It’s probably fair to say that we are living in what appears to be an age of great culinary awakening. It’s reflected everywhere from the aisles of our supermarkets and grocery stores that are stocked full with every possible ingredient you could ever wish for to the endless food-related programmes on television from celebrity chefs who have transcended the foodie sphere and become general household names. Our food has never been so trendy as we all wait for the next sexy new ingredient to come along. Could it be Spirulina, N’duja or Burrata? ….Personally I couldn’t care less!
I don’t believe that great ingredients such as avocado, quinoa or kale should be reduced to the status of some middle-class fad for snobby, uber-trendy foodies. If anything, ingredients such as kale are much more like working-class heroes. Once grown chiefly as cow fodder, it has pulled itself up by the bootstraps to become a super-fashionable superfood. And it’s still very affordable too. We’re often told how healthy kale is, but we often forget quite how delicious and versatile this leafy vegetable actually is, although I can’t help thinking that If Popeye had been born in the 21st century, he would surely be shoving kale down his famous pipe to boost his powers, rather than spinach. By now he’d probably be ordering avocado on toast for breakfast with a lemongrass Kombucha while Olive Oyl stayed at home to make the kale pesto. Middle-class bliss…
Kale & pistachio pesto
Prep time: 5 mins
No cooking time
350g kale, stems removed
1tbs peeled pistachio nuts
2 garlic clove, finely chopped
160ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Transfer to an airtight container and pour over a little extra oil to cover the pesto surface to prevent oxidization.
Kale & Fresh Herb soup with crumbled feta
Prep time: 25 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Ingredients serves 6
400g kale, washed, trimmed of tough stalks & chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
1 medium potato, peeled & diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
½ tsp ground nutmeg
Juice of ½ a lemon
A small bunch of fresh chives, chopped
A small bunch of parsley, chopped
150ml cream or sour cream
150g crumbled feta cheese
Salt & pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the potatoes and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Turn heat to down and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the kale, herbs and nutmeg and simmer for 10 minutes more. Allow to cool slightly. Add the milk, cream, lemon juice and then blend to a smooth puree.
Season to taste; pass through a fine sieve and then ladle into soup bowls. Scatter with crumbled feta cheese and serve immediately.