Ingredient of the week: kale

One of the most striking members of the cruciferous vegetable family (of which familiar broccoli and savoy cabbage also belong), kale is a mighty fine looker. Its leaves are deepest, darkest green – almost like a forest at night.

They are iron-rich which comes through in their flavour – and means they are perfectly paired with a juicy steak; their robustness will go well with a roast – all the little ripples on their leaves clinging on to gravy for juicy, delicious life.

Their hardiness makes them suitable for stews – pop them in a warming winter number with chorizo, butterbeans and tomatoes, served with toasted wedges of sourdough.

They’ve been used all across Europe since Medieval times – and early varieties were even known to the culinary masters, the Romans. It’s incredibly easy to grow, too, and played a significant role in the Dig For Victory campaign in World War 2.

Try them where you would cabbage – cooked simply in salted, boiling water – or go adventurous and use it in a stir-fry with oyster and soy sauce, chilli, garlic, ginger and some crispy pork belly – served over puffy, steamed white rice.

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