Well obviously this is not ALL about Kale…but it is something delicious. If you are a gardener cook like me the pickings in the vegetable garden are a bit lean at this time of year but this morning I found a dark and handsome stranger standing nearly 1m high with a jaunty cap of snow. This is the lovely Italian kale ‘Cavalo Nero’. The beautiful crinkly leaves can be a tad on the tough side so try to pick only the younger leaves. If you need to use the older parts then then tear the leaf from the woody mid rib and banish it to the compost heap pronto. Once you have the leaves wash carefully and then shred them. It is easy to find bags of shredded green kale in any supermarket if you can’t get your hands on the real thing. If you are that way inclined have a go at growing your own-they are easy to get going but you will have to take precautions against pesky cabbage whites and pigeons. I am going to cook them with the spicy Spanish sausage Chorizo. This is strongly flavoured with garlic and paprika and a good match for the hearty kale. You can buy the sausage sliced but chunks of whole Chorizo are best for cooking.
A pale winter sun is just making it’s way over Dent in the Lake District and it’s distinctly chilly. I want some warming food to cuddle up with and root vegetables are the seasonal stars. Here is a roasted roots recipe for a winters day.
Carrots, parsnips, swede and butternut squash are simply roasted in the oven until sticky and sweet …………………….If you can get them Jerusalem artichokes would be delicious as well, I must plant these this year and take care as they can be thugs in the veg patch. I have thrown in some sprigs of thyme a robust enough herb to cope with the flavours of the roots. I’m happy to eat these winter roasts on their own, perhaps with some shavings of salty Parmesan cheese, but they go well with chunky sausages (Cumberland of course!), roast chicken or any other meat.
This homemade Christmas Pudding recipe is my mum’s. It is very easy to make-just an assembly job really. It does take some time to cook as you need to steam it for at least 4-5 hours! This does give you a light texture-very different from any shop bought puddings! You can make it a few weeks in advance or a few days in advance.
This is one of my favourite festive dishes and it always appears some time over the Christmas holidays. The mix of warm spices, cranberries and orange go well together with the tender pork and it looks stunning on the festive table. You can make it ahead of time or well ahead and freeze it. I like to have a few dishes tucked away ready to be whisked out at the last minute so that I don’t have to miss any of the Christmas fun and this is perfect. Like lots of dishes it is even better re-heated the next day.