Some love for the greengrocer – Stoke Newington Green

Pardon the following entry, I’m not endorsed by anyone in writing this but I feel so very strongly about this family-run business on Church Street and think more people should go. Think of it as a restaurant review, but for a shop. I would start by saying that Stoke Newington Green is the best greengrocer I’ve ever been to, but giving it some consideration I think it’s the best food shop I have ever come across. Perhaps the best shop full stop. (If it was a restaurant, it would receive 9 meatballs out of 10). Normally specialist shops like boutique bakeries or traditional butchers are beautiful but incredibly expensive, and exist primarly due to the proximity of wealthy yummy mummies (which, admittedly, is true for Stoke Newington). But Stoke Newington Green does three things which put it above those kinds of shops (or your local vegetable market for that matter).

1) It is cheap. Really, really cheap.

2) It is open from 7-11 every day, so most normal working people can pop by after work or on the morning jog.

3) They accept cards.

This would not be that amazing had it not for been for the fact that they stock local, seasonal produce as well as exotic spices and vegetables I’ve never heard of. Their fresh herb section involve English herbs I didn’t know existed. They have five different kinds of garlic, including incredibly aromatic fresh variants. They stock at least six different colours of courgettes and aubergines. All is beautifully stacked up inside the bamboo-walled shop and clear, handwritten signs display price (both kg and lb and sometimes per item), origin and other important details.

I just arrived home from the shop with two carrots, two onions, a celery, six mini-courgettes, one fresh garlic and two large bunches of spinach. It all came to 3,49. I wish these kinds of green grocers existed all over London. I’d eat much more vegetables, and I’d learn all about the new produce I find in the shop every day. It would be like 5-a-day heaven.

Stoke Newington Green, 39 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0LU.

Update: Newington Green Fruit and Vegetables (109 Newington green road, Islington, N1 4QY) is their sister-shop – I have now been and seen and smelled amazing things. This shop is slightly bigger and busier and just as amazing with all the things mentioned above.

Both shops can be found on the map here and here.

Roy Finnamore’s Broccoli Recipe

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For my first recipe post I thought I would write about something different, usually considered as ‘boring’. Broccoli is often seen as bland and baby food-like. Nonetheless, broccoli is the perfect vegetable for students: cheap, lasts long, and is often reduced at every supermarket (people really don’t seem to like it..).

So I decided to share a recipe that takes broccoli from blegh! to actually really tasty! This recipe is taken from Food 52. It’s a really easy recipe and it takes very little prep time. Then it’s up to the broccoli to do its work and you can do something else for two hours.

All you need is:

  • 1 kg broccoli (Separated into florets, the big ones cut in half).
  • 5 cloves garlic (sliced). (Yes I love garlic..)
  • Chilli powder or even better a chilli (whole, de-seeded).
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • LOTS of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • A large non-stick saucepan, preferably a le creuset-type slow cooker.

Start by cutting the broccoli into florets, cutting the big ones in half.

Blanch the broccoli in unsalted water for 5 minutes.
When the broccoli is done, drain and put aside. Put the heat on medium and put the olive oil in the pan (you should be generous with the olive oil; you should have more oil than when normally frying vegetables, but not so much as deepfrying
When it’s hot, add the sliced garlic to the pan and fry for 1-2 minutes, making sure it doesn’t burn. Add the anchovies and chilli and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add the broccoli and mix well to coat the broccoli with the oil. Lower the heat, put a cover on the pan, and let the broccoli work its magic. (Check from time to time to make sure it’s not burning, especially if you do not have a slow cooker). Let is cook for 1.5 hours if you want it in florets or for 2 hours to cook till it’s melted.
Serve with pasta, on bread, salad, or as a side dish with roasted meat. I had mine stirred in scrambled eggs for breakfast and mixed in pasta with some canned salmon to take to uni.