Posts Tagged With: cavolo nero

The holiday salad (AKA the Salad with Massaged Kale)

This is where we clean out the garden in preparation for the big break… so expect the unexpected! Why do we massage kale? To soften it and infuse it with the wonderful flavours of olive oil and lemon. Also we recently discovered the delicious crunchiness of radish pods – if you purposefully let your radish harvest go to seed, you’ll be rewarded with unfeasibly long and spindly branches of delicate flowers complete with the most amazing – and not too hot – pods to eat straight off the plant, or include in your favourite salad. Here’s our version:

Fresh from the garden: The last veggies of the year…
Recipe source: Melissa with inspiration from Allison!
Serves: 4 or 24 tastes


  • Mortar and pestle
  • Citrus juicer
  • Measures: 1/3 cup, teaspoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Scissors
  • Paper towel
  • Bowls – 2 big, med, 4 small
  • Salad spinner
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • 2 frying pans, one deep-sided
  • Slotted spoon



What to do:


  • Cavolo nero
  • Lettuce, rocket, baby spinach
  • Beans, bok choy
  • Tomatoes
  • Radish pods
  • 1 egg per person
  • Ground coriander

Herby vinaigrette dressing

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Flaked salt & black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • A small handful mixed herbs: parsley, marjoram, thyme, chives
  • For the dressing: Peel the garlic clove and put it in the mortar with a large pinch of salt. Pound to a paste. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the mortar (without pips) then stir the lot with the teaspoon and scrape it into the large bowl. Stir in the oil and grind some pepper, then whisk the dressing lightly. Wash and spin dry the herbs, pick off the leaves and snip finely with the scissors. Add to the dressing.
  • For the massaged kale: Wash the kale and using scissors, strip the leaves from the stalks in small pieces. Dry really well with paper towel, then place in a bowl and squeeze a segment of lemon over with a pinch of flaked salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. Massage all the flavour into the kale for 5 minutes until the kale is soft and juicy.
  • Fill up the 2 big bowls with cold water & wash the salad leaves in several changes of water. Spin dry and wipe the bowls dry. Fill the small bowl with water and wash the small garnishing leaves, flowers and radish pods. Reserve them carefully on a piece of paper towel then keep separate in the bowl.
  • Wash the beans and snip the stalk-ends off. Wash the bok choy & tomato & chop. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan & add the beans, bok choy & tomato with a pinch of salt, a squeezed clove of garlic & a teaspoon of ground coriander. Cook on high for a few minutes.
  • Meanwhile, to poach eggs, fill the deep-sided frying pan 5cm deep with water and bring to a simmer. Fill the large bowl with cold water. Carefully crack each egg into a small bowl without breaking it and then carefully slide into the water. Let the pan sit for 4 minutes before removing each egg into the bowl of cold water with a slotted spoon and reserving until needed.
  • Add the salad leaves to the bowl with the herbs and the dressing. Gently turn the leaves in the dressing using a clean hand without squishing the leaves.
  • Pile up the dressed leaves into the serving bowls, carefully drain an egg and place in each bowl with the massaged kale, beans, bok choy, garnishing petals, leaves & pods, & serve immediately.
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Mushroom and kale risotto

This lovely risotto is textural and beautifully herby, and very easy once you get past all the stirring! Feel free to experiment with different types of mushies too. And if you have any left over then go crazy making arancini!

Fresh from the garden: mushrooms, Tuscan kale (cavolo nero), marjoram, garlic, onion
Recipe source: Melissa
Serves: 8 at home or 24 tastes


  • Saucepan
  • Salad spinner
  • Garlic press
  • Bowls – 1 large, small, med
  • Large knife& chopping board
  • Grater & microplane zester
  • Ladle
  • Wooden spoon with a flat end
  • Heavy based stockpot
  • Measures:scales, jug, cup, tablespoon
  • 4 bowls or soup plates to serve



  • 2 litres water with 2 tablespoons bouillon (or 2 litres stock)
  • A large handful of mushrooms
  • A small handful marjoram
  • 4 or 5 kale leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 brown onion
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 20g butter
  • 400g Arborio rice
  • 1 lemon
  • 50g parmesan
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

What to do:

  • Measure the water into the saucepan, add the bouillon and bring it to a simmer on medium heat.
  • Meanwhile wipe the dirt from the mushrooms with a piece of paper towel, trim any ugly bits and then thinly slice the mushrooms.
  • Wash and spin dry the marjoram, strip and discard the stems. Wash the kale leaves, trim from the stalks and finely slice into ribbons.
  • Squeeze the garlic cloves through the press into a small bowl. Peel and finely chop the onion.
  • Heat half the butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and butter over medium heat in the stockpot. Add half the chopped onion and cook gently until just tender, about three minutes. Do not brown. Add the mushrooms and garlic and a pinch of flaked salt and sauté for 3 or 4 minutes until the mushrooms are starting to colour. Remove from the pan and reserve in a medium bowl.
  • Heat the rest of the butter and another 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same pan & then add the rest of the onions. Cook until translucent & then stir in the rice until the grains begin to crackle.
  • Begin adding the simmering stock, a ladle at a time, and stir in until fully absorbed. The stock should just cover the rice and bubble. Add the kale, and stir every minute or so for about 15 minutes, making sure you get into all the corners of the pan with the wooden spoon.
  • Meanwhile, zest the lemon and grate the parmesan to yield about ½ cup.
  • After about 15 minutes, add the mushrooms backto the rice and keep stirring for about another 5 minutes. When the rice is just tender all the way through but still slightly firm, usually in about 20 minutes, it is done.
  • When you are ready to serve, add in a last ladleful of stock. Stir in the marjoram, lemon zest and parmesan, and remove from the heat. Taste now and check the seasoning. The mixture should be creamy.
  • Serve onto the soup plates and eat right away!



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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s chickpea, potato and kale curry

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a British chef, famous for the TV show ‘River Cottage’ and his support of real food, local and seasonal foods, and humanely produced livestock .

Fresh from the garden: potatoes, kale, onion, coriander


  • Bowls – glass, large
  • Saucepans – med, large
  • Sieve & colander
  • Chopping board & knife
  • Microplane zester
  • Salad spinner
  • Peeler
  • Measures – jug, tablespoon, teaspoon, ½ teaspoon
  • Scales
  • Frying pan
  • Mortar & pestle
  • Wooden spoon
  • Serving bowls

  • 300g dried chickpeas (or 2 tins, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, plus a little extra to garnish
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 hot, dried red chilli, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2.5cm piece fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice bran oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 700ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 250g potatoes
  • 150g kale (or cabbage)
  • Greek yogurt, to serve
  • A small handful coriander leaves

What to do:

  • Soak the chickpeas overnight in plenty of cold water.
  • Next day, drain, rinse and simmer them for about 30 minutes in fresh ­water until tender, then drain. (If using tinned, just drain and rinse.)
  • Peel and grate the ginger with the microplane zester. Peel, halve and finely slice the onion. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel and chop the potato into 3cm dice.
  • Wash and shake the kale leaves dry. Strip the leaves from the stem (discarding the stem) and finely shred the leaves. Wash and spin-dry the coriander and finely chop.
  • Put the frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, dry-toast the cumin, coriander seeds and mustard seeds and the chilli for a couple of minutes ­until they smell ­really fragrant and the mustard starts to pop. Grind to a powder with the pestle and mortar, and mix in the turmeric and ginger.
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, and fry the onion, stirring regularly, until soft and golden brown. Stir in the garlic and spices, leave to cook for a minute or two, and add the stock. Simmer for five minutes, then add the chickpeas and potatoes. Cook until the spuds are tender, then add the kale. Cook for a few minutes, until the greens are tender, then serve with a dollop of thick yogurt on top, along with a ­sprinkling of toasted cumin seeds and some coriander leaves.

Notes: Why do we dry-toast the spices? What does to shred the leaves mean?

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Linguine with cavolo nero and herb sauce


Fresh from the garden: cavolo nero, coriander, thyme, marjoram, oregano

Recipe source: Melissa ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

This is a delicious accompaniment to our freshly-rolled pasta! We use the prehistoric-looking cavolo nero (also known as Tuscan kale) but you can also use silverbeet or spinach just as well…


  • Large stockpot with draining insert
  • Chopping board
  • Large & small knife
  • Salad spinner
  • Wooden spoon
  • 2 large bowls
  • Scales
  • Medium saucepan
  • Tongs
  • Serving bowls

  • 500g linguine
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • A large handful of cavolo nero leaves
  • A small bunch of coriander
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 sprigs marjoram
  • 4 sprigs oregano
  • Small bunch parsley
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

What to do:

  • Fill the large stockpot with water and heat on high.
  • Wash the cavolo nero leaves and shake dry. Strip off the leaves, discarding the stems, and cut into ribbons 1cm wide.
  • Wash & spin dry the herbs, then pick the leaves if needed, discarding the woody stems.
  • Finely chop the herbs.
  • Finely chop the garlic.
  • Chop up the butter into cubes and melt the in the saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook gently for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in the herbs.
  • When the water in the large stockpot is boiling add the pasta & cooking salt, stir, put the lid back on and when boiling again cook for 2 or 3 minutes until ‘al dente’.
  • Drain the pasta and transfer to back into the stockpot.
  • Add the butter mixture to the stockpot and toss carefully.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve into bowls.

Notes: What does al dente mean? Why do we pick the leaves from the herbs? What does cavolo nero actually mean?

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Our kitchen garden Tuscan kale

From the garden: parsley, celery, carrots, cavolo nero

Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Ruth Rogers in The River Café Cookbook


Ribollita is a famous Tuscan soup. Like a lot of European cooking, the soup has peasant origins. It was originally made by reheating (ie. reboiling = ribollita) the leftovers from the previous day. Some sources date it back to the Middle Ages, when the servants gathered up food-soaked bread trenchers from feudal lords’ banquets and boiled them for their own dinners.


  • Colander
  • Medium saucepan
  • Chopping board & small knife
  • Large heavy-based saucepan
  • Salad spinner, colander
  • Potato peeler
  • Garlic press, fork
  • Measures: tablespoon
  • Wooden spoon
  • Serving bowls
  • Ladle

  • 125g dried cannellini or borlotti beans
  • 1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 5 cloves garlic, 2 red onions
  • Small branch sage (about 10 leaves)
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 head celery, 2 carrots
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1kg cavolo nero
  • ½ loaf stale ciabatta bread
  • Flaked salt & black pepper

What to do:

  • The night before, place your dried beans in a large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water and the bicarb.
  • The next day, rinse and drain the beans, then put them into the medium saucepan with about 3cm cold water to cover. Add 3 garlic cloves, a branch of sage, a teaspoon of salt & grind of pepper. Set on a medium heat and simmer until beans are soft – could be anything from 20 minutes to an hour.
  • Meanwhile, wash and spin dry the parsley and chop finely.
  • Wash and shake the celery dry then chop stalks and leaves into thin strips.
  • Wash and peel the carrots, chop into small pieces.
  • Peel and chop the onions into small dice.
  • Peel and squeeze the garlic cloves through the press.
  • Heat the oil in the large saucepan and fry the parsley, garlic, celery, carrot and onion together for about 10 minutes until the flavours combine.
  • Add the tomatoes and continue to cook on a gentle heat for a further 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile wash the cavolo nero, remove the stalks and coarsely chop the leaves. Add them to the pan. Stir in half of the beans with enough of their liquid to cover. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Carefully cut the crusts from the loaf with a breadknife and tear the bread into pieces.
  • Mash the remaining beans with the back of the fork and return to the soup with just enough boiling water to make the soup liquid. Add the bread, a generous amount of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. As exact amounts are not possible, you must balance the amount of liquid to bread so that soup is very thick. Ladle out into your bowls.

Notes: Why do we soak the beans overnight? What does cavolo nero mean? What are other names for cavolo nero? What other soup names do you know?

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Kitchen News – June 7th 2012

Well that’s definitely it for summer then! With crazy winds and notice to tidy up gutters and garden toys we’ve well and truly launched into the coldest season…

And that’s fabulous news in the kitchen!

A hit this week is our Hearty Cabbage & Chickpea soup, with veggies left chunky and our knife skills put to the test… also using up our bumper crop of cabbage: the crunchy, slippery goodness of iceberg Sang choi bao with stir-fried cabbage & crispy kale. Fingerlicking good… passed the dripping-soy-sauce-down-the-arm test! We’ve also been experimenting with a gluten and lactose-free version of Schiacciata con l’uva e olio d’oliva, and I can confidently say that it was gobbled up by everybody! And last but not least, our ever-morphing Our winter salad with poached eggs & baby beets – simple and delicious!

Placing the grapes just so...

And click on these links for recipes from the last few weeks: Gnocchi with burnt butter & sage and Broccoli and garden herb pizza. If you need any other recipes and don’t see them on this site, drop me a line here & I’ll put them up for you!

What you lookin' at?

Happy souping everybody!

And don’t forget, spaces are filling fast for Our Kitchen Garden School Holiday Program… Head on over to the page & check it out!

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