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Monday, 14 January 2008

grab sunday by the sweet and curlies

I love these Sundays: lazy, vague, dreamy, mine to spend poking and scuffing around a cold and woolly city. And with the dark drawing in so early, time to see out the weekend with a slow, long meal.

It makes sense that, as winter really kicks, all the seasonal vegetables go underground and look like shit. I picked up a knobbly load of them at the Islington Farmer's Market yesterday - Jerusalem artichokes, celeriac, giant parsnip - and put them to good use in a variation of Chew's Artichoke Bake. As good as I remember it the first time around, this really is a proper, rich and silky mid-winter Sunday dinner (I included parsnip, leek and celeriac between artichoke and potato layers - with parmesan and fresh peas on top for added crunch).

While waiting for the root bake, I made the following sweet and nutty plate of yummy goodness to sit alongside it.

Sweet Curly Kale and Beets

1 small onion, grated
2 bunches of kale (wash the leaves, rip them off their spines and chop them well)
1 beetroot - peeled and cut into sticks
1 small handful of toasted pine nuts and slivered almonds
1 teaspoon of honey
1 splash of orange blossom water (if you have it)
4-6 dates, chopped
salt, oil and butter

Melt a chunk of butter in a few good glugs of oil. On low heat, soften the grated onion. When it is getting sticky (6-8 minutes), add the chopped dates. Let it all caramelise slowly, stirring regularly. Add the chopped kale with a pinch of salt then cover and cook on a low heat (add a little water if it dries out too much). When the kale has softened and wilted, add the beetroot sticks and toasted nuts. Cook for five minutes then add your teaspoon of honey and dash of orange blossom water. Cook for another five minutes and let it all cool down for a bit before you fill up on some sweet joy.

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