While I simply love meat, a lot of my attention is focussed on the accompanying side dishes. Think further than frozen broccoli (gag), because there is a multitude of things you could do with veg and salads on the side making them interesting and fun. Here is one that is packed with flavour and can be served warm – or as a side salad at your next braai…
The first time I ever tried padrón peppers was in Barafina in Soho, London about 2 years ago. Funnyman and I were out drowning our sorrows for some or other reason, I cannot recall exactly but I suspect it was something financial. The irony was that we sat in this restaurant for about 4 hours and ordered three-quarters of the tapas menu items throughout the evening, washed down with plenty of wine (this was LBK- life before keto). Whatever was bothering us that night was soon forgotten (along with our financial common sense) – but the padrón peppers were thankfully as memorable as they were delicious. Eaten whole, this is a risky little appetiser as some are hot and some are not – you just don’t know what you will get. They are simply the perfect appetiser for someone who likes to live on the edge and I was delighted when I saw they are now readily available at the supermarket. I have made this several times and never encountered a spicy one, so perhaps it’s not that risky after all. A lovely, simple tapas – you should give it a try!
Poor kale has had a bad rep. It can be bitter and, well, let’s be honest – it’s kale. But once you try it prepared this way, it will convert you. Crunchy and partially charred, it’s a fabulous side-dish. Carefully measure the olive oil that you add on the kale and mix/coat it well using your hands in a large bowl ensuring each leaf is evenly coated before spreading out and roasting in the oven. A sprinkling of Pink Himalayan Salt, grated Parmesan or finely grated lemon zest are all great ways to finish it – but I love it with salt. Happy crunching!
Inspiration for this recipe came from my darling friend, Little Debbie Bryson who makes something similar at her sop-en-dop* birthday party every winter in Cape Town. Since moving to UK, I have sadly missed so many of them. This is for you LDB, I know it doesn’t compare to yours – but I slurped my version up with a longing lump in my throat. The recipe makes two hearty bowls, filling enough as a main meal, but you could make it stretch to 4 servings and enjoy it as a late-afternoon light meal (cup-of-soup) and halve the macros accordingly..
Funnyman took me to Santorini in 2015 (life before keto) so that I could recover from an (emotionally and physically) unpleasant abdominal operation. We spent 8 days in the sun, drinking beer and Ouzo and eating our body weight in seafood, lamb and salads – pretty much doing everything opposite to what the surgeons advised me. I couldn’t have cared less – we were in Greece, my life had changed forever and I felt sorry for myself. Returning home, I realised that Greece ruined tomatoes for me. The tomatoes in Greece are simply the most fantastically-delicious balls of heaven you will ever come across – and any tomato you eat after visiting Greece will be a sore disappointment. Here in the UK, opt for organic, deep-red, on-the-vine, and ones that look over-ripe, and you might find something close. But if you want the best – go to Greece! (And please don’t store tomatoes in the fridge…)