The Sunday Roast

Everyone loves a good roast dinner – particularly on those bitter cold, winter Sunday’s. However, studies find that Easter Sunday is the final roast of the year – a chance for families to gather and enjoy one last roast before the summer salads and BBQ’d goodies become our Sunday staple.

I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but I personally prefer to have my roast dinner taste like a roast dinner. None of this overly fancy business that takes away the nostalgic flavours – just a good ol’ Sunday Roast!

There’s a few little tricks that I’ve learned to perfect over time – some through trial and error, others I’ve pinched from Mum, Dad and Godmother; all of whom make mouthwatering roast dinners! I usually always use beef aside from Turkey at Christmas and Lamb at Easter. My number one trick for all root veggies – carrots, potatoes, parsnips etc – is too par-boil them first, meaning potatoes are crispy and fluffy, carrots aren’t too hard and parsnips go crunchy! By adding bacon to the dreaded brussells sprouts, you’ll find that even the most anti-sprout foodies amongst us, will be asking for seconds.

As we all know, the Roast Dinner is all about timing – get it wrong, and you’re going to have some mighty cold veg or some super rare beef! To make things a little easier, I’ve listed out the exact timings that I use – based on dinner served at 3pm.

I’ve left off timings for meat – cook according to weight and type

13:45 Prepare the Yorkshire Pudding mix, cover then leave in the fridge.
13:50 Peel and chop potatoes, parsnips and carrots then leave in slightly salted water so they don’t brown
14:00 Par-boil potatoes (10 mins) then leave to cool
14:20 Potatoes in oven brushed with vegetable oil
14:25 Par-boil carrots (5 mins) then leave to cool
14:30 Par-boil parsnips (5 mins)then leave to cool
14:30 Finely slice brussels sprouts & bacon (optional)
14:35 Carrots and parsnips in oven (seperated) brushed with veg oil
14:35 Fry bacon in butter, then reduce to a medium heat before adding sprouts – stir occasionally
14:45 Sprinkle parmesan over parsnips then return to oven
14:45 Pour honey over carrots then return to oven
14:50 Pour a little oil into muffin tins, before adding Yorkshire Pudding Mixture, then pop in the oven making sure you don’t open again until completely cooked
14:50 Prepare gravy – I cheat and use bisto (chicken or beef flavour depending on meat)
15:00 Take all veg out of the oven, and pour meat juices into gravy


What are you favourite tips and tricks for a roast dinner?

Jess at TGH

Baklava ‘Bananza’

The ice cold chills that have swept across the country, have meant that this weeks outdoor crops, as you can imagine, have suffered a little. The good news? We’ve got a slight respite from the scrumptious winter roots, as tomatoes, broccoli, celery and bananas make an appearance in this weeks boxes!

Why not try something a little different with your broccoli – a savoury twist on the sweet Turkish pastry Baklava. This Broccoli, Feta and Almond Baklava can be found here and will be sure to be a favourite at any Christmas do’s that require ‘nibbles’.

Stepney City Farm has some wonderful Christmas events on in the next few weeks. Highly recommended, based on last years performance is The Salvation Army’s Nativity Play which is at 2pm this Sunday.

Below are the availability of our Collection Points opening hours. But please keep your eyes peeled for emails over the next few days regarding Christmas Delivery information.

Mile End Climbing Wall: Collection until 9pm on 23rd Dec
Growing Concerns: Collection until 12pm on 24th Dec
Bow Quarter: Collection until 9pm on 23rd Dec
St Anne’s Limehouse: Collection until 6pm on 23rd Dec
St Paul’s Shadwell: Collectiion until 9pm on 23rd Dec
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

All Boxes
Valour Potatoes, Lancs
Leeks, Kent
Parsnips, Lancs
Cabbage, Kent
Broccoli, Suffolk

Medium & Large Boxes
Tomatoes, Spain
Celery, Kent
Beetroot, Perry Court

Large Box
Jerusalem Artichokes, Perry Court




Fruit Supplement

Apples, Kent (All Boxes)
Bananas, Dominican Republic (Medium & Large Boxes)
Pears, Kent (Large Box)

Have yourself a healthy lil’ Christmas

A last reminder that for the Christmas and New Year period there will be a double box next Tuesday 22nd December rather than the usual weekend collection, with usual collections resuming on Friday 8th January 2016. Please email us to let us know if you do want this double Christmas/New Year period, otherwise we will assume that you are away and count them towards your holiday boxes.

Love it or hate it, Winterville is around for another week or so. Whilst there are official local residents tickets, cheaper tickets may be found on the yplan app. The ice-skating is a real steal (£3.50 off-peak, there is still time!!!) with lovely wardens who don’t necessarily chase you off the ice so you can skate to your heart’s content.

Harking for a traditional carols by candlelight? In addition to Nine Lessons at St Dunstan’s (listed in image above) across the road from the farm there is also one this Sunday 6pm’s at St Anne’s Limehouse, which also has a midnight Christmas Eve service at 11:30pm, or a crib service for families at 4pm on Christmas Eve.

Come to the last farmers’ market of the year at Stepney City Farm and join in a festive sing-a-long with St Dunstans at 2pm this Saturday. There is also a nativity service on Friday 4pm and a Christingle service Sunday 11am at St Paul’s Shadwell and Christmas service this Sunday at East London Tabernacle at Mile End, just a stone’s throw away from The Coffee Room.

For ideas on how to eat the vegetables in this week’s box, try searching on our webpage for past blogs or check these articles out:

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Sarpo Mira Potatoes, Perry Court
* Beetroot, Perry Court
* Carrots, Yorks
Spinach, Perry Court
Jerusalem Artichokes, Perry Court
Onions, Norfolk
Savoy Cabbage, Kent
Chestnut Mushrooms, Suffolk

No-Potato Substitute
Mooli/Daikon, TBC

Small Box
Items starred (*) above
+ Green Kale, Kent

+ Leeks, Kent

Fruit Supplement

Pears, Kent (standard only)
Apples, Kent  

Have a Veggy Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Just a reminder to collect your Christmas and/or New Year (double) box tomorrow or Wednesday. And please don’t leave it to the last minute on Christmas Eve!

If your usual collection point is Stepney City Farm please note that the farm is closed for the holiday season and just for this two days, collection will be between 10am and 2:30pm from St Dunstan, the church across the little roundabout from the farm. Sarah, the community worker should be around and can be reached on 020 7702 8685. If there are any problems please drop us and email – we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please note that Christmas boxes will have potatoes even if you are on a “no potato” option for the week. If you are usually on a small box and are expecting a “double box” then please note that you will be getting a standard box. If you are expecting just one “New Year” box then you will have the same contents as the Christmas box.

And here’s a final link for the year if you are still thinking about how to cook those brussel sprout recipes. The first recipe of sprout, carrot and parsnip salad with a garlicky aji sauce is a great one for all those Christmassy veg in the box.

Have a veggy merry Christmas and happy New Year!!!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Valour Potatoes, Perry Court
* Rainbow Carrots, Lancs
* Red Onions, Norfolk
* Jan King Cabbage, Kent
* Parsnips, Lancs
* Sprouts, Lancs
Swede, Kent
Red Cabbage, Lancs
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

Fruit Supplement
Clementines, Spain
Pear, Kent


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

And rest is indeed what we all need (or for some, will not be getting until Christmas dinner is done!!!) and this will be your last newsletter for the year!

A reminder about veg box collections for the rest of the year and the start of next year:

  • Normal collection this week – Fri 19th Dec to Sun 21st Dec
  • Christmas and New Year (double) boxes – Tues 23rd Dec & Wed 24th Dec
  • No box first weekend of 2015 – Fri 2nd Jan to Sun 4th Jan
  • Normal collection resume – Fri 9nd Jan to Sun 11th Jan.

Please email us by the end of today (Thursday) to let us know if you are around for Christmas and New Year and would like the double box. If we don’t hear from you then we will assume you are away for the holiday season. If you would like only the Christmas or New Year box then also let us know.

Please note that Christmas boxes will have potatoes even if you are on a “no potato” option for the week. If you are persevering with your low-carb diet over Christmas please email us and we will see what we can do.

And there is still time for carol and Christmas Eve/Day services at St Dunstan’s across the road from our beloved Stepney City farm…

Or at ELT Baptist around the corner from Mile End and two of our collection points – Southern Grove Community Centre and The Coffee Room…


Family Carol Service – Sunday 22nd December 10:30am
Christmas Day Service – Thursday 25th December 11:00am

Or check out St Paul’s Old Ford in between Chicchi on Roman Road and Victoria Park Hub

Or whip around from Wapping Market to St Paul’s Shadwell:

Nativity Service
Friday 19th December 4pm
A nativity play by the children of St Paul’s and surrounding areas

Carols by Candlelight
Sunday 21st December 6pm
A service of readings and carols, followed by mulled wine and mince pies (adults only please)

Christmas Day
Thursday 25th December 10.30am
A family service followed by Holy Communion

A few ideas on what to do with the vegetables in your box along with thoughts from our past newsletters/ blog posts:

  • Turnip – If you are not vegetarian, turnips and the cold spell most definitely calls for some Lancashire hotpot or try Gloucestershire hotpot with pork, apples and juniper berries for a variation. Great with other stews as you would other root vegetables. Also perfect for a winter vegetable soup with chorizo and puy lentils
  • Harlequin Squash –  Background and lots of ideas for eating this beautiful jester in our Harlequin-in-the-box post
  • Avocado – Try a leftover turkey salad with sliced/mashed avocado, freshly squeezed lime and sea salt over a bed of rocket
  • Sprout Tops / Green Kale – Background info on sprout tops and some thoughts on cooking greens

Have a blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Romano Potatoes, Perry Court
* Carrots, Lancs
* Onions, Norfolk
* Green Kale, Kent
* Celery, Kent
Turnip, Perry Court
Harlequin Squash, Kent
Sprout Tops, Lancs
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Rocket, tbc

Fruit Supplement
Avocado, Spain (standard only)
Apples – Gala, Kent


Sprouts are not just for Christmas

We brought you purple and rainbow carrots, and golden and striped beetroots, and now we’ve got red brussel sprouts for you this week.

With a stronger and more intense flavour, the red variety also have additional health benefits due to the higher levels of anthocyanins that they carry – the chemicals that are found in the skins of grapes which help us to justify drinking red wine. This very British Christmas vegetable (like parsnips) is a Christmas veg largely due to seasonality and hardiness from freezing, but it really is not just for Christmas (we are still in November after all).

Take inspiration from Mark and Spencer’s Christmas food line this year, which includes sprout juice and sprout coleslaws. You’ve got time to perfect your sprout cooking for Christmas so why not try them with balsamic vinegar glazed red onions or a pancetta and lemon zing, rather than the usual overboiling experience.

And whilst we’re on brassicas, for those of you with sprout tops, we’ve featured them in the past (link here) but for a few more cooking ideas (which also works for your bag of kale) think of it as an alternative to spring greens. As with most greens, either eat them whole or roughly chopped, then steam or microwave until a luscious green sheen shines through. Then go with your mood for the moment:

  • some pure simple butter and seasoning
  • try a Jamie Oliver’s lemony twist
  • fry up some pancetta or bacon, then add sprout tops and cook for a little longer
  • stir fry some chopped garlic, slices of ginger and chopped chilli if you like, add the sprout tops and then finish with some sesame oil, soy sauce and/or oyster sauce, maybe topped with some roasted/ground peanuts and cashews. You could make this a complete meal by stir-frying your meat or tofu before adding the greens

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

As an admin point – all of the boxes are labelled with your names so do check carefully to make sure you are taking the correct boxes.

And if you are away for Christmas and/or New Year drop us a note to let us know which boxes you would like to skip. Boxes will be available for collection from Friday 19th December, Tuesday 23rd December (an early Christmas box) and Friday 2nd January. Combining the two pre-Christmas boxes for a single collection is also possible, but do let us know.

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Bakers Potatoes, Lincs
* Carrots, Lancs
* Leeks, Lancs
* Kohl Rabi, Lancs
* Green Kale, Kent
Red Sprouts, Lancs
Parsnips, Lancs
Courgette, Spain
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Land Cress, Perry Court

Fruit Supplement
Oranges, Spain (standard only)
Apples – Gala, Kent


Christmas is Sprouting All Over

It is now only 35 days to Christmas Day, that’s just 5 weeks away!

So we now have our first sprouts in the standard box (they will definitely be in our Christmas box – more details on this below). Since we have had our first frost the sprouts will be perfect for eating, rather than just the tops you’ve been getting. Apparently the flavour of parsnips also improves after the first frost so see if you can tell the difference next time they’re in the box.

For the Christmas and New Year season, there will be the usual collection from Friday 19th December and an early Christmas box (no prizes for guessing what’s in this box) available for collection from Tuesday 23rd December rather than the usual end of week collection. A double box for a single collection is also possible, but do let us know. Usual collection will resume after the New Year from Friday 2nd January.

If you are away for Christmas and/or New Year give us a jingle bell to let us know which boxes you would like to skip. And more generally, if you ever are away or need to skip a box (including for those of you on the trial-month) please let us know by the Monday of the week you don’t want the box. More details on the “Holiday/skipping policy” section of the Tower Green Hamlets website’s FAQ.Also, how about giving a trial box or trial month as a Christmas gift? It will be a unique gift, a pleasant surprise and a special treat that doesn’t add clutter to the house. It will also give a great start to the New Year after endless (over)eating, perfect for all wonderful New Year resolutions!

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

  • Beetroot – Have a look at our “Need some aprohdisiac? Try beetroot!” blog post for some ideas and also our Beetroot and Feta Couscous post. Our frog friends from across the stream (where they eat a lot more of them) also recommend cubing or slicing them into a salad then dressing with French vinaigerette (oil, vinegar and mustard)
  • Turnips – Not as common here as across the river (but remember they don’t know what they are missing out with parsnips), our frog friends recommends adding these to stews as you would other root vegetables. Also perfect for a winter vegetable soup with chorizo and puy lentils
  • Rainbow Carrots – Have a look at From Purple to Rainbow blog post (also for cabbage) for some ideas on how to eat them and check out some photos to inspire you

For those of you getting parsley as a no-potato substitute, try standing them vertically in a jar with an inch of water before storing in the fridge, they will last for far longer than you can imagine!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Romano Potatoes, Lincs
* Rainbow Carrots, Lancs
* Onions, Norfolk
* Beetroot, Lincs
* Spinach, Perry Court
Turnips, Perry Court
Jan King Cabbage, Kent
Sprouts, Lancs
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Parsley, Perry Court

Fruit Supplement
Pears, Kent (standard only)
Clementines, Spain