recipe: set & forget vegetable stock

by Gab Abell

I've recently been reading this book & love the idea to eat according to your cycle. During menstrual phase you want go light & nourish the body with warm soups & broths. So it was perfect time to dive in make my own stock. 
For the past fortnight I've been keeping all my vegetable scraps (onion skins, garlic shells, carrot tops, leeks, corn cobs, peelings etc.) and any veg at the end of its life in a big container in the freezer. It's a great way to use your scraps if you don't have a compost bin. Once it was full I added all ingredients in a big pot, filled with water, added once sliced apple for sweetness, a few teaspoons of seaweed flakes & half a packet of dried shiitake mushrooms. Cooking off the vegetables at the start generously in olive oil gives the stock a nice mouthfeel you would expect with meat based stocks. The mushrooms and seaweed add some extra umami oomph! Stirring & checking on the stock is the most cathartic exercise, watching it turn from watery floating vegetables (not so appetising) to a deep & flavoursome stock.   8-10 hours later you have the most wonderful stock to add to soups, stews, sauces, pasta or just drink on it's own!
Using a slow cooker overnight would be great for this too. 
Vegetable scraps & spent vegetables 
3-5 bay leaves
White pepper & salt for taste 
1 sliced apple 
Dried or fresh herbs of choice
Optional - dried mushrooms & seaweed flakes
Filtered water 
1. Add harder vegetables in pot first & cook on medium heat with a good dash of olive oil until they brown slightly. I added a few cloves of garlic. 
2. Add rest of scraps to pot
3. Fill with water
4. Bring to a gentle simmer
5. Put on low heat & cook with a lid on for 8-10 hours, stirring occasionally
6. Taste & season 
7. Strain into jars and store in the fridge or freezer or pour into an ice cube tray for easy usage