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

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

Jess at TGH

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

 

 

 

Give Your Body New Life with Vegs – Happy Easter! 

Just a reminder about the local Easter services that are happening – do pop over and check them out at St Dunstan across the road from Stepney City Farm, or at St Paul’s Shadwell.

During Easter and Passover we reflect on renewal, a perfect time to celebrate the spring harvest. So it’s great to see the return of some local greens with land cress from Perry Court in the small box this week. Easier to grow as it requires less water than watercress, it has tons of iron, calcium, beta carotene and vitamin C.

Flavourwise it’s peppery and definitely fiery stuff with a real earthiness so it’s often served with other salad greens to temper it. This bite works well as a garnish for other dishes especially meats. For fish, add it finely chopped to a mayonnaise with some capers or make a kind of pesto to serve on the side. If you want to use it straight up as a salad adding honey to your dressing will balance the flavours nicely. Try it with some pecans and goat’s cheese. Or try making this land cress fritatta with parmesan and ricotta, and throw in some mushrooms whilst at it. After all, you can’t really have Easter without eggs…

As for the standard box we have a return of the Kentish wild garlic (check out our previous blog post for recipe ideas) along with local radishes. How about pairing radishes with mushrooms for a slightly less usual combination – slice them up and try one of these suggestions:

Most of these suggestions would also work with either mushroom or radish only, and perfect accompaniment for your Easter eggy brunch.

Meanwhile on the farm-side, the seed sowing is going well and it’s almost beginning to get challenging for space! The propagation tunnels are overflowing and the growing tables outside will soon welcome more plants ready to experience their first few days in their new environment.

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
* Bambino Potatoes, Perry Court
* Onions, Norfolk
* Carrots, Scotland
* Mushrooms, Suffolk
Radish Bunch, Kent
Wild Garlic, Kent
Spring Greens, Lancs
Broccoli, Spain
Small Box Items starred (*) above
+ Land Cress, Perry Court

No-Potato Substitute
Chard TBC

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

Hot Cross Buns for Holy Week

It’s Holy Week coming up so why not hold virgil and celebrate at some of the services at St Dunstan across the road from Stepney City Farm, or at St Paul’s Shadwell.

In a shocking Judas betrayal of our local values, we have Spanish lemons in the box this week so why not try some lemon hot cross buns and maybe add some white chocolate or even mix in some chopped rosemary to make it extra special. Or use them together with this week’s Spartan apples from Kent to make some lemony apple and cinnamon hot cross buns! Or try this great hot cross bun recipe with apples, cranberries and a marzipan centre!

Meanwhile on the growing front, everything growing in the tunnels has got crisp, juicy stems and leaves. A few plants have made it outside to start hardening off, with kale amongst them so hold tight the greens shall all make their return!

The first step in preparing the fields for potatoes has been completed and you can see in the picture below how by bed-forming the fields, it prepares the land for de-stoning, which would stall the tubers growth, as well as giving the crop more room to expand and increase yield in a sustainable and beneficial way.

A lot of planting has occurred as well, with spinach, parsley, Battavia lettuce and four varieties of tomatoes – some you will recognise from previous years (can’t wait for those Gardeners’ Delight) but there will be a few new ones too!

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, UK
* Jan King Cabbage, Lancs
* Beetroot, Lincs
* Carrots, Scotland
* Mustard Leaves, Perry Court
Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Kent
Onions, Norfolk
Cauliflower, Lincs
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

Fruit SupplementNo-Potato Substitute
Garlic Rope

Apples – Spartan, Kent (standard only)
Lemons, Spain