As a kid my grandmother used to serve curly kale every winter but like a lot of her home cooking, she’d completely crucify it. Don't get me wrong, she wasn't a bad cook per se, but like most people of her generation, she didn't really know when to turn the gas off.
There was just no comprehension in Britain back then of cooking things al dente. She would even go as far as to put bicarbonate of soda in the water to keep it green, but after rapid boiling for half an hour and keeping it warm in the pan until serving, it didn't stand much chance of keeping any colour; despite her best efforts, it would inevitably end up a dull grey.
If I had known then what I know now I could have helped, but sadly I used to sit there and shovel down spoonfuls of organic sludge, unaware of the potential joys of this so-called superfood.
Kale and curly kale has made a comeback on restaurant menus, and farmers are now cutting the hearts of the kale as an added-value ingredient. This is a smart move: I'm all for farmers being a bit more forward thinking and getting a bit more out of what they grow, rather like dairy farmers making cheese and yoghurt.
Crispy prawn Kale hearts
Serves 4-6 as a snack
This is a version of the crispy seaweed you find in Chinese restaurants, which isn't often seaweed at all but shredded fried cabbage. It’s a great way to use up prawn shells instead of making them into a stock or bisque.