Saturday, February 25, 2006

No substitutions, exchanges or refunds

279. Kale with Chorizo and Poached Egg
280. Chick Peas with Sorrel

These two recipes are some of the last remaining recipes from the One & Two chapter. They've been left this long primarily because of the impossible-to-find ingredients - kale and sorrel. However, after much googling and sleepless nights, I found out exactly what kale and sorrel are, and what other vegetables I could substitute for them.

Kale is like collard greens: a thick, dark cabbage-like leaf with a "distinctive" flavour, apparently. Luckily for me, Nigella herself suggests a substitute for kale in the recipe - baby spinach and watercress. Watercress is only available in Australia occasionally, and I regularly substitute peppery rocket for watercress in recipes, which is what I did today.

About the sorrel, google told me (via a friend), that watercress is an acceptable substitute. Again, I used rocket. But having looked at the recipe again, I see that Nigella's inspiration for the chick pea and sorrel recipe was the "Middle-Eastern way with chick peas... sour with lemon juice and thick with spinach". So if you feel like making this recipe (and I do believe it is well worth it), you could use spinach and lemon.

Nigella doesn't suggest that these two recipes be eaten together; rather she designates them (in smaller quantities) for solitary suppers. But seeing as the whole family was home for lunch today, and I thought we'd all like these dishes, I made both, in bigger quantities.

Neither is too complicated - for the chorizo dish, you chop it up and cook it in some oil, then stir in your green vegetable of choice until wilted, and top with poached eggs. As you can see from my photo below, I'm not a highly-skilled egg poacher, but they turned out edible and decent-looking nonetheless.

chorizo eggs

For the chick peas, you cook some onion, garlic, cumin and dried chilli until soft, then wilt your green leaves in the onion mixture, before adding some chick peas and stirring until warmed through.

chick peas

As I said, Nigella doesn't say that these two dishes should accompany each other, but they do make a good pair - the rich and highly-flavoured chorizo works well against the slightly bland graininess of the chickpeas. They only took about 30 minutes in total to make, and were very delicious.

I'm not sure what real kale and sorrel taste like, but eating these dishes, even with the substitutions, didn't feel like we were missing anything at all.

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