Kale, red onion and a splash of verjuice

Dear snotty lady in the overpriced posh food shop many years ago,

Four score and twenty years ago, I came in to your store and asked for some verjuice. I pronounced it exactly as it was spelt. Saying ‘ver’, then ‘juice’ as in ‘orange juice’. You looked down your elongated nose and pronounced in your very best plum in the mouth, lower northshore accent. ‘Surely dear, you mean ver-jus’. (Your pronunciation of the ‘juice’ as in the French pronuciation of the word jus…rhyming with zhoo..like ach-choo but softer).

Yes, you did make me feel ten cm tall (and I am barely taller than that anyway). I slunk away that day, clutching my bottle of unripe grape juice to my slightly wounded pride.

I write today to happily inform you that your elitist attitude didn’t deter me from continuing on my food journey. Some of the foodie jobs I have held did consist of educating others. I truly hope I have never contributed towards making anyone feel as small I as felt, when I left your shop that day.

This big, wide wonderful world of food is a never ending journey of exciting discoveries. Learning new things everyday rocks my very being.

Yours delightfully,


PS Get stuffed.

KALE AND RED ONION with a splash of verjuice!

2 tbl garlic infused olive oil or regular olive oil
1 medium red/Spanish onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1 bunch kale washed and chopped into 2-3cm strips
Splash of verjuice or squeeze of lemon

In a large frypan, sauté the onion, capsicum, salt and chilli over low to medium heat until they are soft and starting to caramelise, about 15 -20 minutes.
Add the kale, stir and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until it starts to soften.
Add a large splash of verjuice (or lemon) and stir to mix through until the verjuice starts to sizzle.
Season with extra salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is great by itself as a light lunch or dinner. Also as a side to eggs, grilled meats, casseroles, tofu dishes, anything your wee heart desires really.

This is also good with a couple of cloves of crushed garlic, added just before you pop in the kale. Due to the Yak having to talk to people all day, sometimes we have to dial back on the garlic during the week.

A cheergerm recipe

What the heck is verjuice anyhoo?

Made from unripe grapes, it was used in the Middle Ages as a condiment in sauces or to deglaze particular dishes. It is a alternative to vinegar. One of my food heroes, Maggie Beer, was at the forefront of bringing verjuice back into popularity by being the first (her claim) in the world to produce it commercially.

The mild acidity of verjuice is a real bonus. It isn’t as ‘in yo face’ as lemon juice or vinegar and is great in dishes where you want a gentler acidic alternative. You should be able to find it in good delis and in some supermarkets.

I love it as an alternative to vinegar and lemon in dressings, tossed over sautéed veggies and also to deglaze the pan juices of meat, cheese and other veggies dishes.

Please note the beautiful white pottery bowl I popped the kale in. Made by one of my fabulous New Zealand aunts who is a very talented potter.


17 thoughts on “Kale, red onion and a splash of verjuice

  1. 😄 Glad someone else feels the same way about snooty posh shops! I really don’t understand the hype around verjuice. True, it is very good, but it has been around for generations – since the Middle Ages at least – and is regularly produced in wine-making countries as a homemade byproduct. I guess when a popular cook begins to talk it up, the hype begins!

    • He he. Maggie Beer started making it back in 1984 when they had a grape crop they couldn’t sell. She had read about it in Elizabeth David and other French books. She seems a down to earth lady, I would like to think that she would have been horrified by that snooty food shop lady all those years ago. 🙂

      • I don’t know Maggie Beer’s food all that well – have just been introduced to her through you wonderful Australian bloggers – but what I have seen so far of her cooking has be drooling. Glad to hear she’s a down to earth kind of lady!

      • She is a gem, one of my sisters made her sourcream pastry in a beef pie the other day and it was to die for….(I am wiping the drool from my chin…)

  2. Looks delicious (we are kale lovers!). I didn’t know the pronunciation of “verjuice.” I wonder, if that’s how to say it, why it’s not spelled “verjus.”

    • It is, add some garlic, it does add an extra zing. The hubby was interviewing all the next day so I had to leave it out that night. It does seem to be pronounced ver-zhoo from the research I did. I am sure it was just done that way so people could mispronounce it and be laughed it!! 😉

  3. looks delicious!! we’ve recently just started liking kale and any opportunity to use verjus must be heeded. probably delicious with fish!!! we’ll be experimenting soon!!!! thanks for the follow!!!

  4. tweatfeast

    I’m looking forward to trying this with some kale from my allotment later in the year. Right now my kale (Nero de Toscana, a kale with pretensions!) is only about 3 inches tall and looking a bit shook from the transplant out to the allotment last week. If it survives the shock, the birds and the slugs I’ll be making your dish with it 🙂

  5. You call sweet treats biscuits so I knew before I got to this delicious sounding recipe that you were an Aussie. On the other hand, Maggie Beer seems to splash Verjuice into every dish she makes, but till now I did not know what it was. Thanks. Nice Blog.

    • Hello there! Yes, certainly a New Zealander who has lived in Australia since the age of 7 who is now living in Sydney. (That was a mouthful…) I seem to be splashing a fair bit of verjuice around at the moment but unlike Maggie Beer, I am not making money out of it! Ha! Thanks for popping in and for the nice comment. I am going to come across and visit your blog now! 🙂

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