Midwinter days – & Nights

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It’s quite frosty these midwinter mornings, now that the rain has cleared. I wander out in the frost to see how the gardening is faring. Especially the small new seedlings and emerging seeds. Everything looks pristine and bright. The frost crystals fringe the leaves and make the foliage look so delicate. My fingers are cold, but I go back and get the camera to take a few images.

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These cold winter days are so appropriate for minestrone. The Lovely picks carrots, cabbage, leeks and celery from the garden and browns an onion in good olive oil. She gas to climb up onto of the kitchen table to reach for another plait of our garlic that is hanging high in the kitchen ceiling curing. We are more or less half way through the garlic year and a bit more than half way through our supply of last years garlic.

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I pick the last of the summers dried beans, still in their pods, shell them and soak them overnight. They make a great start to a wholesome soup base. With the Lady’s magic touch, it all comes together into a warming and nourishing couple of meals.

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We are enjoying all the usual winter greens. The Brassicas are doing well just now in this cold weather. We have broccoli, cabbage, Brussel Sprouts and cauliflowers all on the go. A typical meals just now might be fish with 3 veg, but otherwise it’s just 3 or 4 veg.

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Tonight we have a piece of fish with twice cooked home-grown dutch cream potatoes. Twice cooking starches converts the starch from instantly available high GI starch and sugar, into slowly digested resistant starch, which is very low GI. I Serve this with Brussel sprouts and kale.

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I’ve been trying to find a way to enjoy kale, but it is rather limited in what can be done with it. I persist because kale and all the other older fashioned brassicas. The ones that still have their bitterness still in them, The ones where it hasn’t been bred out yet. These are thought to be very good for you.

Prof. Mark Mattson, of Johns Hopkins University has written a few articles about this. I read one in New Scientist magazine last year. “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. To summarise. The bitter principal in these veggies stimulates your immune system and tones you up.  So, I keep trying to make it more enjoyable. I’ve decided that the best that I can do is to slice the leafy material away from the stem, slice it finely and simmer it in it’s rinse water and a little olive oil with loads of garlic. Then serve with a squeeze of lemon and some fresh ground pepper and a little of my fake salt substitute. It’s almost enjoyable. Once I mixed in some Ethiopian Cabbage and red mustard leaves with the kale. It must have been very good for me, because I could only just eat it. It was so bitter.


The best way that I have settled into wit kale now, is to simmer the peeled leaves as above and mix in 100g of diced feta , before serving with the seasoning and lemon juice. Have no more fear of kale. This is lovely. The feta makes it all the more delicious and balanced. The fat content dramatically improves the balance, mouth feel and taste.