Sunday, April 15, 2012

Curly Kale

So, I have a little confession to make, although it is one of the most common vegetables in Europe, kale is quite new to me as a chef sitting on the most southern tip of Africa. I first came across kale when I was living in Ireland in that delicious dish, Colcannon (the Irish seem to be experts at combining potatoes with pretty much anything) but I haven't been able to source it at our local markets. Then last weekend, on my most recent visit my parents guest house, there they were in a little row, upright and proud kale plants begging to be harvested. Of course, like most of my short visits, I tried something new and cooked my first kale dish.

So, I can promise nothing awe-inspiring as I am a beginner at this myself and wanted to keep the kale as simple as possible to really appreciate the flavour. After asking the advice of the British guests staying overnight in the guest house over dinner, we settled on sauteed kale with onions, garlic and bacon.

Here is the simple recipe, might I add that kale is in fact a nutritional superstar! It has higher levels of antioxidants than almost any other vegetable and is full of cancer-fighting compounds, beta-carotene, Vitamin A and C, amongst other goodies. So, step aside quinoa, kale is the new super food!


1 large bunch of kale leaves
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
6 rashers of streaky back bacon
1 tbsp good quality olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste


Wash the kale leaves and remove some of the stalks and veins, if needed.
Heat a big pan and slowly saute the onions and the garlic on a low heat.
Add the bacon bits and saute, rendering some of the fat off the bacon.
Add the roughly chopped kale leaves and saute for about 10 minutes until tender.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve as a side dish - delicious with pork.


  1. Readers - I would love to hear from you! Please let me know how your version of my recipe went, or just a little 'hallo' and general feedback will do!

    1. Hi Nelleke

      I remember this from when I was young in Ireland (a really long time ago!) - this was a really thick potato soup, a meal in itself, served with meat if you were rich enough or on Sundays. We always had it with chunks of fresh crispy bread - or soda bread and a "Hot Toddy" on a cold night in winter. I always though my Aunty Margaret made it with cabbage or spinach but as Grandpa had an allotment we always ate what was in season, so perhaps it was Kale - sound good I feel like making it now.

    2. Thanks Dawn! I'm glad you are inspired!

    3. and since we have been feeding the chickens Kale they have gone into overproduction : we have 5 chickens and they have gone from 3 eggs per day to 7 eggs per day!