farmers markets

What is it?

Posted in autumn, farmers markets on September 26th, 2011 by Kevin – 1 Comment

Spotted at the Stoke Newington Farmers Market on Saturday. Distinctive seasonal produce. Can anyone tell me what they are? Answers on an (e)postcard please.

Stoke Newington Salad

Posted in farmers markets, organic gardening on August 9th, 2011 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

A bag of Growing Communities Organic Salad Leaves with Blanched Sweet Potato, Clementine segments, Toasted Sunflower seeds and a Brown Rice Vinegar, Honey and Mustard Dressing.

Lamb Tagine

Posted in dinners, farmers markets, meals, organic gardening on August 3rd, 2011 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

A delicious Lamb Tagine, made with Organic Lamb from the Stoke Newington Farmers Market, Chickpeas, Prunes, Homegrown Carrots & Zucchini, Raz el Hanout, Turmeric, Garlic, Onions, Lemon, Tomato Paste and Harissa. Served with Couscous and a Yoghurt, Mint & Garlic Dressing.

Friday meal

Posted in dinners, farmers markets, fish, organic gardening on July 13th, 2011 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

A dish pucked from Stevie Parle’s delightful ‘Real Food from Near and Far.’ I’ve been wanting to try cooking with Okra, and this is a very easy, rustic dish made with Red Onions, Garlic, Cyprus Potatoes, a can of Chopped Tomatoes, Okra and fresh Coriander to finish.

Sarah Davies gave me a sample pack of the Growing Communities Organic Mixed Salad, which inspired a simple Salad with fresh figs and a Balsamic, Honey and Mustard dressing.

And the whole plate came together. Okra and Salad to accompany a whole baked Sea Bass with Lemon Thyme, Lemon and Garlic. Some Spelt Sourdough from the E5 Bakehouse to round it all off.

Stoke Newington Market on the move

Posted in events, farmers markets, organic gardening on July 12th, 2011 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

A visit to the new location for the weekly Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market, now at St Paul’s Church on Stoke Newington High St, opposite the Police Station. Same time and date, Saturday mornings from 10–2.30pm. All the usual suspects in attendance, and what seems like a few new stalls too. I came back with a complimentary Growing Communities bag, and a load of bounty: Fresh new Onions, Cauliflower, Cucumber, Organic Basil & Spinach from Ripple Farm; Organic Chicken from Stock’s Farm.

Bloody Jellies…

Posted in desserts, farmers markets, recipes on February 7th, 2011 by Francoise – Be the first to comment

Oranges have been coming up in my weekly fruit bag from Growing Communities, wonderful gifts from the Mediterranean sun at the end of our grey and windy British winter. Sometimes I love the juiciness and slight acidity of an orange, somehow it quenches my thirst. Most times I use orange rinds and juices in dressings, mixed with rice, on my porridge or in cakes… Last week, for a change, I made an orange juice jelly with agar agar flakes (inspired from a recipe in Allegra McEvedy’s Colour Cookbook which Niall gave me a few years ago) . The oranges were blood oranges, so the colour was amazing (no colouring!), see the pictures below.

The ingredients were simply the orange juice and agar agar (10g per 1 litre of liquid, added to the simmering juice, whisk a few minutes). Once cooled and the jelly set, I mixed a little amount of light tahini with some of the jelly which took on a light pink colour. I served at room temperature, in a glass dish, garnished with sliced date and finely sliced orange rind….just needs a biscuit :-)

Herring & Oats

Posted in farmers markets, recipes, winter on February 1st, 2011 by Francoise – 2 Comments

I felt a little guilty buying only one herring….it costs 70p and the fishmonger on Stoke Newington market still offered to prepare it for me. So I also bought some squid which I’ve realised over the last few months is easy to prepare and cook – this will be another post.

I hesitated with the herring, the last time I had bought fresh herring and baked it somehow, it was not a ‘wouah’ it’s delicious moment. More like…..there are lots of bones to pick. I am glad I bought it again and selected a recipe from Hugh Fearley (what’s his name???)…I had to fillet the herring first ( and I could improve my skills here, but you can find help from others:

The recipe is one of these (Scottish?) traditional recipes I have read many times but somehow never got to try. Very simply the fillets are dipped first in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, fennel seeds (whole). Then dipped into a beaten egg and then into fine oats, then fried.  The flavour was lovely, the oat crust….crunchy and soft …I completely recommend it. So easy and quick. The recipe uses rolled oats. So I blended my jumbo oats to make them finer, probably even a little finer than rolled oats, I wanted to make sure they would cook properly.

First Hackney Salad

Posted in farmers markets, organic gardening, winter on January 29th, 2011 by Francoise – Be the first to comment

Another special from this week vegetable bag was the first salad bag of 2011 – the salad leaves are grown in the Growing Communities Sites around Stoke Newington. Last summer I volunteered at the site in Allen Gardens and it really inspired me to grow vegetables at  home. I was chuffed to see this bag, knowing what it takes to produce it. It was fresh, with lots of different flavours (mustard leaves, coriander etc). I dressed it very simply with a pinch of salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I tried a sliced of  my home made sourdough rye bread, very smooth and almost sweet with some beautiful buffalo milk cheese from the market of course… In the bread, instead of adding molasse as the recipe suggest, I used carob syrup…the result was really good. I am still wondering about the quality of carob syup. I found it in a Turkish shop. Sometime people use carob flour as a replacement for cocoa, a bit different, it is also a bean though. Any thoughts?

Mushrooms on Toast, two ways

Posted in farmers markets, winter on January 27th, 2011 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

Home cooked Chestnut mushrooms, fresh from the Stoke Newington Farmers Market Mushroom Man, cooked with Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt with some chopped Coriander thrown in at the end. Chicken Liver Pate (again from the market) on Francoise’ Sourdough toast on the side. (A slighty generous helping. But then sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach)

And then, a working lunch, courtesy of the wonderful folks at the Wilton Way Cafe. Mushrooms with Goats Cheese and Rocket on Toast. The Wilton Way is a delightful East London cafe, home to London Fields Radio and a general air of bonhomie. The coffee is bewdy bonza cracker, in local parlance. Local, if you hail from Perth, or Paikakariki.

A mousse….

Posted in desserts, farmers markets, recipes, Uncategorized, winter on January 23rd, 2011 by Francoise – Be the first to comment


I was flicking through the Yoga Cookbook and saw a recipe for a prune mousse…stewed prunes with yogourt and agar agar to thicken…hmmmm simple, interesting. For some reasons I prefer to keep yogourt savoury so I used a little tahini instead….added a pinch of cinnamon and fried bananas. Bananas keep appearing in the Growing Communities fruit bags. I don’t normally buy them because they are not really ….local nor seasonal to our climate. But Growing Communities have to respond to demand as well and people seem to want bananas…I fried them gently in coconut oil, on both sides, till golden. This changes the flavour, I can’t say exactly how but it works very well. Also, as they are a very sweet fruit, cooking them with a bit of fat make their sugar a little slower to absorb by the body. Plantain are similar to bananas and are eaten cooked. I was wondering what you think? Something interesting to research… 

The bananas work very well as a garnish for this prune mousse….I have put a picture of the agar-agar flakes in case you have forgotten what they look like. They are good for creating jelly like consistency. The basic ratio is 10 to 12 g per litre of liquid for a hard jelly. To get more of a mousse, you case use 6-8g per litre and add a spoon of arrow root diluted in cold water (about 5g per litre).

You add the flakes to a hot liquid (in this case prunes stewed in water which have been blended), stir a few minutes till the flakes are absorbed and pour in a dish. The jelly sets when it cools. If you use arrowroot to make the jelly creamier, add it diluted at the same time as the agar agar.

Also, another tip is to blend the jelly once set and then you get a very nice mousse effect. This is a good time to add the tahini or other seasonings (orange rind, vanilla etc). 

I tend to keep the agar agar jelly for the summer, using fresh apple or pear juice and adding berries. They look beautiful and are refreshing. But reading the macrobiotic guide conversations on FB, someone suggested that even in winter these jellies were a good dessert…somehow with dried fruits I thought it would be more wintery….Let me know if you want a more detailed recipe:-)