Friday, 6 January 2012

Mis Pensamientos: Kale Chips

This recipe really doesn't sound thrilling, but do stick with it, it's really quite novel.  I came across this recipe courtesy of the lovely Mike who pens the Mike's Baking blog.  I love Mike's blog because it's full of all the stuff that I want to eat but shouldn't and fab pictures of it all too.  In fact, if I had the opportunity to decide my last ever meal on this planet (assuming I was also capable of eating it) then I would probably consult Mike's blog for ideas.  I'm still desperate to make his Espresso Cupcakes and Holiday Cauliflower but right now I'm having to make do with munching a guilt free brownie as I write as I'm trying to be good.

Take three ingredients...
So on the subject of being good, I've never been a fan of diet snacks that are peddled on lots of diet programs.  Having successfully done WeightWatchers and discovering that you can eat an entire tub of Ben and Jerrys on a Saturday and still lose weight by the weekly weigh-in on Wednesday (the ice cream was consumed on a day when I did an awful lot of hiking up and down cliffs), I now try to follow the ethos that a little of what you fancy does you good.  So long as you only have a little.  And therein lies my problem.  If I'm not in the right frame of mind, I will quite happily eat a family size bag of lime Doritos or a tube of Pringles.  Which is why I can be fat.

When I did WeightWatchers, I met a lady who spent her entire points allowance every single day on chocolate.  I jest not.  Every day she lived off of the equivalent of four mars bars.  And she lost weight.  Because she ate what she fancied, but she didn't eat more than she should.  Okay this is not the healthiest diet ever, but it goes to prove that you don't need to live off of low fat yogurt and lettuce leaves.

For those of you who are not au fait with the world of diet clubs, basically WW gives you x amount of points based on your current weight that you can 'spend' in any way you choose.  Every food has a points value.  K had 22 points, and I believe that Mars bars at the time where 5.5 points each.  It's changed recently and I've not been for many years, but it's very flexible.

...spread on a tray and stick in the oven...
I have friends who swear blind by Slimming World.  I'm not quite sure how this works but I've been told that sometimes you can eat as much spag bol as you like in one sitting.  This appeals to me a lot.  But until I've read the fine print, I will not be participating in such a madcap scheme.  One can only assume that the plan also includes Breatharian days.

One of the other things that I know a lot of Slimming World people love is the No Point snacks.  Which is quite right.  There is seriously no point to them.  One friend enthused long and loud about tortilla chips made from lasagne sheets.  She sent me the recipe.  Full of excitement I went out and bought lasagne sheets (the dried kind) especially.  In one word - euuuuuw!  I can't quite sum up my utter disgust at these.  I think I'd rather starve all day and have a packet of Walkers Bacon Crisps than stuff my face all day with those things.

...wonder where on earth it all went to...
Personally, my favourite crispy, low fat snack when I'm dieting is the good old poppadom.  Yes they are amazing when they're deep fried and all puffy, with a slight oily sheen and a satisfying crack just before you plunge them into a bowl of mango chutney or lime pickle.  But have you ever tried microwaving them?  It doesn't always work with all brands and you'll need to play around with your microwave as my new one doesn't cook evenly and I always get a hard edge on one bit, but my old one cooked them like a dream.  Just stick a two poppadoms in on high for 90 seconds, et voila.  A snack for around 80 cals (again brand dependent and excluding the yummy dips)

So I was torn the other day when I happened across a tweet from Mike about Kale Chips.  First off, just the word sparked my curiosity but when I read it, it became one of those recipes that I just had to try out.  Then I got a bit worried it would be another of those gimmicky diet foods that was trying to be something that it wasn't.  I figured it might be a bit like Chinese deep fried seaweed (which I love) so decided it would be worth a go. voila! Healthy telly snacking at its best :)
Ocado duly delivered what I thought to be an enormous bag of kale this morning so while making Miss A's tea (always a risky time for me and my diet) I had a go at the recipe.  It's dead simple.  Just massage a little extra virgin olive oil through some kale, put on a baking tray, sprinkle with salt and bake at 190c (170 fan) / Gas 5 for about fifteen minutes.

I used 100g of kale and one tsp of oil so according to, this works out at about 70 cals for the portion.  I was a little worried that 100g would make loads for one person.  But cooked kale is like spinach and after a little cooking disappears to not much at all.

And it tasted just like Chinese seaweed.  But without all the deep frying bit (I looked up how to make proper Chinese seaweed by Ken Hom on the UKTV Food Website).  For a more authentic taste, you could add a little sprinkling of soft brown sugar but obviously that would up the calories.  It's probably also worth experimenting with other flavourings.  I can imagine a few chilli flakes pepping it up nicely if that's your thing.

So a tasty recipe for a different healthy snack although it's quite expensive - the bag of kale cost £1.07 from Ocado and I would say it only serves two greedy people like me - or four if you're good at sharing.  I am also a little worried that any nutritional benefit from the kale may have been destroyed by baking it - if I was really virtuous, I'd just eat a bowl of steamed kale instead.  But life's too short.

The original recipe can be found here.  Definitely one to give a go if you ever see kale on special in the supermarket.

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