|Ham and Kale soup|
I made a large batch of Ham and Kale Soup yesterday, however cooking won't be my main priority this week. It will be easy meals all the way.
I am going to try and improve my knitting skills, starting on a few small projects such as dishcloths, still for the kitchen though, which can also double as face washers. If they are good enough, I might even be able to give them away as gifts. I would never have thought of knitting dishcloths, using "Kitchen cotton" instead of wool, but their are a lot of committed homemakers doing it in the blogging world, and they should last 12-18 months, saving the need to spend money on lots of Chux and cleaning cloths. And they look attractive and wash well. However the real reason for doing it, is that it is a good reason to get me motivated again with knitting. Now that I have started, it is interesting how much skill is involved in such a small project. Thanks to the Down to Earth Forum and the Going Green and Slightly Grey blogger, Chel for the inspiration to do this.
I learned basic knitting skills from my Mum, who was a very good knitter as was my Aunty Eileen. I still have a couple of beautiful woollen jumpers that she made for Mum many years ago, I guess they fall into the vintage category now ha, ha, but are still perfect and so warm. However Mum was left handed and seemed to find it difficult to teach me, but to be honest I don't think I had the time to really commit to it as well. I was studying music requiring a lot of practice, as well as needing to study, and then work and study, so time was limited.
However, one of the many advantages of retirement is being able to commit time to learning new skills, when the time is right and you are interested. Knitting is also great for the concentration, a nice thing to do during the quiet times, and it is good to start with a project that shouldn't take too long. Even if I only get one knitted this week, I'll be happy.
I also plan to do some sewing for my adorable little Grandson Hugo. They are taking a trip to Denmark and France in a couple of months, so I'll make him a couple of warm little caps and whatever else I can manage.
Kale is very cheap at the moment so I made a large batch of my Ham and Kale soup, originally a Mindfood recipe I think, a nice light summer soup, which freezes beautifully. It is one of Shannon's favourite soups so I'll freeze a lot of it and take it up to her in our car refrigerator when we visit next time. It is also on the menu for lunch today. I cooked the stock overnight in the slow cooker to avoid increasing the heat in the kitchen during the day, and then cooked the final stage during the morning.
Here's the recipe, I love the saltiness of the ham, mixed with the earthiness of the beans and the light flavour of the kale. It is so economical to make and would easily feed a family of 6.
Ham and Kale Soup
1 smoked ham hock or frozen bone from your Christmas Ham
1 onion, halved
2 sticks celery
1 carrot, sliced
3 garlic cloves
2 parsley stalks, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 leeks. white part only, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves
400g can cannellini beans, drained
1 bunch kale (about 12 leaves), trimmed and chopped
Shaved Parmesan, to serve
Olive oil, to serve
Let’s make the stock:
Place the ham bone, onion, celery, carrot, garlic and parsley in a large saucepan or slow cooker bowl.
Slow cooker method:
Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker bowl and fill the pot with 3 litres of water. Cook on low for 8 hours or on medium for 4 hours. Half way through the cooking, adjust the ham bone if necessary so that all of the bone will be cooked and the meat tender by the end. Remove the ham hock and discard the skin. Shred meat and set aside. Strain stock and set aside.
Large saucepan method:
Place all the ingredients in the saucepan and cover with 3 litres of water. Cook, simmering for 30 minutes (use a spoon to skim the surface).
Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, or until meat is tender and falling off the bone. Remove the ham hock and discard the skin. Shred meat and set aside. Strain stock and set aside.
Let’s make the soup:
Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions, leeks, and garlic. Cook, stirring for 4-5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add stock and bring to the boil. Add cannellini beans, kale, and ham hock meat. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until kale is tender.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Spoon into soup bowls, top with shaved Parmesan, and drizzle with olive oil.
|Ham and Kale soup|