Cauliflower and Kale Gratin

This recipe is essentially a play on Cauliflower Cheese with extra kale goodness. Creamy and tangy, this gratin works wonders as a side for four, or a main for two.

Time Preparing: 20 mins
Time Cooking: 20 mins
Serves: 4
Difficulty: 2/5
Season: Autumn

Ingredients
– 1/2 Bunch Kale (from box)
– 1 Cauliflower (from box)
– 50g Butter
– 100g Cheddar Cheese, grated
– 50g Parmesan
– 1 Small Onion, finely chopped (optional)
– 300ml Milk
– 50g Plain Flour
– 50g Breadcrumbs
– 2tsp Rosemary
– Salt and Pepper, seasoning

Method
1. Start by preheating the oven to 200 degrees
2. Remove stalks from kale leaves and cut into 2 inch strops
3. Remove cauliflower leaves and stalks, so you’re left with the florets
4. Add cauliflower to a pan of boiling water (with a little salt) and leave to boil for 10 mins
5. Whilst the cauliflower is boiling, being to make your sauce. Melt the butter in the pan, add flour until you have a thick paste then gradually add milk
6. Once you have a smooth consistency, add two thirds of the cheddar
7. Once the cauliflower had been boiling for ten mins, add the kale for a further two then drain
8. Add kale and cauliflower to an oven dish, spread sauce over then top with the parmesan, breadcrumbs and remaining and cheddar
9. Bake for 20 mins until golden and crispy

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

A super quick and easy dish, this tabbouleh is perfect for a starter. It’s also a great way to add raw veg to your diet.

Time Preparing: 10 mins
Time Cooking: 0 mins
Serves: 2
Difficulty: 1/5
Season: Autumn

Ingredients
– 1/2 Cauliflower
– 3 Large Tomatoes
– 1 Small Pepper
– 3-4 Black Grapes
– Juice from 1 Lemon
– Olive Oil
– Aromatic Herbs (Basil or Parsley)

Method
1. Start by removing all of the florets from the cauliflower head and wash them
2. Dry the floret then put them in a food processor so they’re finely chopped (this can be done by hand)
3. Wash tomatoes and cut them in square pieces
4. Wash and slice the grapes in half
5. Wash and slice the pepper (it can be kept raw or it can be steamed for 5mins)
6. Mix cauliflower with tomatoes, black grapes and pepper
7. Add the juice of one lemon and olive oil, before adding aromatic herbs

This recipe was created for Tower Green Hamlets by Pauline Cuisine

Harissa Baked Aubergine, Cauliflower Rice and Sauteed Garlic & Lemon Swiss Chard

This Vegetarian feast is just as easily turned into a Vegan friendly meal, by omitting the feta or Greek Yoghurt. Inspired by Moroccan cuisine, this blend of favours gets everything right for a light yet filling Summer dinner. Zingy Lemon, Aubergines with a kick, and cauliflower rice so tasty, we guarantee you’ll be asking for more.

Time Preparing: 30 mins
Time Cooking: 35 mins
Serves: 2-4
Difficulty: 3/5
Season: Summer

Ingredients
– 2 Aubergines
– 1 Cauliflower
– 250g Swiss Chard (stalks and leaves)
– 1 Onion
– Handful chopped Coriander
– 4 tbsp Harissa Paste
– 1 tbsp Honey
– 4 tbsp Lemon Juice
– 1 Garlic Clove
– 3 tbsp Greek Yoghurt OR Crumbled Feta for serving (optional)
– Coconut Oil

Method
1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees
2. Start by preparing your Harissa Glaze by mixing the harissa paste, honey and 1tbsp lemon juice. Mix well and set to one side
3. Grate cauliflower heads so that they are rice sized
4. Cut aubergines in half and score diagonally, making sure you don’t cut through to the skin
5. Spread half of the Harissa Glaze over the aubergines, then put them in the oven for 10 minutes
6. Next, start  on the Swiss Chard. You want to separate the stalks from the leaves, making sure the stalks are finely chopped. Set the leaves to one side, then chop the onion finely.
7. Remove the aubergines, spooning the remaining Harissa Glaze over them then return to the oven for a further 15 minutes
8. Heat half of the coconut oil in a pan on a medium heat, then add the chopped onions and chard stalks for 5 minutes. Next add the cauliflower rice and 1 tbsp lemon. Fry for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
9. Meanwhile, add the remaining oil to another pan, adding the garlic, Swiss Chard leaves and remaining lemon. Sautee for 5 minutes
10. Serve everything up, with optional Greek Yoghurt or crumbled feta

Have an Egg-cellent Easter

If you are having a traditional lamb roast this Easter weekend to celebrate the death and resurrection of the Lamb we’ve got the perfect box with all the vegetables you need for all the classic dishes to a roast.

Before we come onto the details of that, do note that whilst Stepney City Farm is usually closed on Mondays, it will be open on Bank holiday Mondays which means that you can collect your boxes on Easter Monday in addition to the usual Friday-Sunday window. Check out the many events happening this weekend including an Easter treasure hunt. There are also Good Friday and Easter Sunday services, meditations and family fun day at St Anne’s Limehouse and St Paul’s Shadwell, two of our other collection points (click on links for times).

The Guardian’s 10 best roast dinner side dishes by Ottolenghi is one of our favourite links. It covers just about the entire box for this week:

  • The first recipe for leafy greens with lemon, parsley and capers work just as well for green kale. Or try this smoky creamed kale with dry mustard and smoked paprika.
  • Try the carrot puree with some ground mace (or roast with honey and coriander/ cumin spices if you prefer) and the roast parsnips with maple syrup and sesame seed for a little touch of magic.
  • The cabbage recipe with bacon, rosemary and red wine vinegar works just as well for the red cabbage in the box this week. Or try this roasted red cabbage slaw with hazelnuts and honey lemon
  • It’s golden yellow beetroot this week, but it works just as well in the beetroot and shallot gratin full of double cream and cheesey goodness with beautiful wafts of thyme and rosemary aroma.
  • If you’ve still got room (or the guests do) a wondering roasted caulifower cheese with fried capers – extra special with some gruyere or Comté and a grating of nutmeg. Perfect big meal with leftovers for the rest of the long weekend.

And after a glorious Easter meal along with way too many chocolate eggs and bunnies, leek and potato soup (if you haven’t eaten up all those crisp spuds) may just be in order for the rest of the week…

For more ideas on how to eat the vegetables in this week’s box, try searching on our webpage for past blogs!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Linda Potatoes, Perry Court
* Cauliflower, Kent
* Carrots, Lincs
* Leeks, Kent
* Parsnips, Lincs
* Green Kale, Notts
Red Cabagge, Yorks
Beetroot Golden, Lancs

No-Potato Substitute
Turnips, Perry Court

Fruit Supplement
Russet Apples, Kent
* Grapefruit, Spain

Small Box
Items starred (*) above

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope all of you enjoyed your pumpkins a week early, unless you’ve been saving it up for Thanksgiving today.

We are having green and white kale which we wrote about a couple weeks back, so here is the link for the blog post again, especially if you’ve joined us since! And for those of you with kohl rabi as a no-potato substitute, definitely check out this blog post dedicated to it from our archives.

Onto new cooking ideas for your veg, how about a vegan cauliflower, potato and chickpea curry? And how about stuffed gem squash – corn, cheese, chorizo are the suggested , or how about filling with feta? Alternatively there is always the microwave option, seeing that it’s near the end of the week and some of us are already hitting the veg-out mode.

For more ideas on how to eat the vegetables in this week’s box, try searching on our webpage for past blogs!

Now onto a few admin points:

  • Do make sure you don’t leave any veg or fruit (or even bits like unwanted leaves or stem) in boxes. They end up rotting and for some of our collections there isn’t always the possibility of easily discarding them.
  • Also with all the rain we’ve been getting, do make sure you lock up properly after collecting your box (if this applies to your collection location) to protect boxes left there. We do reuse the boxes and would prefer they don’t turn to cardboard mush…

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box

* Valour Potatoes, Perry Court

* Parsnips, Perry Court Farm
* Carrots, Lancs
* Green and White Kale, Kent
Onions, Norfolk
Gem Squash, Lancs
Leeks, Kent
Cauliflower, Kent

Small Box
Items starred (*) above
+ Chestnut Mushrooms, Suffolk

No-Potato Substitute
Kohl Rabi, Lancs

Fruit Supplement
Pears, Kent (standard only)
Apples – Kent

 

Chou Fleur and Chioggia

We have the first parsnips for the season and it heralds the coming Christmas season (or are we the only ones to associate parsnips with Christmas?!?) and yes it’s less than 100 days if you are counting!

Guardian’s 10 best cauliflower recipes is a must-read with suggestions ranging from Middle Eastern such as whole roast cauliflower with cumin, sumac and lemon, and Israeli cauliflower and pear bake (perfect for those pears in your boxes this week) and Persian cauliflower omelette, to European such as Andalusian Spanish crisp cauliflower and French gratin de chou-fleur with posh Comté (bring on the black truffle), to favourite such as caramelised cauliflower soup and much more creative ideas like using cauliflower as pizza bases.

Or try one of Ottolenghi’s cauliflower recommendation with a mustardy twist on the cauliflower cheese classic, or roasted whole cauliflower with creme fraiche. And if the wet weather continues marry cauliflower cheese and fettuccine carbonara for a quick comfort meal.

And please don’t be planning to make borscht this week or you will find it looking rather anaemic. Your beetroot for the week is the chioggia (pronounced kee-OH-gee-uh) and will come with pink and white candy cane stripes which we wrote about almost exactly a year ago!

For the weekend go on a guided history / nature walks at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park as part of the Open House London.

Or further afield if you missed the Harvest weekend at Stepney City Farm last week, the Harvest Stomp is happening at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a community festival to celebrate local growing and local produce. It’s part of Urban Food Fortnight, a London-wide celebration of the city’s vibrant local food scene. The line-up includes London Vegetable Orchestra, a ‘Giant Salad Toss’, do-si-do at the Harvest Barn Dance, local bees and bee keepers, and local jam collected from berries foraged in the surrounding area.

For more ideas on how to eat the vegetables in this week’s box, try searching on our webpage for past blogs!


This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box

* Valour Potatoes, Perry Court

* Onions, Norfolk
* Carrots, Lancs
* Cauliflower, Lancs
* Spinach, Perry Court
Parsnips – Perry Court
Bulls Blood, Perry Court
Chioggia Beetroot, Perry Court

Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Sweetcorn, Kent

Fruit Supplement
Apples – Katy, Kent (standard only)
Pears – Conference, Kent

 

It’s Organic September!

Did you know that it is Organic September? The buying decisions you make on your everyday shopping are a simple but powerful form of direct action and small changes really can make a big difference. Making simple switches to organic has huge benefits for people, animal welfare and the environment.

So well done for ordering organic fruit and vegetables through Tower Green Hamlets (biodynamic where possible) but why not think about switching some of your staples like milk or eggs to organic. Check out the Evening Standard’s Standar Standard’s six reasons to switch to organic milk. Get it from the local milkman (like Parker Diaries) and cut out the plastic. Also, your local corner shop may just stock organic eggs at much cheaper prices than where – check it out!

We haven’t had chard for awhile and it pairs perfect with tomatoes (see recipe), add some chickpeas for the protein or some sausage and spaghetti for the complete mid-week meal.

For another comfort mid-week dinner why not knock together a broccoli leek and cheese pasta bake. Cauliflower would be no stranger to the mix and some diced chicken would also fit right in. Or have it simply as a vegetable bake to go with any fish, meat, or chicken along with pasta or potatoes that take your fancy.  Or this combination of vegetables would be perfect for a Chinese stir-fry, simply fry some meat or tofu at the start before adding the vegetables.

For more ideas on how to eat the vegetables in this week’s box, try searching on our webpage for past blogs!

 

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Valour Potatoes, Perry Court
* Carrots, Lancs
* Chard, Perry Court
* Tomatoes, Perry Court
* Leeks, Kent
Cauliflower – Emerald, Lancs
Sorrel, Perry Court
Broccoli, Lancs

Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Acorn Squash, Perry Court

Fruit Supplement
Apples – Katy, Kent (standard only)
Bananas, Dom Rep

Heatwave? Chill out with cool veg

With the soaring and record temperatures do pick up your veg as soon as possible. In particular, sorrel is super perishable, and usually won’t last past a day or two even in the fridge. Wrap in damp paper towels and stick in an open zip-lock bag in your crisper drawer to extend its fridge life just slightly. And if you do find your spring onions wilting try standing them in a jar of water in the fridge to give is a further lease of life.

Lots of ideas this week for cold salads and soups to keep your cool so keep reading!

We haven’t have sorrel for a long while, which can function as a herb, a salad leaf (in moderation though for a hint of the exquisite citrussy tang) or a vegetable, giving you either a sliver of bright lemony flavour or a real, mouth-filling whack of it, depending on how much you use. Refreshing flavour that complements the season perfectly.

It is easy to prepare: just wash it well and remove any tough stalks, then shred thinly. But do be aware that cooking it in aluminium or cast iron will turn it a murky colour due to the oxalic acid contained.

Great in creamy and delicately flavoured foods – everything from creme fraiche or oil to potatoes, pulses, eggs, fish or chicken (try this chicken with sorrel recipe). Or even layer a few into a sandwich

Try Jamie Oliver’s sorrel risotto with crumbled goat’s cheese or Ottolenghi’s fried beans with sorrel, feta and sumac which uses spring onions as well. Chill out with this cold sorrel soup or Gordon Ramsay’s cauliflower and sorrel soup. For even more ideas check out this 50 things to do with fresh sorrel page.

We also haven’t had celery for awhile. Why not try a celery and parmesan salad or a celery and grapefruit salad taken straight out of the fridge for a long lingering dinner in the long daylight hours – savour the juiciness of grapefruit and the crunchy bite of celery (chilling it makes it extra crisp) and feel it quench the thirst. Or how about a celery and olive orzo salad for a more substantial option, perfect for a picnic?

Blue cheese and celery make a classic pairing so this celery, blue cheese and hazelnut salad simply adds maple-glazed toasted hazelnuts to the mix. Perfect with some prime rib or roast beef, so works as well for an accompaniment to a Sunday roast or with some ready cooked roast beef slices.

Or try these stuffed celery sticks, with cream and blue cheese mixture and chopped walnuts. Thick Greek yoghurt works just as well as sour cream, or you simply skip the ingredient. Up the game with toasted pecans instead of walnuts and throw in some dried cranberries or raisins.

For more ideas on how to eat the vegetables in this week’s box, try searching on our webpage for past blogs!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Bakers, Kent
* Spring Onions, Perry Court
* Spring Greens, Perry Court
* Courgettes, Spain
Carrot Bunch, Norfolk
Cauliflower, Lincs
Sorrel, Perry Court
Celery, Kent

Small Box
Items marked with (*) above
+ Broad Beans, Kent

No-Potato Substitute
Tomatoes, Yorks

Fruit Supplement
Grapefruit, RSA (standard only)
Oranges, Spain

 

Daylight Savings = Comfort Food?

It’s that time of the year when daylight saving kicks in, which means comfort food beckons ever more. So for the ultimate comfort food as winter hovers on the horizon try cauliflower cheese. Add a little edge with a teaspoon of English mustard.

Try not to boil cauliflower for too much as it does lose all that wonderful anti-oxidants and compounds that fight the build-up of toxins and inflammation in our body, with “losses of 20–30% after five minutes, 40–50% after ten minutes, and 75% after thirty minutes. However, other preparation methods, such as steaming, microwaving and stir frying, have no significant effect on the compounds” (from Wiki).

In fact, the Ottolenghi guru recommends slow roasting on low in the oven for a few hours (yep, you read that right) until beautifully caramelised. He’s got other creative ideas like grating raw cauliflower to derive carb-free vegetarian “rice” or “cous cous” but since that’s not our idea of comfort for the shortening days we’ll leave that for you to investigate (or pay to eat at one of the Ottolenghi outlets).

Our cheat’s version of an Ottolenghi-like dish (with a manageable ingredient list) is to roast the florets at 190 deg C with olive oil, sea salt, sumac and cumin for 45-60 mins then add a squeeze and zest of lemon and finally scatter with chopped parsley and/or almond flakes (toast in the frying pan until golden brown) to finish. Alternatively, if you don’t have sumac use ground coriander for a more Indian twist. For more exciting ideas, check out Guardian’s 9 other best cauliflower recipes.

For more Indian options, try the classic alu gobhi cauliflower potato curry. Chopped or sliced onions and garlic, along with curry leaves if you have them, also add wonderfully to the mix. Simply add to the popping cumin seeds and tomato puree, and fry until tender and fragrant.

And on what to do with some of the other vegetables in your veg box here are a few ideas, some of which from our past newsletters/ blog posts:

And for those of you scratching around for what to do with the kids for half term, bring them along to Mile End Children’s Park’s Growing Zone for Soup Day this Saturday from 12-4pm.

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Valour Potatoes, Perry Court
* Carrots, Lancs
* Onions, Kent
* Cauliflower, Kent
* Sweetcorn, Kent
Celery, Lancs
Fennel with tops, Kent
Bulls Blood, Perry Court
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Kale, Kent

Fruit Supplement
Pears, Kent (standard box only)
Bananas, Dom Rep

 

Thinking of hitting the pools? Your veg is thinking the same!!!

With the latest heatwave, the lovely drops of rain last week seem a distant memory, but the green crops did love the drizzly light rain and a few misty days.

The mercury is forecasted to hit 31degC on Friday, so please do pick up your box as soon as you can, especially since we don’t shrink-wrap cucumbers (harvested on Wed!) in not-so-glorious plastic like supermarkets do to keep them longer and we don’t expend energy on cold storage boxes or delivery vehicles since most of us do have fridges at home.

We will email you as soon as your boxes are ready and whilst official opening hours at Stepney City Farm is until 4pm you can still pop in to grab your boxes.

Back to a more conventional week for what’s in the box. How did you like the deep burgundy of bulls blood? Lovely replacement for chard and very fitting name!

We have mangetout again but in green rather than the more exciting purple which stayed purple even after cooking! Love its crunchiness in a stir-fry – simply heat up some oil, throw in some chopped garlic, add mangetout and toasted sesame oil to flavour. Great with minced meat or tofu for a non-meat option.

For this week, why not try a crispy cauliflower bake which uses pureed cauliflower instead of a white sauce, and should also work well with chicken or tofu instead of fish. Use the white from the green onions for the brown onions, chop up the greens and use instead of dill, and you are good to go!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Kestral Potatoes, Kent
* Green Onions, Kent
* Carrots, Norfolk
Celery, Lancs
Mangetout,  Lancs
Cauliflower, Lincs
* Mini Cucumber, Perry Court
* Tomatoes, Kent
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Broad Beans, Kent

Fruit Supplement
Bananas, Dom Republic
Oranges – Navel Late, Spain