to make the most of your ingredients and reduce the amount you throw away. So he’s here every month with great ideas to use up those foods that are just too good to waste. Whip up some super-easy fish cakes or make summer salads exciting with Jamie's crunchy salad topping, we also have a tasty summer fro-yo, great for using up yoghurt and frozen berries. There are also two quick fixes for salad leaves and tomatoes – those summer essentials that we often throw in the bin – and it turns out a tin of black beans can save the day!

  1. Super-easy fish cakes

    Always making too much mashed potato? Don’t throw it, use a tin of tuna to turn it into super-easy fishcakes! Tinned tuna is a great way to get fish into kids' diets.

    1. Defrost frozen peas in the microwave then mash with a fork. Drain a tin of tuna in sunflower oil and add to the bowl along with plain flour and your leftover mashed potato.

    2. Mix with grated Cheddar cheese, finely chopped spring onions and soft herbs (parsley, dill or coriander would all work well) with a little lemon zest and juice.

    3. Divide the mixture into patties and fry until golden and crisp.

    4. Top with slices of cheese and serve with a crisp green salad.

    Tip: Don’t waste the tuna oil: mix it with lemon juice to dress a tomato salad.

    Super-easy fish cakes
  2. Crunchy salad topping

    During the summer, salads can quickly become boring! But you can easily make them more exciting with leftover bread and store-cupboard cannellini beans, which are packed with protein and fibre. Simply roast them the next time you have the oven on, and they’ll turn into a doubly crunchy salad topping. Alternatively, simmer the beans (juice and all) with garlic, dried oregano, dried chilli flakes and a little red wine vinegar, then spoon over toasted bread.

    1. Drain a tin of cannellini beans and pat dry with a clean tea towel or kitchen paper.

    2. Lay the beans onto a baking tray then toss with olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

    3. Bake for 25 minutes until crispy and golden, stirring in leftover bread chunks halfway through baking.

    Crunchy salad topping
  3. Summer fro-yo

    Before you go on holiday, there’s often leftover yoghurt and milk that needs using up. A delicious and family-friendly way to do this is to make a quick summer fro-yo or smoothie with frozen summer berries. Choosing frozen means the fruits were picked at their very best: full of vitamin C (contributing to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue), and means you only use just what you need, without wasting anything – win-win!

    1. Place a handful of frozen summer berries into a food processor with a frozen banana. Top up with any leftover milk and/or yoghurt and blitz until smooth and creamy.

    2. Blitz in a handful of oats and nuts, if you need something more substantial.

    3. You can drink it right away, or freeze it into fro-yo lollies. Delicious!

    Summer fro-yo
  4. Black bean and tomato salad

    Don’t throw away overripe tomatoes – that’s such a missed flavour-packed opportunity! Make this tasty salad instead:

    1. Grate or finely chop handful of tomatoes and mix with a little olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar and a small clove of garlic, finely grated.

    2. Stir through tin of black beans (high in folic acid, which we need to support normal immune function) and any leftover chopped salad leaves.

    3. Season to taste and stir. Perfect at any summer barbecue, or as a side for fish.

    Black bean and tomato salad
  5. Black bean taco filling

    How many times have you thrown away old salad leaves? Too many! As long as they aren’t slimy, they can be used in a dish like this black bean taco filling!

    1. Fry a sliced clove of garlic for 1 min, then pour in a tin of black beans (juice and all) and stir with 1 tsp smoked paprika.

    2. Let it bubble down to a thick sauce, then wilt through any old salad leaves (such as spinach, watercress, rocket) and season to taste.

    3. Serve it with a juicy salsa, some charred tinned sweetcorn, lime juice and tacos.

    Black bean taco filling