episode 3 | show notes & advice
Kale really is tough as old boots - you can grow it anywhere yet still create the most delicious dishes from it. In another vibrant episode of the “grow, cook, eat arrange” podcast Sarah Raven & Arthur Parkinson discuss the best ways to pick, sow and cook this incredible plant plus the great health benefits and unique qualities of the flower sprout.
Also, within this episode they discuss how to create a beautiful display by introducing trails of cobea to your outside space
in this episode, discover...
• Using cobea to make an impact in small spaces
• Sarah’s favourite recipe for Kale
• How to craft a teepee for your cobea from silver birch
• Different times of the year to sow Kale for varying results
links and references
Cobaea and kale
Cobaea scandens – cut-and-saucer plant
- Comes in a purple and white form
- Full sun
- Climber which gets to 40 foot plus
- Needs sowing vertically, not flat in February or March
Cobaea scandens, known as the cup-and-saucer vine, needs to be sown early in the year. It won’t flower until it reaches about 2 metres. Sown late, it tends to reach this height just when we get our first hard frost of the autumn, meaning you’ll never see flowers. Sown soon, at the end of winter or early spring, it will fill your autumn with cups and saucers.
The seeds have a large surface area: sow them vertically, not flat, into their own individual small pots (see page 3). They have a round, wafer-thin saucer shape, so no top or bottom. Put them in a propagator. They’ll germinate, warm and moist, within 2-3 weeks. Once the seedlings start to grow, after about 3-4 weeks, don’t leave them sprawling — they need a climbing frame to clamber over. Pot them on, and in their new pot, create a frame for them. We make ours from silver birch pea sticks, which we weave into mini, pot-sized teepees
Making silver birch teepees for sweet peas or cobaea
We plant our sweet peas and cobaea around a silver birch or hazel teepee, or a run of hazel pea sticks covered with jute netting; this gives them something lovely to climb over. If the birch or hazel wood is harvested in February or early March, the sap is rising, which means the branches will be pliable and not yet in leaf, which is ideal.
Making a teepee
Teepees can be made from bamboo canes, or hazel or silver birch (see below). The supporting canes or branches, referred to as uprights, need to be at least 2m (6ft) tall. You can supplement these with smaller sticks pushed in around the base, between each upright. With bamboo canes, you need to add a network of twine between the uprights to create an efficient climbing frame, which doesn’t look so good, but does the job. For hazel and birch, you can use bundles of thinner side branches to wrap around the uprights. The twiggy nature of the thinner birch branches makes them the best climbing frame, giving the plants plenty of handholds on which to climb.
Whatever you use, push a circle of 8 uprights into the ground, sinking them a good 20cm (8in) deep. It’s key to secure the teepee well into the ground. The inner circle should be about a 1m (3ft) diameter.
Gather the 8 uprights together near their tips and tie together with a robust flexi tie or piece of twine.
If using birch or hazel, you need to wrap the smaller branches around the structure. Start at one upright in the circle, gather all the thinner side branches, about 45cm (18in) from the ground and hold them together in your right hand. Twist horizontally. Carry on twisting until you get to the next upright and twist the second bundle, binding and weaving it in with the next and so on until you get to the beginning again, reversing back on yourself to tie off any loose ends.
Next, move 45cm (18in) up towards the top of the teepee and do another layer in the same way. For tall tepees, you may have room to add a third layer.
We also make teepees with one long spiral from the top to the bottom of the teepee, so the whole thing looks like a helter-skelter. To do this keep twisting spirally, gathering as you go, until you reach the top. You’ll probably need to work from a stepladder.
Wilted kale, avocado and pomegranate
I tend to skip the garlic if serving this salad for lunch. It’s also good with added slices of grilled halloumi and, to make it portable for lunch, you can stuff it into a pitta, with a garnish of chilli jam.
For 4 as a main course, 6 as a starter or side salad:
- 300g kale, any variety
- 30g bunch of mint, leaves just torn up a bit
For the dressing:
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp live natural yoghurt (if using thick tahini, this is used to loosen the dressing)
- 1 tbsp Tamari soy sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, very finely chopped (optional)
- 1 green finger chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes (keep a little juice back for the avocado)
- Black pepper
For the topping:
- 1 ripe avocado
- Seeds of 1 pomegranate
- 2 heaped tbsp pumpkin seeds or pine nuts, dry-fried
- Handful of blueberries (optional)
- Put all the dressing ingredients into a large mug or jar and whisk well with a fork, or give it a shake.
- Strip the kale off its stalks and tear or slice the leaves into strips or pieces. Place in a large bowl.
- Pour the dressing over the kale and massage into the kale for 3 to 4 minutes, until the kale is well coated and starts to wilt. Add the mint leaves and mix.
- Halve, stone and peel the avocados, then chop up the flesh and toss in the reserved lemon or lime juice. Scatter over the kale.
- Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds, blueberries (if using) and the dry-fried pine nuts or pumpkin seeds. Serve before the avocado discolours.