I could be writing about the recent death of Margaret Thatcher couldn’t I? She has managed to divide opinion in life and in death. But this isn’t a political blog, life on the Promenade is about gardening, growing and eating great food and here’s the parallel, my last post All about Brussels – not the sizeable Belgian City but the vegetable sprouting kind also polarised opinion. From reading the comments left here on the Promenade – you either love or loathe them.
It seems that many of us have suffered the long slow killing of Brussels Sprouts by interminable boiling. Boiling them to the point where they turned a greyish-green, soft and soggy, waterlogged and unpalatable, cooked to the point where they have given up on the will to live. I know my Granny cooked them like that and I bet there are a few of you who can relate to my memories. Why is it that someone can bake the most perfect pastry and pies willingly and knowingly murdered vegetables?
I won’t celebrate the death of anyone, regardless of who they are or what they did. I will however celebrate a life well lived, if that is what I think. So while there are some people holding parties and dancing to “The Witch is Dead” and others are eulogising her, I leave you with the fact that nor will I celebrate boiled to buggery Brussels Sprouts!
Me and Brussels Sprouts have come a long way since then; lightly steamed, sliced and quickly stir-frying them with slivers of ginger, or roasting them in olive oil – but never boiled to a miserable grey soggy death. And of course don’t forget the tops – a meal in themselves – Tip Top Stir Fried Gingery Brussels Sprouts. I realise that not everyone will or can grow Brussels Sprouts but we can cook and eat them, are you prepared to give them another chance?
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg Everyday! “Brussels Sprouts, Apple and Cheddar Salad is a great example of thinking outside the box, no boiling Brussels here, just fresh crunchy vegetables that still retain their colour and taste. It’s not the first thing I think of when growing and preparing Brussels Sprouts, but having made a salad I’m convinced it should be much higher up in your thoughts too. You need very fresh, very young and very small Brussels Sprouts for this salad, I realise that’s a lot of very’s but as “Fearnley-Whittinstall says ” fresh young Brussels, sliced thinly and served raw can be a revelation – crisp, earthy and not bitter at all.”
Before I go onto the recipe I’d like to share these words with you –
“Top of the list – greens for the winter, …. Those are sprouts, savoy cabbages, broccoli. Men may come and men may go, but sprouts go on forever; that’s how one feels like after three months of them. Very useful things, sprouts.”
from the delightful book “How to grow food – a wartime guide by Doreen Wallace“
“Men may come and go, but sprouts go on forever……”
Brussels Sprout, Apple and Cheese Salad
- 50g hazelnuts, pecans or almonds (roasted)
- 150g very fresh small Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and sliced thinly
- A Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- 2 tblsp olive oil
- A spring of fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 crisp, tart apple, cored, quartered
- 35g Cheddar or a nice strong cheese, crumbed
- salt and pepper to season
- Toast or roast the nuts and add them to a bowl, Slice the sprouts and add them to the bowl, squeeze lemon juice onto them along with the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Slice the apple directly into the bowl and then add the crumbled cheese. Toss and serve.
Post Script and Hello!
I’d like to say a collective sorry – Life has been busy and I haven’t been around in blogland for a while. I realise that I have so much to catch up on, all the wonderful comments left on my blog need responding to and of course I need to make some time to come and visit you – actually need is the wrong word, I WANT to. I LOATHE not having the time to respond to comments or catch up on your worlds, but I do get there eventually and when I do I LOVE it! You know how it is, sometimes life gets in the way – but you know that don’t you! TTFN 🙂
- All about Brussels (promenadeplantings.com)