Have you ever not liked something simply because… well, hardly anyone else liked it? Brussels sprouts was that thing for me. I just assumed I didn’t like Brussels sprouts because really, it’s not very often that you hear some one say “Mmm! Brussels sprouts! Yay!” Plus it probably doesn’t help that my Dad hates them. And really, it’s basically a requirement of childhood to say no to Brussels sprouts!
But I can’t really remember having tried them. I’m not a fan of cabbage so just assumed they would be like mini cabbages. Which I suppose they essentially are. One day Mr Monkey mentioned that he likes them and I mentioned that I sort of didn’t. He decided to cook them for me and I can see why he likes them! Anything tastes good when you cook it in heaps of butter!!
So when I gave Mr Monkey Heston Blumenthal’s new book, Heston Blumenthal At Home and saw that there was a recipe for Brussels Sprouts in there I knew I’d have to give them a try.
Of course, they can’t quite make up a meal by themselves so I had to find something else to cook as the “main” part of the dish. I’m a big fish lover so the Grilled Sea Bass with Vanilla Butter sounded divine. (I couldn’t get sea bass so used a different fish; I can’t remember which now but I just asked the fishmonger for a good substitute for sea bass).
I loooove vanilla. Fresh vanilla pods, yum! The little tubs of vanilla paste, oh. My. God. Vanilla scented candles, yes please!! And Mr Monkey and I are quite fond of trying new things and things that are a little “out there” so combining vanilla with fish wasn’t a big deal for me.
The vanilla butter is super easy to make (I used the vanilla paste which was very easy to combine with the butter) and tastes delicious! I had to new careful to ration how much I put on my fish because I could easily eat the whole amount. Unfortunately it got pushed to the back of the fridge after dinner and I forgot about it! I would’ve loved to see what else I could use it for. I’m sure it would be good for baking anything that needs butter and vanilla but I imagine it would be heaven on toast! I may just have to make some more to find out!
Heston gives great, straightforward instructions for cooking the fish and it turned out perfect and flaky.
The best part about the Brussels sprouts was the fact that you separate the leaves – it keeps them nice and fresh, they don’t become a gluggy mess and they are really appetizing. Of course, the butter and bacon don’t hurt either!
No, this isn’t the healthiest dish around but boy is it delicious! It would be great for small dinner parties when you can indulge a little.
I implore you to have a look at Heston Blumenthal At Home, it is a great addition to any home kitchen.
Please note that these are Heston Blumenthal’s recipes. I am not taking credit for these recipes at all.
Grilled Sea Bass with Vanilla Butter
- 1 whole smoked chicken, thinly shredded
- 150g chestnuts
- 1 Tbsp. of fresh thyme
- Oil of your choice
- 500g of your favourite pasta
- A handful frozen peas
- A handful Brussels sprouts, finely shredded
- 250ml light cooking cream
- Parmesan, to serve (optional)
- Roast chestnuts - score a cross in the shell making sure it goes through at least the first layer, so they do not explode. Roast in small batches of 5-6 nuts for 12-20 min at 200oC. Peel, while roasting the next batch.
- Once peeled place all nuts back in the oven for a few minutes to warm up. Then place in blender while still warm, with thyme and blend while slowly adding oil, until smooth.
- Cook pasta until al dente, adding peas and Brussels sprouts for the last 2-3 min of cooking. Strain and set aside to keep warm.
- Using a wooden spoon stir chestnut puree, cooking cream, and shredded chicken together.
- Mix pasta and vegetables with chicken sauce and serve.
Recipe adjusted from here
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 500g chicken tenderloins, halved
- 1 red capsicum, cut into 1.5 cm pieces
- 100g baby spinach
- 250ml PHILADELPHIA Tomato & Italian Herbs Cream For Pasta
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 250- 300g maccheroni or penne pasta, cooked and drained
- ½ cup roasted pinenuts
- Basil leaves, for garnish
- HEAT a little oil in a medium non stick frying pan and cook the chicken for 5-8 minutes or until golden. Remove and keep warm. Add a little extra oil and saute the capsicum for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach leaves and allow to wilt.
- STIR in the PHILLY and chicken. Season with pepper. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce has slightly thickened and chicken is heated through.
- PLACE the pasta into serving bowls then spoon over the sauce, sprinkle with pinenuts and basil. Serve immediately
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- 250gm butter
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tbsp milk
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 100ml Baileys
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 100gm 54% cocoa chocolate
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 tbsps corn flour
- Grease the ceramic casserole dish with 50gms of butter
- Make the sponge base by creaming the rest of the butter and sugar, add the vanilla
- seeds, orange zest and combine
- Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time
- Sift the coco powder, flour, baking powder and salt together and add to mixture. Finally
- add the milk and mix well.
- Fill a greased pudding mould with the batter
- Combine the sugar, cocoa and corn flour and sprinkle over the pudding
- Combine the baileys and chocolate with the boiling water, whisk to melt the chocolate
- and gently pour over the batter
- Bake the pudding at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes until golden and when skewered it
- comes out clean
- Serve dusted with icing sugar and double crème or vanilla ice cream
Recipe by Ben O'Donoghue thanks to #Fairy1Wash