Oh for goodness sake. Don’t you just want to dive under the covers on the first working day of the new year? The house is quiet, there are still stray baubles under the sofa. That red wine stain on the carpet is still there. It is an attention seeking stain. The bins are overflowing outside and the bin man isn’t coming till tomorrow. And there is a bag of kale on the shelf that needs to be used.
The first deceit of the day was to pretend I was getting up, I wandered sleepily round the house whilst David got ready for work; I skulked until the coast was clear, then I dived back into bed with avocado on toast and a sprinkle of toasted oats and pumpkin seeds. So far, so virtuous (I). Then I spent the next hour repeating the mind-games of yesterday …. I will just read that Elena Ferranti book until she mentions Nino ……… I will just read it to the end of the page….. I will just read it to the end of the next section. Then I will get up. Ha! Well I did! So there!
Then the mad flurry. Straight into the office (which is next to the kitchen), reconnect the printer and dive straight into the database of research I am compiling for a client. Five hours hard graft. So far, so virtuous (II), with an on-off internet signal. Then the signal disappeared completely.
Swearing, I left the office. Into the kitchen. Peered into the fridge. As we were pitifully low on stocks of tofu, soya milk and Tartuffi and with a strong desire to visit The Little Shop of Vegans – a new shop opened in Magdalen Street, and Tofurei – Norwich’s first shop-based micro dairy – meant a drive into Norwich, and a quick meet up with Cathie to hand over fundraising cheques. Kale, she said. What can I do with kale? Her question loitered in my brain and met its friend the bag of kale sitting on the shelf at home.
Finally there was a quick run into Rainbow for grains and yeast flakes, where I scooped up a bag of soya beans with a vague notion of trying to make soya milk myself (I’ve signed up to Tofurei’s tofu making course in the spring, so watch this space!)
Anyway. To kale or not to kale, that is the question? In our house it’s a yes. We love the stuff. Quickly steamed, drizzled with tahini; mixed with spinach and feta (vegan’s avert your eyes!) in a filo pie; chopped up in garlicky mashed potatoes and seasoned with white pepper instead of black; toasted lightly in olive oil then steamed and returned to the pan with chopped toasted hazelnuts. Or just plain old bubble and squeak with leftover potatoes.
Tonight’s beauty is to use it as a salad by mixing cooked and finely shredded kale with equal quantities (by volume, not weight) of cooked brown rice and cooked red quinoa and then smothering in a rich dressing. Shred the cooked kale and remove the stalks. Combine with the grains. Add a little chopped red onion, a shake of caraway seed and a tablespoon of chopped fresh dill. Mix it all up. Then pour over as much dressing as you like – enough to make it glisten.
For the dressing take one empty but clean 350g size jam jar. Grate two cloves of garlic into it. Add half a teaspoon of salt, two teaspoons of Dijon mustard and two teaspoons of agave syrup. Then fill the jar one quarter full with lemon juice or white wine vinegar and top up with a good quality olive oil, rapeseed oil or groundnut oil. Put on the lid. Shake vigorously and spoon as much as you need over your salad and mix it all together. You should have dressing left over – keep it in the jar and use it tomorrow. It’s lovely if you add chopped fresh basil leaf to it, or chervil.