Christmas dinner to me spells the appearance of two vegetables that I associate with the festive season, but they then tend to disappear again by the time New Year approaches. I was not keen on Brussel sprouts nor parsnips as a kid, but have grown to like them a bit more over time. However neither a well boiled Brussel, nor a parsnip burnt to a crisp are top of my list things I would reach for when looking for a vegetable to go on my dinner plate.
Recipe No.1 – Parsnip mash
If you are like me and are not mad keen on parsnips try boiling them and mashing them like a spud and add some whole grain mustard. Just try it! It is a revelation.
Now the Brussel sprout recipe is a bit posh, but really better than soggy boiled sprouts.
Recipe No.2 – Brussels sprout, leek & pine nut purée
large knob of butter plus a dash of oil to stop the butter burning
a hand full of Brussels sprouts, very finely sliced
50 – 100 ml of chicken stock
a splash of cream
2-3 leeks, very finely sliced
salt and freshly ground black
pepper to taste
Place a large-bottomed saucepan on high heat. Add the oil first and then the butter and when the butter has melted and begins to foam add the Brussels sprouts. Stir continuously for at least 3 minutes with a wooden spoon. Then add the leeks and a bit more butter if you like and stir well as they cook down. Watch out though as the leeks can cook too quick if they are not stirred well.
You can dry roast the pine nuts (see below) in a non-stick frying pan whilst the sprouts and leeks are cooking.
Add the stock, place a lid on the saucepan and leave to steam for 2-3 minutes. Add the cream and stir, cover and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until the leeks are wilted and the sprouts are soft.
Place all in a blender, season with salt and pepper, and purée until smooth (if it’s sticking, add a little more liquid – chicken stock, cream or water). Cool down rapidly to retain the pale green colour and refrigerate until required.
25g of roasted pine nuts
Reheat the Brussels sprout purée in the microwave or a saucepan until hot then fold in the pine nuts that you roasted earlier.
This recipe is a twist on one I found at cusine.co.nz
I can sometimes come out with these one liners in public that can be toe curlingly embarrassing for those that are with me. For example on Christmas Eve at the Coop I was checking out my shopping and packing it in carrier bags when the girl on the till asks “What is this?” as she holds up a butternut squash.
“Vegetarian chicken” I reply giving my best attempt at totally dead pan face. I winked at the ATC cadet who was helping with the packing for charity as the girl swallowed the bait.
After 30 seconds of searching on her screen for the product code the teenage girl twigged and just gave me one of those looks over the rims of her glasses – pure distain. Good times!
Saturday Morning July 16th.
I refuse to be a doping cheat. My shallots are going to be baby talc free in The Lee Village Flower Show Vegetable Class 23 Open Section today. I am no drug cheat, although talc is still used to buff up most bulbs.
The weather has been rotten for the show today, but my shallots have been entered and staged in a tent that hopefully has not blown away in the gales. I am slightly concerned that I will be marked down on uniformity compared to the ones I see on the net – the ones I have exhibited look proper rubbish. I only entered the shallot class very last minute as my spuds were so poor this year.
We go back to find I have nailed not only the Visitors Veg section, winning the 1st prize of £1 and a certificate with RED type but I have scooped the Visitors Cup (by default, but a win is a win!). The cup is a huge lump of silver wear and looks the doggies swingers! I am stunned! Rather unfortunate choice of T-shirt too as I go up to receive my award.
I am growing vegetables again this year and I took some snaps of them as they do look quite good to me. I mucked about with a program called SLIDE and put the pictures of a few beans, carrots etc in a slide show. This show I then posted on the Blog via a link labelled Veg Porn. The link appears on my VIDs links, but you would not know as I did not publicise this. I did not think that it was worth announcing.
Now the thing about WordPress is it shows you stats about your Blog. How many hits you get, on what pages, where the person came from to get to your Blog eg. via a Facebook posting of mine – it is all there to see. You do not see who visits you, but you get told how they got to you basically.
Well I can say now that my slide show was clicked on first by one crazy dude, as they got there from a Google search for “Veg Porn”!
I am not joking, this is no wind up!
You can get help for that is all I say.
A small step in the preparation for the veg show in Aylesbury in September.
It has been held back by halo blight breaking out in the climbing french beans.