Scarecrow’s Kitchen

Justin our chef

Hello and welcome to Scarecrow’s Kitchen!

I have been a chef now for 30 years working in high end restaurants in London, stunning 5 Star hotels, beautiful wedding venues & little gastro pubs in the middle of nowhere.  My career has taken me across Europe and through the mountains of the French and Swiss Alps, working under and alongside many talented Chefs, creating & cooking many different cuisines along the way.

I am now an Executive Head Chef in charge of my own kitchen, designing menus & using my knowledge to lead and teach the younger generation of chef, alongside this I also love spending time cooking with my own little apprentice chef, i.e. my 7 year old son! Watching him learn and show an interest in food is wonderful, he is always willing to get stuck in with the cooking, not so much with the cleaning up after though!

Looking back now at my career, ignoring the extremely hard work & far too many hours spent in hot kitchens, one of my lasting memories is ingredients! Having the opportunity over the years to use some of the finest ingredients the world has to offer, I have always made it my business, wherever I am in the world, to ensure that I know what produce is in season, where to get the best quality and ensure it tastes good.

Scarecrows Pantry is an amazing platform allowing me to use my experience and knowledge to introduce you to unique British farms, producing only the absolute best British organic fruit and vegetables.

Working with the Scarecrow team Gail, Mitch and Pete is a great opportunity to use some of the finest, freshest produce that farms from Sussex and the surrounding counties have to offer.

“What I want to try and achieve from Scarecrows Kitchen is not just to introduce you to tasty, family friendly recipes and amazing ingredients, but also give you more confidence to cook & produce dishes for your family and friends.”

Justin Gillam

My recipes are based on everyday items available from the Scarecrows Organic box selection and ingredients which are readly available in any shops.

Following my ‘tips ‘n tricks’ will also boost your kitchen skills and give you confidence when approaching a new recipe, these are just little snippets from my career as a chef, taking on board lessons I have learnt from those Head chefs who have molded me into the chef I am today.

Please feel free to pass on any feedback and if there is any particular dish or style of cooking you are interested in let me know through our Facebook page.

Remember that cooking is something that should be enjoyed, shared & loved.

Do not forget if you make a mistake, treat it as a lesson and learn from it and do not give up…….

Happy cooking

Justin………………….and my little apprentice…. Nathan

Slow cooked Balti style curry with puy lentils, turmeric potatoes, ginger and garlicBy Justin GillamThis beautiful aromatic flavour punching curry is truly amazing and once you have mastered the basic steps, I guarantee this will replace your Friday night takeaway. Packed full of healthy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and spicy enough to complement the other mouth exploding flavours that we all love from Indian food. The perfect thing about this recipe is that it can be made days ahead, actually I recommend it !! A home made curry is always better the next day as all those wonderful flavours continue to strengthen and infuse. This is a perfect recipe to serve with baked Pilaf rice and if you're a meat eater why not try a few grilled chicken strips and lay across the top, finishing with yogurt. I have used a butter alternative to start my curry, a plant based Vegan butter it works really well but if you're not Vegan I would defiantly recommend Ghee or normal butter. This is what I would call a basic Balti style sauce which can hold any type of vegetable or meat. Once you have mastered the paste and sauce part, honestly you can create any thing, this paste is a perfect starting point for a lot of Indian recipes. A personal favorite of ours is to add Prawns in at the end. Happy cooking.
Roasted broccoli, aubergine, red chili crispy parcels with vegan cheddar and organic mustard mayo dipBy Justin GillamWow!! I really love these chard broccoli parcels, crispy on the outside and extremely rich and creamy on the inside. Using the Vegan cheese was a real delight as it holds its shape well but is still soft enough for a gooey delicious center. The warmth from the chillies is not too hot but balances out the richness from the aubergine and Vegan cheese. This recipe will make 5 individual parcels, but these little beauties would work well for any buffet occasion or made bigger would be perfect for evening dinner meal, add some texture with cous cous or a chunky crunchy rice dish. I wanted to introduce you to some other product that Scarecrow has to offer. Biona organic mayonnaise and Organic whole grain mustard, both available on the website and both amazing good quality products, I especially love the mustard, a perfect balance of heat and sweetness, thumbs up there from me. Any way enjoy the recipe and don't forget to post your pics on Facebook. Happy cooking
Winter swede fondants with rosemary, garlic and cardamom.By Justin GillamThis recipe is a straight forward tasty alternative to normal Sunday roast vegetables, sweet, caramelised and packed full of flavour. Swede is very dense and contains very little water which makes it perfect for absorbing different aromas and taste. Roasting is definitely my favorite way of cooking swede as it creates a beautiful colour and brings out the natural sugars. I used the French classic recipe for potato fondant, adapting it with cardamom seeds and rosemary to create a wonderful option for the swede. In this recipe I use a lot of butter (as does the French version) but you can swap with a Vegan friendly product or just a good olive oil, but being a chef life without butter would be boring. This roasted delight can be eaten alone with the braised onions or accompanied with a main option, they can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for the next day. Personally I think placing them back in the oven once chilled and topping them with a goats cheese sounds like heaven. Give these beauties a test I guarantee you'll be hooked !
Christmas Vegan roast with winter squash, cannellini beans and walnuts with a cranberry, walnut and marmalade glazeBy Justin GillamAre you making homemade Vegan nut roast for the big day? Then this recipe is definitely for you! It combines roast dinner and Christmas flavours all together. Perfect for a table on Christmas day with bright green colours from the leeks and festive reds from the tomato and cranberry glaze. This loaf is lined with leeks and autumn kale then layered with sweet baked squash and a flavour packed stuffing. I use a little trick I discovered to help bind and set the roast. Using soaked chai seeds that when blended it act a glue and also adds a soft richness to the loaf. This recipe can be a bit tricky but its all about getting prepped and ready leaving you time to build the roast carefully in the tin. This really is the best of the best, when its turned out from the tin its firm and slices smoothly making it easy to portion and serve around the table without crumbling. I guarantee you will be making this again for a Sunday family treat, its pack full of Scarecrow Organic goodness and nutrients and is vegan delight. For this one I have teamed up with Circa Events one of our food partners who provide our ready cooked meals to go, they have recommended a Circa dark kitchen cocktail called a Dirty Earl, A fruit flavoured cocktail with Gin and cardamoms, a perfect match for sweet and earthy sides of the roast. Follow my link below for more cocktails and they deliver as well! https://circadeli.touchtakeaway.net/menu
Winter spiced courgette, sweet potato, onion and mint fritatttasBy Justin GillamI came across this idea a couple of years ago whilst having a Vegan friend over for lunch, I wanted as a chef to try something different. The original recipe would of had eggs, milk and cream making the texture light from the eggs and rich from the cream. So i was interested to find out how this use of Tofu would work. I tried a couple of ways with different types of Tofu, cooking temperature and cooking time. The end result is a creamy texture and light. I used a firm Tofu, squeezing the excess liquid out before blending. The important part of the recipe I discovered in my trials was to make sure your vegetables are dry before adding to the batter, keeping the whole mix from being to wet, this keeps the cooking time down and the vegetables firmer creating more texture. The spices add a light touch of warmth in your mouth. Adding the Vegan cheese sauce for me just added that winter warming feel and so simple. Courgettes are such a versatile vegetable, they can be added in to so much, with their bright green coloring, fresh and vibrant look and healthy eating benefits, their defiantly a vegetable to have available for the family dinners. The UK courgette season ends in September, so these beauties in your box are sourced from one of our Organic Spanish farms, unfortunately with our climate in the UK sourcing local all year round is not always achievable. Situated just south of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the region of Andalucía the these Organic farming communities benefits from a warmer climate and natural springs, producing exciting vibrant vegetable and salads for this time of year. Go Organic !
Jerusalem artichoke soup with ginger, parsnip crisps, honey caramel crouteBy Justin GillamTo me this soup recipe is a real classic, warming, creamy and extremely tasty, I love the earthy flavour of the artichokes and the rosemary working so well with a sticky honey crouton. The finished soup is smooth and velvety with a slight warming kick from the ginger. If you by any chance have a bottle of truffle oil in the cupboard drizzle a little over the top, it is a perfect finishing touch. This will make an excellent starter for Christmas day. Apart from the crouton everything can be made ahead of the big day!!
Baked Sprout tops, smoked bacon, pinto beans, garlic creamBy Justin GillamSprouts, sprouts, sprouts, you either love them or hate them! they are defiantly one off those traditional British vegetables that are not admired enough. Spout tops are literally the flower from the very top off the sprout plant which until recently where always discarded and not used by the general public, chefs have been playing about with recipes for a few years, including them in their Christmas themed menus. They have a sweet cabbage taste with a hint off sproutiness to them and are very versatile. You can treat them like cabbage and add them to stir-fry's, salads, pasta etc. They are extremely healthy rich in protein, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamins C and K. Give these recipes a try and see for your self. Don't forget to check out my blog with facts, information, seasonal ideas and recipes.
Sprout tops, rainbow chard, mild curry stir fry.By Justin GillamThis is another quick and simple recipe using your sprout tops, they are a very versatile vegetable and work well with spices and other strong flavours, they have a sweet cabbage flavour with a hint off sprout to them, but literally only a hint, so for all you haters, go on give them a try. I really enjoyed just experimenting with them and using different flavours and textures. So this recipe is a great way of eating those healthy leaves, quick idea for when you get home and I served this one at home and no one even suggested sprouts.
Home-made baked potato Gnocchi, Mushroom, Cavolo Nero Kale, Crispy Bacon and ParmesanBy Justin GillamFor this recipie I''m using the 'Bakers potatoes' in your box, normaly used for jacket potatoes. Gnocchi are little baked Italain potato dumplings, which are exciting to make and will give you a real sense of kitchen pride when you have finished. A real favourite of mine, combining the nutty flavours of the cavolo nero with mushrooms, garlic, cream, pasta, fresh herbs to create a top end, luxury cheffy plate of food and your even making your own kind of pasta. Home-made Gnocchi is so simple and is such an impresive way of showing off your skills in the kitchen. Using parmasan shavings a drizzle of olive to finish, serve with crisp salad leaves and a tart dressing. I have indulged with double creram lots of butter but you can be a little more sensible with a lighter cream and vegetable oils instead of butter, but thats up to you. A l;ittle tip with this one, when cooking the sauce be carefull not to over boil sauce, simmer cream genlty and use a low heat.
Mini Pumpkin and cinnamon doughnut balls with a dark chocolate and peanut dipBy Justin GillamThis recipe is a real crowd pleaser, warm doughnuts with a rich nutty chocolate sauce. Very simple method with tasty results, and a real family treat. The taste of the pumpkin and the peanuts work so well together. Dip them in the warm chocolate sauce or build your very own sundae, it can not fail. If you're planning on making a lot of them, pre cook ahead of time and reheat in the oven or serve them at room temperature. A dessert heaven and way of using your pumpkin and keeping the whole family smiling.
Roasted Pattypan squash with candy beet, brie and rosemaryBy Justin GillamThis recipe is a real treat for a vegetarian Sunday roast option. Rich, creamy and packed full of Sunday flavours. fresh rosemary and the sweetness from the beets are a prefect combination. Depending on the size this can be an individual dish or served family style. Sprinkle with chopped parsley ,sunflower seeds and a drizzle of honey. When roasted the outside of the squash caramelises, creating a real smokey and charred look. This recipe is for 2 people
Stuffed Rainbow Chard, Braised Rice and fresh HerbsBy Justin GillamThis recipe would work with so many types of fillings, Moroccan spiced meats, Asian flavored Salmon even Cheeses. I am going for a vegetarian choice as it is a little easier to practice with & will hopefully inspire your next creation with different flavors & fillings once you master the rolling its easy. To pimp it up next time try adding 100g of pork mince to your stuffing mix, still follow the same cooking times, it is amazing… This recipe made enough filling for 8-10 rolls, all depends on the size of the Chard leaf.
Tips and TricksBy Justin GillamWhat I would like to achieve here is provide you with little helpful ideas, processes & techniques that will push you in the right direction & build your confidence in the kitchen, cooking is Practise....Practise....Practise You are going to make mistakes & often not enjoy your own cooking, but you won’t make these mistakes again & your skills will improve as well as your food…Hopefully!! Please get in touch with me through our Facebook page if your struggling with any processes, styles of food etc, I will be happy to help…!!
Whole roasted Cauliflower, Pork meatballs, tomato, spring onions and Chestnut mushroomsBy Justin GillamThis recipe is a interesting way of using your Cauliflower, it moves your thoughts away from just a Cauliflower cheese on a Sunday roast to a taste changing way of cooking. They do not have much natural sugar like other vegetables so will not caramelize with heat, so using a dry rub when roasting will really boost the flavors. I Have used Asian and Moroccan spices before that have worked extremely well but this time I'm going a little Mediterranean, with garlic, Tomatoes, Paprika, and lemons. The cauliflower will work with most meals, I've gone with some meatballs as this is a family favorite. My perfect picture for this recipe would be in the center of the table surrounded by salads, dips, pieces of torn flatbread and olives. This recipe will serve 4 people.
Roasted Squash puffed PancakesBy Justin GillamSo easy & So tasty, perfect little afternoon snack, healthy breakfast idea, amazing with fresh berries, a savoury starter, would even be perfect to make little ones for a Canape & once the mix is made it will last in the fridge for a couple of days, just make sure you cover properly. This recipe would be good if you had any left over Squash from another recipe or Pumpkin. For this recipe you will need a baking tray, non-stick frying pan, mixing bowl, whisk, ladle & a Pallet knife that is it.
Crispy Marrow fingers, Panko crumb, basil and black Pepper mayo dipBy Justin GillamI wanted to try and pimp up this classic British vegetable, instead of the typical recipes that are out there, most chefs normal recipes always involve stuffing and baking. Marrows do not have the strongest and deepest of flavors but what they are good at is absorbing, the inside flesh is very sponge like, so perfect to infuse other taste and create your own recipe. I've kept the basic of this recipe simple, meaning that once you have mastered the basic steps, introducing your own touches will be very easy and satisfying. example; by adding dried seasoning mixes to the flour, smashed seeds or nuts to bread the crumbs or by simply changing the dip you really can turn this into one of your own specialties, I've even served them tomato ketchup for the little man and he loved them as a dunker.
Pan Roasted Sprouting Broccoli, Tarragon, Fennel seedsBy Justin GillamI love this, simple, tasty, fresh & so easy, can be use as a side dish to any meal or just a wicked snack for any time of the day, it would pair so well with a sexy bit of fresh Salmon or oven roasted chicken legs with more garlic, olives
Creamed Aubergine dip, Garlic & Olive oilBy Justin GillamThis is a great way of your using your Aubergines, a hint of warmth but not too spicey & amazingly easy, will store in your fridge for 24hrs so you can get ahead.
Turmeric and Ginger Braised Pak ChoiBy Justin GillamI really love this idea because it is so fresh, simple & has amazing Asian flavours which I absolutely love. It’s an easy and perfect addition to griddled meats such a Chicken & Pork plus its delicate flavour will work with all types of fish, especially Salmon as it is slightly oily which will complement the peppery taste of the leaves.
Potato Scones with Sussex leeks & red ChilliBy Justin GillamThis recipe is a real favourite in our house especially with little man, I just leave out the chillies for him. We like to have them with breakfast they work well with a good Sausage & scrambled eggs, the recipe originates from the Scottish style, I’ve just adapted by adding a egg some leeks & chilli. You could use these for lunch & dinner as well, I’m thinking pork chops, Lamb steaks, grilled garlic mushrooms, rocket salad.
Red Kurri Pumpkin, chickpea Korma, Minted natural yoghurt.By Justin GillamI really like this type of Squash it has a very deep intense colour to it when cooked, look amazing when cooked & presented in the middle of the table as sharer between friends, the fleshy inside is sweet & when cooked properly has a truly butter texture in your mouth. Depending on the size of your Squash this recipes can work as  a sharer or an individual dish, up to you…. I get passionate about all Indian based flavours, Curry powders, Tandoori seasoning, Cumin, Coriander, Ginger Garlic etc, so that is exactly why I thought I would pimp up these squashes with a little Indian influence.

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