Memories of Brussels

Sprouts… that is.

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Brussels are a bit like Marmite… you either like them, or you putridly despise the little green critters made up of delicate leaves of bitterness. I love them. I love them for two reasons; 1. They taste pretty darned good and 2. They remind me of my father. In fact, everytime I have one, I’m reminded of why I made myself like them (and eventually grow to love them) in the first place.

Growing up on the east coast of Canada, brussels were never really anything that I’d seen before, let alone tasted. My father however, having grown up in the UK was an avid fan of this little tightly bound bundle of greenery cuisine. My mother never liked them, so she never cooked them. Until one evening…

The familiar “Try it before you say you don’t like it” made its way across the table when we were presented with them. Because Mum never liked them, we would be able to get away without eating them if we didn’t like them. Paul, my older brother went first. His face was a picture as his expressions changed from hesitation, to downright disgust. But me, knowing how much my father loved them, and knowing how much everyone else hated them, gave them a good chance to convince me they were actually palatable. As odd as this might sound, I actually looked at it as a way to share something with my dad. We weren’t the closest growing up, and I thought if we could just share some little thing that we both enjoyed, it would be a victory for me. So I tried them. And they were disgusting. Crap. This was going to complicate my evil plan. But I ate them and lied through my teeth and said they were delicious! These tiny mini cabbages as I called them, were straight from Satan’s backside as far as I was concerned.  But… Dad loved them. So I would love them too.  Mind over matter, I suppose.

Something happened along the way growing up and I actually started to enjoy them. In fact, as I type this, I can say they are probably my favourite dinner vegetable. Go figure, eh?

As it turned out, they didn’t bring my father and I closer and our tumultuous relationship continued on for a few more years. It wasn’t until I moved out of the family home that we actually found ourselves in a new and perfect relationship, the one I had wanted all my childhood life. Go figure again, eh? But I’m ok with that. We got there in the end, no thanks to brussel sprouts.

I think my dad would have liked this recipe… Thanks for reading! And enjoy!

Brussels & Almonds

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500g fresh brussels sprouts, outer dodgey leaves removed

75g butter

1/2 onion, chopped (red or white, or a combination of both!)

Salt and Pepper

Dash of lemon juice

30g toasted slivered almonds

Steam (or parboil) brussels for 3-5 minutes until bright in colour and nearly cooked.
Immediately place in a bowl of cold water to help them keep their colour and to stop the cooking process.

Cut brussels in half.

Sauté onion in half of the butter until translucent.

Add remaining butter along with halved brussels and finish cooking, taking care to not over-cook.

Remove from heat and stir in a splash of lemon juice and half of the almonds.

Salt and pepper to taste and garnish with remaining almonds.

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