It’s the only time of year when eating, consuming and drinking in excess is acceptable. It’s hard to imagine that before we reached the 19th century, Christmas was seldom celebrated. Today its a huge affair, from Gingerbread Houses littering the cities of Germany, to the coffee and cake parties scattered across Greenland; Christmas is a time to celebrate.
For me, it’s always been about the food. Don’t get me wrong, as a child I would get butterflies in my tummy and a feeling of sheer happiness when I woke up and realised what day it was (despite the fact my older brothers used to wake me up in the middle of July and tell me it was Christmas…..I still never ceased to get excited). But, there was always food at the back of my mind; wheres my chocolate money at the end of my stocking? When will mum bring out the scrambled egg and salmon on toast? Can we have a left-overs sandwich with all the trimmings?
Now, this explains a lot – except for the fact I was just as tall laying down, as I was standing up, this fondness of food has led me to this blog today. Even when the realisation that Santa wasn’t real (catching my Mum and Dad forcing mince pies down their gob and breaking carrots in half to resemble Santa and Rudolf) I found a new love of Christmas, and it was the all important dinner.
I’d plan the menu in advance; i’d conjure up new and exciting ideas in how to make Brussels less like someone farted in your face; I’d lay the table down to precision, making Christmas Cocktails at 11 am (yep – early drinker) and I’d often help Dad serve the plates so they looked pristine.
Despite this love of food and constant striving to create new and exciting dishes, this year I am looking forward to be wined and dined. However, I am determined to share my recipe for Brussels Sprouts…. it’s the one vegetable that gets a lot of slack, so I think its about time these little balls of farts became an edible part of the Christmas Feast…enjoy!
Ingredients: 1 1/2 kg Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cleaned // 200g vacuum-packed chestnuts chopped into halves // 100g Palma Ham // 100g Bacon Lardons // 1 Red Onion, Finely Chopped // Small Knob of Butter // 1 tsp Honey // Salt & Pepper
Method: Heat oven before you start anything else to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and then add the sprouts and cook for 5 mins. Check with a sharp knife that they are half cooked – they should feel firm but easy for the knife to enter. Drain and set aside.
Toss the sprouts with all the other ingredients in a bowl and season – don’t go too heavy on the Salt as the bacon will provide a lot of taste. Tip the ingredients into a large baking tray in a single layer.
Place in the oven and roast for 30 mins, tossing halfway through, until the bacon is crispy and the sprouts are golden and tender.
Where to buy? If you are lucky enough to have a grocers near by grab all your veg for Christmas there – but all good supermarkets will sell sprouts and they’re really inexpensive.