Posts Tagged ‘Growing Communities’

Growing Communities Video

Posted in farmers markets, wholefood kitchen TV on September 30th, 2015 by Kevin – 1 Comment

Growing Communities’ Farmers’ Market from Blake House on Vimeo.

A delightful film created by Ieva and her crew from Blake House which captures something of the spirit of the Growing Communities Farmers Market, held every Saturday at St Paul’s Church, Stoke Newington High St, from 10 – 2.30pm. There’s a few clips of yours truly, with daughter Teia perched on my knee enjoying a hot apple juice.

Growing Communities post

Posted in farmers markets, writings on October 24th, 2012 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

Congratulations to Growing Communities, winners of the Best Independent Retailer award in this years’ Observer Food Monthly Awards. This is recognition for the incredible work this community based organisation has been doing over the last 17 years. Together with a thriving food box scheme, they have established the weekly Stoke Newington Farmers Market as a real alternative to high street food shopping, providing direct connection with food at source, with stalls run by farmers and suppliers of locally produced, organic produce. I had a conversation recently with Kerry Rankine, one of the Market organisers, about the difficulty of generating publicity for an activity which is not really that newsworthy. Running the market simply means showing up, all year round, contending with challenges the different seasons provide, with fluctuation in availability and quality of produce. There’s not much in the way of ‘new angles;’ just a commitment to the simple pleasures of alignment with and appreciation of local, seasonal food grown or produced with care and attention. This award is a tribute to an organisation which continues to ‘show up,’ providing an incredible resource to its community, and an inspiration to others about how things can be done. Check out the  Observer article here.

Growing Communities Swede Soup

Posted in soups on February 13th, 2012 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

A friend couldn’t pick up her Growing Communities Veg delivery last week, as she was away for a few days. So, I gratefully received a box of seasonal produce, which included a handy recipe for a Garam Masala spiced Swede soup, and felt inspired to give a shot. To begin, I sauteed some chopped Onions, Leeks, Garlic and Swedes, cooked it for 20-30 mins with some Vegetable Stock, then blended it. I added some Lemon Juice, leaving out the chillis which were in the original mix. Served up with a sprig or two of fresh Coriander. A touch of spice, earthiness and zinginess.


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.

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.

Sausage making workshop!

Posted in events on March 15th, 2011 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

‘Growing Communities is running a sausage-making workshop at Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market on Saturday 19th March at 1pm. There will be chance to have a go at making your own sausages – and, of course, to taste the finished products. Iain Learmonth of Stocks Farm will explain how he and his brother Chris rear the pigs, a mixture of Gloucester Old Spot and Large Black, on their small mixed organic farm at Wiston in Essex. They also keep sheep and chickens as well as growing apples in their organic orchards. Chris and Iain were the first farmers to agree to come to the Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market when it started in May 2003.  

Iain makes all the sausages himself – using his pork and local ingredients. When he started making sausages, Iain discovered an old recipe belonging to his grandfather, who was a butcher – and tried it out. Since then it has become one of their most popular sausages. Iain also makes his own organic black pudding – which is some of the best you’ll ever taste. The black pudding has become so popular that Iain has now invented a ‘Breakfast sausage’ which combines pork and black pudding for the ultimate breakfast fry-up. Iain is continually thinking of new sausage recipes: one of his latest inventions is a pork, mustard, beer and honey sausage.’ – Richenda Wilson, Growing Communities.

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 :-)

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?

Thanks and praise

Posted in farmers markets, organic gardening on December 30th, 2010 by Kevin – Be the first to comment

A word of thanks to the stallholders at the Stoke Newington Farmers Market, who brave the elements each and every week in bringing their produce to market, and face particular challenges over the winter months to extract produce from the frozen soil. Thanks also to Kerry Rankin and other members of the Growing Communities team who have made an incredible commitment to providing local, organic produce to the Stoke Newington community each and every week throughout the year.

Wholefood Kitchen Demonstration

Posted in farmers markets, highlight, summer on August 24th, 2010 by Kevin – Be the first to comment



Francoise Auvray and myself on stage and in action at Sunday’s Parks for Life event in Springfield Park, Clapton put together by Hackney Council in partnership with Growing Communities. Francoise composed two delicious recipes, variations using common ingredients to make a Summer Vegetable Barley Soup, and a Warm Barley Salad. Along the way there was plenty of room for discussion with MC Andi Oliver about principles of Macrobiotic Cooking – the dreaded ‘M’ word – which we ended up replacing with ‘Big Life,’ the original meaning of the word. Much more palatable. I later teamed up with David Rosberg who put together some delicious sugar-free desserts, making some important observations about the use of refined sugar, and creating a stampede of children when samples were handed out at the end of the demonstration. We were joined on the Theatre Kitchen stage by representatives from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant, the Fifteen Foundation, and supported throughout the day by Sarah and her wonderful team from the Shoreditch Spa. An inspiring day, providing contact with a collection of people and organisations committed to bringing healthy food and knowledge of cooking into the wider community. Also, a load of wonderful cooking tips from enthusiasts and professional chefs. Watch this space for more Wholefood Kitchen forays!