Harvesting…

It’s time to celebrate Harvest Festival so pop over to St Dunstan just across the road from Stepney City Farm on Friday 7pm for a harvest supper & quiz night, and then again on Sunday for the Harvest Festival service(s).

For your golden beetroot, check out our recent write-up on these gems: The Return of the Golden Beet. For those of you with celeriac in your box, why not try Ottolenghi’s beetroot and celeriac gratin – very comforting and warm autumn gratin. Or take Jamie’s advice that “all you need to make celeriac really special is a little bit of olive oil and some lovely herbs” and make some very simple celeriac.

The corn in your box would be perfect for making a very seasonal condiment: autumnal corn salsa. It makes good use of your red onions (chop up to substitute spring onions) and parsley. Speaking of condiments, a pot of chimichurri is always handy with your home-cooked Argentinian-style steak (very hot frying pan, exhaust on full power – it’s a good test if the fire alarms in your home is working!) If you don’t get it perfect, no worry, Argentinians eat their steak well done (chewing brings out flavour) rather than perfect pink.

As for kale, the superstar of the healthy eating movement, Guardian’s 10 best kale recipes (yes, it’s the Guardian and kale – no bourgeoisie comments please) includes making crisps with cumin and lemon, a refreshing sausage and barley stew, braising in coconut milk, and an Asian-styled ginger and garlic stir-fry.

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
* Kale, Perry Court
Spinach, Perry Court
Carrots, Lancs
Parsley, Perry Court
Golden Beetroot, Perry Court
Red Onions, Norfolk
Sweetcorn, Kent

No-Potato Substitute
Celeriac, Lancs

Small Box
Items starred (*) above
+ Parsnips, Perry Court
+ Leeks, Perry Court
+ Onions, Norfolk

Fruit Supplement
Apples – Worcester, Kent (small only)
Apples – Red Pippin (standard only)
Pears – Conference (standard only)

Autumn Equinox

The autumn equinox (supposedly the first day of autumn) occurred yesterday, September 23. Google has even designed a new Doodle to reflect this – squashes are definitely on their way, just not in this week’s box.

Derived from the Latin, the word equinox means equal night. After the autumnal equinox, the days get shorter and the nights get longer. Also, theoretically, there should be same amount of daylight in both of the Earth’s hemispheres. Traditionally it signified when the farmers brought in the harvest, which may explain why the full moon nearest the equinox is often called the harvest moon.

Salvation Army on Copeley Street, literally a stone’s throw from Stepney City Farm, is having a Harvest Celebration this Sunday so do join in!

With autumn here we now well and truly have our apple and pear fruit staples back, a kale. Why not try a kale and apple soup? Mildly sweet with a bit of apple, and it has that beloved pancetta/bacon edge that goes so well with sautéed greens, topped off with a dollop of crème fraîche. Don’t even bother to peel the apple or de-stem the kale – all that fibre is good for you and get blended in the soup anyway.

Celeriac and pear also pairs well make it into a delicious creamy mash with a slight sweetness which goes well with strong-flavoured cuts of meat like ribs or pork belly. It also works well as a soupwith blue cheese if you like (or with the same ingredients in a salad). Alternatively, a creamy version with bacon or with sausage bites. Celeriac pear and rocket salad is also another option.

As for your pears and apples, knock together a pie with custard or crumble with walnuts infused with rosemary (or keep with simple with vanilla or lavender), almond sponge, crisp with oatmeal streusel or cobbler with oatmeal muffin crust. Or simply sautee with cinnamon (and other spices). Other ideas include the easy French clafoutis or cake – these recipes call for the use of either apple or pear, but why not try using both? Still not inspired? Check out this 50 apple and pear dessert link…

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
* Kale, Lancs
Onions, Norfolk
Carrots, Lancs
Spinach, Perry Court
Celeriac, Perry Court
Rocket – Perry Court, Old Orchard
Sweetcorn, Kent

No-Potato Substitute
Red Kuri Squash, Perry Court

Small Box
Items starred (*) above
+ Parsnips, Perry Court
+ Broccoli, Lancs
+ Leeks, Kent

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

 

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