Two music graduates chronicle the culinary delights of Leeds and London and explore the height of fine dining on a limited budget.

Good food is well punk.

March 05, 2010

The Joys of Kale, and a Simple Dissertation Supper

For the first time in my three years at Leeds University, I bought a £5 organic veg box from the (slightly scarily vegan) Green Action Co-Op. Noticeable in among the refreshingly grubby potatoes and slightly shrunken celeriacs was a massive bag stuffed with some unknown green leaf - upon enquiry, I found out it was kale. Obviously, a quick wikipedia search and scour through the recipe books for what to do next was in order.

Not really coming up with anything in particular, I decided to just freestyle a variant on the standard lunch. Since the dissertation's due in (yikes) less than 14 days now, long complex recipes are out of the question. The following took a maximum of 15 minutes start to finish, is nice and light and I reckon is probably well healthy. Y'know, to get the brain in gear.

75g Linguine (or similar pasta)
100g Kale
1 Egg 
1 Handful Sunflower Seeds
1 Handful Pumpkin Seeds
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Dried Chilli
Salt & Pepper

Put the water on for the pasta to boil, and water for the egg if you want to poach it. Pick the leaves of the kale off the woody stalks and wash well. Rip into bite-seized pieces, and steam for about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, finely slice the garlic, crush the chilli and gently fry in the butter with the seeds. Poach or fry the egg (and here you're on your own - I always try and poach eggs a different way and it never really works properly), add the kale to the buttery garlic/seed mixture and toss around until all mixed together. Throw in the pasta, top with the egg and season. I drizzled a bit of walnut oil on top for flavour. Walnut oil's good for the brain, right?

Kale really surprised me - it was incredibly tasty, and had a wonderfully springy texture that  was completely different to any other cabbage I'd eaten. If I had them, I'd add some pine nuts, or some crispy lardons to really liven up the flavours. Hell, even a splash of cream could really transform the dish. On the flipside, though, cooking for one is always a pretty depressing experience for me. A good meal is tripled when those eating it are doubled. Or something like that, at least. Back in first year I often cooked for myself, due to differing work schedules/diets and the lack of a proper communal area back in halls. As nice as it was to have the freedom to try cooking new types of food, eating was mostly a solitary affair. Thank Nigella for housemates!

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