Time to tackle kale in January’s kitchen!

What a facelift kale has had over the last year or two! It used to be only eaten by homegrowers and traditional allotment growers but now it’s officially a superfood. Widely available in supermarkets and markets there seems to nothing it can’t cure!

I’m not medically minded but I’ve always believed that the more colour a veg has the better it is for you – simple but seemingly true.

Sautéed, roasted, steamed or simmered kale is quite a versatile veg with a unique earthy, minerally taste of its own but the most health benefits are believed to be in raw kale.

Kale smoothies and juice

Why pay a fortune for it in a supermarket when it’s easy to do at home? If you’ve got a juicer then it’s simple to make. Water it down a bit though otherwise you’ll be using far too much in one go. Add in some apples and ginger or cucumber and mint to make it go further and calm the taste down a little.

Or try a smoothie if you haven’t got a juicing machine. A blender or liquidiser will do perfectly well and will mean that you’re getting all the fibre of the veg as well.

Kale & apple smoothie

Chop the kale then add in water or milk to just cover, (coconut water works well too) and blitz till smooth. Add in some chopped fruit or some celery. Pass through a sieve if you want a smoother texture.

 If you’re not quite ready for raw kale then have a go at this recipe instead!

Cheesy Kale, Leek and Potato Cakes

Makes 8 Takes about 40 minutes plus chilling time

Approx 4 medium sized potatoes

Approx 1 large bunch of kale, spines removed

2 good knobs of butter

1 large leek, halved lengthways and thinly sliced

1 medium egg, lightly beaten

100g strong cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

Plain flour for coating

Oil for frying

  • Slice the kale thinly then simmer 4-5 minutes until tender. Remove from the water and refresh in cold water. Put to one side. Pop the potatoes into the pan and boil for about 20 minutes until soft. Drain then pop back in the pan to mash with one of the knobs of butter.
  • Melt the second knob of butter in a small frying pan and cook the leeks until tender.
  • When the potato has cooled down enough to handle, add the kale and the leeks into the pan and mix together well. Add a good grinding
  • of salt and pepper then stir in the cheese and the beaten egg
  • Add egg
  • Divide into 8 equal amounts and form into patties about 2cm thick with your hands. Pop on a large plate and put in the fridge for a good hour. This will firm up the mixture and make the cakes easier to fry.
  • Put a spoonful of flour on a plate and coat the potato cakes with it, adding more flour as necessary. Tap off any excess flour.

    Coat in flour

    Coat in flour

  • Heat approx 1cm of oil in a large frying pan until quite hot. Carefully place 4 of the potato cakes into the oil and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, turning over once. When they are crisp and golden on the outside remove from the pan and place on some kitchen paper to drain. Repeat with the remaining 4 potato cakes.

Serve immediately. We like to serve these with bacon or just some fried mushrooms or baked beans.

Add the egg and cheese

Quick tip – Remove the spines of kale before cutting – they can be tough and bitter to eat. Lay on a board, fold in half and simply cut them away. If it’s a kale with a big frilly leaf then simply tear it away from the spine

Cut out the ribs

Cut out the ribs

If you’re eating kale raw in a salad then it needs to be shredded – simply stack several leaves together and roll into a cigar then cut crosswise as thinly as possible.