Fennel Salad with Sultanas and Giant Cous Cous

Time Preparing: 10 mins
Time Cooking: 10 mins
Serves: 2
Difficulty: 1/5
Season: Spring / Summer

Ingredients
– 200g Fennel
– 80g Chickpeas
– 80g Giant Cous Cous
– 3 Tomatoes
– Handful of Sultanas
– Handful of Parsley
– 2tbsp Olive Oil
– 1tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
– Salt and Pepper
– 1tbsp Mustard

Method
1. Start by cooking the cous cous as instructed on the packaging before draining and allowing to cool
2. Chop fennel and tomatoes into small slices
3. Add sultanas to a small bowl of boiling water to help them raise
4. To make the dressing, mix oil, vinegar and seasoning (mustard optional)
5. Layer all ingredients in a bowl or plate then drizzle dressing over

 

This recipe was created for Tower Green Hamlets by Pauline Cuisine

Beetroot, Fennel and Swiss Chard with Quinoa

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

Ingredients
– 60g Bulgar
– 60g Quinoa
– 60g Swiss Chard
– 240g Fennel
– 1/2 Onion
– 1 small red beetroot
– 4tbsp Olive Oil
– Veg Stock
– Pepper for Seasoning

Method
1. Heat 2tbsp oil on a low heat, then add bulgar and quinoa for 5mins
2. Cut the fennel into small square chunks
3. Separate stems and leaves on swiss chard. Finely chop stem, and roughly cut leaves
4. Peel and chop the onion, and peel and grate beetroot
5. Heat the remaining oil in a separate pan on a medium heat, then add onion and swiss chard leaves for 3mins
6. Add fennel and continue to cook for a further 3mins, before adding swiss chard leaves for a further 3mins
7. Add bulgar, quinoa and grated beetroot along with 800ml boiling water and veg stock along with pepper for seasoning
8. Cook for 20mins on a medium-low heat

 

This recipe was created for Tower Green Hamlets by Pauline Cuisine

Going out with a BANG

We hope you had a ‘frightfully’ good weekend celebrating Halloween, and as Bonfire Night approaches, that you’ll end this week with a bang!

There are of course many firework displays in and around Tower Hamlets, although we’re particularly looking forward to Victoria Park’s ‘The Great Fire of London‘ Fireworks display which is at 7pm this Sunday.

Whilst you won’t be able to take food into most firework events, a fantastic treat before the event, is homemade toffee apples or even better – caramel apples!. Whilst they may not be the healthiest option your box offers, they sure are a great way to fill yourself up with Autumn goodness. Plus they’re super easy to make. By using caramel instead of the traditional toffee, you’ll find it easier to decorate them with nuts, sprinkles or added chocolate! Our organic apples are perfect as you’ll find traditional apples are coated in wax which makes it difficult for the caramel to stick properly! 

Start by melting caramel in a glass bowl over boiling water, stirring occasionally until fully melted. As the caramel is melting, push wooden apple sticks into the apples. One at a time, dip the apples into the caramel, allowing any excess to drip off. Either leave them to cool in the fridge, or whilst they’re still wet, roll them in nuts, chocolate chips or sprinkles. If you’re feeling adventurous, try drizzling melted chocolate over them once the caramel has set a little.

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
* Leeks, Kent
* Squash, Kent
* Kale, Perry Court
* Carrots, Lancs
Chili Peppers, Perry Court
Fennel, Perry Court
Little Gem Lettuce, Perry Court

Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Globe Red Beets

Fruit Supplement

* Worcester Apples, Kent
Pears, Kent

Blood in your box?

It’s not Halloween and you thought you were getting vegetables and fruit, so why is there blood in your box this week?

It’s the season for Spanish blood oranges! Make the most of it, the season isn’t long. Juice it for its delightful pink/red juice (great fun with the kids, who will be expecting orange juice to be orange!) Or now that you have gotten over your New Year hungover, knock it into a blood orange margarita.

It would make a delightful starter for a beautiful citrus salad with feta and mint. Or try a blood orange, almond and ricotta cake. Funny how orange pairs surprisingly well with cheese.

And we also have sweet potatoes in the boxes this week, so check out these 25 healthy sweet potato recipes and Guardian’s 10 best sweet potato recipes, and enjoy these vitamin-packed, lower calories, higher fibre beauties!

Now for the perfect recipe for all those items in the standard box, check out the sweet potato, fennel and olive salad with crispy kale and quinoa. What a glorious start to the year!


This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Sarpo Mira Potatoes, Perry Court
* Carrots, Yorks
* Kale, Kent
* Leeks, Kent
Jan King Cabbage, Kent
Beetroot, Perry Court
Sweet Potatoes, Spain
Fennel, Italy

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

Remembering…

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)

 

Summer Salads to Savour

We have yet another dazzling weather forecast for the coming weekend. And with the hot weather continuing and based on the feedback from some of you we would not be including broccoli in our boxes until the weather cools down again. The broccolis are fine when they arrive but as there is no refrigeration possible they do turn yellow very quickly and really need to be picked up right away which we know isn’t always possible.

But we have broad beans (some of you had these substituting for the mini cucumber last week) and the first British tomatoes in our boxes this week.

Broad beans and fennel make the perfect pairing so try an easy version with lemon, parmesan and mint. Or go French with blue cheese and a Dijon mustard and lemon dressing. Or brave an Ottolenghi version with quinoa and spices and maybe go with the suggestion to “fortify it further with nigella or pumpkin seeds, toasted walnuts, goat’s cheese and oven-dried tomatoes”. Or try a broad bean and fennel tart/quiche.

For the other vegetables, why not try a Greek-styled salad, starting with shredded pointed cabbage for a base, top with chopped tomatoes and feta cheese, and finally toss with some herbs, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Or try an orange, beetroot and fennel salad with cumin vinaigrette.

And do try this rustic Tuscan-style sausage, white bean and kale soup. Or a sweetheart cabbage soup (another name for pointed cabbage) where you can throw in your bunched carrots (topped and tailed), tomatoes if you like and courgette if you’ve got them in the box this week or from last week – that’s the entire small box for this week! These soups definitely taste better a day later.

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
* Roosters, Lincs
* Pointed Cabbage, Suffolk
* Bunched Carrots, Norfolk
* Tomatoes, Yorks
Beetroot, Yorks
Kale, Yorks
Broad Beans, Kent
Fennel, Italy

Small Box
Items starred (*) above
+ Courgettes, Spain

No-Potato Substitute
Mushrooms, Suffolk

Fruit Supplement
Oranges, Spain (standard only)
Kiwis, Italy

 

Harvest Festival…All Things Bright & Beautiful!

We so often associate Thanksgiving as an North American celebration that it’s almost hard to remember that it was the early English Puritan settlers who took the idea of harvest thanksgiving there in the first place.

Some local churches are celebrating harvest festival this Sunday, in support of the Bring Home the Harvest campaign, part of the current British Food Fortnight which encourages community organisations and schools to learn more about UK food and support British producers. So why not go along and join in – it’s an opportunity for the community to come together to give thanks for farmers, cooks and food, and to celebrate and eat together. As the Church of England‘s national rural officer puts it:

“Harvest Festival is not just a quaint tradition carried on by the rural church but an opportunity in the modern world to reconnect with food, farming and the countryside. (It) is also a time to have fun in praising God and to share food together.”

Or why not pop along to the RHS London Harvest Festival Show next Tuesday or Wednesday. Unlike the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, this one only costs a fiver and is a foodie feast (rather than a pure visual experience) celebrating the taste of autumn with some of the best growers in UK displaying their bounty and UK home-grown produce to see, taste and buy.

Along with summer we bid farewell to some vegetables that we won’t see again for awhile, like salads, cucumbers and big round juicy red tomatoes (although there may see be some cherry tomatoes around). And like celeriac last week, the arrival of fennel tells us that winter is nigh.

Remove and discard stalks and tough outer layer around the fennel bulb, but keep the fennel tops to add back at the end as they are very pretty (they look like dill) and edible.

  • The aniseed flavour of fennel makes a wonderful pairing for fish, so try it in an easy-peasy fennel gratin. Or skip the cream for a lighter fennel bake option.
  • Many veg you don’t know what to do with can be made into risotto (or soup for that matter) so try fennel and lemon risotto. It isn’t as difficult as it may appear – simply chop up the fennel and cook along with the chopped onions and garlic, then follow the directions on your risotto rice pack and finish with some grated parmesan, lemon zest/juice and/or parsley. Similar to fish, this would pair well with prawns.
  • Simply roast or braise as halves or quarters with olive oil, and garlic and/or a squeeze of lemon. Pairs well with roasted or pan-fried chicken or pork, both also great with apples (whole or quartered, cored).
  • Slice very thinly to add to coleslaw or as a salad on its own with smoked salmon.
  • Ideas above came from Martha Stewart’s 25 recipe suggestions for fennel, but check the link out for more ideas.

Gem squash is also in the box for those with the no-potatoes option. Here’s how to serve up baked stuffed gem squash:

  • Half the gem squash, scoop out the seeds
  • Fill with any combination of chopped onions and/or canned tomatoes, mince or grated/soft/goats cheese, olives and even rice or orzo.
    • If using onions and/or mince than it’s worth frying those up until tender and browned before stuffing.
    • If including rice or orzo then make sure there is enough moisture from the chopped tomatoes or simply add a little water.
  • Wrap up in foil and bake until tender.

The mild and sweet, creamy and delicate flesh which should just melt in your mouth! Here’s a photo of the same but with summer squash.

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Valour Potatoes, Perry Court
* Onions, Kent
* Purple Carrots, Lancs
* Broccoli, Kent
* Fennel (with tops), Kent
Spinach, Perry Court
Sweetcorn, Kent
Celery, Lancs
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Gem squash, Kent

Fruit Supplement
Kiwis, Italy (standard box only)
Gala Apples, Kent