Top food waste reduction tips from Julie at Waiomu Beach Cafe

Julie McMillan from Waiomu Beach Cafe

Waiomu Beach Cafe's Julie McMillan shares her top tips for cutting down on the amount of food we throw away, plus, a great recipe for Farmhouse pie.

Julie says one of the biggest barriers to safely using up leftovers is knowing how to safely store them.

After making a meal plan, she says you should also think about planning any leftovers you might have and planning the space you have for them in your fridge or freezer.

“Everyone has ham leftover from Christmas. Instead of putting the whole lot into the freezer cut it up into different slices with portioned sizes.”

 “Cut off some ham steaks for the barbecue, lots of little bits of diced ham for frittata, omelettes or bubble and squeak. Make your thin cuts for sandwiches or some thick cuts for farmhouse pies.”

Ham will safely freeze for up to three months and if you put the cuts into small freezer bags and freeze them flat, it won’t take up so much space and you can take out only what you need.

“So, plan your meals, plan your leftovers and plan your space,” says Julie.

Julie also suggests asking your neighbours or others in the community if they would like meals.

Research shows that 81 per cent of people would be happy to receive food from a neighbour, but only 13 per cent of people have ever offered their excess food to their neighbours.

“Food is such a great way of creating community. Kai is community.”

Julie also suggests making stock with leftover bones or fish frames which will also use up those stray carrots, onions or any other vegetables you have in the fridge. Add a few peppercorns, a bay leaf and just cover with water. For poultry or fish stock, simmer for up two hours, for red met simmer for up to four. Stock can also be kept in the freezer for up to six months for your winter soups.

Julie’s tips

  • Plan your leftovers by portioning them for different uses and freezing them. 
  • Freeze your leftovers flat so they take up less space in your freezer. Find out more about storage here
  • Ask your neighbours or others in the community if they would like meals. Kai is community
Farmhouse pie

Farmhouse pie from Waiomu Beach Cafe

This is a great recipe for packing up to take to the beach or on the boat. You can make it as big as you like and put just about anything in it.


Sheets of ready rolled short pastry

Sheets of ready rolled flaky pastry

Eggs beaten

Leftover ham, turkey, roasted vegetables, peas, broccoli, chutney, sauces or cranberry jelly.

1 finely chopped onion.

Milk or leftover cream


Preheat your oven to 180 degrees

Line a tin or large roasting tray with the ready rolled short pastry.

Scatter over the finely the chopped onion and dot around chutney, sauces or jelly.

Sprinkle left over vegetables and meat and any other filling you might like to use.

Depending on the size of your pie you might use between 8 to 12 eggs beaten with 1 to 1 and ½ cups of cream or milk. Seasoned with salt and pepper.

Pour egg mixture over the filling.

Top the pie with flaky pastry.

Brush pastry with more beaten egg or milk.

Bake in the oven until the pastry is crispy and the filling cooked.