Alexandra Kalinowski heads to Selfridges to check out Rubies in the Rubble Surplus Food Pop Up.
This whole clean/guilt-free eating that’s been popularised in recent years with the rise in health-food bloggers turned cookbook churners is dying a slow death. Now, instead of spending a fortune at the grocery store on alternative sugars, proteins and organic fruit & veg, we’re starting to see a more realistic approach to wellness. One we never should have lost sight of in the first place: sustainability.
Over the month of June, Rubies in the Rubble, a gourmet condiment brand, have been serving up open-faced sandwiches in Selfridges in celebration of London Food Month. Each sandwich has a story. The slow cooked chipotle beef comes from the shoulder joint, a part of the cow usually chucked away, but when slow roasted turns tender and juicy. It’s possibly the most refreshing item on the menu paired with cool cucumbers that can’t be sold due to not fitting in the uniform packaging. Same goes for the spring veg & blue cheese, avo & beet houmous (my favourite), and nut butter& strawberries whose ingredients all can’t sell because of poor packaging (or packaging constraints) or best before dates. It’s all an extension of the ethos Jenny Costa has been achieving with Rubies in the Rubble condiments where she has saved over 85,000 bananas, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. That’s 124 tonnes of CO2 emissions or 147,700 miles driven.
Growing up on a farm in Scotland, she saw first-hand the effort that went into growing crops, alongside the measures her family would take to save what would go off. To put this all into perspective, one cucumber requires the energy of a light bulb powered for 12 hours! And so chutneys and jams would be made every season, something Jenny continued after moving to London and setting up a stall in Borough Market, using their food waste for her relishes and ketchups.
She now has three ketchups and three relishes in her 2017 range. Banana ketchup pairs well with nut butters, chipotle ketchups serves as a great marinade for meats while the fiery tomato ketchup puts Heinz to shame. My favourite of the relishes is the pink onion and chilli as I’ve never tasted such a fragrant onion within chutney. It’s spicy, sweet and sharp. And it gets me all excited about my lunchtime sandwiches, Burger Mondays and recipes I’ve been too afraid to spice up.
Maybe you’ve noticed your local cocktail bar starting to promote a zero-waste approach, or an increase in London restaurants using bits of meat normally left untouched. We used to do this back in caveman times, or even as recent as when my grandparents were surviving WWII in Germany. It saddens me to think how quickly we’ve detached ourselves from the animals and crops that nourish us, resulting in increased food waste, lack of a balanced diet, and minimal creativity in the kitchen. I’d really encourage you to grab a sandwich at the pop-up this week to gain some inspiration as to how you can help reduce waste and find joy in your home-cooking whilst eating wholesome and natural foods.
Rubies in the Rubble Surplus Food Pop Up is located at Selfridges Food Hall 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB until 30th June.
Find out more about the pop-up, their range of condiments & retailers, and food waste at www.rubiesintherubble.com