It may not look like it, but this bucolic kitchen garden is in a densely populated and deeply urban part of Hackney, in the grounds of St Paul’s just off the raucous Stoke Newington High Street. To Eat Hackney’s biased eye it is one of the prettiest gardens in London. It was planted this spring by volunteers and service users at North London Action for the Homeless (NLAH). The garden’s produce – organic, waste-free and delicious – is used to create a sit-down lunch and dinner twice a week for the homeless and vulnerable.
With its bench-like borders which invite you sit down and smell the herbs, this is a very social garden. NLAH organises regular garden parties here with bands, where they sell chutneys, herbal teas, seeds and cakes to fundraise for gardening activities and the drop-in meals. The space is open to the public every day, and is watered, nurtured and loved by some of the most deprived residents of the borough. Gardens are great for starting conversations: Eat Hackney discovered at the opening of the garden that the homeless people doing the planting were from rural Poland. And they know a lot about how to give veg a good start in life.
Lucie, the cook at NLAH and an expert gardener, has provided a healthy breakfast recipe for Eat Hackney. Tuck in, and please vote for the Evering Road Garden Project in the Gardening Against the Odds award, in appreciation of this biodiverse and beautiful corner of our borough.
Breakfast eggs and rainbow chard
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 1 bunch rainbow chard
- 1 small chilli
- 1/2 clove minced garlic
- 2 eggs
- handful of grated cheddar
Fry the onion and the finely chopped chard stalks for five minutes in olive oil. Stir in the chilli, garlic and finely chopped chard leaves, add a pinch of salt and fry for a couple of minutes. Make two hollow spaces in the chard to hold the eggs. Break the eggs into the spaces. Add the grated cheddar on top and cover. Cook on low heat until the white is set and the yolk is still runny. Serve with toasted bread or muffin.