Hail for Kale
Kale & Yam Hash with Two Sunny Side Up Eggs
Yams, kale and sunny side-up eggs? I seem to have come over all American with my lingo. Well since I’m spending some time in California at the moment (San Francisco) to be precise I thought it would be great to blog a recipe inspired by the amazing produce over here.
There is a farmers market to be found here on nearly every day of the week – with fresh produce like I’ve never seen before. I know we love our farmer’s markets back in London (huge fan of Borough and Brockley – but wow to the range, size, colour and quality of the organic veggies available here. Oh to have a year round climate like this…
Yam & Cavolo Nero
I selected yams for this recipe, because I’d not cooked or tried them them before. However it turns out that in North America they are basically just like sweet potatoes! The African yam is a different vegetable though (confused?)
I then chose kale for my second vegetable (always good to get at least two veggies in at breakfast time) because Californian’s (and me now clearly) seem to have an obsession with it. Kale can be found on just about every health conscious, vegetarian, locavore, organic, grass-fed, farm-table, pasture-raised menu going. Local’s are well aware of this obsession and joke freely about it – I even saw someone walk down the street last week with a university style t-shirt saying KALE (instead of the university YALE). For variety I selected cavolo nero – but if you can’t find that any kale (or beet greens, chard) would work just as well.
Since yams – just like sweet potatoes – are high in carbohydrates this would make a great post-workout meal. Grating them means they will cook quickly – pretty important if you’re muscles are starving after a 90 minute strenuous yoga session.
Ingredients (serves 1)
- Coconut oil (or ghee)
- 1/4 onion, finely diced
- 1 medium yam, peeled and grated (roughly 1.5 cups after grating)
- tsp cumin
- 6 kale leaves, chiffonade (see notes)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 eggs
- Parsley to dress (optional)
- Heat a tsp of coconut oil at a low heat in a pan. Add the onion and saute until softened. Don’t allow the onion to brown.
- When sufficiently softened add the grated yam, and cook, for approx 4 mins. Keep the yam moving over the pan so it doesn’t stick. Add cumin, then add the kale. Cook for a further 2-3 mins. Once the kale has wilted, season, remove the mix from the pan and set aside.
- Return the pan to the hob, adding extra oil if it has dried out. Fry the 2 eggs, till the whites are cooked, but the yolks still runny.
- Plate up with the hash on the bottom topping with the 2 eggs and a sprinkling of parsley.
Chiffonade is a slicing technique used for cutting herbs and flat leaf vegetables (like kale) into thin strips or ribbons. To chiffonade the kale, carefully remove the tough stems by slicing them out, then stack around 3 leaves on top of each other. Roll up like a cigar then slice across the cigar (at perpendicular to the cigar) with your knife to produce ribbons.
Feeding a new family
Slow Cooker Beef & Pancetta Stew with Cavolo Nero
A few weeks ago, amidst cold January snow storms we welcomed to the world my first gorgeous little niece. A week later armed with some cute babygrows and a cuddly elephant I rather excitedly trekked off to see her for another cwtch (a Welsh cuddle). Since I have absolutely no parental skills to offer, I thought that the best thing I could do for my big Sis & hubbie was to make use of my cooking skills and provide them with a freshly cooked hearty & nourishing meal – a homemade ready meal for two in a tupperware box.
The idea for this stew started with a combination of needing to use up some cavolo nero and the beef I had in the freezer from a recent farmers market haul. The cavolo nero – a dark green leafy is rich in Iron, as is the beef – so a great nutritional suggestion for a new mother. I’m inspired now to do some more nutritional research on foods for a new Mum.
I adapted this recipe to be cooked in my slow cooker instead of stove topped. I choose to brown off the meat and sauté the veg first to develop the flavour a little more. Instead of using red wine as in the original recipe I used homemade beef stock. The beef stock is chocka full of vitamins and minerals and tastes awesome. I also lowered the volume of liquid in the recipe as cooking in the slow-cooker means less liquid is required.
I absolutely love the idea of tossing the blanched cavolo nero in garlic at the last minute – it adds a great strong garlicky edge to the dish – somewhat different to the garlicky hue from the stewed veg.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- Olive Oil
- 1kg diced stewing beef (I used chuck)
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 stick of celery, diced
- 100g of pancetta, cubed (I bought mine already cubed)
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 3 fresh bay leaves (remember to tear slightly before adding to dish to release some flavour)
- Handful of fresh rosemary sprigs
- 4 tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
- 300mls hot beef stock
- 1 bunch of cavolo nero
- Extra-virgin olive oil and an extra garlic clove, minced
- Heat the oil in a large pan, and brown the meat in batches until it takes on some colour. Remove and place in the slow cooker.
- Sauté the onion, carrots, celery & pancetta in the same pan (don’t wash out) until they soften slightly. Then add the whole garlic, bay leaves, rosemary & tomatoes. Cook out for a few mins.
- Pour the veg into the slow cooker and add the hot stock. Give it a good stir and cook on medium for 6 hours (or low for longer, high for less time).
- When you’re just about ready to serve prepare the cavolo nero.
- Blanch the cavolo nero for 5 minutes, then toss through 2 tablespoons of some olive oil and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Stir through the stew and serve up in bowls.
If you are preparing this dish with intended left-overs as I was, it is fine to add in the cavolo nero as above, then portion up into tupperware for quick ‘ready meal’ serving ease. Alternatively you could opt to store up in tupperware, freeze and then add fresh cavolo nero when served but it isn’t vital – it still tastes awesome! This is the type of dish that definitely tastes better the next day.
A One-Pot Weekday Wonder
I’d call this a stir fry, but really that implies this is some far-eastern inspired wok dish, when in actual fact it uses home-grown British ingredients, with a flavour-base veering on the Italian – naturally for Cucina Ceri – so I’m just going to call it simply ‘Sausage & Cavolo Nero’ (any waves of inspiration for a better tittle, please let me know….)
I happened to be passing through Borough Market last Saturday. I say happened, but it wasn’t really an accident…. I hadn’t planned a big trip there, but since I use London Bridge as my main station to travel back to south east London from the centre of town, it always seems a little rude to pass on a Saturday and not drop in… I was a very good girl, resisted all sorts of scrumptious looking gluten-free chocolate brownies, and escaped with my wallet still full – well, as full as my wallet will ever be – bar some loose change for a packet of organic and British grown Cavolo Nero.
Cavolo Nero literally translates as ‘Black Cabbage’ and is from the same family as Kale. I‘ve been a huge fan of Kale for a long time – all that green goodness, vitamins and minerals oozing out of its leaves – but I’ve never tasted Cavolo Nero before. Well what to do with the Cavolo? I didn’t really think about this at the time of buying, nor when I dashed out of the house very early this morning on the way to the gym, pausing to whip out some sausages from the depth of my freezer thinking that I needed some protein to go with my tea. Some hours later in a moment of procrastination at work I did a quick web search on ‘Sausages and Cavolo Nero’ to discover they are actually a very good flavour match and stumbled on some rather lovely ideas involving pasta. However since I don’t do pasta – here is my version. This was so incredibly quick and easy to throw together for a mid-week supper, and even better that there is just one-pot to wash up. I will quite happily ‘happen to pass through that Borough Market’ again (and again…. and again…)
Ingredients (serves 2)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 6 Free-range 97% Pork Sausages (Gluten Free), sliced into chunks.
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 medium courgette, cut into small chunks
- Handful of fresh rosemary
- Pinch chilli flakes
- 200g Organic Cavolo Nero, shredded
- Squeeze lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan or wok. Don’t allow the oil to heat too high, since using olive oil at high temperatures isn’t ideal. Throw in the sausage chunks, and fry until browned and cooked through.
- Add in the garlic, courgettes and continue to stir the ingredients lightly to ensure they cook evenly. Sprinkle in some fresh rosemary leaves and a pinch of chilli flakes.
- When the courgettes look done, add in the Cavolo Nero, and stir. The Cavolo will wilt down, but this will take a little time, so be patient. Keep a wooden spoon moving the Cavolo around the pan.
- When the Cavolo has wilted sufficiently, squeeze a little lemon juice over the dish and serve up, adding a good dose of freshly ground black pepper, and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired.
I had a bit of Cavolo Nero left over, so I also made some ‘chips’ – one of my favourite things to usually do with Curly Kale. It worked just as well, if not even better and is incredibly simple to do: Turn the oven to 150degrees Celsius (fan oven), cut the large leaves into manageable (hand) sized bits and toss in a teaspoon of olive oil, a pinch of Himalayan (or Sea) salt, and a pinch of dried herbs. Bake in the oven for 20 mins or till cripsy. A very tasty and nutritious snack.