burnt toast

Tag: kale

Cheese and Kale Pide

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So today I’m going to tell you the tale of this snazzy piece of ultimate comfort. It started off as the famed khachapuri, a wonderful Georgian cheese stuffed bread, ideal for accompanying anything and everything, especially soup. However, on the visual front it isn’t too much of a looker, so that’s where our trusty pide comes in. Between the two of them, pide wins all the beauty pageants because of its “I’m so much more en vogue than pizza” –presentation. The pide needed something else though, it needed something to cut through its wonderful if not sometimes slightly overwhelming cheesiness, something with a bit of bite, some garlicky, vegetably umph. Hold your kittens, make way for the kale! Here it comes, move out of the way, hail oh mighty kale! Of course I was going to put kale on my cheese pide. I haven’t written about kale for months. One crazy deficit over here.

No but for real now, this is wonderful. I absolutely love these as breakfast, but they go well with anything feast- or soup related. I personally go for a drizzle of sweet chilli with mine, but see what flavour combo works best for your tastebuds.

If you’re just after the cheese-less, round, covered version of this, i.e. khachapuri, Follow the recipe below, but instead of shaping boats, roll out two big round disks of dough, covering one with the cheese mixture, then pinch together the edges. The cooking time should be more or less the same, but keep an eye on it. As soon as it’s golden brown on top it’s done.

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Cheese and Kale Pide

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Feast

Makes 4 x 30cm / 6  x 20cm pide

 

Dough:

250g yoghurt

1 egg

25g butter, melted

300g flour

½ tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

 

Kale topping:

A big glug of olive oil

1 bunch / packet kale, about 250g, finely sliced

3 fat garlic cloves, chopped

splash of soy sauce

 

Cheese filling:

150g mozzarella, preferably the more firm sort (because it’s easier to grate)

150g feta, crumbled

150g cream cheese

1 egg

 

For the dough, whisk together the yoghurt, butter and egg with a fork. In a large bowl, add 250g of your flour – keep the rest close at hand, because you’ll need it as you keep going. Stir in your yoghurt mixture. Stir stir stir, using a knife or spoon first, until it starts to combine and you can use your hands. Add more flour gradually until you have a soft but not sticky dough. Add the salt and the baking soda and knead that into the dough. I’m not quite sure why this happens at the end, but Nigella says to do so and we don’t question her. Next, cover the dough with clingwrap and let it rest for about 20 – 30 minutes.

Next, get a large frying pan and add the olive oil and kale. At this point I like to add a splash of water and cover it with a lid, and let it cook on medium heat until softened. Remove the lid and turn up the heat, adding the garlic. Once the kale’s volume has reduced to about 1/5 of what it was when it was freshly chopped, add the soy sauce and let that bubble away before removing it from the heat.

For the cheese filling, grate the mozzarella and combine it with the feta and the cream cheese. Stir in the egg. It’s not completely necessary to add the egg, however I find it helps keep the filling together.

Preheat the oven to 220°C. Divide the dough into 4 or 6 pieces. Roll one of those pieces into an oval shape of about 5mm thickness. Spread some of the cheese mixture along the centre and add some of the kale. Fold in the edges and pinch together the ends. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

Slide the pide onto a baking paper lined baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the bottom is cooked when lifted up to test. Serve with sweet chilli sauce, a knife and a napkin.

Saffron and Kale Soup with Chipotle Buttered Toast

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Almost four weeks ago, I got on a plane with two very heavy suitcases, two packets of tissues and a heart full of excitement. After six absolutely wonderful  years in Australia, I returned to Switzerland, my other home. It’s great to be back. This time round it’s a little easier getting used to my “new” home, because everything is familiar. Yet there are so many subtle differences I’m having to accustom myself to, such as not adding a “how are you?” after the initial “hello” when speaking to a stranger, having to look up when waiting for a green light when crossing the street because it doesn’t make a clicking noise when it’s okay to go and remembering that most of the shops are definitely not open on Sundays. And at the same time I can’t help but miss the smell of eucalyptus, the friendly cats everywhere, the affordable restaurant food, the lovely friends left behind. Sigh.

Before I get all mopey and nostalgic, let me share with you a recipe I used to make about once a week back in the Melbourne era. It’s not really a recipe per se, more an assembly of ingredients, one I’d fall back onto when my five a day count was near non-existent, when I felt that I needed to give myself and my suffering immune system some pampering. It’s a simple vegetable soup, with the addition of saffron, for a little special hint of sunny warmth. You can add pulses, pasta and any herb you like, but I usually like to keep it simple and stick to the veggies in my fridge. The actual star of this dish is the chipotle butter, which I used to have on toast, now on fresh, crunchy, chewy bread (gasp!). It’s spicy and wonderful and very very morish, so be sure to make more than you think you’ll need.

To cold days, to winter, to warm hugs and memories.

 

Saffron and Kale Soup with Chipotle Buttered Toast

Serves 4

 

olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

2 tomatoes, sliced thinly

1/6 celeriac, finely chopped

2 carrots, quartered, finely chopped

3 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes

4-5 kale leaves, very thinly sliced

1.5 litres of vegetable stock

1 big pinch saffron threads

a dash of soy sauce

a few drops of lemon juice

salt, pepper

In a large saucepan, fry the onion in the oil until translucent. Add the garlic, stir for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the rest of the vegetables, the stock and the saffron. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until all vegetables are cooked through. Brighten the soup with the lemon (you don’t need much) juice, add the soy sauce for a boost of umami, and season to taste. Serve with crusty bread or toast and chipotle butter (below).

 

Chipotle Butter

100g butter, softened

2 tsp chipotle chilli powder

salt

a tiny squeeze of lemon juice

In a bowl, beat the butter with a fork to loosen it up. Add one teaspoon of chipotle and a few pinches of salt, as well as the lemon. Give it a good stir. Have a taste, then add more or the rest of the chipotle. It will seem quite spicy at first, however it will soften as it rests.

If you really don’t like spicy, I suggest you only use ¼ tsp of chipotle and replace the rest with smoked paprika powder.

The most pretentious salad ever

superfood saladSometime this year we all decided to give up and open our arms to the crazy superfood which is known as kale, and chose to love it unconditionally for now and forever. Not only because it’s high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium, no, it also makes us feel like we’re getting closer to nature with all that green grassy fibre it has to offer.

I am not the first to talk about this vegetable, nor will I be the last, so I’ll try and keep it short and sweet, because what you really want is the recipe, and not me talking about my kale-ian preferences. So. Kale chips, great stuff. However, there are only so many kale chips you can make. And they’re really hard to dip into anything, which is a wee bit frustrating, because I love dips and thusly, everything should be dippable. Once my enthusiasm for crisping it dwindled, I moved on to kale salad. I only have one piece of advice for you for crucial kale salad improvement, and that is: Massage it, baby. That way the fibres break down and the grassy rawness turns into soft feathery goodness.

I came up with this recipe as more of a joke than anything else. I set myself the challenge of creating a salad with as many superfood ingredients as I could fit into one bowl, a bowl of pretentiousness, but also as it figured out, of incredible tastiness. I like it best on weekends, as a replenishing recovery after a slightly too merry a night, and also as a packed lunch. Small tip here when we’re talking about portable lunches: Do you also hate the fact that all the crispy ingredients in your lunch turn soft by the time it’s ready to be eaten? And do you keep doing it because you can’t be bothered lugging 3 different containers with you to your place of work? I have a solution for you my friend. Get your take-away container and fill it with your food of choice, making sure you leave at least 1 cm of space between the food and the top of the container. Next, grab a sheet of cling wrap and place it over the top. Now heap on your toasted nuts or croutons and click on the lid. No softened crunchy bits, ever again. You’re welcome.

 

Superfood Salad

Serves 1 really hungry person or 2 average hungry people

 

1/4 cup quinoa

1 pinch cinnamon

1/2 cup water

 

1/4 – 1/2 bunch kale (depending on the size of your bunch of course, but I’d say more is better than less)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

3 Tbsp slivered almonds, toasted

2 Tbsp goji berries

2 tsp chia seeds

 

Combine the quinoa, cinnamon and water in a saucepan and cook till done. I usually add a bit of veggie stock powder to flavour things at this point, but I’ll leave that decision up to you. Once it’s done, set it aside and let it cool down a bit.

Finely chop your kale, then transfer it to a bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil and start scrunching it with your hands until you can feel it soften. This will only take a minute or so. Add the cooled quinoa, the balsamic and soy sauce and toss. Once the dressing is evenly distributed, you can throw in the avocado. You can either pop it back into the fridge now and keep it for later, or heap it onto a plate and top it with the slivered almonds, goji berries and chia seeds. Yum.

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