Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tuscan Kale Recipe

The Tuscan kale (also known as black cabbage, cavolo nero and black kale) generated a lot of interest at Saturday’s gathering. For those of you who were keen to try Scott and Charlotte’s favourite kale and potato dish ­- here it is. This recipe is from Faith Willinger’s book Red, White and Greens – The Italian Way with Vegetables (1999).

Massimo’s Penne with Tuscan Kale and Potatoes

Serves 4-6

1/4 -1/2 pound of Tuscan kale, or curly kale
5-6 quarts water
2-3 Tbsp coarse sea salt
1 large yellow-fleshed potato, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
14-16 ounces penne
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Freshly grated pepper

  1. Carefully clean the kale, removing tough central ribs and washing carefully to remove all dirt. Cut the kale into thin strips.

  2. Bring 5-6 quarts of water to a rolling boil. Add the kale and 2-3 tablespoons of salt and cook at a rolling boil for 5 minutes.

  3. Add the potato to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Add the pasta and cook until it offers considerable resistance to the tooth, around three quarters of the cooking time.

  4. While the pasta is cooking put the garlic in a large non-stick skillet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Place the skillet over moderate heat and when garlic beings to sizzle remove from heat.

  5. Drain pasta and vegetables. Reserving 2 cups of the cooking water.

  6. Put the drained pasta and vegetables in the skillet with the garlic and add 1 cup pasta cooking water. Cook over highest heat until the pasta is cooked, surrounded by a creamy sauce. Add more cooking water if sauce dries out.

  7. Serve pasta in bowls, topped with a drizzle of the remaining extra virgin olive oil and freshly grated pepper.

Posted by Charlotte McHaffie

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Organic Groups Show Off

Show weekend traditionally marks the beginning of summer in Canterbury. If you weren’t outside planting your tomatoes and cucumbers, you might have been one of the thousands of Cantabrians who headed along to the show grounds to check out this year’s events.

Somewhere hidden amongst the woodchoppers, candy floss and blue-ribbon winning roosters, was the organics stand. Jam packed with yummy organic products, and featuring its very own steaming compost heap, the display was quite a hit.

Lots of organics groups came together to promote organic growing and sustainability: Organics Aotearoa NZ, Organic Garden City Trust, Soil and Health, and Canterbury Organics to name but a few. A big thanks to Ceres, Fresh Direct, Breadman, Simply Squeezed, Functional Wholefoods and many other companies for the free giveaways — what better way to give people a taste of organics.

Overall the stand generated a lot of interest and lively discussion. The organic products and ‘green’ ideas were positively received by all. A big thanks to everyone involved; it was great to see so many organisations and businesses working together to promote organics.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Open Home Discussion – Sat 29 November

Growing Vegetables at the Beach

Sandy soils and salt spray can make growing vegetables a challenge. For Soil and Health member Charlotte McHaffie, living 200 metres from the beach is a mixed blessing. Visit Charlotte and Scott at their house in North Beach to learn how they have created an edible garden on the sand dunes. Accompany them on a guided walk to discover which plants grow best on the coast.

If you’re interested in learning more about beach gardens, or would like to meet other Soil and Health members, make sure you come along to our November talk.

When: 2.00pm on Saturday 29 November
Where: 50 Cygnet St, North Beach (just north of the North Beach Surf Club)
Cost: Members free, Non-members $2.00
So the speaker has an idea of numbers please R.S.V.P.
Ph 388-7353 or 021 037-5716

Friday, November 7, 2008

Donn's Champagne Recipes

Celebrate the beginning of summer, with a glass of fruity fizz.

There is more than a subtle hint of rhubarb in this rosé. Dare to abandon those delicate fruity overtones for a wild blast of sherbety sweetness.

Donn’s sparkling bubbles lit up many winter committee meetings (along with Linda’s wonderful cake).

Rhubarb Champagne
2 lbs chopped rhubarb stalks (2-3cm pieces)
1 ½ lbs of white sugar
1 ½ Tbs of white vinegar
2 lemons sliced
4 ½ litres of water

Elder Flower Champagne
5 – 7 elder flower heads
The more flowers the stronger the flavour; Donn and Linda generally use five average sized heads. Shake the flower heads to dislodge dust and beetles etc but do not wash.

4 litres of water
2 1/2 cups of sugar
2 lemons sliced
2 Tbs white vinegar
4 Tbs citric acid (optional extra for those who prefer a tarter beverage)

Put the sugar and boiling water into a large clean bucket (not metal) and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the sugar solution. Mix thoroughly and cover with a clean cloth. Let stand for 48 hours.

Strain the solution through muslin cloth and pour into bottles. Plastic soft drink bottles work well. Do not fill the bottles to the top as the drink becomes very fizzy. Make sure the tops are screwed tight as loss of pressure will cause the drink to go flat.
To check progress lightly squeeze the bottles, they will go tight as the brew matures.

In warm weather the champagne is ready in 1-2 weeks, but it is best left for at least a month to let the flavours fully develop.

When making rhubarb champagne, you can use the strained rhubarb pieces to make a tasty desert.