Marshmallows with your veg?

Thanksgiving was only just last Thursday so we are a little late in bringing you sweet potatoes in the standard box this week. Why not try some classic American recipes like brown sugar-glazed sweet potatoes with marshmallows or Nigella’s sugar-free version with a twist of lime?

Or how about sweet potato casserole – topped with a buttery brown sugar and pecan mixture for a satisfying cool-weather but absolutely wicked casserole (or dessert if you weren’t brought up eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch or marshmallows as part of your veg).

For something a bit more familiar, how about stirring up your own home-made mincemeat with the apples from the box? Or a (marginally) healthier sugar-free version of mincemeat? Have them all ready to fill some mince pies! And why not caramelise some red onions to have them ready for an easy starter like red onions, walnut and goats cheese puff or red onion and brie tartlets party canapés. Use ready made all-butter pastry and no one will know!

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

Also a reminder that 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, do let us know!

In the mean time it’s time to hit Victoria Park’s Winterville (as featured on Time Out) or the Roman Road Winter Festival this weekend!!!

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This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Bakers Potatoes, Lincs (see Note+)
* Purple Haze, Lancs
* Red Onions, Norfolk
* Savoy Cabbage, Lancs
* Spinach, Kent
Spring Greens, Lancs
Mushroom, Suffolk
Sweet Potatoes, Spain

Note+ There was a hold-up in delivery last week, so these were substituted

Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Beetroot, Lincs

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

 

From Golden to Stripy…

Before we get on to news on the lovely produce in the boxes this week, do note that we will be labelling the boxes this week with your names so please do take the correct box!

From purple carrots to rainbow carrots (check out the photos on our Roasted and Ribbon Rainbow CaRRots blog post to see what we got up to with them) we move on from golden beetroot some weeks back to beetroot with pink and white candy cane stripes this week.

Is it artificially coloured? Maybe genetically modified? Or from an alien planet? No, it’s a chioggia beet (pronounced kee-OH-gee-uh) also known as the bullseye beetroot, and it’s an heirloom variety from Italy.

It hails from the Italian coastal town of Chioggia, near Venice and has been around since the early 19th-century. Tastes just like regular purple beets, maybe a little sweeter. When sliced open, beautiful pink and white stripes are revealed.

It can be prepared as you would other beetroot: steamed, sauteed, roasted, and pickled. But the beautiful stripes do fade and bleed the longer you cook them.

A splash of lemon juice or white vinegar may help to keep the colour from fading, but we opted to retain the stripes in all their glory so had them raw, thinly sliced with a mandolin and dressed with lemon juice and/or vinegar and chives. White wine vinegar works just as well as rice vinegar, or if you are very fancy and have raspberry vinegar handy it would add a lovely twist. And mint would work as well as chives.

And as promised this week this week’s standard boxes will be getting lettuces from Cranbrook Community Food Garden right off Roman Road. And rhubarb as the second item of fruit for all of you. Check out our photo gallery of this delightful community food garden. And you can even visit as part of the Edible Gardens Open Day (details below).

Cranbrook Community Food Garden

A delightful community food-growing space with a diverse range of crops in raised beds, involving people of different ethnic cultures.

Whats happening:

We will be opening our gates to celebrate our summer harvest, all are welcome to have a look around and sample some garden goodies.

When: 20/09/2014  Time: 11 – 3pm
Where: Cranbrook Estate London E2 0SQ
How to get there: Buses D6, 8, 309 / Tube: Bethnal Green


This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Charlotte Potatoes, Lancs
* Leek, Kent
* Carrots, Lancs
* Green Kale, Kent
* Runner Beans, Kent
Cherry Tomatoes, Perry Court
Chioggia Beetroot, Lancs
Lettuce, Cranbrook Community Food Garden
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Spinach, Perry Court

Fruit Supplement
Spartan Apples, Kent
Rhubarb, Cranbrook Community Food Garden

 

Cranbrook Community Food Garden

Hidden behind the delightful Simply Fresh grocery shop and the Brian Roberts Ye Old Fashioned Butchers (both highly recommended) on Roman Road is this precious gem...

Hidden behind the delightful Simply Fresh grocery shop and the Brian Roberts Ye Old Fashioned Butchers (both highly recommended) on Roman Road is this precious gem…

 

 

...you would never guess raspberries grow here!

…you would never guess raspberries grow here!

...and all kinds of other produce...

…and all kinds of other produce…

Whilst not certified organic, they are certainly organic in practice, making their own compost from garden and food waste

Whilst not certified organic, they are certainly organic in practice, making their own compost from garden and food waste

And a few wormeries on the go also making compost. Check out all that worm juice (in the white container) which will be dilute to 10 parts of water as a rich organic fertiliser!

And a few wormeries on the go also making compost. Check out all that worm juice (in the white container) which will be dilute to 10 parts of water as a rich organic fertiliser!

Comfrey weed growing between the pavement to be made into comfrey juice for more organic fertiliser

Comfrey weed growing between the pavement to be made into comfrey juice for more organic fertiliser

The little plot also practices companion planting such as growing nasturtiums next to crops to ward off pests

The little plot also practices companion planting such as growing nasturtiums next to certain crops to ward off pests

And here's what we'll be eating! The lettuce bed framed by the squash creepers and brussel sprouts (to the right)

And here’s what we’ll be eating! The lettuce bed framed by the squash creepers and brussels sprouts (to the right)

Here's the lettuce glut. Good news for us - it gives us some ultra-local organic produce in our boxes!

Here’s the lettuce glut. Good news for us – it gives us some ultra-local organic produce in our boxes!

And lots of rhubarb for added variety to our fruit supplement...

And lots of rhubarb for added variety to our fruit supplement…

...those rhubarb hiding away under the soil...

…with those rhubarb hiding away under the soil…

Clearly a prolific courgette plant after lots of fruit being harvested!

Clearly a prolific courgette plant after lots of fruit being harvested!

Red cabbage with cavolo nero (black kale) in the background

Red cabbage with cavolo nero (black kale) in the background

All the psychedelic pink and yellow Bright Lights of rainbow chard

All the psychedelic pink and yellow Bright Lights of rainbow chard

Runner beans with their pretty red flowers

Runner beans with their pretty red flowers

Tomatoes not all ripening at the same time unlike those tasteless uniformly red ones in supermarkets!!!

Tomatoes not all ripening at the same time unlike those tasteless uniformly red ones in supermarkets!!!

Janet who was showing me around holding the pumpkin for scale - it probably won't be around for Halloween!

Janet who was showing us around holding the pumpkin for scale – it probably won’t be around for Halloween! Nature is amazing – look at that stem by which the pumpkin hangs mid-air!

And another few squashes...

And another few squashes…

...and another...

…and another…

...and another above the sorrel bed

…and another above the sorrel bed

Sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes?

Some pea shoots as microgreens for salad...

Some pea shoots grown as microgreens for salad…

...which will go well with the land cress

…which will go well with the land cress

And lots of herb growing, like this chocolate mint variety

And lots of herb growing, like this chocolate mint variety

Into the greenhouse where some mini sweet pointed peppers are growing

Into the greenhouse where some mini sweet pointed peppers are growing

And even a lemon tree!

And even a lemon tree!

It's not just a lovely food garden but lots of lovely little touches also, like this succulent plant from a cone-shaped hanging basket

It’s not just a wonderful food garden but has lots of sweet little touches, like this succulent plant from a cone-shaped hanging basket

 

And more touches of love in these succulent mini-gardens

And more touches of love in these succulent mini-gardens

Bug hotel for all those precious ladybirds

Bug hotel for all those precious ladybirds and other bugs

And here's one for all those who garden in big and small ways - Happy Gardening!

And here’s one for all those of you who grow food in big and small ways – Happy Gardening!

And a truly communal garden with many local residents pitching in...

Celebrating a truly communal garden with many local residents pitching in…

...and a notice board...

…and a notice board…

...and jams and chutney for sell...

…and jams and chutney for sell…

...and I think it's time to sit down!

…and I think it’s time to sit down!