Stir-fried Curly Kale

For a while now, I have been following the exploits of Vegboxboy and his efforts to rid himself of make wonderful meals of all the vegetables he gets in his vegetable box delivery. Now try as I might, I’ve never loved veg, and I get what I have to get in the supermarket at the weekend but for a little while now I’ve been tempted to buy my own box (on a strictly trial one off basis) and seee what I got. So from the lovely people at Bristol’s Better Food Company, I bought a box. For £12 I got: A big bag of kale, a yellow pepper, some carrots and potatoes, two beetroot, some satsumas, russet apples, a couple of chillis, a lettuce, some broccoli and some onions. And a bunch of bananas. The veg that I buy on an everyday basis doesn’t usually have to be organic, so I found this to be more expensive than my actual grocery shop for vegetables. So, thats pretty standard veg shop for us I guess in terms of variety. But until last night, I was a kale virgin. I had a quick scan around the net for ideas and I sort of came up with this. Very delicious it was too.. but I didn’t know the stalks would be so hard, so I would cut them out next time.

kale

  • bag of kale (don’t know what weight, just filled my wok), chopped up
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and then chopped into sort of pasta quill length
  • 1 red chilli, sliced horizontally
  • 2 cloves of garlic , roughly chopped
  • 3 tspb soy sauce
  • 50 ml water
  • 1 tbsp ground nut oil

Heat your wok until it is smoking and then add your oil, and then your water. Add the kale straight away and stirfry until starting to wilt in the pan slightly, add the spring onions and continue to fry for a minute or so and then add your chilli and garlic. Stirfry until the chilli and garlic are cooked through and then add they soy souce. Cook until the kale is fully wilted. I had mine with sweet and sour spare ribs – I think it would go really nicely with any plain grilled protein too.

For more cheap and tasty ideas, vist Cheapskate.com, where there are more hints, tips and resources to help you save money.

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I Need a Little Thyme – Boulangere Potatoes

Farmers Market day today. I picked up some steak and needed something to do with it that wasn’t chips. Don’t get me wrong, I love chips and I adore chips with my steak but I’ve had a lot of fast food and meals out over the past week for various reasons and I needed something a bit more homely and a bit healthier.In my view this is nicest with a tiny little bit of thyme scattered through it, but my usually reliable herbage supplier at the market had everything but today. If making this to go with lamb, I’d suggest a teaspoon of very finely chopped rosemary instead.

This is an easy dish, and apart from chopping, isn’t a great deal of work. If you have a food processor with a slicing blade then this is obviously a non issue. If you have a sharp knife then it’s ten minutes work and if you have money to burn, you can buy presliced Maris Pipers in Marks and Sparks these days. Just a thought.

  • 750g floury white potatoes such as King Edward or Maris Pipers, thinly sliced
  • one large onion, finely sliced
  • 150 ml hot stock. Chicken or veg is best. Lamb or beef is alright.
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/ In a frying pan over a medium heat, slowly sweat off your onion in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. When it is softened and golden, turn off the heat. In a shallow baking dish, maybe like a lasagne dish, put a layer of sliced potato. Season with a little salt and pepper, a little of the herbs if you are using them, and a third of the onions. Keep layering the ingredients in turn until you have used up all of the onions and potatoes. Pour the stock over the potatoes and dot some butter over the potatoes. I have probably used about 20g of butter.

Cover the dish with foil and put in the oven for 60 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 20- 30 minutes.Scoff.

Sweetcorn & Red Pepper Curry

I made this curry as a vegetable  side dish, to go with a meal of honey roasted leg of lamb & coconut rice. For the final result, there are photos on that post. But happily, this would probably serve 3 -4 as a main with rice. Its really easy, and got a lot of compliments from my fellow greedies. I was inspired to make this by some fresh corn cobs in the farmers market, and I’m glad I made it, even though with two other dishes to make that evening it was a bit stressful for about 5 minutes (feel the love, feeeel the lovvvve). This would also go very well on a baked potato, or as a side with some plain chicken. Although these recipes may seem to have a lot of ingredients, once you have bought a stock of spices, its really nothing in pence to put together and freezes well.

To serve up to 6 generously as a side dish, or 3 generously as a main:

  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 7-10g fresh ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt & pepper
  • 500g sweetcorn, fresh, tinned or frozen
  • 225ml milk
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

Get your onion, chopped tomatoes, ginger and garlic and put them in a blender. Whizz up.

Heat up your pan, and add the oil. Fry the cumin seeds – you should be able to smell when they’re cooked but in case in you’re not confident or have a bad cold, time between 20 and 30 seconds. Stop before anything smokes.  Add your paste of ginger, onion, garlic & tomato and cook this over a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Again, try and go by the smell. When you think that’s had enough – and its a fairly relaxed process given I can’t see your flame, and luckily the tomatoes protect the other ingredients to an extent – pop in your turmeric, chilli, coriander & salt and cook these for about a minute. Then, put in the pepper and sweetcorn and cook that for about 5 minutes. Then, add the milk and tomato puree, bring it up to the boil and cook that for 15 minutes, or until a lot of the liquid has evaporated. Turn the heat right down and then add your yoghurt and garam masala. Scofffffffffffff.

Sweet Potato Bake

Sweeeeeet Potato.

I originally thought I would make this dish spicier, to go with some Jerk Chicken I was going to make, with some chilli and thyme replacing the sage and coconut milk in place of the cream. But I never did get round to buying the chicken even, so I just made it as I first discovered it. Tonight I had it with a roasted duck leg and just some peas but I think it would go nicely with most meats,  pork especially.

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To serve 2 or 3 as a side dish:

  • 750g Sweet Potatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsps finely chopped sage
  • 150g Double Cream
  • Lots and lots of salt and pepper

Peel your sweet potatoes. Slice them with a sharp knife about the width of a pound coin – try and be consistent with that, it doesn’t matter so much if they’re a bit thicker – whats more important is that they’re all about the same width. If you have a mandolin or a slicing attachment on a food processor, well, you know what to do. Place them in a bowl with the garlic, sage, salt and pepper and mix as thoroughly as possible with your hands. Put them in an ovenproof dish (Doesn’t matter how really. Neat concentric rings,or chucked in, tastes the same). Cover with foil and place in a preheated oven – gas mark 6 – for about 40-50 minutes. After this time, they should be cooked through. By this I mean offering no resistance to the fork you stab into them. If they seem harder than that, re-cover and put back in the oven. When they’re cooked through, pour your pot of cream over the sweet potatoes and put back in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye out for burning, as the sugar in the potatoes caramelises fairly easily. Scoff.