Wednesday, 17 April 2013

As part of the Sophie's Run book tour the lovely Nicky Wells is going to teach us how to cook some of the glorious food mentioned in the book! Its a Literary-culinary delight!
Come dine with Sophie and Dan: Today’s treat is… Grünkohl!
Sophie’s Run Blogtour 2013

Have a read of the blurb first before we move onto the recipe for Grunkohl! You can read my review for Sophie's run tomorrow on the blog!
Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…

Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even? Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.

So she has finally found the man of her dreams! Well…she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet. But she misses her opportunity, and then her life goes crazy. Rock star and ex-fiance, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.

Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for a radical change. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey and eventually gets her life back on track.

Come dine with Sophie and Dan: Today’s treat is… Grünkohl!
Sophie’s Run Blogtour 2013
Grünkohl? you say. What on earth is that? It sounds green and healthy. And not at all rock star!
Well, your first reaction is totally understandable. It certainly is green, and healthy and quite… earthy. Not terribly glamorous but, cooked the German way, absolutely 100 percent scrumptious. Grünkohl is curly Kale, and I’ll tell you today how to prepare it properly.
But first of all, let me introduce myself. *coughs, embarrassed* How very rude of me! I’m Sophie Penhalligan, the ‘girl next door’ in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy by Nicky Wells. You may have met me in Sophie’s Turn but today, we’re here to celebrate the launch of book two, Sophie’s Run. In book one, you got to meet my boyfriend and fiancé, Tim, as well as my rock star dream man, friend and short-time fiancé, Dan. Book two, Sophie’s Run, continues the story of Dan and my romance although it goes on a little detour.
In honour of the launch and to spread the word, Nicky (my author), Dan and I, we’re taking you on tour to show you all our favourite places and foods as featured in the books. So take a look at this excerpt of Sophie’s Run:
Not really but the lunch crowd isn't due yet and everyone else can knock. I'm busy. Today its Grunkohl mit Pinkel for dinner," she explained, seeing my incredulous face at the sight of her pile of green stuff.  "It's a regional delicacy, you must come and try it."
"Okay," I laughed, "I will. What, exactly, is it?
"You'll have to wait and see," Greetje teased me. "Anyway, aren't you supposed to be in school? Did they let you out early today?"
I nodded and waved my photocopied piece of newspaper about. "They did; that's why I came. I needed to talk....."
Greetje continued chopping her vegetables with unbroken vigor. "Talk away, as long as you don't mind if I get on. I need to get this prepped because I can't do it this afternoon and it takes a good couple of hours to cook." She motioned for me to sit down at the table, never once taking her eyes off her work.
Grünkohl had turned out to be curly kale, according to my trusty dictionary. I had heard of curly kale, of course, had even seen it in the supermarket once or twice, but couldn’t recall ever having eaten it. It smelled fantastic. My mouth watered and my tummy rumbled in anticipation. Greetje put a huge dish of traditional German fried potatoes on the table and we were ready to go.
Being the guest, it was my turn first. I was given an enormous helping of golden fried potatoes, a big ladle of Grunkohl, and two fat sausages. It all looked amazing. So far, so good.
{…and a bit later in the evening….}
I nodded, too busy chewing to waste any time on talking. Now that I had the taste of it, I couldn’t get enough of it. Everybody else got back to eating, too, and silence prevailed until we all had our fill. I had seconds, and feeling gross and greedy, I even had thirds.
See? It was a total revelation, and I’ll share it with you today. Trust me! I’ll adapt the recipe slightly as I can’t get all of the right kind of ingredients in England, but I’ve tried it several times and it’s just as perfect.
For Grünkohl with sausage and crispy fried potatoes (to serve four) you need…
~curly kale! You can get it prepared in a bag in the supermarket, or buy it fresh from your veg shop between October and February
~12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, diced or cut into strips
~One onion, chopped
~1 small stick of celery, finely chopped
~2 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
~about a litre of hot chicken stock (the cube variety is perfectly fine!)
~a pinch of nutmeg
~salt and pepper to season
~6-10 fat sausages (any type; traditional, Cumberland, Lincolnshire… if you can lay your hands on a smoked sausage of some description, even better)
~ten medium sized potatoes
And here’s what you do.
For your sausages:
When you start cooking, put the sausages in the oven and leave to brown, turning occasionally. When they’re good and ready, take them out and put them straight into your pot of Grünkohl.
For your curly kale:
First of all, put six rashers worth of streaky bacon into a large pot (as large as you have) and cook on a medium heat until crispy. Then add the onions and celery and cook until just soft. Now add the curly kale.
Oh, hold on! So if you bought your curly kale ready prepared, you’ll just need to rinse it out in the sink and it can go straight in the pot. If you bought it fresh, you need to prep it first. Trim the stems (a bit like you’d do with broccoli) until you’ve only got large ‘florets’ left on short stalks. Roll the kale leaves up lengthwise, then cut off thin strips starting from the outside in until you hit the stalks. You can eat the stalks but they remain quite bitter even after cooking, so be sure not to leave too much of them on. Wash in the sink and off into the pot with it. Easy!
When your kale is safely in the pot… don’t die of shock. It will look a lot. It might barely fit! If you’re struggling to get it all in, pour over some of your hot chicken stock and watch the kale wilt and shrink. When you’ve managed to fit all the kale in, add the rest of the stock, then add the garlic and season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Stir round, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for at least one hour. You can leave it to simmer for two hours if you like. Stir occasionally.

Add the browned sausages when they’re ready but keep simmering away. Don’t be afraid! Your kale will turn a luscious dark green and it’ll go soft, almost sweet. About twenty minutes before you want to eat, add the corn flour to thicken your sauce. To do so, combine a tablespoonful of corn flour with a tablespoonful of cold water, stir until the corn flour is dissolved, add to the kale, stir round again and wait for it to thicken. There. Done!
Use a slotted spoon to serve the kale! You’ll want some of that gorgeous liquid to soak into your potatoes, but then again, you don’t want kale soup. J
For the fried potatoes:
Now this is really important! Greetje has let me into the secret of German-style potatoes. You boil them the day before! Yes, you do! So, get peeling your potatoes, then cut them into slices ~ not too thin, not too fat. Place the slices in a big pot of cold water, bring to the boil and boil/simmer for about five minutes. You want the potatoes done, but not overdone. Drain, rinse with cold water and leave to cool, ready to fry the next day. (You can put them in the fridge if you like).
If you can’t manage that or haven’t been organised (I never am!), ensure that you boil your potatoes at least a good two hours before wanting to fry. They must be cold before you fry them!
When you are ready to fry them, take six rashers of streaky bacon, place in the frying pan and fry gently until crispy. Take the rashers out and keep to one side for a moment. Now you can put the potatoes straight into all that lovely bacon fat. Keep the heat on medium and keep an eye on your potatoes as you cook. You’ll need to turn them regularly. If they go too brown too quickly, turn down the heat. You want to give them at least forty-five minutes to an hour.

When they’re nearly done, season with salt and pepper, add your streaky bacon again (you can break it into small pieces if you like), turn and turn again, then leave to cook on a very low heat until ready to serve.

So, happy eating! I hope my post today inspired you to try the much neglected and perfectly scrumptious curly kale… the proper way! And while you chomp away, spare a thought for me and… well, why not perhaps join me, Dan and the other men in my life? Sophie’s Turn and Sophie’s Run are both out now and you can find out JB’s thoughts on the book tomorrow! A big thank to JB for hosting me here today, it’s a pleasure to visit Brook Cottage Books and I hope you all enjoyed meeting me, too. JB Johnston, you rock!
Wohoooooooooo well I bet you are hungry after all that! The lovely Nicky Wells has a giveaway as part of the tour.
1. Standard Giveaway
Nicky Wells is giving away one delicious chocolate gift to a lucky winner in the UK or North America! Just click on the Rafflecopter link!
The small print: This Gift prize is a product of Unique Chocolate. The Gift prize is subject to availability in your country. If the Gift prize is not available in your country, Nicky Wells reserves the right to offer a substitute gift prize of a similar nature at her discretion. Nicky Wells will require the winner’s postal address for shipping purposes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Bonus Giveaway - Nicky Wells offers a giveaway of one Amazon gift voucher worth $20 / £15 for one lucky winner. To enter, simply share your thoughts on Sophie's Run with Nicky. Email your comment to and your name will be entered into the draw. Competition closes 1 May 2013

About Nicky Wells: Romance that Rocks Your World!


Rock On! Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door.  A signed author with U.S. publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, Nicky is in the throes of publishing her Rock Star Romance Trilogy. Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters.  When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant.

Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.

Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress. You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook. Nicky is a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, and has joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Nicky also has author pages at Sapphire Star Publishing, Amazon and, of course, Goodreads.


Sophie’s Run is now available in Kindle edition from and, and in Paperback edition from and You can also get the paperback at Barnes & Noble, or download Sophie’s Run onto your Nook (coming soon).





12 Responses so far.

  1. Whooohooo! Thank you so much for hosting this penultimate stop on the Sophie's Run tour and Sophie's very last recipe (for now, LOL). I love this one ~ it's a family favourite and on account of all the lovely sausage flavour in the kale, even the kids eat it with gusto. (They do, honestly!). HUGE thanks to JB for letting Sophie and me visit today. :-) You rock!

    Here's wishing good luck to all giveaway entrants!! Grab the chance to win some chocolate and don't be shy about the voucher. Rock on!!

  2. Mandy says:

    After this tour of fine food and nice places I may never be able to eat or travel again! Another great post ladies!

    Mandy x

  3. Janice says:

    I love green vegtables - and this recipe with sausage sounds yummy. Comfort food. Thanks Nicky!

    A fun post, JB!

    Janice xx

  4. LOL, next time you'll simply have to travel with us, Mandy! Thanks for visiting, commenting and being a star groupie. :-) Same Thanks extend to Janice, it's lovely to see you at yet another stop (and I promise we're nearly done now) and appreciate your support. Happy eating! Kale is nearly out of season now but back in a few short months, I guess. Rock on and thanks again!! :-)

  5. Ooh, looks delicious! I can almost smell it cooking... fun as usual Nicky - you are quite a cook! Waves JB, grest post! Lxx

  6. Unknown says:

    I'll skip the Grunkohl but the Wurst und Kartoffel will do me nicely, danke, Nicky. It's been a fun tour and totally enjoyed. Wishing you good luck with the book. x

  7. I'm going to have too stop reading these recipes before I've eaten. Am am now just totally starving. Another great one, Sophie - a proper meal, as they say! Love it! :) xx

  8. The sausages blinded me - I can spell really ;) xxx

  9. Linn, Kit and Sheryl ~ thank you so much for your lovely comments. Kit, I'm shocked to hear you'll skip the veg!! It's delish, really! (Just kidding, you can skip the green stuff). Ladies, you've been a tremendous support through this entire tour (and that includes you, JB!!) I cannot thank you enough. Rock on!

    PS~the rock star cook book... do you reckon I should write it?

  10. It sounds absolutely delicious... even though I don't really eat sausages any more. But perhaps I can make an exception just this once! Trouble is, I never see curly kale in the supermarkets in Portugal. I guess I'll just have to wait until I move back to England. Therefore, I'm going to save this in my Recipes Bookmark!
    Good luck with the launch, Nicky!
    Suzy Turner, YA Author

  11. LOL, thanks for visiting Suzy! I'm not sure kale is quite the vegetable for Portugal, it might be just a tad to warm over there!! But if you come to visit, I'll cook it for you gladly. Thanks for commenting, you rock! X

  12. Ditto Nicky!
    I'll gladly take you up on that offer ;) xx

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