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A no fuss, make ahead kale salad.

It was only ten o’clock, in the morning that is, but I needed to prepare dinner just so that I could have peace of mind that it was done. Knowing that it would still be in a perfectly edible condition by the time that dinner came around, I made a kale salad. You see my Father in law, or Pa as he is now titled, was coming over and I was in no fit state to cook. Not that he would’ve minded, but I would have felt like I was letting him and myself down if I didn’t prepare something. Thea, and so in turn I, had been awake most of the previous night. Well, more like previous nights. I was getting the feeling that it was time for her to make the move from her moses basket in our room to her big girl’s bed in hers. Originally she was always going to go straight into a cot in her own room to sleep. That was until she arrived early and my instinct to keep her close told me otherwise. Now that same instinct was telling me she was ready to sleep alone and that in time, we would all have a more peaceful night’s rest. With lack of sleep I believe comes the need to eat well, so a kale salad with sausages and garlic bread seemed like a good, as well as easy, idea.

The kale was already in the fridge, bought at the Beaches market on Friday. Heading to the markets early in the morning is a weekly activity that I love to share with Thea. As we weave around the stalls together, strangers lavish her with attention and she offers countless smiles in return. We have been buying regular bunches of kale lately, It keeps so well in the fridge and I am continuing to find new ways to incorporate this nutritious leafy green into my week night dinner repertoire. Blanched in place of basil in pesto, along with spring onions and shredded pork in fried rice, combined with a bechemel sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan to make a gratin and shredded and eaten raw in a salad. The best thing about kale in a salad is that, even dressed, it doesn’t wilt, so preparing this dish during Thea’s morning nap did not affect its quality and it happily remained assembled until we dug into it at dinner that night. I must mention that it is better at room temperature though.

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To complete the meal in an effortless but satisfying way, and because I know that Pa likes it, I made some garlic bread. I had some sourdough left over from the weekend that was now a little dry, but still perfect for toasting. In a pestel and mortar I pounded together a few cloves of garlic and a handful of parsley leaves with a pinch of sea salt. When a paste had formed I mixed in a generous amount of soft butter. I spread the resulting verdant butter onto thick slices of hot toast and then popped the toast back under the grill for a few more minutes. While Pa cooked sausages on the barbecue, I removed the cling wrap from the kale salad and laid the table. Dinner was served. As we ate, Thea slept peacefully in her big girl’s bed, in her own room, for the first night.

Kale Salad

Adapted from a recipe by Marin Mama Cooks

  • 1 bunch of kale, leaves stripped from tough stems and washed
  • 300g Brussels sprouts
  • Handful of coarsely grated pecorino
  • Handful of almonds
  • 1 tbs butter

Dressing

  • 1 small red onion, very finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic grated on a microplane
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs Dijon mustard

To make the dressing shake all the ingredients together in a jam jar and then leave to sit while you make the salad. the reason that I do this is so that the onion softens.

Finely shred the kale and Brussels sprouts. While you are doing this, cook the almonds in butter over a low heat until slightly coloured, then coarsely chop. Add the almonds to the shredded green leaves along with the Pecorino and dressing.

When you add the dressing to the kale salad, make sure that you really scrunch it in with you hands so that all the leaves are well coated. Enjoy x

NB. I added apple to the salad in the above photo because we were having pork sausages.