31st July 2012 – Cavolo Nero

Cavolo nero is a bit middle class  trendy I know, but that withstanding  it’s wonderful stuff.  Unlike most kale which possesses a thugish look, as if it’s just waiting to give you a mouthful of stringy bitterness, this Italian import is extremely elegant and inviting. It doesn’t last well into the winter so as soon as the plants reach a decent size I start harvesting the beautiful slender foliage from about the crown. The young leaves stand  alone very well just steamed or stir fried, but I prefer to incorporate them into hearty soups or summer casseroles.

Cavolo Nero

Partly for my benefit so I don’t forget them, as of today I shall record any notable recipes I devise.  Seasonal eating like the old ‘black cabbage’ has become trendy, but when you grow your own it’s a lifestyle necessity rather than a choice, something you’ll see reflected in the food I cook.  The venison I used came from the main road at the end of our lane after a tip off on the ‘road kill hot-line’. The looks I received from the suited business folk heading to work were priceless as I hauled the yearling fallow buck across the road, holding up about 20 cars in each direction. The dust cart had knocked it down 20minutes before and it was all I could do to grapple it’s dead weight into the boot. Child’s play that of course, compared to the huge fallow buck Em and I dragged across three lanes of motorway traffic a few years back – that was really exciting!

Dinner – Venison with Cavolo nero and Turnips

This dish worked really well, the french sausages providing a richness to the dish without detracting from the feeling that it something a bit different and continental.


  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil or lard
  • 1 lb cubed venison
  • 4 Toulouse sausages (or similar course all meat sausage) cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 1 pint beef or game stock
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 2 large turnips cubed
  • bunch of cavolo nero shredded
  •  bouquet garni of bay, parsley, thyme and rosemary
  • seasoning


  1. Fry onions until translucent, add venison and continue frying until sealed.
  2. Add all other ingredients adding more water if necessary to cover meat and vegetables.
  3. Simmer over a low heat for 2-3 hours or until the venison is tender.
  4. Remove herbs and thichen with corn flour if desired.
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