Food fads

A few years ago kale became a ‘thing’. There’s even a cookbook called 50 Shades of Kale that apparently makes kale sexy. Personally I’ve never been a fan of cabbage. Kale is an older relative of the cabbage from the Brassica family and a close relative of my least favorite vegetable, the brussel sprout.

I resisted kale for a long time. I thought it looked like a chewy bitter, fibrous and indigestible green that would leave splinters in my mouth if I ate it. Cellulose on steroids. It wasn’t until a friend offered me some kale chips he’d made that my curiosity was tweaked. What doesn’t taste good with oil and salt after all?

I wouldn’t say I’ve climbed onboard the fad train. You certainly wouldn’t catch me having kale smoothies for breakfast, but I do grow it now. It’s easy to grow and it tough. It loves the cold and survives just about anything. A few plants I grew last year lasted right through the summer and were the only thing still standing after I’d cleaned out the summer garden. That means the only home grown produce I have ready to eat at the moment are kale, the pumpkins I picked a few weeks ago, kiwi fruit and preserved figs and quinces. Luckily there’s supermarket I can go to.

Melbourne has turned cold all of a sudden and it will take a little getting used to. It’s great to have some rain though. The garlic has popped as have the peas I planted a few weeks ago, but it will be a while till I have some to eat.

I do need to wade through all those pumpkins and like to eat from the garden as much as possible so I wanted to find something I could do with kale and pumpkin. Kale chips are easy but preparing kale for other things can be a bit of a pain. If you want to eat it raw you really need to massage it. Maybe that’s where the 50 Shades of Kale book came from. It’s a vegetable that improves with a bit of rough and tumble. Massaging breaks down the cellulose and the kale becomes more easily digestible. I prefer it cooked myself and I think its particularly good in soups. Here’s the recipe for a pumpkin, kale and broccoli soup I made this week. It’s got loads of garlic as well to keep the vampires at bay.

Pumpkin, kale and broccoli soup

• 5 Garlic Cloves, crushed
• 1 large bunch Kale – cut out the woody stems and chop roughly
• 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
• 2kg Pumpkin, peel and cut into pieces
• 1 head of broccoli
• 1.25L Stock or well seasoned water
• 1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
• Season with salt and pepper to taste

• saute garlic and kale in olive oil for 3-4 minutes in a large pot.
• Add pumpkin, broccoli, stock, nutmeg, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
• Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
• Blend ingredients until smooth.

Image: curly kale in the patch

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