Cooking with Kale

 

Food blog6

I love green vegetables as raw or cooked. Vibrant colour and bitter taste. I cannot live without them!

I bought a bunch of kale from the market this morning. I use a lot of greens in cooking like spinach, broccoli, zucchini, spring onions, cabbage, bok choy, etc. But somehow I haven’t really used kale and collard that much – maybe because it is a bit hard to find at the supermarket here. I really should make a trip to the farmers markets on the weekend and explore more.

Apparently Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories, 9% of daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, 684% of vitamin K, a good source of copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Antioxidants in kale have the anti-cancer health benefits. The fibre content helps to lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. But, too much vitamin K can cause problems for some people who take anticoagulants. And you need to avoid eating calcium-rich foods with kale since  it interferes with calcium absorption. So it is proved that kale is a power house of nutrients!

I used half to make a sauteed kale and mushrooms with a splash of soy sauce and a teaspoon of garlic, and another half for kale chips. I’ve seen packaged ones at the health food shops, which cost fortune for a handful of kale chips. It is cheap and easy to make at home, so do it yourself! I washed and pat dried kale leaves. Sprinkle sea salt and cayenne pepper. Put in 170 degree oven for 30 minutes (check and flip them now and then so it doesn’t burn). It is light, crunch, spicy.. I’m in heaven.

Food blog5

 

Nourishing Bone Broth Soup

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I made this amazing bone broth soup a few days ago and kept half in a big jar in the fridge and another half in the freezer for later use. It is a little time consuming to make though totally worth it! I have to admit I use packaged stock now and then, but once I’ve made this, I definitely will make my own stock from now on. It is cheap to make and tastes so flavoursome, cleansing and healthy.

I washed a kilo and a half of beef back bones in cold water. Boil them in a large pot for about 20 minutes (start in cold water, bones should be just immersed in water). Then you need to throw away this first batch. Wash the bones and pot thoroughly to get rid of all the fat. Pour cold water over the bones again and bring it to boil. I added apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, onions and carrots. Then simmer in low heat for 24 hours, checking every few hours to make sure there is enough water to cover the bones. I then poured broth through a fine sieve and cooled it down. You will find a layer of solidified fat on the surface once it’s cooled. Get rid of that, and you get a clear beef consomme.

Bone broth is so rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other mineral traces, which assist in your immune system and digestion. It is such a great healing food!

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Nori Wrap with Quinoa and Black Beans

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A quick shot of my lunch before it has gone. I made a simple nori wrap with quinoa and black beans.

I only found out about quinoa a.k.a “the gold of the Incas” a couple of years ago as I started my clean eating. It is popular now that you can find it easy at the local health shops. Surprisingly, most quinoa comes from South America where it is grown wild and pesticides are not used. So you don’t have to worry too much about buying ‘organic’ foods as it is naturally organic.

Shame I didn’t know about it almost 30 years! I even introduced to my mum back in Korea where quinoa is not that common yet and hard to find. She has fallen in love with it now since I taught mum mixing quinoa through rice for more nutrition and flavour. These little guys are without doubt one of the superfoods.

– A high protein grain alternative: quinoa contains more than double the amount of protein found in the standard grains and also has a complete amino acid profile

– More fiber: fiber relieves constipation and helps to prevent heart disease by reducing blood pressure and diabetes. It also makes you feel full longer, acting as a natural appetite suppressant.

– Contains iron, lysine, magnesium, Riboflavin (B2) and manganese

– It’s gluten free!

Cooking quinoa is so easy. I boil a cup of quinoa in a pot using a 1:1 ratio of quinoa and water for about 15 minutes in medium to low heat, just like the way you cook rice on stove. You can mix with other grains or beans as well. It is so versatile you can use for salads, soup, savory cakes, etc.

Making Sauerkraut

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Just like Kimchi in Korea, sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage side dish which took root mostly in Eastern Europe and Germanic cuisines. I try to incorporate fermented foods in my diet such as Kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt or kefir for my digestion.

As per my previous post on Kimchi, sauerkraut as a fermented food has many health benefits.

– easier to digest and absorb compared to eaten raw
– high in Vit B, C and K, calcium, potassium and magnesium
– low in calories
– lactobacilli and enzymes improve digestion and the growth of healthy bowel flora
– soothing the digestive tract, good for stomach ulcer
– high in antioxidants (lutein and zeaxanthin)

You can buy a jar of sauerkraut from the store though it is expensive, has preservatives and is very high in sodium. So why not making at home since it is extremely cheap and easy to make? It is also very rewarding when you make your own:)

All you need is sea salt and cabbage (I’ve chosen a red cabbage, but any cabbage would do). You need to massage and knead the shredded cabbage and sea salt with clean hands in a mixing bowl until it gets wet and excess water comes out of the mixture. Pack the moist cabbage mixture and liquid into a jar and close the lid tightly. Leave the jar in a cool dark place for a few days to allow the bacteria to start fermentation. Check everyday to see if it is soft and tangy. Then you can keep it in fridge to slower down the fermentation process. It goes well with any meat dishes as well as in salads – beautiful purple colour and intense flavour!

Caramelised Carrot & Butternut Pumpkin Salad with Sage

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Feeling like a sweet succulent salad? This carrot and pumpkin salad will satisfy you! My body is just calling for vegetables and salads this week probably due to an unhealthy (relatively) holiday last week. Today, I’m injecting beta-carotene into my body.

Yellow vegetables, like carrots and pumpkins, are so high in anti-oxidants, vitamins (especially carotenes and vit-A) and dietary fibre. On top of that, they are low in calories and fat. They do all the wonderful magics to your body – improving your vision, cancer prevention, anti-aging, healthy skin, cleansing, etc. You cannot ask more, can you?

Carrots are a great snack as well as side dishes. You can have it as raw with yummy hummus or soft cheese.¬† But when it’s cooked, beta-carotene can be absorbed to your body about five times more than when eaten raw. The reason being is a cooking process helps to dissolve a resistant cell wall of the carrots that locks in the beta-carotene. So you can maximise health benefits by cooking them. It is better to cook the whole carrots (e.g. boiling) before cutting or mashing them to preserve nutrients. Another way is like me, I chopped them up with butternut pumpkins and quickly cook in a frying pan with a teaspoon of coconut oil. You can add a drizzle of honey, balsamic vinegar, cumin seeds to enhance the flavour. Sage is one of the herbs that merry very well with carrots. I loved a smell of sage caramelising with carrots in a pan and also the colour – intense orange/ yellow plus beautiful caramelisation on the outside! Yummy lunch served so easy:)