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

– 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

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

Cavolo Nero, French Bean and Red Pepper Stir Fry with Harissa Glaze

Whilst we’ve opted for a veggie friendly dish, this tasty stir fry, can easily be adapted to suit meat eaters! We’d recommend chopped chicken or turkey breast, which can either be marinated in Harissa Glaze (just make 1/2 more than our recipe) or not – just chuck it in the pan with some oil until cooked, then remove and add towards the end! Harissa Paste hails from North Africa, and is made from various peppers, herbs and chilli. You can make your own, but shops offer such great pre-made ones, we find these work a dream!

Time Preparing:
 15 mins
Time Cooking: 15 mins
Serves: 2
Difficulty: 1/5
Season: Summer

– 1 Bag of Cavolo Nero
– 1 Red Pepper
– 200g French Beans
– 1 Pack of Noodles
– 2tbsp Harissa Paste
– 2tbsp Honey
– 1tsp Lemon Juice
– 1tsp Paprika
– 1tsp Crushed Chilli’s
– Sesame Seeds, for serving
– Coconut Oil

1. To make your Harissa Glaze, mix the harissa paste, honey, lemon juice and paprika
2. Thinly slice red pepper, discarding any seeds, and chop kale into slices, discarding the stalks
3. Boil a pan of water, before adding french beans for around 4 minutes – until tender
4. Heat coconut oil in a large wok on a high heat, before adding kale and red peppers
5. Keep stirring for a few minutes, then add french beans and Harissa Glaze, continuing to stir
6. If you’re using chicken or turkey, now’s the time to add it to the wok (already cooked!), along with the crushed chilli flakes
7. Keep stirring for a further two minutes, then serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds

More New Collection Points!

We now have two more new collection points (and a few more going live very soon) at:

  • Mile Climbing Wall – If you are currently picking up at The Coffee Room, Mile End, so consider switching over to this collection point. And why not be really adventurous and try one of their beginners and taster sessions for a new challenge for the year! And if you’ve got kids, did you know they even do birthday parties?
  • Growing Concerns Garden Centre – An oasis of delight! Christmas is most certainly a distant memory but keep these guys in mind for the most gorgeous Christmas tree. And when the weather properly warms up with spring, check out their extensive plug plants offering!

And back to the veg prep, we have turnips in the standard box this week, so if you haven’t had them much before then definitely time to check them out! They are not as common here as across the Channel, where our frog friends recommends adding these to stews as you would other root vegetables. They have a mild flavour and potato-like texture when cooked, making them ideal for soups, stews, and casseroles.

The colder spell most definitely calls for Lancashire hotpot or for the Gloucestershire hotpot variation with pork, apples and juniper berries instead. Also perfect for a winter vegetable soup with chorizo and puy lentils.

For something other than stews and soups, why not try making some crispy turnip fries or caramelised turnips, potatoes and carrots with onions and thyme. Turnips can also be eaten raw in salads or coleslaw, even in sprouted form. For lots more on turnips check out this article for more recipes (roasted turnips and mashed root vegetables with horseradish) and nutritional information (lots of cancer-busting goodness in turnip if you are still eating all those gloriously carcinogenic sausage, bacon and ham).

For the other veg in your box here are a few ideas:
  • A Tuscan soup for the Tuscan kale – ribollita – the classic way to cook cavolo nero (black kale). We usually skip the soffrito (chopped onion, carrots and celery) and just make it with chopped onions. Link has lots of hints for twists and variations and here’s another – try it with rosemary and/or some Tuscan sausages. Taste even better made in advance.
  • Try celeriac potato mash (great for sneaking vegetables in on the kids) or the classic French remoulade, or simply cut into chunks and roast for about 40 mins along with your rainbow carrots to go with your Sunday roast!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box

* Valour Potatoes, Perry Court

* Carrots, Yorks
* Onions, Norfolk
* Black Kale, Kent
Celeriac, Perry Court
Brussels Sprout Tops, Kent
Turnip Bunch, Perry Court
Chestnut Mushrooms, Suffolk

Small Box
Items starred (*) above
+ Squash, Perry Court
No-Potato Substitute
Leek, Kent
Fruit Supplement
Blood Oranges, Spain
Apples, Kent (standard only)


We are a week early for Thanksgiving but we’ve got pumpkins in all our boxes this week (so those of you on fortnightly order get to share in on the ‘lurve). So why not prep it in advance to make a classic pumpkin pie with pecan and maple syrup for the occasion. Even if you ain’t no American, after a dark dark weekend last week there is much in our lives to be thankful for.

You could even double the double cream and it’s worth all the toil and trouble of baking blind (use whatever dried beans you have at home if you don’t have those fancy beans). It’s such a great recipe you will be returning for more and you really don’t need canned pumpkin like your American friends will tell you.

Or try this baked pumpkin cheesecake with candied pumpkin seeds by Thomasina Miers of Wahaca fame. For another great recipe from Thomasina Miers try a fennel and ricotta gratin with hazelnut gremolata.

If you didn’t think that you like fennel before this, definitely try it roasted – silky, rich, caramelised and slightly sweet. Give it a go: it’s genuinely mouth-watering. Fennel also goes brilliantly with cannellini beans cooked in olive oil with lots of garlic and sage until creamy, then topped with more oil and grated parmesan. These beans also make a great bruschetta topping, especially with some prosciutto or, even better, Ibérico ham.

Fennel makes a great partner for sausages, roast pork shoulder or leg of lamb. For something truly wicked try Gordon Ramsay’s slow roasted pork belly with fennel (even better if you were lucky enough to pick some up from Stepney City Farm awhile back).

For your cavolo nero i.e. black kale, try a kale salad with apples, currants, and warm pancetta vinaigrette with your . Kale hold up in the fridge, so feel free to make this salad in advance or enjoy leftovers the next day. Or the classic Tuscan soup for cavolo nero, ribollita. Link has lots of hints for twists and variations and here’s another – try it with rosemary and/or some Tuscan sausages. Even better made in advance.

For those of you with harlequin squash as a no-potato substitute, definitely check out this blog post dedicated to it from our archives.

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
* Sarpo Mira Potatoes, Perry Court
* Spinach, Perry Court Farm
* Pumpkin, Kent
* Onions, Norfolk
Carrots, Lancs
Fennel, Lancs
Celery, Kent
Black Kale, Kent
Small Box
Items starred (*) above
+ Chestnut Mushrooms, Suffolk
No-Potato Substitute
Harlequin Squash, Perry Court

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


A glorious autumn harvest basket

There is no denying that autumn is well and truly here, with the early morning fog and the nip in the air. We have a truly glorious autumn harvest basket (but still in boxes!) for you this week.

Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables
But before getting onto the veg for the week, a very worthwhile mention for this brilliant ‘Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables’ campaign that is hoping to reduce food waste by celebrating ugly fruit and vegetables, which one of you told us about. We love the video with the “uglies” and slide show with tips on how to reduce food waste.

Tower Green Hamlets clearly does not seek to select and only present perfectly beautiful fruit and vegetables like those you see in supermarkets so if you get one of these uglies then email us a photo or post it on Facebook!

Leek Rust
On the topic of “uglies” you may have noticed orange streaks and yellow leaves on your leek and think that it’s going off. It’s due to leek rust which is quite common especially for organic leeks and seem to be encouraged by warm humid conditions. It’s still safe to eat them, just cut off any affected bits.

Yellow Broccoli
On the other hand, if you have seen any broccoli looking yellowish when you pick up your box, that is really because broccoli really needs to be kept chilled so really does not like any delays to collecting your box or slightly warmer temperatures. We will probably not be putting them in the boxes until it gets properly colder.

Autumn Harvest Basket
Now finally onto our box for the week. The Kent apples and Kent of the last few weeks have heralded autumn. And now with green kabocha squash, cavolo nero (black/Tuscan kale) and celeriac in the standard box there’s no denying that autumn is well and truly here, with craving for soups and curries. In fact, celeriac tells us that winter is around the corner but we’ll keep ignoring that for a bit longer.

Since first trying it awhile back we now keep an eye out for the green kabocha squash because of its delicious rich taste (better than pumpkin or butternut squash) and its creamy and silky texture. It is very hard to cut when raw, so do be careful, and we really won’t bother peeling it. You could even just make a hole big enough to scoop out the seeds, brush the inside with some oil, put a little water in roasting tin and roast it whole…then decide what to do with it!

Here are some recipe ideas for the week:

  • A Tuscan soup for the Tuscan kale – ribollita – the classic way to cook cavolo nero. We usually skip the soffrito (chopped onion, carrots and celery) and just make it with chopped onions. Link has lots of hints for twists and variations and here’s another – try it with rosemary and/or some Tuscan sausages. Taste even better made in advance.
  • Try celeriac potato mash (great for sneaking vegetables in on the kids) or the classic French remoulade, or simply cut into chunks and roast for about 40 mins along with your rainbow carrots to go with your Sunday roast!
  • Kabocha squash pairs perfectly with coconut milk so try it as a soup with ginger, cumin and turmeric (great spice combination to roast with, or even just with cumin), with ginger, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, or with some Thai red curry paste (or as a curry – throw in some cherry tomatoes also).  For a lighter option try this kabocha and pear soup with the pears in your box. Or if soup doesn’t take your fancy try this kabocha ragout with cavolo nero!

Local vegs go global!


This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Valour Potatoes, Perry Court
* Onions, Kent
* Rainbow Carrots, Lancs
* Black Kale (Cavolo Nero), Kent
* Cherry Tomatoes, Perry Court
Green Kabocha Squash, Perry Court
Celeriac, Kent
Cauliflower, Kent
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Cabbage, Kent

Fruit Supplement
Oranges, SA (standard box only)
Pears, Kent