Cavolo Nero Kale Chips
- approx. 20 large leaves cavolo nero
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of salt
- splash of tamari or soy sauce
- squeeze of fresh lime juice
- sprinkle of sesame seeds
- garlic crushed
- pinch of chilli
- Preheat oven 150C. Line a large oven tray with baking paper.
- Wash the kale if required and thoroughly dry. Place in a large bowl and drizzle over the olive oil, add the salt and other flavour additions. Gently rub the oil into the kale to evenly coat - the aim of the game is to lightly coat the whole leaf. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking tray - it is OK if the leaves are touching just not over-lapping too much. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes. Check the chips, they should be dry and crispy. I sometimes find the leaves in the middle may need an extra 5 minutes to crisp up, but first remove the chips that are ready or they can burn.
Kale is something I hold dear to my heart. I actually met my husband over a bunch of kale at the Nelson Market. And after several years of admiring each other from afar we eventually connected over a cup of hot chai (incidentally at the market again) and a conversation about kale. As they say the rest is history. And we often joke that it was the copious amounts of kale we ate one winter that landed us pregnant with out first baby. I am sure you have heard how awesomely nutritious kale is for us.
However, I do have a rule when it comes to eating kale, it must have endured a good frost before we start eating it. I often see kale at the farmers market in late summer but fibrous kale really needs a good freeze to burst the complex sugars contained within. This will 1. sweeten it, and 2. make it more digestible. Seriously, it tastes so much sweeter after a good frost. Last week we had our first heavy frost and I have been going kale mad ever since. Luckily the husband doesn’t complain – obviously it has already been ascertained that we are both mad kale lovers. The garden kale offerings are still rather minimal so luckily we can buy HUGE bunches of curly kale for a couple bucks at the Farmers Market from a happy organic grower.
It is relatively easy to grow kale at home. Being a brassica like broccoli and cauliflower, I find it often gets a good going over from the white butterflies when I first plant the seedlings in February/ March. The best defense is to cover with cloches when the plants are small, and check leaves regularly squashing any little white eggs you find – they are quite miniscule so look carefully. I have also found a diluted spray of eco dishwash liquid – about 5 mls in a 500ml spray bottle – on the plants several times a week helps to deter the butterflies landing on the leaves and laying their eggs. Companion plants include onions, leeks, garlic, dill, sage and rosemary. Although this winters crop is planted next to a row of leeks with a rosemary bush nearby, and we still had caterpillars so I am not completely convinced about companion planting. Brasiccas are heavy feeders so I often lay seaweed from making seaweed fertiliser around the plants. I also give the plants a feed of diluted seaweed fertiliser once a month – if I remember! If you have any tips for growing healthy brassicas please share them below.
In the Garden – Winter
Most of the winter vegetables in the garden I planted out in late summer but there are still quite a few vege you can plant at this time of year. Most importantly it is time to get your garlic in the ground in the next month or so – up until August. I have prepared a garden bed with compost and chicken poo and will plant our saved garlic from last seasons crop in the next week or so. You can read more about growing garlic HERE. Although it is getting too late in the season to plant kale seedlings, other winter seedlings/ seeds to plant this month include:
- silver beet/ chard
- winter spinach
- hardy lettuces such as cos and iceberg do fine through the winter but they like good sun during the day
- Radish – direct sow
- coriander – every winter garden needs coriander, it simply loves the cold
- broad beans and snow peas – SO good for the soil and easy to grow – direct sow, find directions HERE