Many years ago, in a former lifetime, I worked with a lady named Thelma who had a pet cockatoo. The bird spent much of it's time sitting on a perch which was stationed in a little alcove just outside the bathroom. It was an old but nonetheless lively fellow that talked and danced. One of its favourite sayings, much to the dismay and embarrassment of my friend, was 'Watchya doing now darling', which it would repeat over and over anytime anybody entered or exited the area. Clearly the man of the house had a sense of humour that didn't quite match with that of his wife!
We've been experimenting with the curly variety of Kale in the kitchen garden this winter and I'm pleased to report that it's been coming on very nicely. Much like a parrot, my Peter has been asking me over and over again, 'What are we going to do with that kale?' To which my usual reply has been, 'We are going to cook with it as soon as it has grown big enough.' Well, finally the day had come and the Kale was looking good. So, I hobbled out to the patch, broken foot still in a plaster cast, and cut a little basketful of the greens.
Kale is really good for you, right?! My friend and colleague, nutritionist Catherine Saxelby, together with nutritionist, Emma Stirling, led an #EatKit discussion via Twitter in April this year on the topic 'Why Kale and other green veg are so hot right now'. During the session it was ascertained that 75g of Kale is one serve = one very large handful that provides 10% of your RDI of potassium, folate, B6, calcium, magnesium and manganese. It was also noted that Kale also contains beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin (which are apparently all fat soluble carotenoids), and more than twice the Vitamin C as an orange (gram for gram).
There were also several interesting (and sometimes amusing) comments, including:
When it comes to cooking Kale, it can be used in place of other greens. You can eat it raw in salads or juices, add it to soups and frittatas; and sauté, steam or bake it. One of the most popular ways of serving Kale seems to be baking it into chips or crisps. David Lebovitz says he likes to sprinkle French red pepper salt over his kale chips. While my friend and fellow blogger, Kellie, from Food to Glow, is even more adventurous, baking hers with Sriracha hot sauce and also spicy sweet gochujang paste. Given that I was trying something 'foreign' (to us at least), I thought I'd do something basic to start with. My recipe is adapted from one shared by Mr Lebovitz. I was quite pleasantly surprised by the texture and flavour, as was Peter. I'll definitely try some other flavours as soon as I'm back on my two feet
BAKED HOME-GROWN CURLY KALE CRISPS
Curly kale leaves (about a colander full)
extra virgin olive oil, perhaps a tablespoon
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
two tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Wash the kale leaves and gently pat them dry with paper towelling. Remove any thick woody stems, as these will be quite unpleasant to chew on. Line a baking sheet or cookie tray with baking paper. Arrange the kale leaves over the baking tray. Drizzle the olive oil generously over the leaves, ensuring that both sides are covered. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and finish off with the Parmesan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until crisp, taking care not to allow the leaves to burn. Serves 2-4 as a snack.
Tell me dear readers, have you ever tried Kale chips? Do you think of Kale as a 'food fad' or is it high on your list of daily greens? What's your favourite Kale recipe? And have you ever tried growing it? Do tell.
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.