Feeling a little fruity down in Dalston E8

EVERY WEEK I take £5  to Ridley Road Market in Dalston, Hackney, London E8 2LH, to spend on seasonal food, obviously not including items already likely to be in a kitchen cabinet, such as sauces, oil, herbs and spices. On Friday I tell you what I have chosen and publish a seasonal recipe.


As usual, expenditure on any extra ingredients, eg, flour, will be recouped by usage over subsequent weeks. Some of the recipes will be frugal. They will all be tasty. All will be vegetarian. NB: this website uses metric measures but a few Ridley Road traders cheekily sell in imperial, some in metric and some also by the bowl.

This week’s £5 basket

Bowl peppers (5) £1

Bowl courgettes (7) £1

6 Naval oranges £1

3  mangoes £1

Bowl cherry tomatoes £1

Total £5


IN Ridley Road this week I noticed there was plenty of what I already had at home in the way of leftovers from my previous excursions with a fiver. So I bought more fruit than usual. I still have onions, red cabbage and half a cauliflower from the previous two weeks — what value you can find in this market. And I have some Jerusalem artichokes from my allotment in the north of Hackney borough.

Equipment: paring knife, large flat based frying pan, stirring spoon. Wash/scrub all vegetables

Recipe: Vegetable paella. Serves 4 (usually I cook for 2). Preparation 15 mins, cooking 45 mins

Ingredients: 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1/4 cauliflower, 2 courgettes, 2 peppers, 4 Jerusalem artichokes, 2 celery sticks, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, teaspoon smoked paprika, 60g short-grain rice. I have used Italian arborio rice, about 300ml stock, 425g can chopped tomatoes, handful each of green and black olives.

Peel and thinly slice the onion. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves, break the cauliflower into bite-size pieces, trim the courgettes and cut into 2cm lengths. Cut the peppers into bite-size pieces, peel and chop the Jerusalem artichokes into into small cubes and slice the celery.

Put the oil in the frying pan and cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Add the other vegetables, rice and paprika. Stir it all to coat everything in the oil and spice and the rice becomes translucent. Pour in a third of the stock and chopped tomatoes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add more stock when the liquid is absorbed by the rice. Simmer gently, adding stock until the rice is soft. Five minutes before serving add the olives.

Some food will stick to the base of the frying pan and burn near the end of cooking — that’s normal. Serve with wedges of lemons.

Shooey’s smartphone photograph of her vegetarian paella
Shooey’s smartphone photograph of her paella

Next, I shall make a nasi goreng to use more of the peppers, onions and the arborio rice with a fresh mango chutney, and use the tomatoes in nearly everything I cook this week. In case you missed it, here’s my tomato tart tatin recipe.

Tip: When making egg custard, sprinkle a little sugar over the top to prevent a skin forming. I do not use sugar when cooking egg custard, rice or tapioca pudding because my family does not have very sweet teeth. Instead I serve the puddings with raspberry jam and ice cream and the egg custard made to be added to a trifle is sprinkled with a teaspoon of sugar before the cream topping. The trifle has cake spread with jam and has been soaked with sherry or orange juice so there is ample sweetness in this dish.

Next week I am going to buy food from a stall that has been selling just African-Caribbean vegetables — yams, pumpkins, plantain, cassava and more — for more than 50 years.

Previous articles hyperlinked:

Kashmir delight 15 February 2013 

Samphire surprise 8 February 2013

Two dishes from £5 1 February 2013

Ae fond neep 25 January 2013

Cauliflower cheese 18 January 2013

A Hackney frittata 11 January 2013  

Tasty and easy Christmas snack 21 December 2012

The shops behind the market stalls 9 November 2012

Chutney 2 November 2012 

Market force: traders love a good display
Market force: traders love a good display

Piccalilli 26 October 2012

Golden soup 19 October 2012

Roasted, stuffed squash 12 October 2012

Vegetable curry 5 October 2012

Carrot and coriander soup 28 September 2012

Ratatouille Gypsy stew 21 September 2012

Bubble and squeak Shooey style,

Bakewell pudding 14 September 2012

Coleslaw and radishes 7 September 2012

Turkish spinach pie 31 August 2012;

Tomato tart, marinated aubergines, fresh mango chutney 24 August 2012;

Roasted butternut squash soup and beetroot salad 17 August 17 2012;

From a fiver in the market: the column launched 15 August 2012


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