I never quite manage to fill the ground with produce to carry through from November to April although every year I plan to and it’s certainly my aim this year. But I am pleased to report that curly kale from the freezer revives very willingly. It kept on giving from June till November then suddenly hungry pigeons stripped two rows of what appeared to be inexhaustible plants. Since I tend to return from the allotment with as much produce as possible I ended up in Autumn cooking batches of kale for the freezer. The leaves were stripped from the central stem before blanching for 2 minutes in boiling water and then they were dipped in cold water to retain the colour.
De-frosted these leaves readily transform into Kale braised in coconut milk which was delicious served as suggested with brown rice and chick peas.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp minced lemongrass, tough outer stalks and base removed first
1 tbsp sambal oelek
340g kale, centre stems removed and chopped into ribbons
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
235ml coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1 Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium-low heat. Saute the shallot for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, lemongrass and sambal oelek, then cook until fragrant – about a minute more.
2 Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes more, or until the kale is tender.
Lucy Madison and Tram Nguyen
I substituted sambal oelek with a tablespoon of chillie paste but I guess dried chillie powder would also work .It’s a great recipe and relatively fast to make and as the chefs say the slight bitterness of the kale is a nice counterpoint to the rich coconut milk.
This season I shall sow a dwarf Green Curled Kale variety and protect it from birds with a fleece tunnel next Winter to prolong the picking. And the dramatic leaves of Redbor F1 kale will also find a place.
I would love to say I am cropping great fat leeks but the reality is that two trays of leek seedlings crashed to the ground in gale force winds last May just before they were to be planted. I grew more but about twenty slender specimens are all I have to show for it and nothing like the whoppers on the plot next door. It will be different next year with seeds of Musselburgh purchased ready to sow under cover in March.
But I do have a row of small cabbages …
And the garlic has been planted 10 cm deep with 20 cm between and in four rows.
Hydrangea petiolaris is still giving pleasure and the delicate dry flowers are a pretty orange when they catch the light. I added a few stems from an olive tree to give it some green.