For me, one of the best things about Great Dixter being open to the public is the opportunity to exchange recipes and vegetable-growing tips with visitors. This recipe comes from a lady I got talking to one day when I was working in the garden. I tried it that same night and loved it. Since then, lots of friends have taken the recipe home with them after eating it here. It makes a fantastic side dish with grilled fish or chicken: the lemon really cuts through the oil and lightens the earthy flavour of the kale. It’s also a delicious appetiser with a chilled glass of wine or champagne before lunch or dinner. Note that it’s important to chop the kale yourself – the stuff sold in supermarkets is chopped too small.


  • 165g Kale leaves tough stems and ribs removed and torn or roughly chopped into 8-10cm pieces
  • 1 Lemon juice and grated zest
  • 1tbsp Olive oil
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • ¼tsp Salt
  • ¼tsp Pepper


  • STEP 1

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.

  • STEP 2

    Put the kale into a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, cayenne, salt and pepper and use your hands to massage the seasonings into the leaves. Lay them flat on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10–15 minutes, turning halfway through, until crisp and lightly browned.

  • STEP 3

    Sprinkle the lemon zest over the crisps before serving.

This recipe is taken from The Great Dixter Cookbook: Recipes from an English Garden by Aaron Bertelsen (Phaidon, 2017).


Having studied at Kew Gardens and spent two years at Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Israel, Aaron Bertelsen is now vegetable gardener and cook at Great Dixter. His book, The Great Dixter Cookbook was published in March 2017.