How to make kale taste nice

hmmm kale… not something you hear often right?

I’ve been trying to make vegetables just as nice to me as carbs and sugar are. I’ve had varying levels of success, but I’m determined to make it all work for me. Not one to back down from a challenge, I decided to try and make kale a thing and I think it might have worked! (this time)

You don’t have to use the exact same seasoning ingredients, but what was key in helping to cut the bitterness of the kale in this dish was the addition of lemon juice, so I’d keep that in as a staple.

Be warned – I sometimes cook with a lot of pepper, and my version of this dish has three kinds in it so if you want something milder please adjust the ingredients to suit your taste. Happy cooking!

What you need:

a bag of kale from the supermarket

two red onions, sliced

one shallot, sliced

a small handful seasoning peppers (a sort of mild chilli), chopped

three cloves of garlic, crushed/minced

a handful of fresh coriander, chopped

two teaspoons of turmeric powder

a strong pinch of cayenne pepper powder

a strong pinch of ground black pepper

a small teaspoon of scotch bonnet pepper sauce (or a hot chilli sauce) or alternatively a quarter of a scotch bonnet pepper finely chopped (use gloves)

a strong pinch of general all seasoning powder

a generous sprinkle of dried mixed herbs

lemon juice from half a lemon

Method:

Wash and drain the kale in a colander and set aside.

Pour roughly half a tablespoon of a cooking oil of your choice into a large pot and melt on a medium heat.

Add all the ingredients except for the kale and lemon juice. Stir until the onions and shallot have softened a bit.

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Add kale and cook until stalks have softened slightly – you want to retain some crunch. Drizzle lemon juice all over kale and continually stir around pot over a higher heat for a few minutes. Be sure to watch the colour of the kale. Once it turns bright green it doesn’t have long to go and you don’t want to overcook it so it turns kinda dark and mushy.

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Turn off heat and you’re ready to go.

Until next time,

V

 

 

 

 

When you want to be naughty…

Rotis, bakes, cakes, bread, pasta etc… it’s just life to me you know?

So in my opening blog I mentioned how I had undergone a transformation of sorts – I’d made a decision to make healthier choices with regards to my eating and started a regime of regular workouts. That’s still the case. I haven’t fallen off the wagon. However, I am still very much human, and sometimes that means I need to indulge.

Cue the Caribbean take away.

Yeh. I did it.

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So ok, this was not the healthiest of meals, but it also wasn’t the worst. It’s all about balance. This is a once in a while thing and I’m picky with what I get off the menu and how much of it I eat. I deliberately chose vegetarian options and I tried not to go too carby. Well, sorta.

Callaloo – a leafy green similar to spinach, also known as taro leaves (at least this version of callaloo is taro leaf – in other parts of the Caribbean different leaves are used, but also called callaloo).

Sweetcorn salad – a simple mix of sweetcorn and chopped lettuce with a vinegary dressing.

Channa – curried chickpeas.

Buss up shot – a paratha flatbread that’s been torn up – this is the ‘naughty’ part of the meal. I ate the whole thing. Yes I did. (There was more of it than what you see on the plate and I feel no shame).

So as you can see, most of my choices were relatively healthy and low in fat and carbs. But the buss up shot. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an unnatural obsession with flour. White flour in particular. I don’t know. Rotis, bakes, cakes, bread, pasta etc… it’s just life to me you know? But obviously, since my diagnosis regarding my blood sugar levels about 7 months ago, all that has had to stop. And I miss it so. More than miss. I yearn. With all my being.

For the most part, I’ve actually been quite impressed with my level of discipline, but maybe once a month or once every two months I allow myself the luxury of having something gorgeously floury and full of clarified butter (ghee) – usually in the form of a roti or a paratha or something. I just can’t cut it completely out – and that’s ok.

One thing I’ve learned on this journey is how to recalibrate my relationship with food. Before my relationship with eating was a pretty destructive one. I had no restraint and I didn’t really care.

It’s been a slow but steady process. To use the cliche, my default mode would be to eat my emotions – and that’s just not good. I’m still working on finding other ways to deal that don’t involve eating, because my physical well-being has to be a priority now. I don’t think I’m completely in the place I need to be when it comes to my eating habits and how certain choices make me feel, but I’m in a much better position than where I used to be. So yay for progress.

Now time for another sunlit shot of gorgeousness:

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Until later,

V

 

Vegan food at Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien is very vegan- friendly for a mainstream chain of restaurants…

I’ve had to reconsider the types of places I go to when I want to eat out given my requirements, and sometimes it’s been a struggle, but now that it’s the ‘in’ thing to be more health conscious, it’s becoming more commonplace to see healthier options at restaurants.

Over the past year or so I’ve noticed Le Quotidien springing up in various parts of London – and I’m very happy about that. Initially, in my bad old days I was all about the deliciously sugary pastries, cakes and other baked goods the chain has to offer, but for the health-conscious individual the menu isn’t too shabby at all.

I recently stopped in one after work to do some blogging and I enjoyed the following:

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I had one of the vegan dishes, the chilli sin carne. This is a very wholesome and filling dish, packed with protein and not an animal derived ingredient in sight!

The menu describes it as ‘vegan bean chilli with fresh guacamole, soya sour cream, diced tomatoes and spring onions’. 

The only downside to this sin carne is that there isn’t the barest hint of detectable chilli in it. Unless my taste buds are broken, there’s no heat in this dish whatsoever. I think this would be disappointing for someone looking for a punchy, fiery meal. That being said, it’s still flavoursome and satisfying and very filling. I’d recommend it if you’re feeling particularly hungry but you don’t want what you have at home.

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Organic hummus with olives and some crusty bread

In addition to the chili, I also ordered organic hummus which comes topped with olives and a side of bread. This hummus is unlike any other I’ve tried in that it’s chunky, not smooth and is not too salty like a lot of ready made versions available in stores. It’s delicious and it’s something I order most times when visiting Le Pain Quotidien.

Look out for more reviews in the future of various dishes from Le Pain Quotidien.

Until later,

V