veggie box recipes

Each week this page will have a recipe for one or more of the items in the urban farm veggie boxes.

If you don't already get an urban farm box of fresh, locally produced vegetables delivered to your door and you'd like to try one contact Adrienne. Her email address is: or take a look at the urban farm website:

If you like any of these recipes or if you've got a favourite veggie box recipe share it with us - just leave a comment in the box at the bottom of this page.

Courgettes: 7.6.2012

Courgette flower by florriebassingbourn
A welcome sight - courgette flowers:
Blimey!! There are courgettes in the veggie box this week….what a treat! And just what  you need on a cold, wet grey day to remind you that we are in June, the sun should be shining and the new vegetables and fruits will be hitting your table!
Courgettes are really small marrows- as any of you growers will know. Leave a small courgette for a few days and you’ll come back to find a great stonking beast lurking in your vegetable bed! That means that nutritionally they have the food values as other squashes.

They contain vitamins A, C and K; manganese, potassium, magnesium and folate all of which adds up to a healthy immune system . Folic acid is important for all women,  especially if they are pregnant and… great news… they are good if you are slimming. They add bulk, but not calories to your diet.
Trawling the web, I’ve come across a site dedicated to courgettes  (  …it’s part of the eat seasonal network which aims to encourage people  to eat more vegetables and at a time when they are in season – no problem there then with anything that comes in the veggie boxes. All the contents are either grown at the Urb Farm or sourced locally.

CabbageP198 by Veebl
Courgettes - great for your diet! Veebl
One of their recipes is for roast vegetables and couscous – a pretty quick and easy meal to prepare.

4 courgettes, trimmed and thickly sliced
 250g couscous
 1 red onion, sliced
 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
 225g small tomatoes, halved
 75ml olive oil
 Juice from 1 lemon
 Few sprigs fresh thyme 

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Put 45ml of the olive oil in a roasting tin and heat it in the oven for 5 minutes. Add the courgettes, onion and garlic and toss them well to make sure they are coated in the oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and roast them in the oven for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and thyme and roast for another 10 – 15 minutes until the vegetables are tender. 
 Put the couscous and ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl and pour over 300ml of boiling water. Stir once and then cover the bowl and leave it to sit for 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, fluff the couscous with a fork and add the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and season well.

Kohlrabi: 30.5.2102
01 - Zutat Kohlrabi / Ingredient kohlrabi by JaBB
It's the cut off leaf stalks that give kohlrabi it's interetsin shape! JaBB
I’ve never bought or eaten kohlrabi - I’ve possibly been intimidated by its weird shape and never really known what to do with it – so I’ve had to look up a couple of recipes this week. The first one is for a sort of carrot and kohlrabi mash, the second is kohlrabi coleslaw. Both sound pretty good!

Kohlrabi is an Eastern European vegetable. The name is German, meaning cabbage- turnip which, apparently, just about sums up the taste! It’s crisp, like radish, so goes well in salads and, hurrah! , is good for stir fry.

It’s also extremely good for you! It’s nutrient dense – which means that you get a disproportionate amount of vitamins and minerals for the amount of calories you eat. It’s good for the circulatory system; maintains a healthy immune system; promotes healthy digestion and assists in proper muscle and nerve functions.
If that convinces you, try these recipes:

Kohlrabi & Carrot by mhaithaca
mashed with carrots:mhaithaca

Kohlrabi & Carrots
1 medium kohlrabi, chopped into 3/4 " cubes (about 2 cups)
4 large carrots, cut into chunks to match the size of the kohlrabi
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
salt and pepper
Cover the Kohlrabi and carrots with lightly salted water and boil until quite tender (about 15-20 minutes). Drain and lightly mash, leaving a lot of texture. They shouldn’t be smooth like mashed potatoes. Add the nutmeg and butter and serve.

Kohlrabi Slaw
2 small kohlrabi

1 cup radish
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil  

Peel two small kohlrabi and shred  with the radishes. Mix 1 Tablespoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley in a glass bowl. Whisk in 2 Tablespoons olive oil. Add the shredded veggies and toss. Chill for 30 minutes or more.

Cauliflower: 23.5.2012

Cauliflower by clayirving
healthy, tight cauli heads: clayirvin
If you've ordered a regular box this week you'll have a cauliflower to work with. I've never been too excited about caulis, but they are my partner's favourite vegetable, and I must say he's opened my eyes to its culinary possiblilities. And of course, like most vegetables, cauliflowers are really good for you. They act as an anti-oxidant, ant- inflammatory,help the heart and blood flow, provides valuable roughage keeping your stomach and bowels healthy and contains a range of B vitamins including B1, B2 B3 B5, B6 and B9 as well as valuable minerals.

Cauliflowers are related to the wild cabbagge. It has been an important vegetable in Turkey and Italy since at least 600 B.C. and became popular in France and the rest of Northern Europe during the 16th century. 

I had cauliflower and cheese soup in a cafe recently - it was delicious. Soups are great, just add and heat the ingredients and whizz to a cream. In this case it's cauli, potatoes ( to add some body),vegetable stock and a fairly strong cheese, such as cheddar. It's lovely served with crusty bread.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry by su-lin
good tastes even better
 tomorrow !Su-Lin
If you have a tin of chickpeas, a tin of tomatoes and a range of spice  - fresh ginger, ground coriander, star anise, ground chilli, curry leaves, garam masala and ground cumin -  in your cupboard you can make a lovely cauli and chickpea curry that really absorbs the taste of the spices.( or you can get a curry paste, which will probably taste as good!)  Needless to say, it tastes even better next day.

 Cut the onion, garlic and fresh into small pieces and saute in a little butter until they are golden brown. While they are cooking, cut the cauli into florets and cook in boiling water for about 5 mins. Drain and leave in the pan to keep warm.

Back to the onion etc....add the spices and cook for 5 minutes 

Add a tin of tomatoes and the chickpeas and stir well. Add the cauli , top up with cold water and simmer for five to ten minutes.

It really is quick. If you want to have it with rice, put the rice in a pan boil of boiling water and cook for 15-20 minutes ( depending on the rice you use) .... If you're really organised/ super hungry then put it on before you start the curry. 


One of my favourite vegetables! I used to visit France quite a lot at one time and around this time of year the market stalls would be full of all sorts of different types of asparagus....lovely!

I think it's probably best eaten steamed and then served dripping in butter, not very good for the cholestorol  but you can console yourself by thinking about the health benefits that asparagus brings with it.

Asparagus by jonathan_moreau
lovely fresh asparagus:
It contains anti-inflammatory nutrients which help to combat arthritis, asthma, and autoimmune diseases. Together with antioxidants these help to fight against a range of cancers including breast, lung, prostate and other cancers . Asparagus contains vitamin B which is good for the heart . It is a diuretic and it also contains vitamin K which is important for strong helathy bones, and , of course, it contains vitamin C.

This weeks recipe  - asparagus and pasta in a creamy sauce, is quick and easy to prepare and cook.

You'll need a bunch of asparagus, some double cream, 2 whole cloves of garlic, grated parmesan cheese and some tagliatelle ribbons.

Cut off and throw away any woody bits at the end. Cut the tips away from the stalks and save these for later. In a small saucepan bring the cream and garlic to the boil. Take off the heat, remove the garlic, then set the pan aside. Cook the stalks in boiling salted water for about 4-5 mins until tender, drain, then tip into the cream with the grated parmesan. Blitz with a hand blender until smooth.
Cook the pasta according to pack instructions, then throw in the tips 2 mins before the end of cooking time. Gently reheat the cream, drain pasta, then tip into a bowl with the cream. Toss, divide into pasta bowls, top with parmesan shavings and serve with a fresh green salad. A truly delicious meal!

Pak Choi

Pak choi by adactio
you can eat the white stems as well as
 the green leaves: Adactio
We've got Pak Choi in the veggie boxes this week. I've always thought that Pak Choi was a recent import to the UK as a result of the growth in Chinese restaurants and then our increased interest in cooking more exotic food at home, but it was introduced to Europe in the 18th century. It has been grown in China for at least 6,000 years and feeatures in poetry praising it's health giving qualities. It's rich in vitamins A , C and B6. It contains beta-carotene - which can reduce the risk of some cancers, and cataracts - calcium, potassium, folic acid and is high in fibre. In modern China, the vegetable is believed to have many medicinal qualities, including battling fever, inflammation, infections and sore throat.

 Pak Choi is one of the most popular vegetables used in Chinese cooking, but I'm not going to suggest stir fry again ( although of course it is a classic ingredient and goes well with all the veggies in the box this week). It can be eaten raw, shredded and added to salads, but this recipe is a variation on one used by my Mauritian brother-in law. He uses spinach, but any green leafed vegetable can be cooked this way and used as a side dish.

Sweat a finely chopped shallot, or small piece of onion in a pan. Add a crushed garlic clove and finely chopped ginger root. Shred the Pak Choi and add to the pan. Put a lid on and cook on a low heat to allow the Pak Choi to wilt. It's very quick and easy but tastes great. If you want to give it a more Chinese flavour add a little soy sauce. This recipe goes well with fish or any white meat.  


Mushroom folds by jo-h
I love mushrooms! jo-h
I almost don't need to put in a recipe for mushrooms - there's so much you can do with them. I always saw them as a sort of filler....very tasty but not much nutritional value but my research has proved me wrong! It seems that mushrooms are very healthy ( not sure about garlic mushrooms cooked in butter!) They are low in calories, high in fibre - good if you have high cholestoral - have a high protein content - so good for veggies -  and contain minerals such as copper, selenium,  potassium,phosphorous , zinc and magnesium which strengthen the immune system. They also contain something called trierpenes which acts a bit like steroids and has anti- inflammatory properties!

Fairy Ring by Earth Sanctuary
a fairy ring with stone mushrooms:
 Earth Sanctuary
There's lots of folklore associated with mushrooms. The Ancient Egyptians thought it was the food of immortality and they could only be eaten by royalty. Fairy rings get a mixed reception - depending on your view of magic. Japanese folklore says that mushrooms struck by lightening will multiply. Scientists at Iwate University in Japan have researched this and found that simulating lightening strikes does increase the crop! This might seem a bit of an odd piece of research, but around 50,000 tons of mushrooms are imported into Japan every year. They are a staple in Japanese cooking, so there are economic benefits to the research. If you want to find out more go to:

This week's recipe is Moroccan Mushrooms with Couscous. I really like Moroccan food, but it often takes a long time to cook - a bit of a nuisance if you're in a hurry, but this recipe is quick and easy.

Fry a sliced onion in oil until it is soft . While the onion is cooking quarter the mushrooms. Add a pinch of cinnamon and cumin to the pan and stir into the onions.

Add the mushrooms, cook for two minutes.

Stir in a can of chopped tomatoes and a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas and a teaspoon of honey.

Add seasoning to taste and cook for about seven minutes.

If you like couscous and want a good moroccan taste, chop a handful of dried apricots and stir these into the couscous. Pour over boiling water and stir to mix, then cover and leave to stand for about seven minutes until the couscous is soft. Fluff it up with a fork and sprinkle with chopped parsley - a quick, tasty and nutritious meal!!!


Chervil by The Croft
Chervil: the croft
There's an interesting range of vegetables in the veggie boxes this week - mung beans ( good for stir fry) , celeriac ( which I love) and chervil...not one that I've thought about before but like all those other early herbs  their flavour to leaf size ratio is pretty impressive. Having said that chervil, which is a member of the parsley family has a relatively mild, aniseedy flavour, which means you can eat more of it and benefit from its nutritional value. It is a good source of Vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, iron, manganese, potassium and zinc and also contains a number of the B vitamins, magnesium, selenium, copper and phosphorousSo put the lid on the vitamin supplements you've been taking through the winter and try this vegetable and chervil soup.

Lightly fry a chopped onion, carrot, garlic, leek and two sticks of celery, chopped for a few minutes. Add a litre of boiling water, a chopped courgette and three roughly chopped tomatoes. Boil for 5 minutes and then add a little sour cream and a handful of chopped chervil. Taste it and add seasoning to taste.

Or lightly boil or steam a mix of vegetables and add a handful of chopped chervil  once they are cooked...or add it to an omlette...or use it in stir fry to give a hint of star anise. It'sa very versatile herb!

Spring Veggies
Purple sprouting broccoli by Nick Saltmarsh
Tasty purple florets:Nick Saltmarsh
There are more and more spring veggies coming into the veggie boxes now with cooking spinach, purple sprouting broccoli and garlic spring onions all from the urb farm this week. I don't want to get boring, but these do all go well in stir fry. You've got to hand it to the Chinese - they know how to cook and they know how to cook fast, nutritious food, which is just what you want if you're working or leading a busy life. 

sauté potatoes by ramtops
A quick and easy mid-week meal: ramtops
There are times mid week when I loose the will to cook and a great way to deal with this is to cook up a load of potatoes in advance and use them during the week - either sliced and sauteed in a little oil and a little paprika or mashed and made into potatoe cakes, with a few chopped herbs. Either of these go well with steamed vegetables with grated cheese on top and put under the grill just long enought to melt the cheese.


chives by Rosh Sillars
Chives in bloom: Rosh Sillars
I might have been a bit hard on root vegetables last week - I had a roast at the weekend with roast parsnips, squash and carrots.... it was so tasty and colourful!

But it is good to see a  bit more variety on the veggie boxes this week. Chives are a very useful herb. You can add them to almost anything to give an extra bit of flavour. If you're lucky enough to get some urban farm eggs then make a chive omlette, or add them to mashed potatoes to liven them up a bit. I like to make potatoe cakes and add chives. They are really very good! Like onions and garlic - they are good for maintaining a healthy immune system and they help to stimulate the appetite and then to digest food you've eaten. I read some time ago that the Japanese diet is so healthy because of the large number of ingredients involved in their cooking. The article ( and I really can't remember where I read it!) said that we should aim to eat over 20 different ingredients each day. It sounds a lot, but when you break down what you do eat it's easier than you might think. Adding food like chives and  other herbs helps to contribute to this.
Chives have been around for along time. The Chinese documented using chives as long ago as 3000 years B.C. and it's said that Marco Polorought them to Europe. It was believed that you should hang bunches of dried chives around your house to ward off disease and evil - a bit lke garlic scaring off vampires!
Chives are easy to grow - the ulitmate cut and come again herb. Sow the seeds indoors using normal potting compost in March . Make sure the compost remains moist. The seedlings will appear a week to ten days later. Transfer them outside a month after sowing with 10cm (8in) between each plan. When you want to eat them just snip a few stalks at the base and they will come again. You shouldn't let them go to flower, but the pinky blue flower heads are very attractive and I tend to leave mine after a while just for the look of them.
Mixed Vegetable Cheese

root vegetable mix: the uff da! chronicles
I've been a bit caught out this week and expected the veggie boxes to contain plenty of roots - so my preprepared recipe relies on you still having a bit of squash left over from previous weeks - although it isn't essential! I had this at the weekend and it was delicious, but I am getting a bit fed up of root vegetables to be quite honest.The flavours of roots do go well together - none of them seem to dominate but thank goodness there are a range of greens in this week's box to ring the changes! .

Chop the root vegetables and bake till they are cooked. Make a white sauce using cornflour and milk. Add cheese and whatever herbs you have available. We had parsley, but sage would be good too. Add the sauce to the cooked veggies and put back in the oven to warm through. Serve this with steamed spring greens and sprouting broccoli and , if you've got leeks from veggie mail steam those as well. Just feel all those dark green vegetables filling your body with iron and vitamins!!!

Mixed Vegetable Crisps: 13.3.2012

Home Made Crisps With Paprika by formalfallacy @ Dublin (Victor)
Home made crisps with paprika:
This week’s recipe isn’t a full meal… but definitely a money saver! You can make crisps from any of the root vegetables in this week’s veggie box, and if you currently buy in mixed veg crisps you’ll know just how expensive they are! But they are very easy to make.

Clean and peel  the vegetables and then slice as thinly as you can get them, then shallow fry them until they crisp up. My favourite are parsnip, but beetroot is good and of course, there’s always   the trusty potato! You can sprinkle with a little salt to taste….  or spice up potato crisps with a sprinkling of paprika or any seasoning that you like! 

Red Onion Dip and Squash Dip: 6.3.2012

I'm expecting visitors this weekend. I haven't seen my friends for a while so it will be great to see them but the thought of preparing all those meals makes me feel a bit queasy before I've even started! As long as I can prepare as much in advance I'll be OK. They're arriving Friday night, so I can cook something in the slow cooker ( hurrah!) ready for them when they get here and we'll probalby eat out on Saturaday night. Breakfasts will be boiled eggs - urban farm, of course, but that stills leaves the lunches! I'm going to make dips using the red onions and squash in the veggie box this week - with a few vegetables, corn chips and some nice crusty bread to dip in they should keep every one munching happily for a while! They can both be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a few days -wonderful!
Red Onions by clayirving
Red onions: clayirving
The red onion recipe is really easy.... just chop the onions, add cream cheese, mayo and salt and pepper to taste, then blend until smooth.

The squash dip is a little bit more complicated but only because you have to roast the squash first.There are hundreds of different pumpkins and squashes and you can use any for this recipe. Take out the seeds and chop the squash and then roast it in the oven ( about 170 degrees) until the flesh can be scooped away from the skin - about 45 mins.You can add any flavourings, but I think I'll roast some garlic cloves at the same time as the squash. Blend the garlic and squash together with a little mascarpone to add some body, cumin and some dried chilli to give it a bit of heat.  
squash blossom by zenia
Squash Blossom: Zenia
I never really think of dips as being a healthy option - I don't know if it's the dips themselves, or the things you dip in - but red onions are extremely good for you. They lower your blood sugar levels; act as an anti inflammatory in the bones and throat; and are good for your heart.  They are low in calories but high in fiber and contain a range of minerals. They are low in sodium and very high in beta-carotene which converts into Vitamin A.
Native american farmers used to grow squashes in the same bed as corn and runner beans - a practice known as the three sisters. Corn provides support for the beans, the bean roots set nitrogen in the soil to nourish the corn and the squashes shade the ground to discourage weeds and preserve moisture.  I must try it - especially if we're heading into a drought this summer!

Beetroot: 28.2.12

Beetroot Salad by joana hard
Beetroot salad: Joanna Hard
When I was a teenager I had a Saturday job working on a very busy market stall selling Polish food. There were three girls and one boy. Teenage girls meet teenage boy and inevitably we gave him a hard time. But his mum made the most wonderful borscht which he shared with me. It might have been the cold, or eating it outside with fresh crusty bread or a healthy appetite from the hard work, but it tasted like nothing I've ever eaten since. I've tried umpteen recipes hoping to replicate that soup, but nothing has ever come up to the same standard - so if you're reading this Tadeusch, I'm so, so sorry and please, please send me that recipe! 

Beetroot is a versatile vegetable, though, and can be used for much more than soup and the urban farm beetroot in your box is far too nice to (yeuks! ) pickle! You can boil the beetroot but I like to bake it slowly in the oven.Tear off the leaves a couple of centimetres above the bulb and clean carefully so that you don't pierce the skin, otherwise the juice leaches out and you loose a lot of the flavour. Wrap in foil and put in the oven for about an hour, depending on the size, until it's cooked. The skin should rub off easily. You can eat it warm or leave it to go cold and slice to put on sandwiches,as a side vegetable or in salads ( like the one in the picture)

Because it's sweet , beetroot can also be used to make cakes, a bit like carrots. Try this one for beetroot and chocolate cake.
Beetroot and chocolate cake by aburt
Beetroot and chocolate cake: Aburt

  • 250g cooked beetroot, drained & pureed
  • 200g quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g unsalted butter*, melted
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

  • Pre heat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 23cm loose bottomed cake tin. If you've got a food processor break the chocolate into pieces and put in a food processor until it makes crumbs. Don't worry if you end up with some larger pieces - it's lucky if you get one in your slice! Add the beetroot and blend together. Then add the remaining ingredients to the processor and whizz until well mixed. Pour into the prepared cake tin and lightly level out the surface.

    If you haven't got a food processor,just beat the ingredients together and add grated chocolate and the beetroot.

    Bake the cake mix in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes in the tin before removing to a cooling rack.

    You can dust with icing sugar or pour melted chocolate over the top. Serve it for pudding with a spoonful of natural yoghourt - and eat it safe in the knowledge that you are actually doing yourself good. Beetroot is rich in vitamins A, B and C,contains a range of minerals, folic acid and beta-carotene. It is reputed to aid digestion, clean the liver and counteract constipation.      

    If you like this recipe or if you've got a favourite recipe for beetroot - or know that borscht recipe - we'd be really pleased if you shared it with us - just leave a comment in the box at the bottom of this page.

    Braised chicory : 22.2.12

    chicory by buttersweet
    Chicory flower head: Buttersweet
    I mentioned the urban farm's chicory in last week's blog but I didn't want to promise that it would be in this week's veggie box in case something dreadful happened, but, if you checked your veggie mail you'll know that the world hasn't ended after all, the crop has come through and you'll be eating chicory this weekend.

    Chicory has a long history - Arabian and Roman physicians were highly impressed by chicory's health benefits. It contains phosphorus, calcium, iron, potassium, as well as niacine, inulin and vitamins A and C and so is good for minor heart problems; it acts as a natural laxative, helps thrombosis and as an anti-inflammatory is good for arthritis. The ground roots are used to make coffee - a mainstay during the second world war when coffee beans weren't getting through from the States. In the wild, it has a beautiful blue daisy type flower and can be found by growing by roadsides, in fields and wastelands. 

    Most people know it as a salad vegetable, with the leaves used as a kind of edible plate to hold a range of filling, which is fine but it seems a shame to use it this way when it takes real horticultural knowledge and commitment to grow it. Also,  It can be quite bitter which puts a lot of people off. If you store it wrapped in paper to keep out the light and eat it as soon as possible you will slow down the process that develops the bitter flavour

    Another way to reduce the bitterness is to braise it.  Prepare the vegetable by removing any damaged leaves, put in a baking dish with a little water, sugar, a squeeze of lemon, butter and seasoning to taste. Cover and put the dish in a moderate oven for about an hour until the centre is soft - test with a knife to make sure. Baste the chicory with any liquid left in the dish and serve. 

     If you like this recipe or if you've got a favourite recipe for chicory we'd be really pleased if you shared it with us - just leave a comment in the box at the bottom of this page.

    Curried vegetable pasties

    fresh out of the oven by Serenae
    Fresh from the oven! Serenae
    We're in danger of loosing the old cooking skills and I think it's important that we keep them going. I always used to make my own pastry, but I have to admit that frozen often tastes better and is lighter than anything I can make so go for it unless you're feeling a bit purist! Defrost and roll out the pastry and cut into circles.

    There's a lovely mix of vegetables in this week's veggie box - and all of them will go into this fab recipe. Dice the veggies into small cubes and lightly fry in oil with a bit of garlic and some ginger if you have any. Add a small amount of curry paste to taste and a small amount of water. Cover the pan with a lid and let the veggies soften.

    When they are ready, put them in the pastry circles and fold over. Seal the join with a bit of water and crimp by pinching with your fingers and cut some slits to let the steam out .You can sprinkle the top with grated cheese or if you want a shiny top brush them with milk or a beaten egg and just pop them in the oven until the pastry is cooked. Eat them with the spicy mixed salad in your box and you've got a really healthy, tasty winter's day meal.You can save a few back for lunch boxes - they taste just as good cold as hot.

    Root Veg 2.2.2012

    root vegetable cobbler by lexmccall
    vegie cobbler: Lex McCall
     There are plenty of root vegetables in this week's box carrots, parsnips, leeks, swede, onions and beetroot  . Roasting is always a  good option - wash, chop and put the veggies in a roasting tin in the oven for about 45 mins, or you can turn them into crisps by slicing very thinly and frying in enough oil to cover.

    I went to my mum's last weeekend with my vegetarian daughter and she cooked us a really tasty vegetable cobbler. The scone mix on top of the vegetables cooks in the steam and fluffs up like traditional dumplings, but isn't so heavy or greasy.

     I don't think I would put the beetroot in this dish, but the other roots in this week's veggie box will certainly go together. Wash and chop the vegetables into good sized chunks and put into a casserole dish with a tin of tomatoes and some stock. The liquid should come about half way up the veggies. As they cook they will release enough liquid to just cover the vegetables and stop them from drying out.Leave in the oven until the vegetables are just soft enough to eat and in the meantime make the cobbler.
    My mum reckons you should use two parts flour( self raising) to just under one part margarine. Rub these together. You can add different flavourings at this stage - dried herbs, mustard or cheese or whatever takes your fancy. Bind the scone topping with a little water.Turn out the dough and make into dumplings or roll into a thick pastry-like covering. Place these on top of the vegetables and put back in the oven for about 40 - 45 minutes until the cobbler looks cooked. You can put grated cheese on top if you want to at this stage.

    I'm sure all the family will enjoy it! 

    Potatoes: 2.1.2012

    Desperate Dan's Cow Pie by tim ellis
    Desperate Dan's cow pie: Tim Ellis
    If you read this week's blog you'll know that I love potatoes. Rice and pasta are quick and easy but a bit samey.For versatility you can't beat a potato. You can boil, mash,fry, roast, chip, crisp, bake or grate potatoes, twirl them, pipe them or shape them. Where would the Bash Street Kids be without their bangers and mash? or Desperate Dan without his cow pie? .

     A quick recipe that my family loved when they were young is cheesey potatoes - just boil and mash with grated cheese and serve with some good green vegetables.

    According to the potato council potatoes are extremely good for you. They are nutrient-rich. They contain vitamins B1, B6 and vitamin C. As a deep root vegetable they draw magnesium, copper,  zinc and potassium from the soil. They are virtually fat free, contain no cholesterol and when they are served in their skins are a great source of fibre. Research suggests that potatoes are the perfect base for a balanced diet. According to The British Dietetic Association potatoes contain absolutely no cholesterol and the fibre they contain actually reduces existing cholesterol levels.

    Jacket Potato by lynn.gardner
      tuna and sweetcorn: Lynn.Gardner
    We've got Valour potatoes in the veggie boxes this week - a floury potato that is great for baking. There are as many different fillings as there are people to eat them. Fill them with your favourite tomatoe sauce, any tinned fish with mayonnaise, geggie stir fry  or just cheese and chives.  
    If you like this recipe or if you've got a favourite recipe for potatoes we'd be really pleased if you shared it with us - just leave a comment in the box at the bottom of this page.

    Cabbage 24.1.2012

    January King by Paul Kidd
    Janury King cabbage : Paul Kidd
    Winter is certainly the time for brassicas and you'll find January King cabbages in your veggie box this week, full of vitamin C.

    Cabbage has been eaten for more than 3,000 years. The Celts were growing cabbages around 200 BC and the Romans used it for medicinal purposes while fermented cabbage was used by the Dutch to fight off scurvy on sea voyages

     January Kings are crisp and crunchy with a bluish tinge to the leaves. They cook up a bit like savoy cabbages. I love them shredded and steamed with maybe a few carraway seeds thrown in to give them a bit more flavour. You can braise them in vegetable stock in a preheated oven at 200 degrees  with a bit of salt and butter for 15 minutes or if you've got a microwave, cut them into quarters, wrap in cling film and give them a blast for 2 - 3 mins. They'll still hold their shape and taste clean and fresh. 

    If you don't already get an urban farm box of fresh, locally produced vegetables delivered to your door and you'd like to try one contact Adrienne. Her email address is:   or take a look at  the urban farm website:

    If you like this recipe or if you've got a favourite recipe for cabbage we'd be really pleased if you shared it with us - just leave a comment in the box at the bottom of this page.

    Parsley: 18.1.2012

    Herbs for winter - parsley in a pot by Alex Balan
    parsley: Alex Balan
    When I was young I never had much time for parsley. My childhood memories are of thick, floury white sauce with a homeopathic sized pinch of parsley poured over greyish looking boiled fish, or a woody stem garnishing flaccid salad leaves. But recently I’ve taken a new look at it and I love it. It’s really versatile, has a fab flavour, grows all year round and is extremely good for you.

    It contains Beta-carotene which may be helpful in reducing the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis; vitamin A and vitamin C which help develop a strong and healthy immune system; folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins which is good for the heart and can help prevent cancer of the colon and the cervix.
    Parsley can be used as much more than a garnish – put it in mashed potatoes and make potato cakes or try this recipe for parsley pesto which has been passed on to me:

    30g/1oz flatleaf parsley leaves (no stalks)             1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
    40g/1½oz freshly grated parmesan                          30g/1oz pine nuts
    75ml/2½fl oz extra virgin olive oil                              Salt

    Put all the ingredients except the oil and salt into the food processor. Whiz for a second or two, add the oil and a little salt. Taste and correct seasoning. Serve, tossed in freshly cooked pasta.
    If you like this recipe or if you've got a favourite recipe for parsley we'd be really pleased if you shared it with us - use the comment box at the bottom of this page.

    If you don't already get an urban farm box of fresh, locally produced vegetables delivered to your door and you'd like to try one contact Sarah Barker on 07793589880, or by e-mail:

    Artichokes: 13.1.2012

    Jerusalem artichokes are in the box this week.

    Jerusalem Artichokes by net_efekt
    jerusalem artichoke tubers:net_effect
     The tubers of jerusalem artichokes are edible and contain vitamin C, phosphorous, potassium and iron, so a good vegetable for maintaining health through the winter months. They are also rich in inulin which helps to promote healthy bacteria in the stomach - especially bifidus, the only intestinal bacteria that I've ever heard of!  Unfortunately, this also promotes flatulence which explains its nickname -fartichokes.It's probably best not to eat it two days in a row!

    It's a versatile vegetable and can be cooked like any other root - roast, boiled, mashed,sauted, stir fried and with or without their skins.

    I boiled some recently with potatoes, celeriac and parsnip and then mashed them together with a little butter and milk .The artichokes added a nutty flavour that was brought out by the celeriac - really delicious!

    Jerusalem artichokes aren't really artichokes - they are related to the sunflower with beautiful yellow flowers. They are hardy and grow well in cold climates, so an attractive plant to grow even if you can 't face the impact of the tubers on your stomach!

    Kale : 7. 1. 2012

    If you got your veggie box this week you'll know that kale is a key fresh crop at this time of year. I can't think of anything more unappetising in the summer, but in the winter I love it!

    The dark green is really appetising and I can feel my body craving all that iron and vitamins. It's a great detoxifier, lowers cholestorol and is though to lower the risk of five different types of cancer - bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate.

    a peasant collecting colewort
    Kale has been around for a long time. An early relative - colewort - was cultivated in the middle ages when it was a cooked with other vegetables and grain to make pottage, a kind of thick soup. This detail of a picture by Pieter Breughel is one of the first known depictions showing a peasant collecting colewort from outside his cottage. A later variety is collards which isn't grown so often these days, although I'm sure that the heritage seed variety I'm growing on my allotment is a collard. 

     Steaming is the best way to retain the goodness but I like to shred it and stirfry with other seasonal vegetables with a bit of root ginger, five spice and garlic.

    What do you do with kale? Let us know!

    Parsnips 29.12.2011

    This week it's parsnips - fab roasted, but a bit boring if they are plain boiled. If you're stuck for ideas try this recipe for curried parsnip soup from Crank's Soups and Starters. It's been a winter favourite in my house for years and both my daughters look forward to it when they come to visit.

    25g/ 1 oz butter or margerine                               2 medium sized parsnips chopped
    1 onion chopped                                                    1 potato, peeled and chopped 
     2.5cm/ 1 inch root ginger, roughly chopped
     2 garlic cloves crushed                                          2 - 4 tsps curry powder
    750 ml / 1 1/4 pt veg stock vegetable stock         vegetable stock cube
     300ml/1/2 pt milk                                                    150ml/1/2 pt single cream
    salt and freshly ground pepper                               coriander or chives to garnish

    Melt the butter or marg in a pan. Add the parsnips, onion and potato and cook gently for 5 mins. Squeeze the ginger in a garlic press into the pan, then add the garlic and curry powder. Cook, stirring for about 2- 3 mins. Add the stock and the stock cube. Cover and simmer for 30 mins or until the vegetables are cooked. Allow to cool a little then blend or liquidize with the milk. Return to the pan. Adjust the sesoning to taste and add the cream. Reheat gently without boliing so the cream doesn't curdle and serve with freshly chopped chives or coriander.

    If you've got a favourite recipe for parsnips we'd be really pleased if you shared it with us.

    If you don't already get an urban farm box of fresh, locally produced vegetables delivered to your door and you'd like to try one contact Sarah Barker on 07793589880, or by e-mail:

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