Welcome to the Secret Garden South of Bobber's Mill Bridge in Nottingham

Welcome to Windmill Community Gardens, home of the Climate Friendly Gardeners Project.

We are a group of local people, who are nurturing a wonderful community garden in the heart of the city. You'll find us just South of Bobbersmill Bridge, on the allotment site at the South end of Ascot Road. The Gardens are a great place where anyone can come to find out more about growing their own food in a changing climate. We cater for all abilities and welcome any nationality or age group.

Why not come and join us?

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Grow, Cook and Eat Sessions at Windmill Community Gardens - The Recipes

We have been lucky enough to have a wonderfully diverse group of volunteers for the past few years, and that has meant some absolutely delicious meals for us to enjoy.

Because we like to share with the community at large, we try to hold some sessions which we really advertise to the outside world, and that's what we've just done, with the "Grow, Cook and Eat" sessions we've just had. Here are some photos along with the recipes for the lovely food we got to enjoy.

Pakora – done the authentic way!

Ingredients - choose from
Onions - (finely sliced)
Spinach (finely sliced or left whole for small leaves)
Potatoes - (in small cubes no more than 1cm)
Cauliflower - (chopped small)
Aubergines - (can be sliced or chopped small)

Add the following spices
Chilli - (finely minced)
Gram flour
Cumin Seeds
Ground coriander
Dried fenugreek
Fresh coriander (finely chopped)
Chilli powder
Healthy cooking oil, like rapeseed, coconut or olive oil.

Pakora can have a wide range of ingredients and the mix copes well with altering the ingredients as you go along. The main method is to put in onions, alongside a mix of vegetables that you like which have been prepared small enough so they will cook through when fried. 
Put your chosen vegetables into a dish, then shake gram flour over them until all the vegetables are coated. Add spices to suit your taste. Our version was heavy on the fenugreek and quite light on the chilli. Add salt to taste.  Mix together with you hands, then add water until the mix holds together with a slightly runny texture and the flour coats all of the ingredients. 

Now take spoonfuls of the mixture and drop into hot oil. We found that golf-ball sized or smaller worked better.  The oil shouldn't be smoking, but needs to be hot enough so that a test drop of the batter fizzes and rises to the surface. Cook the mix in batches with plenty of tasting to decide if you want to amend the spices or seasoning. You can also use this to have some less hot pakora before adding chilli for the heat-lovers. Slices of aubergine also work well in the batter, as do small spinach leaves which cook very quickly to come out like large green crisps - delicious!

To serve - mix mint sauce with yoghurt or tomato ketchup to make a tangy dip and eat hot and fresh to preserve the crispy texture.

Bengali Day - 

Aubergine & Mooli Curry

Potato - 2 medium (in dice-sized cubes)
Aubergine - 1 medium  (in dice-sized cubes)
Mooli Radish - 1 large (in dice-sized cubes)
Onions - 3 medium – (finely chopped)

Garlic - 3 cloves (finely chopped)
Red dried chilli
Bay leaf
Garam Masala
Coriander Powder

Fry dried chilli and bayleaf in plenty of healthy oil then add the onion and the garlic and fry until browned. Add the vegetables and fry a little more. Add 1 teaspoon of each of the spices, and cover in hot water. Cook until the the vegetables are soft. Add salt to taste and more garam masala if liked. Serve with rice and crispy fried aubergine.

Crispy Aubergine

Gram flour (chickpea flour)

Slice aubergines in half length ways then slice into 1/2 cm thick slices. Put some gram flour in a dish and liberally dust the aubergine slices a few at a time. Fry in a frying pan in healthy oil until well browned and crispy. You can re-dust the fried slices to make the crust thicker if you wish. Salt a little to taste.

Palestinian Butter Beans – Feeds  10 or more.


1kg Onions – half red and white. (finely chopped)
½ of one large head of garlic (finely chopped)
2 bags of butter beans
2 tins chopped tomatoes
Tomato puree
Olive oil
Black pepper
Ground coriander
Dried fenugreek
Fresh coriander (finely chopped)

Fry the red onion, then half the garlic in plenty of olive oil. (The dish can also be made with meat, in which case dry fry this and use the oil it releases instead of the olive oil). 
When transluscent add tins of tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of puree, then 1 ½ glasses of water. Bring to boil and simmer for ½ hour. 
Add beans and salt to taste, bring back to boil then simmer until beans are tender. 
Whilst beans are cooking, fry remaining garlic and onions until nicely browned and add to the mixture along with black pepper, ground coriander and dried fenugreek to taste. Dress with chopped coriander. Serve with rice and a Syrian salad – recipe below.

Syrian Mixed Salad – Feeds 10 or more.

This recipe doesn’t have exact amounts, so you can decide on how much of each ingredient you’d like to include. This version has a lot of flat leaved parsley (which equates to about 2 bunches of the parsley sold in UK supermarkets) and is also heavy on the onions.

4 large spring onions including all the green part
Large bunch flat leaved parsley
2 large lettuces (Kos for preference, but any will do)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
1 green pepper
1 large carrot
1 sharp crunchy apple
1 cucumber
Fresh coriander leaf
2 lemons
Extra virgin olive oil


Finely chop all the vegetable ingredients apart from the lemon and place in a large bowl. Slice the zest from the lemons and chop this very finely. Add to the salad along with the juice from the lemons. Dress salad with oil and salt to taste.

Flat bread with Za’atar

These are easy to make with shop-bought flatbreads. The middle-eastern breads often sold in Asian shops will be more authentic, but you can also use tortillas. Za’atar is a spice mix that is loved in the Middle East, which contains roasted sesame seeds, sumac and thyme. You’ll often find it in Asian shops.


Toast the bread under a grill, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil then top with a liberal coating of za’atar and a garnish of sliced tomato. 

Green Papaya Salad – ingredients for 1 person serving

1 clove garlic - crushed
¼ cup peanuts – dry roasted in a pan and chopped
1 – 2 teaspoons raw sugar
1 cup grated green papaya (or green mango)
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 green beans – ends trimmed off and cut into 2cm lengths.
1 – 2 teaspoons tamari soy sauce
juice of 1 lime
birds eye chilli finely chopped – recipe suggests ½ to 1 per person, but it’s ok to use a lot less!
salt to taste

In a mortar and pestle, grind chilli, garlic and peanuts and sugar. Add papaya, tomatoes and green beans and bruise lightly with mortar or spoon. Add tamari and lime juice and stir well. Taste and add more flavours until you like the combination of salt, sweet and sour.

Fried Green Plantain – serves 1

1 green plantain – chopped into 2 cm pieces
Healthy oil for frying – rapeseed, coconut or olive oil
Flaked rock salt


Fry plantain in a deep pan of hot oil for 5 minutes or so until golden brown, and turn over half way through. Remove from pan and allow to drain, then put on a board and use the bottom of a plate to squash each piece into a flat disk. Slip this off with a knife if it sticks to the board. Return to hot oil and fry again until golden, then drain on a cloth or towel. Sprinkle with sea salt to serve.