Every part of the year brings its challenges, the beautiful days where everyone smiles and flowers sing and not one slug has visited your fresh little seedlings other days nobody wants to get out of bed to deal with grumpy moods and the caterpillar invested veg patch.
And sometimes life just surprises you, nestled in a raised bed, buried under snow, lasting through severe frosts and a few decent storms, it is good to see the fresh curly green leaves of our kale weathering the winter and nudging through the snow.
I planted 9 small plants shortly after we arrived last August, in the hope that if it grows we´ll all be happy and dine on fresh greens, if not we at least tried something. After a few weeks they were left to cope on their own, the weather was extremely hot and I had packed my bags and left for the UK. They survived and even the butterflies didn’t cause too much damage (especially when you have children that like to hunt the caterpillars!) These 9 little plants whilst not thriving certainly outperformed my expectations and gave back lots of fresh green curly leaves.
I add them to almost everything, stews, curries, tender new leaves in salads or quickly sautéed and added to omelettes.
Preparation is easy, wash and strip the leaves from the stalk.
If making kale crisps, dry them before putting them in a low oven (about 160C) and sprinkle with lemon zest, cumin, salt. Only takes about 6 minutes for a lovely crunchy snack or as a delicious topping for fish.
Adding to soups or stews, after preparing the tasty kale just chop and stir a bit of fresh greenery into your lunch for a couple of minutes.
My favourite dish though is stir fried quickly with olive oil, garlic, a pinch of chillies and a squeeze of lemon. Add ginger if you like, different greens thrown in together work well too. A splash of soya sauce is always good, a few spring onions and sliced carrots, leeks even and you have gone from a brilliant side dish to a flavoursome, quick dinner.