Fruit and Nutty Brussels

Maybe I am fruity, maybe I am nutty, either way, I have never been a massive fan of Brussels Sprouts.

Considering that I am a vegetarian in the “porniest” sense of the word – meaning that I adore simply cooked dark green leafy garden delights, deep plummy aubergines seasoned and cooked slowly in a pan in sigh-inducing ‘drink-a-spoonful-of-it-at-bed-time’ Extra Virgin Olive Oil, creamy-white cauliflower steamed and tossed with a spoonful of toasted sesame seeds – and my ardent love of all things vegetable related, brussels… well they just never floated my boat, if you catch my drift.

Then came the adulthood culinary interest and the necessity to partake in the consumption of Brussels sprouts at least once a year for the festive christmassy season and on the holiest of days, and I figured that I had better find my own methodw of making this potentially heinous mini cabbage palatable, and so much to my mother’s delight, I grew to love brussels sprouts in my luxed-up way.

Once you have tried them cooked like this, you wont want to wait until christmas to have them again.

Artful mixing of sweet shop-bought sugared macadamia nuts, toasted salty caramelised naturally savory pistachios, and the juicy sharpness of sour cherries or cranberries make this a dinnertime favourite for any time of year . This recipe is quick, easy and dinner party impressive.

Serve with saffron  and milk poached turbot for maximum opulence, or with mashed potatoes,  and yummy veggie sausages smothered in home-made veggie onion and mustard gravy for a filling but healthy weekend dinner.

1 handful of sugared macadamia nuts
1 handful of semi-dry sour cherries/cranberries or green sultanas
2 handfuls of plain pistachio nuts, shelled
500g bag of fresh brussels sprouts
1 dessertspoonful of butter
1 dessertspoonful of olive oil
a drop of water for steaming

Remove any soft or yellowing outer leaves of brussels sprouts, slice a small amount of hard woody white base off of the brussels, and make a small score or incision into the hard white bottom part of the brussels. prepare all the sprouts in the same way and set aside.
Shell the nuts that have shells and lightly crush or batter with a rolling-pin or the back of a wooden spoon.
Preheat a frying pan to a medium heat, no oil, and when it starts to get hot add the macadamia and pistachios until they start to give off their lovely nutty toasted aroma, and the sugar from the macadamia dusting starts to get a bit golden. Remove pan from the heat, throw in the dried fruit and toss to get a nice golden warm sticky mixture. Set aside.

Put a small amount of water into the same pan (just enough to cover the bottom) over a medium to high heat and cover with a lid until boiling, when ready throw the brussels sprouts into the boiling water and re-cover. Allow the brussels to steam cook a little until they become vivid bright green and feel soft when prodded with the tip of  about 6 minutes.

When the water has been absorbed into the brussels, put the olive oil and butter into the brussels pan and gently toss to coat the brussels, season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

When the butter is melted and the brussels are thoroughly coated and still a little al-dente, remove the pan lid, throw in the toasted fruit and nutty mixture and toss again.

Serve hot straight to the table still in a pan.

Excellent use for any remaining portions, with a full english breakfast the next day, roughly chop any leftover fruit and nutty brussels and mix with a small amount of mashed potato, shape into burger type patties. Lightly fry in a small amount of olive oil or oven bake medium to high for 15 minutes. Serve with baked beans, fried eggs sunny side up, fried mushrooms and hot white buttered toast! Makes me want to scream yummy!


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