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


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