In the Harrogate Waitrose I discovered a green vegetable called a “Kalette” which I took to mean a small kale; indeed this is what it looks like (see title picture). Kalettes have their own web page and appear to be a cross breed (not GMO) between sprouts and kale. They are delicious, highly versatile and I suspect likely to become a real hit. They require less preparation than kale or sprouts; I boiled them for 4 minutes straight out of the packet. And because they have a distinct sprouty taste my 2 girls love them! I will feature these in some of my own recipes in the coming weeks.
Trialling a New Toy – The Pressure King Pro
Courtesy of High Street TV I have a “Pressure King Pro” on loan right now. I’ll be generating some video content of this awesome machine but thus far I have proved that it can replace my rice cooker, a pressure cooker and a stock pot – not bad for one gadget. I made some chicken stock from the carcass of a roast chicken last weekend and the quality and ease was phenomenal. I have never had enormous success with making my own stocks before and both the Knorr stock pot range and Essential Cuisine stock powder (I buy it from my butcher the Yorkshire Farmers meat market but Lakeland also stock it) have always made a decent stock. However, I am a convert to homemade stock now. Bone broths have become a real feature of the healthy eating landscape, popularised by the Hemsley sisters and are said to have medicinal qualities. I’ve not checked out the science on such claims but stock or broth is delicious in its own right but also great to use in place of water for steaming, boiling, soups and various other uses. Heston Blumenthal has written of using a pressure cooker to make stocks quickly – relative to boiling bones for hours and hours – and with the Pressure King Pro this is a fantastic technique. It’s also a doddle; I lobbed in the chicken carcass, a roughly chopped onion, 2 roughly chopped carrots (skin-on), half a dozen pepper corns and water to the max fill line. I set the pressure cook option for 3 hours after which time (plus about 30 mins to heat up and come up to pressure) I had 4 litres or so of rich, umami-filled chicken stock. My mum has done this with a chicken carcass for years and I really question why I never have; my culinary habits have changed for good. Just need to get the girls hooked on soup …
My favourite thing about smoothies? Not that they make for a nutrient-dense, healthy and quick breakfast but the fact that the kids love them and it gives them smoothie ‘taches! Zoe is a particularly smoothie junkie and this week’s Saturday recipe of a glob of yoghurt, a punnet of blueberries, handful of ice 1tbsp each of almonds, chia seeds and flax seeds as well as a dash of spirulina powder (which give the smoothie the grey-green tinge) was a real hit! See pictures of the smoothtaches below! Just a shame that they ate them alongside a Saturday morning naughty of chocolate croissants …
One of my favourite treats is an adaptation of Sarah Britton’s incredible raw chocolate sky from her debut book “My New Roots”. Amongst the very best “healthy eating” authors Sarah is a proper chef and has spent time in Rene Rezepi’s (of Noma, Copenhagen fame) restaurant. The composition and combination of flavours, textures and beautiful presentation set her apart from her peers; check out her blog and also her cookbook. Inspired by the name, if not the ingredients, of the Cornish “Stargazy Pie” I have called my version “Chocolate Stargazy”, a homage to Sarah’s wonderful dish. The kids love this and despite a fair bit of sugar (in the form of maple syrup) there are lots of great superfoods in here. The kids particularly loved “cleaning” the bowl and Zoe LOVES goji berries as any first world problem child should!
I have also made some salted “fudge” for my friend Michelle this week. It’s her favourite of the (but then she has said that every week so far!) This is dead easy to make and requires no cooking, just 30 mins or so in the freezer (longer in the fridge). I popped 80g of tahini along with a dozen or so dates, 2 tbsp of maple syrup (“mapey” as the girls call it), 80g of dessicated coconut, 2tbsp of coconut oil and a pinch of salt into a food processor, whizzed it up for a couple of mins then spread in a lined baking tin (10cm x 20cm or thereabouts).