How to sprout beans


Ingredients and Materials

  • Aduki beans or chickpeas or any whole dried bean (as many as you’ll eat in salads, stirfrys etc)
  • A Jar, colander and clean cloth.


1) Rinse the beans, then cover in water and soak overnight.
2) The next day, tip the beans into the colander and rinse thoroughly. Allow to drain then place in the jar and cover the mouth with a cloth to allow the beans to breath. Leave the jar in a cool place away from direct sunlight.
3) Rinse and drain the beans twice a day until they have tails at least 1/2cm long. Taste your sprouts after each rinse, as texture and flavour changes over time.
4) Give your sprouts a final rinse and then leave them to drain for a few hours. In a sealed jar your sprouts will keep in the fridge for 3-6 weeks.

Total time: 3 days – 1 week.

Now… use them in a quick stir fry: Bean Sprout Stir Fry



Spring Cleansing Diet

springgreensWith the weather currently warm and enlivening now is the time to consider a good spring clean inside.

Here are some suggestions which are almost universally helpful for giving energy, clearing the liver and getting rid of dull winter skin and joint aches.

For 7-14 days: drink plenty of water and

  • Eat salads with French dressing, with eggs, meat or fish if desired
  • Eat at least five steamed leafy vegetables with chicken or fish
  • Fried breakfast with no bread or potatoes, or scrambled, boiled or omeletted eggs
  • Try spring soup: chicken (or vegetable) stock with whizzed-up greens kale, spinach, celery, chard, nettles, leeks, flavoured to taste:
  • Greek salad: feta, tomatoes, avocado, olives, basil in olive oil
  • Lightly steamed kale tossed in yoghourt, coconut, garlic and bacon
  • Egg flan made with chestnut or chickpea flour, with salad
  • Cauliflower gratinee: lightly cooked then grilled with cheese on top

Cut out

  • tea, coffee, alcohol and chocolate
  • dairy and sugar
  • root vegetables, fruits and grains

As always, this isn’t medical advice, but if you research you’ll find most modern sensible diet advisers work along much the same lines as these (or you can go along and see your local friendly naturopath/homeopath for personal guidance.)

Stella Berg on Dean 834851

Vegan Pseudo-Hummus

This is a generic non-recipe for a hummus type protein source. It isn extremely good replacement for meat, as the protein concentration is high, and the smooth texture means it gets fully digested. Add a few spoonfuls of this to a bowl of salad leaves and a slice of bread for a complete and filling meal.

In order to make a flexible recipe we need to understand what makes Hummus, so let’s it break down into it’s constituent parts.

  1. The protein – gives the dish bulk. This can come from chickpeas, broad beans, lentils, split peas or any other legume.
  2. The fat – gives it a creamy and slightly sticky texture. Tahini is commonly used for this, but any Nut Butter works equally well as a fat source.
  3. The oil – makes the protein and fat mix together in that hummus’y way we all love and helps it spread smoothly.
  4. The flavour – makes it so delicious 🙂 Traditionally garlic and lemon juice is used here. However, chilli, balsamic vinegar, coriander, smoked paprika, wild garlic leaves, and basil are all worthy replacements. Just remember that there needs to be two strong flavours here, of contrasting types e.g. balsamic and chilli, or wild garlic & coriander.

How to make it:

  • Select and soak the peas, beans, or lentils of your choice. Once softened, cook them until they are mushy. Don’t add too much water, we aim to have a little left in the pan to moisten things if necessary, not so much that we pour it away along with the flavour.
  • Next blend the fat, oil and flavour together first then spoon in the protein bit by bit, blending as you go.
  • That’s basically it but once it’s at the right consistency, I like to make it even more flavourful by browning a finely chopped spring onion  or shallot in a little coconut fat and stirring it in right at the end.


– Thommy (Food Hub Volunteer)

Nut Butter & Dairy Free Milk

Organic peanut butter is probably quite good value at £3.50 for a 300g jar, which is just over £10 per kilo. Not bad but considering that most of us own a blender and organic peanuts can cost less than £3 per kilo we may be missing a trick!

Why stop at peanuts. Here’s an extremely simple recipe for a luxurious, healthy and tasty nut butter which can be spread, used in cooking, or my favourite; half a teaspoonful blended with half a cup of water for 20 seconds to make fresh milk for my cereal each morning.

You will need:

  • A cupful of peanuts with their skins still on
  • A handful of cashew nuts
  • A handful of walnuts
  • A tablespoonful of olive oil
  • A half teaspoonful of Himalayan or Maldon salt
  • A half teaspoonful of honey if you wish

Place the nuts together in a baking dish, and pop into a preheated oven at 180 for 20 minutes, no more! We don’t want them burnt, but just cooked through.

Empty into the blender, add the honey, salt and olive oil and blend until smooth. You need quite a good blender to do it in one hit so be prepared to keep spooning it back down to the blade as this mixture can get quite stiff. After a while something miraculous happens however; the nuts break down small enough that their oil is released and the whole thing becomes more malleable.

Once it feels smooth and creamy to the touch it is ready to go into a jar.


– Thommy (Food Hub Volunteer) 

Vegan Wild Garlic Pesto!

It’s the time of year when things once again start to spring from the ground all around us with abundance. Have you ever been down in the woods somewhere and could have sworn you’ve smelt garlic?

Chances are you have, and the culprit is the wide, flat green leaves sprouting out of the floor around you. Wild Garlic is just one of the many things the forest provides for us and here is a simple and great tasting recipe to make the most of it.

You will need:

  • A good fistful or two of Wild Garlic leaves
    (pick the lighter green shoots from the top of the plant)
  • Enough olive oil to make it all nice and moist, maybe 4 tablespoons
  • A small shallot, finely chopped
  • A tablespoon full of your favourite nuts
    My choice would be ground almonds (organic of course!)
  • A good pinch of salt & pepper
  • Chilli powder if you’re brave enough!

If you have a Nutribullet or other fast blender, combine the ingredients and give it a short blast, but I mean short as we don’t want it to turn to puree. Otherwise, chop the garlic leaves finely with a pair of scissors, and mix everything together in a bowl with your hands.

Et voila, the perfect strong, vibrant flavour to go with bread and hummus or whatever else you fancy.


– Thommy (Food Hub Volunteer)

Make your Own Easter Eggs

eastereggsHow did the celebration of the height of Spring become a time to gorge on sugar and cocoa? Well, maybe because sugar and cocoa are great. But they are even better when combined with nuts, seeds, fruit and even veg!

1) Make your own eggs! You’ll need a chocolate mould but from there it is easy. The Bulk Buyers Supplier organic chocolate is perfect for the job and affordable. The eggs are made in two halves and then joined together, which presents the perfect opportunity to fill the eggs, perhaps with dried fruit or crushed seeds. You could even sneak in some beetroot in by filling with beetroot and chocolate brownie bits.

2) Super Balls in Egg Shape – Putting dried fruit, nuts and seeds through a mincer renders a sweet and delicious paste that can be shaped into eggs, balls or even bunnies. To make them chocolatey you can add cocao nibs or chocolate to the mincer or just coat them in chocolate. They still contain lots of sugar but also all the good bits of the dried fruit, nuts and seeds so a much healthier option.

3) Painted Eggs. I loved blowing eggs when I was young. And the best bit was that mum would always have to make a cake after. Why not experiment with natural dyes for painting your eggs. A lovely purple comes from beetroot and a fantastic orange from onion skins. Or have a look at this for more inspiration:

Celeriac and Apple Soup

½ Celeriac (chopped in cubes)
2 small apples (can be any eating apple chopped in cubes)
butter 1 knob
veg stock 1litre

1.Fry celeriac & apple in butter gently until golden
2.Add veg stock
3.Simmer until apple and celeriac are soft.Add pinch of tarragon,salt,pepper
4.Puree until smooth.At this point you could thin the soup if desired
5.Serve with creme fraiche or chopped chives
6. Ratio of celeriac and apple can be altered depending on taste

“Where’s my ……?”

An explanation of “missing items” from a member of the packing teampoppypacking

I am sure many of you have experienced that moment when you unpack your food hub delivery and find that something you ordered isn’t there. We fully understand the frustration you must feel when you realise that you haven’t got the eggs you’d ordered to bake that birthday cake for tomorrow, or there’s no fresh ginger and that’s the final ingredient you need for the curry you planned for supper tonight.

I thought it might be helpful to explain to you why these things happen and why we cannot always get a complete order out to you.

Firstly there are the problems you can’t plan for, the vagaries of the weather, illness, pests and diseases. For example a couple of weeks ago one of our producers began the week with a good crop of parsley, then it snowed,  and the crop was destroyed. In addition most of our producers are tiny enterprises with one or two workers at most, when that worker falls sick unexpectedly they simply cannot supply us.

Then there are unexpectedly big orders, for instance, eggs are presenting a real challenge at the moment. Lots of you are ordering them, but in winter the hens lay fewer eggs, so we are finding that there are not always enough eggs to fill everyone’s order. Where possible we try to make sure everyone gets something, so those of you who order in larger quantities may sometimes find you only get half.

On other occasions our producers forget to remove an item from the list when it is no longer available. Keeping up with the paperwork is always a challenge for small producers who generally do their administration in the evenings after a full days work.

We are hoping to update our IT system soon so producers can identify how much stock they have and the item is then removed automatically from the list once they’ve all gone.

Then there’s our bulk orders of dried goods, to keep costs low for our customers we order in bulk and to reduce wastage we try to not to order until too early because of use by dates, so sometimes we have to wait a few weeks before we make a new order. We should take items off the list when we run out, but sometimes we don’t get it done as promptly as we should.

Then  there are the simple mistakes. A team of 3 to 5 volunteers pack hundreds of items every week, we tick off each item on your invoice as we put it in the box, then check to make sure everything is ticked before we fold your invoice, but occasionally things get missed, for which we apologise.

Occasionally we do substitute when we can source exactly the same product (usually vegetables) of a similar quality from Oaklands Park Garden, where we do our packing, but unlike some supermarkets we don’t feel comfortable substituting with a similar item without knowing your personal taste so we reimburse you the cost.

We at the packing team are just as frustrated as you are when we send out incomplete orders. We are always looking for ways to improve so hopefully incomplete orders will happen less in the future. Hopefully this message helps explain why some customers may have received incomplete orders recently.

Thank you for supporting the Food hub.

Judith, a member of the packing team

Curried Parsnip Soup

500g parsnips
2 onions
5 cloves of garlic
1 tsp chopped ginger
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
pinch of cinnamon
3 cardamon pods. or instead of the last 4 ingredients 1 or 2 tsp curry powder according to taste.
1 small handful of rice
500ml milk
500ml water
1 small bunch coriander leaf (optional, if you have it!!)
Butter salt pepper and 1 bayleaf.

If you use the seeds, then roast the corriander cumin cardamom and grind in blender, processor or pestle and mortar.
Slice onions and stew in good knob of butter.
Add chopped garlic and ginger and then the peeled and chopped parsnips.
Add spices (or curry powder instead), sweat for 5 minutes.
Add rice, bayleaf salt and pepper milk and water ( I usually add a low salt veg oxo cube too).
Bring to boil and simmer for 40 minutes.
Remove cardamoms and bayleaf, and liquidise.
Add chopped coriander and serve!
Especially yummy using Tony’s fab parsnips!!!

Richly Coloured Winter salad

2 large parsnips
Large bunch of parsley
2 large beetroot
olive or nut oil
Balsamic or cider vinegar mustard, herbs, garlic, pepper to taste

Finely grate the parsnips and raw beetroot, finely chop the parsley and add the dressing, tasting as you go. You’ll probably get bright red fingers but the result is crunchy and satisfying, and it tastes absolutely wonderful!