Chowder, egg noodle salad and gluten-free bread: Douglas McMaster’s zero-waste recipes – The Guardian

A rich sweetcorn chowder with a smoked fish bone stock base, pickled seaweed noodles with soy-cured egg yolk, and a sweet loaf made from seeds and oats
This dish is all about aromatic, autumnal flavours. I originally made it with the leftover bones from a smoked mackerel dish, but any smoked fish bones will do; it’s also a great way to use up end-of-season sweetcorn.
Prep 5 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Serves 4
100g smoked fish bones
320g sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 corn cob
60g creme fraiche
1 handful fresh sage

Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Put the smoked fish bones in a pan, add water to cover (about 450-500ml), then bring up to a gentle simmer and cook for an hour.
Meanwhile, scrub the sweet potatoes – don’t peel them, so nothing goes to waste – then put them on an oven tray, brush with olive oil, season and bake for 45 minutes, until cooked through but still firm enough that, once cut into chunks, they will stay intact in the broth later. Remove and leave to cool.
While the sweet potatoes are baking, cut the kernels off the corn cob, then roughly chop the bare cob and add it to the pan of simmering smoked fish stock. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and add the skins to the smoked fish stock, too: they will bring some caramelisation and colour to the broth. Make sure the bones, cob chunks and sweet potato peelings are always fully submerged, so top up with fresh water, if need be; this means all the flavours will infuse properly. Cut the sweet potato flesh into bite-sized chunks.
Pick the sage leaves off the stalks, then add the stalks to the stock pot for the final few minutes of cooking. Finely chop the leaves and set aside.
Take the stock off the heat and pass it through a sieve, pressing down on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible (the solids are all fully compostable, so don’t just bin them).
Measure the stock, and if there is less than 400ml, top up with more water. Return the stock to the hot pan, add the corn kernels, the sweet potato and the chopped sage, stir in the creme fraiche and season – remember, smoked fish is naturally salty, so taste the stock before adding any salt.
If you prefer a thicker chowder, mash some of the sweet potato chunks before serving topped with a dollop of extra creme fraiche.
This salad makes a hero of one of nature’s most versatile plants: seaweed, which is a superstar in the world of sustainability, because it absorbs CO2 more effectively than trees. This dish balances nutty and salty with seaweed’s umami flavours.
Prep 5 min
Cure 6 hr+
Pickle 30 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 2
For the cured egg yolks
4 egg yolks (save the whites for an omelette, meringues or cocktails)
Soy sauce
– you’ll need enough to submerge the eggs
For the salad
100g dried egg noodles (to give 240g cooked)
40ml rice-wine vinegar
20g sugar
10g dried seaweed
– I use dulse or sea lettuce
10g untoasted sesame seeds, white, black or mixed
10ml sesame oil

¼-½ tsp salt
, to taste
Put the egg yolks in a small bowl, add soy sauce to submerge, then put in the fridge to cure for six hours and up to 12. They’ll firm up and take on the salty flavour of the soy sauce as they sit.
Bring a pan of water to a boil, drop in the noodles and cook according to the packet instructions, until tender. Drain, then rinse immediately under cold water so they don’t stick together. Drain again, then chill.
Put the vinegar, sugar and 40ml water into a second pan and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, drop in the seaweed and leave to pickle for about half an hour. Lift the seaweed out of the liquor and finely chop.
To assemble the salad, put the chilled noodles in a bowl and sprinkle over the sesame seeds and sesame oil. Lift two of the yolks out of their soy cure, add to the noodles, and toss so they break up. Add the seaweed, toss again and add salt to taste. Transfer to two bowls and serve each topped with another cured egg yolk (put the excess soy in a small jar and keep it in the fridge for your next stir-fry).
Use whatever combination of seeds and spices you have in this brilliantly adaptable recipe, so change up the quantities of buckwheat, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, depending on what needs using up.
Prep 10 min
Prove 50 min
Cook 1 hr 10 min
Makes 1 x large loaf
48ml neutral oil (rapeseed or sunflower, say), plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp oat flour, to dust (check the packaging to ensure there’s no risk of cross-contamination with glutens)
60g chia seeds
6g caraway seeds
6g fennel seeds
6g coriander seeds
480g seed blend
(see below and method)
600ml water
150g rolled oats
(again, check the packaging to ensure there’s no risk of cross-contamination)
36g syrup
– any kind of thick sweetener will do: molasses, honey, golden syrup, for example
22g salt
For the seed blend
120g sunflower seeds
120g linseeds
120g buckwheat
120g pumpkin seeds

Coat a 1½-litre loaf tin with oil, then add a spoonful of flour and swirl it around so it coats the inside of the tin with a fine layer: this will stop the loaf from sticking.
Put the chia seeds in a food processor with the caraway, fennel and coriander seeds, and blitz to a fine powder – this mix will act as the flour in this loaf.
Put everything in a large bowl, mix to combine and leave to rest for 50 minutes. In this time, the oats and seed blend will absorb the water and oil, and turn into a very soft, sticky dough.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Scrape the dough into the prepared tin, even out the top so it rises and cooks evenly, then bake for 40 minutes.
Remove the tin from the oven and tip out the loaf. Put the loaf back in the oven upside down on a wire rack and bake for another 20 minutes, until evenly baked all over.
Remove, leave to cool slightly, then cut into thick slices and coat with good butter.
Douglas McMaster is chef/owner of Silo in London and founder of the Zero Waste Cooking School on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.
This article was amended on 11 October 2022. Text was added to clarify that oats, while naturally gluten-free, can be contaminated during processing so the packaging should be checked for gluten-free certification.


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