Is there a mother alive who has not repeated the phrase “Eat your greens” on a semi regular basis?
There is a time of year for it, when the cold of autumn is creeping through the cracks and nobody can quite agree on whether the heating needs to be turned on.
Down here in the Southern Hemisphere, that time is now.
Last weekend, being a pottering sort of a weekend, I was determined to find a recipe that made those greens something that the children would fight over.
I based the meal on the simple (but winning) combination of carbs and protein with a side order of buttery soft green flecks.
Pasta with Braised Kale
is based on this recipe but with some extra taste packed in:
- 2 bunches kale, large centre ribs and stems removed and sliced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 500g pasta of your choice
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 4 anchovy fillets
- Splash of Sherry
- 1 small chilli finely chopped
- 100g finely grated parmesan cheese
- Rinse kale. Drain and transfer to bowl with some water still clinging.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium heat.
- Add chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
- Add garlic, chilli and anchovies; cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Add kale and Sherry and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes.
- Cover pot and reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking until kale is very tender, stirring occasionally and adding small amounts of water if dry, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in medium pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.
- Drain pasta, reserving a mug of cooking liquid.
- Add cooked pasta to kale mixture in pot.
- Add lemon juice, parmesan and a glug of the reserved cooking liquid and toss to combine.
- Stand back and watch in horrified awe as your children hoover up the entire thing at indecent speed.
You may be asking why I am posting a recipe for cooking greens when we have established that this is not a cooking blog.
What can I say, I have a fridge that looks like an overgrown hedge at the moment due in a large part to the generosity of Organic Boxes who sent me one of their Standard Mixed boxes to review.
It was a moot point, because we were actually long standing customers of theirs until our veg patch took off last year so they were already preaching to the choir, but like an old friend, or pulling your favourite jumper out for winter, it was a lovely feeling to open the front door and see the insulated box waiting for us to discover.
I say "us", I mean the children.
Alfie and Esme fell into step like well drilled crack squad and carried our delivery into the kitchen with a rare display of team work before dropping it unceremoniously to the ground and ripping it open.
If I were thinking, I would book a delivery for Christmas because I'm not even joking when I tell you that at one point Alfie clutched the bunch of bananas to his chest and said
“We got bananas! I LOVE bananas! Oh! I'm so happy!!”
He didn't get that excited over his last Lego set, and that cost me twice as much, and tastes far worse on pancakes.
It was great to see that the quality of the produce was as good as I remembered: Everything looked vibrant and crisp, and there was more than enough fruit and veg to keep an average family going for the week. If, like us, you are mostly vegetarians or have children who wake up at 1 am to raid the fruit basket (were those pears tasty Alfie? I wouldn't know) I would suggest getting a larger box.
Watching the over enthusiastic unpacking it felt awesome to know that the children have that connection with the origin and seasonality of their food; although that isn't a good news story in our house because the children have become addicted to the mighty feijoa.
It will take a braver person than me to tell them that feijoa season is over for another year.
I'm sort of hoping I can distract them with pears or comfort them with good old fashioned chocolate because damn you feijoa trees and your freakishly short fruiting season!
And damn you kale for not being more like feijoas, have you never heard of the saying “less is more”?!?