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

Neeps and Nips

We hope you like the increased variety in the boxes so far and we have sweet potatoes, romano peppers and out-of-season Spanish courgettes making a rare appearance in the boxes this week.

Go East with a curry-ish sweet potato, pepper and coconut soup. Or ditch the ground coriander and use fresh coriander along with fish sauce and a squeeze lime for some Thai inspiration. Throw in some tofu or chicken, noodles or rice and you are all sorted. Or try a sweet potato shepherd’s pie which also uses up your swede?

If you are still wondering what to do with your swede (also known as rutabaga by Americans and Swedes or neeps by the Scots) and turnips, then consider that they make a wonderful pair, and include them both in this roasted root vegetable with tomatoes and kale stew, along with parsnips if you’ve got the no-potato sub.

Grate your raw turnips and courgette (works well with carrots and beetroot also for some colour, if you still have some lurking around) and toss well with this dressing: plum sauce, sesame oil and lime juice. Top off with some chopped roasted peanuts (if they don’t send you to A&E in an anaphylaxis state of course).

And check out Nigel Slater’s swede-ish ideas: swede with butter and stock and baked swede. Oh so simple ways to spruce up a somewhat unloved and under appreciated veg. Or Burns night is long over, but with the potential great EU divorce happening, maybe celebrate that the Scots are still with us with a haggis (with the full works, or vegeterian if you like), neeps and tatties.

For the ultimate recipe of the week check out this lentil soup with carrots, turnips and kale – it even uses up your sweet potatoes and onions.

And if you are a lady and haven’t been up to our dear Vicky Park lately and wondering what all those funky pink and purple lights are about, then it’s time to pop over to check out the launch of the adidas Pure X Boost range which are female only running trainers – we did say you need to be of the finer sex, didn’t we?

There are three more nights of park run (last one on Sunday night), just show up at the tent past the boating lake a little before 7pm.  Throughout the day there are also a variety of free classes, workouts and events on offer, including sunrise yoga, supper clubs, fat-burning boot camps and smoothie-making masterclasses (we’re sure they’ll have kale there, otherwise bring some from your box) for all levels and abilities.

This Week’s Bounty

Standard Box
* Valour Potatoes, Perry Court
* Turnips, Perry Court
* Swede, Yorks
* Romano Peppers, Spain
* Courgettes, Spain
Sweet Potatoes, Spain
Green Kale, Yorks
Onions, Essex

Small Box
Items starred (*) above

No-Potato Substitute
Parsnips, Lincs

Fruit Supplement
Bananas, Dom Rep (standard only)
Pears, Kent (standard only)
Blood Orange, Spain (small only)


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!!!


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


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