We’re six days off the shortest day, then we’re on our way towards Spring. Yay!!!! The new bulbs are up and some are budding, the wintersweet is smelling divine, the flowers are like perfect miniature orchids. The first erlicheer will be ready for picking in a couple of weeks. This morning we replanted some hyacinths that had been dug up by a cat or a dog or a hen or a turkey, and covered them so that this won’t happen again.
At this time of the year, more than at any other time, it is important to eat well. Mother Nature is a wonderful being – just when we need vitamin C, the citrus are ready. Our mandarins have been flying out the door – so sweet and juicy – and the grapefruit will be next. The feijoas are still hanging on – literally – we don’t pick them as such, we pick them up, but we’re finally, after thirteen years getting a decent crop. We’ve made Chunky Monkey chutney and Feijoa BBQ sauce as new products from the feijoas this year.
The vegetables have slowed right down, and whilst we now don’t have any vegetables for sale until Springtime, we are eating well ourselves. I know many of you don’t like kale, but it is good for you and loves the wintertime coolness. At this time of the year, the nasties have all gone too – no aphids or green caterpillars. The silver beet is giving freely and the leeks are almost ready.
This is one of my favourite ways to cook kale:
Kale aux lardons (serves 2)
3 T olive oil
2 slices bread
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 slices bacon chopped into narrow strips (lardons)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 T grainy mustard
2 T red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 200 g kale
4 large eggs
Heat 2 T of oil. Cut bread into cubes and toss in the oil. Cook, tossing frequently until well browned (about 10 – 12 minutes).
Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Fry bacon slivers, cook slowly until soft and juicy (12 – 15 minutes). Remove bacon from frying pan, drain, leaving 1T fat.
Add onion to frying pan and cook until soft and translucent
Add stock and heat until reduced by half.
Add vinegar, and mustard. Bring to the boil and then whisk in the remaining oil and season. Keep warm.
Tear woody stems from the kale, and tear the green part into bite sized pieces or chop finely. (About 4 cups).
Bring half an inch of water to the boil in a pot with a steamer basket. Place eggs in steamer basket, cover tightly and steam for 6 and a half minutes.
Transfer to a bowl of iced water, cool, then peel.
Toss the kale with the onion mix, season and add croutons. Mix thoroughly.
Divide between plates and top with bacon.
Tear each egg in half and divide between plates.