Kale! Vegetable Garden - CrawCrafts Beasties

Winter Garden Wandering II – Into the Vegetable Patch!

Hello there Beastie friends! It’s got a little chillier since we last saw each other, but that doesn’t seem to have dampened Paddy and Plunkett’s spirits. Here’s where I lost track of them last weekThrough the Archway - CrawCrafts Beasties… And look, I’ve finally caught up with them – in the vegetable garden!

There’s Paddy, reveling in the green glory of some particularly vigorous parsley. No wonder I didn’t spot him straight away!
Paddy in the Parsley - Vegetable Garden - CrawCrafts BeastiesMeanwhile, Plunkett is checking out his rhubarb for signs of life. Hmmm, looks like we could almost have an early harvest soon!
First Rhubarb - Vegetable Garden - CrawCrafts Beasties

Even beds that seem empty at first glance are already putting up shoots… Shoots that Beasties notice before humans do! Paddy is already excited about these future raspberries.
Future Raspberries - Vegetable Garden - CrawCrafts BeastiesBut, pleasant as the thought of hot summer days spent munching juicy raspberries may be, that’s not going to fill any Beastie bellies today! And the first rumblings of Paddy’s stomach add a sudden note of urgency to this vegetable garden foray… What can the boys find to eat right now? Surely there has to be something better on the menu than parsley and baby rhubarb stew?

Luckily, there is.
Kale! Vegetable Garden - CrawCrafts BeastiesHurray for kale! Super tasty, and super good for you… And very much in season, even right now! YUM!

Grab one of those big frilly leaves each, boys, and let’s get to the kitchen!

And here’s what I’ve been doing with my kale lately – a tasty, filling soup using dried stuff from the cupboard and the kind of veggies you can usually find stashed in the bottom of your fridge. I adapted this recipe from the River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook – out of necessity at first, because I was missing a few of the ingredients, and had to substitute what I could find to bulk it out. Then, after making the “real” recipe, I decided I liked my version better! Give it a try, and see what you think…

Kale and Barley Broth

You will need:

  • 2 Stock Pots (or stock cubes) made up with 1 litre boiling water
  • 50g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 50g red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 big handfuls of kale leaves, washed and with tough stalky bits cut away, then cut fine
  • 1 big carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 stick celery, cut into small dice
  • 100g frozen peas
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Bring the stock to the boil in a big ol’ saucepan, then add the lentils and barley, turn down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Use this time to prep your vegetable ingredients!

The barley should now be almost tender, so add your diced celery, carrot and frozen peas to the mix, and wait for it to come back up to a simmer.

Then, add in your kale and cook for another 2-3 minutes. You want the kale to be tender, not soggy, after all!

Taste a spoonful, and season with salt and black pepper if you think it needs it.

Then grab a bowl, and feast to your heart’s content!

Well, hopefully that will keep you all going until next week, when I’ll have a new Beastie for you to meet! And if you do give the recipe a try, leave us a comment below to tell us how you got on!