This week I am focusing on Kale, a Brassica which is part of the cabbage family. It is available all the year round but at its best from September to late February. Unlike cabbage where the leaves are tightly packed into a head, kale has loose leaves that form a rosette around the stem. Most of our kale in the UK is the curly leaved variety which is grown in rich, moisture retentive soil, ideal conditions for Brassicas found in Lancashire and Lincolnshire. Cavolo Nero is an Italian version with much darker leaves that are longer and slightly smoother.
A handful of kale contains many nutrients which are essential to a healthy, balanced diet. It is an excellent source of Vitamins A and C -covered in previous posts. It is also a source of Vitamin K, a compound of fat soluble vitamins which play a vital role in blood clotting. A cooked portion of kale also contains calcium, folic acid and that ingredient we all need to eating more of - fibre.
Kale is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in many ways. It can be added to smoothies, soups and salads and even made into crisps. It can also be steamed, boiled, braised and stir fried.
I have chosen to make a Kale and Walnut Pesto which is Gluten Free and Vegan if cheese is omitted. I sourced the recipe from a blog named Love and Lemons. It is so easy to make and, as with everything homemade, you know exactly what is in it. Pesto is such a useful condiment to have in the fridge - add it to pasta, use it as a sandwich spread or a base for crostini, or stir a dollop into soup. I like to mix it with some melted butter and drizzle over pan fried Sea Bass fillets - a big favourite in my house.
Today I am simply adding it to some linguine to make a tasty lunch or supper, finished off with some freshly grated Parmesan.
It’s a beautiful day here in East Sussex - we woke up to a frosty morning and there has hardly been a cloud in the sky all day. This, however, can be a problem when shooting as it is not ideal light. I tend to move around to find the best light which needs to be diffused to minimize shadows. I seem to have been doing this all day!
I have gone for minimal styling again for the photo of the finished dish as, for me, it is always important that the food is the hero.
I am not 100% happy with my photos today - ever the perfectionist. I have a busy and exciting week ahead though, so didn’t have as much time as I would have liked. I don’t want to be playing catch up later in the week, so will have to go with what I have.
Until next week which definitely involves cake - I promise.