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This month we feature a recipe from Farm the City (, a local gardening group based in North Kensington, who have been working with local people to create and maintain the new orchard opposite Thompson House.

This recipe makes a great tasting, healthy broth. The turmeric and coconut milk combine to create a colourful nutritious sauce, and served with bread is perfect for lunch or a light dinner. For a larger meal, put some rice on to boil.

You could even try making your own crusty bread, served with olive or sesame oil on the side. Soda bread makes a quick alternative if you’re pushed for time, or want to avoid yeast.

What you will need
  • A large head of broccoli
  • Half a cabbage
  • 1 small pumpkin (or cheat and use a sweet potato)
  • Half bag of orange lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  •  2-3 teaspoons of turmeric – a very mild yellow spice, with cell rejuvenating properties
  • A dash of oil (try extra virgin olive or sesame oil for a healthy alternative)
How to make

1. Add oil to a large pan, ideally a wok style frying pan with a lid.

2. Cut up broccoli (including the stems) pumpkin and cabbage into 1×1 inch squares.

3. Boil a full kettle of water.

4. Add the broccoli and pumpkin pieces to the oil in the pan.

5. Sprinkle turmeric and a generous pinch of salt over the vegetables.

6. Stir the vegetables briefly and allow to fry for five minutes with the lid on the pan.

7. Stir the vegetables to check none are sticking. Don’t over stir as you lose the heat.

8. Add the coconut milk and half the boiling water to the veggies, followed by the half bag of lentils and then the cabbage, which should be just covered by the water, add more hot water if needed. Leave for 15 minutes on the medium-high heat.

9. Gently stir the broth, add more water if the lentils have absorbed it all, and turn the heat down to a medium low level, leave for another 15-20 minutes. (Cooking for a bit longer allows the flavours of the vegetables and spices to mature to their tastiest, you can allow up to half an hour at a lower heat).

10. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve in a bowl.

The most exciting thing about this recipe is that you can experiment with different herbs and spices like paprika, coriander, lemongrass, cumin and bay leaves to create different flavours against the coconut milk base. You can also add tofu cut into squares if you want to bulk it up, but the lentil and broccoli provide plenty of protein, so you don’t necessarily need meat to make this one a filling dish.

Cooking time 45 minutes. Makes 6 portions.

If you like gardening and want to get involved with maintaining the orchard, monthly sessions are held on the second Saturday of the month from 10am to 1pm. Contact Patricia Poorman on 0300 456 2099 for more information. Look out for more recipes from Farm the City in future issues of Here & Now, which will feature produce grown in the orchard.