Comfort & Joy No.14 - Enchanted by Emily
On the Allotment
Emily; our wonderful Ecommerce Manager, in house chef and founder of Stewpote, let us spend the day at her beautiful Fulham allotment where we ate her homemade vegan brownies, took photos of her and her vegetables and asked her some questions
This is what we asked her:
FIRST OF ALL, CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT STEWPOTE?
Stewpote came about during a life-changing time in my life. It’s inspiration is based around the small, simple pleasures of gathering friends and family round the table for a shared meal.
It’s about real food that you associate with home, generosity and goodness. To me nothing symbolises rustic, honest cooking better than food served from a cast-iron pot. The kind of food that is humble yet generous – celebrating the everyday.
One day I hope to open a small, community based café around this philosophy, but until then I’m thinking about starting a little supper club on my allotment!
WHERE DOES YOUR LOVE OF COOKING COME FROM?
From a mixture of different places. My mum would always be cooking from scratch when we were growing up and when my Granny came to visit, she would make a big vat of marmalade and let me stir the pot!
But I think my love of cooking really kicked in when I worked for woman called Angel at the shop Tobias & the Angel in Barnes. She would make a simple, delicious lunch every day for her staff and I often helped her to prepare the food. I learnt so much also just by watching and asking questions why she did things a certain way. She believed in ‘less is more’ and doing very little with the ingredients.
A tartan ribbon in one's hair can make even the prettiest outfit, prettier.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD YOUR ALLOTMENT?
Since August 2015.
WHERE DID YOUR LOVE OF GARDENING COME FROM?
After studying my degree in Textiles, I went to Ballymaloe Cookery School where they have a wonderful 100 acre organic farm.
I learnt not only about cooking, but also how to grow your own food and the importance of composting. After that I did a brief stint in the kitchens at Petersham Nurseries and Chelsea Physics Garden, which are known for their gardens.
I am currently studying Permaculture Design in my spare time, which is a whole new thing for me. It is such a fascinating subject – I urge people to go check it out
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO GROW?
It’s hard to say. I grew tomatoes for the first time last year, and it was the most satisfying thing being able to pick them straight off the vine and eating them while they were still warm from the sun. Pure bliss!
I also love growing courgettes. It’s the plant that just keeps on giving - literally! Over night you will have a whole new crop to harvest. I think my Cabbage colleagues grew a bit tired of me constantly bringing in courgettes for them to take home!
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE CABBAGES & ROSES IN A SENTENCE WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Beautiful, ethereal, playful and utterly unique; it’s what dreams are made of.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING FOR CABBAGES & ROSES?
Hands down – it’s the people that I work with. I feel very lucky that I get to work with such a great team.
Also, the free clothes are definitely an added bonus!
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
London – although I feel more like a country girl at heart.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE DAY?
If I get my act together in the morning, I like to wake up extra early and cycle down to the allotment before work to give my plants a good water. It feels so calming and peaceful and sets me up for the day.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FILM?
It has to be: The Parent Trap (1998) – it reminds me of my sister.
IF YOU WERE STUCK ON AN ISLAND FOR A YEAR AND COULD ONLY TAKE ONE BOOK WITH YOU WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I was given the book ‘Encyclopedia of Garden Plants and Flowers’ which is about three inches thick! I haven’t had a chance to properly sink my teeth into it yet. I would love to understand the world of horticulture better and learn all the different variety of species there are. How to identify them, how to look after them and pronounce them!
WHAT WOULD YOUR LAST MEAL BE?
My mums roast chicken, with pigs in blankets, stuffing and all the other trimmings. For pud, my mums Tarte Tatin with ice cream.
FINALLY, PLEASE WILL YOU SHARE YOUR VEGAN BROWNIE RECIPIE WITH US BECAUSE THEY ARE THE BEST BROWNINES IN THE WORLD!
Makes 12 brownies
3 tbsp chia seeds
200g dark chocolate (70%), roughly chopped
100g coconut oil
200g coconut sugar
70g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
180g ground almonds
1 ½ tsp baking powder
50g pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 180c
Grease a small brownie tin with coconut oil and line it with baking paper
Put the chia seeds in a little bowl and add 9 tbsp of cold water. Leave to form a gel-like paste.
Place a large, heatproof bowl (big enough to fit all your ingredients) over a pan of barely simmering water.
Put 150g of the chocolate into the bowl along with the coconut oil, sugar and vanilla extract. Let them melt and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Once melted, take the bowl off the heat and stir in the chia seed mixture, then the ground almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder, half the raspberries and pistachios and remaining chocolate. Fold everything together until well mixed.
Pour the brownie mix into the lined tin and scatter over the rest of the raspberries and pistachios and a light sprinkle of sea salt.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until just cooked but still a little soft in the middle.
Leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
A huge thank you to Emily for letting us borrow her and her spectacular allotment.
xx C&R xx