Crystal Palace Food Market 10th birthday recipes, by Rachel de Thample


Fermented wild garlic pesto


I’ve crafted this recipe with Adrian Izzard’s Wild Country Organics in mind. Not only is his stall bursting with seasonal spring herbs and greens, but Adrian also sprang to mind when reflecting on the market as I interviewed him recently for an article I wrote about the connection between organic food and gut health.

There are many studies emerging that reflect positive impacts of eating organic on the gut microbiome. Wild food is also proving to be the food to eat if you want to boost your gut health with a scientific study called Wildbiome Project underway. But beyond health, this wild food and Wild Country inspired recipe is simply delicious and easy to make.
It’s a fun fermented take on pesto and it’s vegan, too (the lactic acid naturally produced as it ferments offers a similar flavour profile to Parmesan cheese!). I hope you love it as much as I do.
Serves 2-4
150g wild garlic and/or seasonal greens (radish leaves, carrot tops, herbs…) roughly chopped
3-4 tbsp nuts or seeds
4g sea salt
  1. Blend or pound your greens and nuts/seeds in a food processor or pestle and mortar until you have a rough paste.
  2. Fold the salt in and pack into a clean jar.
  3. Use extra wild garlic leaves, bay leaves, a grape vine leaf or a clean square of cloth to cap the top of the pesto and press down firmly.
  4. The salt should draw out enough liquid to cover the pesto and the leaf cap but if not, add a pinch of salt and top up with water before sealing.
  5. Secure an airtight lid on the jar and set on a plate (to hold any brine that might bubble out during fermentation).
  6. Leave to ferment at room temperature for as little as 3 days or as long as 3 weeks – the time really depends on how strong you want the flavour to be. The longer the ferment, the funkier.
  7. Once you’re happy with the flavour, transfer to the fridge to halt the fermentation.
Eat within a month. Serve with pasta or salads, adding olive oil to finish or swirl olive oil before using.
It’s also lovely blended with peas or broad beans to make dip.


Rhubarb fermented with honey

This is a modern take featuring rhubarb. When I lived in Crystal Palace, I doled out a dozens of rhubarb crowns one market Saturday with the aim of Crystal Palace being twinning with Yorkshire’s Rhubarb Triangle. Rhubarb is one the things that grew best on my Spa Hill Allotment plot and indeed, it was prolific in Westow Park’s Edible Garden when I helped tend it, and local honey was one of my faovurite ingredients to buy from the market.
Pair it with yogurt or whipped cream from Hook & Son for a healthy market-inspired pudding, or go savoury marrying your finished ferment with a grilled mackerel caught from Veasey’s stall or it’s also delicious with a slow roast pork belly sourced from Holly Farm.
Makes a 200g jar
1 stem of rhubarb (about 75g)
75g raw honey
  1. Cut the rhubarb into ½-1cm slices.
  2. Bundle the rhubarb into a jar (a 200-350g jar is ideal but any old jam jar will do).
  3. Spoon in the honey and mix it through. Top up with a bit more honey, if needed, to ensure the rhubarb is fully covered.
  4. Seal the jar and give it a shake to help ensure everything is mixed.
  5. Loosen the lid and set the jar on a plate in case there is any honey overflow as it ferments, which is quite likely.
  6. Put the jar in a dark corner somewhere. Every few days, tighten the lid and give the jar a few shakes, then re-loosen the lid.
  7. Soon you will start to see bubbles forming. The honey will turn a lovely shade of pink as it laps up the rhubarb. The honey will also become thinner and more liquid as time goes on.
To serve, spoon the fruit out and use the honey as a rhubarb infused syrup – it’s brilliant in cocktails or used as a cordial.