Cabbage parcels: wrap up for a Hackney snackney

RidleylogonewEVERY WEEK I take £5  to Ridley Road Market in Dalston, Hackney, London E8 2LH, to spend on seasonal food, obviously not including items likely to be already in a kitchen, such as sauces, oil, herbs and spices. On Friday I tell you what Ive chosen and publish a seasonal recipe. As usual, expenditure on any extra ingredients, eg, flour, will be recouped by usage over subsequent weeks. 

This week’s £5 basket

1kg potatoes 77p

Cabbage £1.50

Bowl cucumbers (3) £1

Bowl satsumas (to many to count) £1

Bowl bananas (6) 50p

Total £4.77


Recipe: Cabbage parcels. Serves 2

Equipment: kitchen knife, saucepan, mixing bowl, frying pan, toothpicks. Wash all vegetables.

Preparation: 10 minutes. Cooking cabbage leaves 2 minutes, onion mixture 10 minutes and cabbage parcels 5 minutes.

cabbageIngredients: 6 outer cabbage leaves with their tough bottom membrane removed, left, 100g bulgar wheat, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 onion peeled and finely chopped and 1 carrot peeled and finely chopped (both from last week’s basket), 1 peeled clove of garlic finely chopped, 25 grams dried fruit (I’m using raisins but apricots or prunes will be tasty), 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder, tablespoon of chopped herbs of choice, juice of half a lemon, seasoning.

Method:Put 3cm cold water in a litre saucepan and put in the cabbage leaves. Bring to boil and cook for 2 minutes then turn off the heat and set aside. Meanwhile put the bulgar in a bowl and cover in boiling water and leave to puff up. Fry the chopped onion, garlic and carrot in the oil until soft. Add the dried fruit, spices and herbs to the bulgar. When the onion mixture is cooked, stir that in, too.

Remove the cabbage leaves from the sauce pan and place two teaspoons of the bulgar mix in the middle of the leaf and roll up tightly, bringing in the sides as you go.

Seal with a toothpick and reheat in the saucepan lined with a cabbage leaf (to prevent sticking) and, with a little water in the base, heat through for about 10 minutes.

The bulgar mix could be changed to include tomatoes, celery and mint. I served these parcels with chilli jam.

With the remaining food from my basket, I shall make a cooked curried cucumber side dish to accompany a nasi goreng that was taught to me by my father-in-law from his time in the East Indies. I shall make some dainty cucumber sandwiches to enjoy on a Bank Holiday picnic, along with some banana-and-honey sandwiches, which I loved as a child. The potatoes are charlotte  and they will make a lovely waxy salad. The satsumas will be a daily treat and the remaining cabbage will make a delicious curried side dish with desiccated coconut.

* Two websites have written about this column. Hackney Post has published an interview with Shooey, as has the Food Bankers. Hackney council journalist Marcel Reinard  has made an enjoyable video about markets, including Ridley Road.— Ed.

* Emboldened, coloured words may indicate a hyperlink. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.


Ridley030513baskPrevious articles hyperlinked: 

Bell pepper salad26 April 2013;  Gnocchi and tomato sauce with zucchini salad  19 April 2013 Tomato soup with soda bread 12 April 2013Broccoli mornay 5 April 2013Easter redemption song 29 March 2013 Less  is enough 22 March 2013A tart in the mart 15 March 2013; Polenta verde and sauté mushrooms 8 March 2013; Caribeasy 29 February 2013; Feeling fruity 22February 2013; Kashmir delight 15 February 2013Samphire surprise 8 February 2013Two dishes from £5 1 February 2013Ae fond neep 25 January 2013Cauliflower cheese 18 January 2013Hackney frittata 11 January 2013;  Tasty and easy Christmas snack 21 December 2012The shops behind the market stalls 9 November 2012Chutney 2 November 2012;  Piccalilli 26 October 2012Golden soup 19 October 2012Roasted, stuffed squash 12 October 2012Vegetable curry 5 October 2012;Carrot and coriander soup 28 September 2012Ratatouille Gypsy stew 21 September 2012Bubble and squeak Shooey styleBakewell pudding 14 September 2012Coleslaw and radishes 7 September 2012Turkish spinach pie 31 August 2012Tomato tart, marinated aubergines


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