Sunday, 1 January 2017

January 2011: kale; sugar

I must start January with a song of praise for kale. Kale, like swede and parsnip, needs a good frost to come into its own. If you've made the mistake of eating some early in autumn, or, God forbid, summer: give it one more try, it might surprise you pleasantly. These sites show all that is best about this food of foods, with more nutrients than you can find in a bag of multivitamin tablets [1].
I end with a quote:
"The closest I have ever come, in a restaurant, to my ideal lunch: (...) a wide soup bowl and in it was a pile of kale, stewed into tenderness in a clear, fragrant broth. Beneath the kale was a generous slice of country bread, happily soaking up the broth, and atop it all sat a fried egg, waiting to loose its yolk onto the greens below." (
Enough said.
See [2] for more recipes.

Sugar makes us fat. For 146 reasons why sugar is bad for you, see
Fat, on the contrary, keeps us healthy. Fat is what makes the brain and nervous system work. Fatty acids are the vital building blocks that make us what we are: they are more important than vitamins, minerals, or even amino acids.
However, "nothing in a million years of evolution has prepared your body to recognize, evade, or discard" trans fats, and partially hydrogenated oil. Companies use trans fats because they're inexpensive and last a long time, so they give the product a long shelf life. Trans fats can be used repeatedly in deep fryers, so making them desirable for fast food companies and restaurants.
You don’t need a low fat diet, you need a good fat diet!

There's a clear explanation of the various fats, and what to go for, on

VEG: beet, broccoli, brussels, cabbage, carrots, chard, celeriac, kale, leek, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, rocket, spinach, swede, turnip, jerusalem artichoke, chicory, chard, celery, corn salad, endive, kohlrabi, salsify, winter purslane.
MEAT: goose, mallard, partridge, pheasant, venison
FISH: bib, cockles, crab, dab, flounder, lobster, mackerel, oysters, pollack, scallops, seabass, whiting.

TO SOW/PLANT: nothing! Unless the weather changes radically, and soon .....
You can buy seed potatoes for chitting. First and second earlies crop earlier and heavier if chitted. Chitted maincrop tubers will come to maturation quicker, useful if you want to beat blight.

, serves 4 hungry eaters. 

1 chopped onion, 800g cubed potatoes, 400g sliced carrots, 1 small head of cabbage, or 1 bunch of chard, or 200g kale, 250g sour cream/firm yogurt/cottage or cream cheese, salt, pepper, paprika, (seeds of your choice), butter. 
Boil potatoes and carrots until both are tender enough to mash. Prepare greens, depending on what kind you have. Steam cabbage sliced into strips; lightly sauté the chard stems first and add leaves for the last minute; or roughly chop and wilt kale in covered frying pan for 2 mins. Sauté onion. Mash potatoes and carrots with cheese/cream, stir in greens, season. Sprinkle with paprika and lightly toasted seeds, add bits of butter and bake uncovered for 20 mins until top starting to brown.

SPINACH AND POTATO CURRY serves 4 as a large side dish
250g potatoes, 200g fresh spinach or chard, 1 tin tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1 small chilli, 1dl water, salt.
Heat a thick bottomed pan. Add cumin and coriander, cook for 2 mins, let cool and grind in a pestle and mortar. Scrub potatoes, chop into 1½cm cubes. Deseed and slice chilli. Heat oil, add chilli and spices, cook for a minute. Add potatoes, water, tomatoes, and mix. Cover, simmer until the potatoes are almost cooked. Chop spinach roughly: add, stir, cover. Simmer for 5 mins until the spinach has wilted and the potatoes are cooked. Season.

1 large hand of kale, 2 tblsp sesame seeds, olive oil, 3 sliced garlic cloves, sea salt, black pepper, squeeze of lemon.
Chop kale into 1cm ribbons, discarding stringy stems. Toast sesame until golden, stirring often.
Turn up heat, add 2 tblsp of oil, throw in kale. Stir, occasionally flicking in water to keep the moisture content. After 2 mins the kale will have collapsed. Throw in garlic. Keep stirring for 3 mins, until garlic is just beginning to brown. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon.

200g dried flageolets or 2 tins, 3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil, 500g sausages (Cumberland) in 2.5cm pieces, 4 sliced garlic cloves, 1 tblsp chopped rosemary, 1 diced red onion, 800ml water/stock, 75ml double cream, 250g kale without stalk in 5cm pieces, parsley, salt, pepper.
If dried, soak flageolets for 24 hours. Drain, cover with fresh water, cook 1-2 hours until tender but holding their shape. Heat oil, fry sausages until golden. Add garlic and rosemary, turn down heat, stir in onion. Cover: cook for a few mins, stirring occasionally. Add liquid, drained beans, seasoning. Simmer for 10 mins. Stir in cream and kale, simmer for 10 mins with a lid on and 10 without, adding water if necessary. 

NEXT ISSUE: Processed meat.