Homemade Pesto Recipe – with Sprouts Tops

Pesto is undoubtedly a fantastic addition to pasta dishes, and goes well with white meat such as chicken. This delightful pesto recipe is made from Brussels Sprouts tops, but can easily be replaced with Kale, Rocket, Kalettes or Basil.

Time Preparing: 15 mins
Time Cooking:  2 mins
Serves: 4+
Difficulty: 1/5
Season: Winter

Ingredients:
– 200g Brussels Sprouts Tops
– 80g Parmesan Cheese (or vegan alternative)
– Juice from 1 Lemon
– 160ml Olive Oil
– Pine Nuts (optional)
– Handful of Basil
– Handful of Parsley

Method:
1. Discard the stems from the leaves, and chop leaves into rough pieces then wash thoroughly
Note: Keep the stems for another recipe such as soup!
2. Add the sprouts tops into boiling water for 2 mins, then dry on kitchen towel
3. Blend sprouts tops in a blender until they form a paste
4. Add the juice from the lemon, parmesan, herbs, and half of the olive oil. Blend until all ingredients are mixed together
5. Depending on the texture desired, add more olive oil a little at a time, blending in between

 

This recipe was created for Tower Green Hamlets by Pauline Cuisine

Brussels Sprouts Head, Celeriac and Carrot Soup

Nothing is as good as a soup for cold winter evenings. Whilst some find soup a little boring, the secret is unlimited combinations for soups. Soups are also a great way to make use of some of the less noble parts of vegetables – such as the green parts of leeks – or in the case of this recipe, Brussels Sprouts Tops Stems. The leaves were using for a gorgeous pesto recipe which can be found here.

Time Preparing: 10 mins
Time Cooking:  30 mins
Serves: 2
Difficulty: 2/5
Season: Winter

Ingredients:
– 100g Brussels Sprouts Tops, Stems
– 130g Celeriac
– 80g Carrots
– 700ml Vegetable Stock

Method:
1. Peel the carrots and celeriac, then cut into small piece
2. Slice the sprouts tops stems
3. Add the vegetables to a large pan, along with the vegetable stock (boiling)
4. Cook on a medium heat for 30 minutes
5. Blend to desired consistency then serve with warm crusty bread and a dash of cream

 

This recipe was created for Tower Green Hamlets by Pauline Cuisine

Tops of Sprouts

So what exactly are these sprout tops in the standard box this week? It’s what grow at the top of a brussels sprouts plant (reminds us that Christmas is just around the corner).

Here’s an unbeatable quote waxing lyrical about sprout tops from this delightful Guardian article on why sprout tops are good for you:

“Even to the most hardened brussels sprouts dodgers, sprout tops – the clusters of leaves that grow at the crown of the sprouts’ stalk – may come as something of a revelation. These elegant, curved, purple-green leaves look beautiful – like a still life painted by a Dutch old master. In taste terms, they unite the sweet, cabbage-like freshness of young spring greens with a delicate memory of brussels sprouts, but without any of the latter’s sometimes testing sulphurous undertones. They cook almost instantly to a submissive silkiness.”

And as for why they are good for you:
“Sprout tops offer all the nutritional virtues of brussels sprouts. Along with broccoli, they have the highest levels of glucosinolate compounds (which are believed to protect against cancer) of the (glucosinolate-rich) brassica family. These compounds also seem to help the body detoxify – particularly useful in the festive season. [They] are vitamin-dense, and have exceptionally rich stores of two vitamins in particular: anti-inflammatory vitamin K, which like calcium, helps build bone density; and vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system – a winner in winter.”

The article also has the perfect recipe for wet and dreary days: sprout top, potato and chorizo soup.

The tops are incredibly versatile and can be cooked so many ways:

  • Try them with browned butter and hazelnutsbacon and onion, or chestnuts and bacon (ahh, now we’re thinking about Christmas again).
  • They are delicious shredded, lightly sautéed and combined with leftover mash and roast meats in a patty, for a sprout top squeaker. Try topping it with a poached egg, too.
  • How about frying with garlic and mushrooms and spooning over toast?
  • Or a stir-fry with garlic, ginger and a splash of rice wine?
  • Otherwise, keep it simple – steam until just wilted and top with a knob of butter and a sprinkling of sea salt, perhaps even smoked sea salt, and maybe a squeeze of lemon.
  • Or for a fancy night in, why not try pan-fried halibut with sprout tops and a cockle, mussel and clam sauce (or any white fish woul do).
Gotta check out that “submissive silkiness” now!

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

* Carrots, Lancs
Onions, Norfolk
Cauliflower, Kent
Chestnut Mushrooms, Suffolk

Spinach, Perry Court Farm
Brussels Sprout Tops, Lancs
Parsnips, Perry Court Farm

No-Potato Substitute
Red Kale, Perry Court

Small Box
Items marked with (*) above
+ January King Cabbage, Kent
+ Beetroot, Perry Court

+ Leeks, Kent

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

 

Sprouts are not just for Christmas

We brought you purple and rainbow carrots, and golden and striped beetroots, and now we’ve got red brussel sprouts for you this week.

With a stronger and more intense flavour, the red variety also have additional health benefits due to the higher levels of anthocyanins that they carry – the chemicals that are found in the skins of grapes which help us to justify drinking red wine. This very British Christmas vegetable (like parsnips) is a Christmas veg largely due to seasonality and hardiness from freezing, but it really is not just for Christmas (we are still in November after all).

Take inspiration from Mark and Spencer’s Christmas food line this year, which includes sprout juice and sprout coleslaws. You’ve got time to perfect your sprout cooking for Christmas so why not try them with balsamic vinegar glazed red onions or a pancetta and lemon zing, rather than the usual overboiling experience.

And whilst we’re on brassicas, for those of you with sprout tops, we’ve featured them in the past (link here) but for a few more cooking ideas (which also works for your bag of kale) think of it as an alternative to spring greens. As with most greens, either eat them whole or roughly chopped, then steam or microwave until a luscious green sheen shines through. Then go with your mood for the moment:

  • some pure simple butter and seasoning
  • try a Jamie Oliver’s lemony twist
  • fry up some pancetta or bacon, then add sprout tops and cook for a little longer
  • stir fry some chopped garlic, slices of ginger and chopped chilli if you like, add the sprout tops and then finish with some sesame oil, soy sauce and/or oyster sauce, maybe topped with some roasted/ground peanuts and cashews. You could make this a complete meal by stir-frying your meat or tofu before adding the greens

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

As an admin point – all of the boxes are labelled with your names so do check carefully to make sure you are taking the correct boxes.

And 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, but do let us know.

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Bakers Potatoes, Lincs
* Carrots, Lancs
* Leeks, Lancs
* Kohl Rabi, Lancs
* Green Kale, Kent
Red Sprouts, Lancs
Parsnips, Lancs
Courgette, Spain
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Land Cress, Perry Court

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

 

Sprouting Tops!

So what exactly are these sprout tops in the standard box this week?!?

Have you ever cut off something like the top of something like a carrot, stood it in water and watched it sprout? Lovely kiddy science experiment but thankfully these they are not.

Sprout tops are what grow at the top of a brussels sprouts plant (telling us that Christmas is just around the corner). Here’s a photo in case you’ve never seen one before:


And we’ve been saving up this delightful article on why sprout tops are good for you, waiting for them to make an appearance in the boxes.  And much as we like writing about the vegetables in our boxes, we’re not going to beat this quote in waxing lyrical about vegetables…

“Even to the most hardened brussels sprouts dodgers, sprout tops – the clusters of leaves that grow at the crown of the sprouts’ stalk – may come as something of a revelation. These elegant, curved, purple-green leaves look beautiful – like a still life painted by a Dutch old master. In taste terms, they unite the sweet, cabbage-like freshness of young spring greens with a delicate memory of brussels sprouts, but without any of the latter’s sometimes testing sulphurous undertones. They cook almost instantly to a submissive silkiness.”

And as for why they are good for you:

“Sprout tops offer all the nutritional virtues of brussels sprouts. Along with broccoli, they have the highest levels of glucosinolate compounds (which are believed to protect against cancer) of the (glucosinolate-rich) brassica family. These compounds also seem to help the body detoxify – particularly useful in the festive season. [They] are vitamin-dense, and have exceptionally rich stores of two vitamins in particular: anti-inflammatory vitamin K, which like calcium, helps build bone density; and vitamin C, which helps strengthen the immune system – a winner in winter.”

The article also has the perfect recipe for wet and dreary days: sprout top, potato and chorizo soup. Gotta check out that “submissive silkiness” now!

Action Against Hunger – Rajasthan Cycle Challenge
Jamsheed who is the cafe manager at The Park Cafe in the Park, Victoria Park East, one of our pick-up locations, is off to do the Action Against Hunger – Rajasthan Cycle Challenge. Do support him, and all of us from Tower Green Hamlets wish him luck!

Urban Food Awards – Vote for Stepney City Farm
Do vote for Stepney City Farm to win the Urban Food Awards. The cafe has transformed the farm, and the breakfast, soups, stews and coffees are so worth voting for. And the delights of truly local, seasonal farm fresh produce in the cooking!

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Charlotte Potatoes, Lancs
* Red Onions, Kent
* Carrots, Lancs
* Green Kale, Kent
* Beetroot Bunch, Kent
Savoy Cabbage, Lincs
Sprout Tops, Lancs
Broccoli, Kent
Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Sweetcorn, Kent

Fruit Supplement
Pears, Kent (standard box only)
Oranges, Greece