Thomasina Miers kept the brave crowd amused and inspired with a couple of delicious dishes at the Stansted Park Farm Shop Cookery Demonstration.  If you are interested, here are her recipes that she prepared on the day…


Purple sprouting broccoli is a welcome arrival to the winter market stall in late January, a constant friend amongst the roots and brassicas and it remains in season until the arrival of the Spring.  I can’t help thinking that it must have more nutrients than its more uniform cousin in the shops. Once you learn how to trim and cut the stalks to match the size of the heads, it is a brilliantly easy vegetable to cook.  Often we steam it until just cooked and toss with olive oil and lemon as a side dish but it makes a fine main ingredient when cooked slowly: stew it very gently for a long time in good olive oil, anchovies and garlic and it melts and dissolves onto itself and becomes magnificent tossed into spaghetti or topped on pizzas.  Here I get similar results to the long-cooking but in half the time, which is perfect for a last minute thrown together supper.

Serves 4-6

  • 250g purple-sprouting broccoli
  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus extra to serve
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 4-6 slices of sourdough bread
  • 225g fresh curd cheese, cows or sheeps, such as High Wield Dairy’s Ricotta
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • finely grated lemon zest, to serve

For the chilli oil

  • 3 large garlic cloves, with skins
  • 50g peanuts
  • 20g sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • good pinch of flaked sea salt
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 25g chile de arbol or 2 tsp dried chilli flakes

Cut the stems from the broccoli, peeling away any tough outer skin with a speed peeler or sharp knife.  Cut the stems in halves or quarters lengthways so that they are the thickness of your finger.  Put the stems first, then the florets on top into a steamer and steam for 5-10 minutes, or until the stalks are tender.

Warm the olive oil with the garlic in a pan and when smelling fragrant, after a few minutes, add the broccoli and stew gently for a further 10 minutes, stirring every now and then, until the broccoli has collapsed gently into the garlicky oil.  Season to taste and squeeze over the lemon juice.

Meanwhile, make the chilli oil.  Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying-pan until pale golden.  Remove to a blender. Roast the garlic cloves in the same pan over a medium-high heat until the skins are blackened.  Allow to cool then remove the skins and add to the blender with the sugar, salt and a tablespoon of oil. Grind to rough paste.  Meanwhile warm the remaining oil in a pan and add the chillies.  Heat for a few minutes until the chillies turn a deep-red, then remove from heat and add to the paste in the blender.  Blitz thoroughly.

Toast the bread and drizzle with olive oil.  Top with the cheese and broccoli.  Drizzle with chilli oil, grate over the lemon zest and serve drizzled with more extra virgin olive oil for flavour.


Grilled Hispi cabbage with Ancho relish and Trenchmore Farm Wheat Berries

This recipe makes a beautifully unusual meat and dairy-free main course – great without the burnt-red chilli relish but very special with it.

Feeds 4

Ancho relish

  • 8 Ancho chillies, de-stemmed and de-seeded
  • 3 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 300ml olive oil

For the tabbouleh

  • 300g cooked wheat berries
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Cider or white wine vinegar
  • A large bunch each of any two of fresh mint, chervil, tarragon, parsley or basil
  • 75ml butter milk or sour cream


  • 2 Hispi cabbages, outer leaves removed, cut into quarters through stem
  • 2 big handfuls of tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 big handfuls of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 large lemon

Make the relish first.  Tear each of the chillies into a few pieces and then pulse in a food processor until roughly chopped – you want pieces the size of small snowflakes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients (you can use the machine for the shallots but only if you pulse briefly so they don’t turn to mush). Season generously to taste and leave to macerate for a few hours or preferably overnight.  The flavour will keep getting better for several weeks.

Mix the tabbouleh ingredients together and season to taste.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the Hispi wedges for 3 minutes then remove and leave to steam dry. Heat up a large griddle pan or grill and char the Hispi on both sides until it has nice dark char marks and the edges are crisp.

Divide the tabbouleh between warm plates and sit 2 pieces of grilled cabbage on top. Spoon over the relish and drizzle with the some of its oil. Sprinkle each plate with plenty of herbs, then serve.

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