Heavenly Brussels sprouts and brownies
Do you ever have that moment when you come home and you know exactly what you want for dinner, and nothing else will do the job?
The other day, I knew - knew - that I wanted a bowl of fried kale, red pepper, and carrot with garlic and ginger, topped with salt-and-pepper pan-fried tofu.
It was just what I was craving - a rich irony hit of kale, some smoky sweetness from the red pepper, and a crown of light crisp tofu. I got home and made it from pan to plate in about 15 minutes - it was tasty and speedy, so it went right to the top of my love list!
I was so desperate to shove this down my neck, I had but a few seconds to take a snap on my phone before I wolfed it down. This'll give you the idea:
I don't know about you, but there are days when I just want a bit of food that I can stick in the oven and forget about, and still have a decent meal when it's done. I mean, I love cooking, but sometimes (after a full day at work and then an evening at college studying hard science) it's all a bit much for me.
Luckily, the folk that bring my veg box also sell a load of other stuff like bread, pickles and all that farm shop kind of jazz. I spotted the other day that among their standard offerings, they also sell vegan Cornish pasties. Vegans being the naturally curious type, I thought I'd give it a go.
Behold, the spicy lentil pasty:
I think what I liked most about this was the fact it was huge. And I mean HUGE. It was the size of a toddler's head huge. (Yep, I'm sorry, I'm a simple creature. The only thing that's better than good food is lots of good food.)
The other thing I liked about it was it managed to combine lots of good healthy stuff (lentils, split peas, veggies, and lots of spices) with a whacking great blanket of pastry. I tried to restore the balance with a carrot, beetroot, and pumpkin seed salad. Nothing with salad on the plate can be unhealthy, I'm pretty sure.
Back to the homemade stuff, and I got to try out a new version of an old favourite: brussels sprout tops! Yes, they're exactly what they sound like: brussels sprout tops are the leafy bits of everyone's favourite Christmastime staple. I love a good helping of brussels on my plate, whether it's the 25th of December or not. I'd never tried seen the tops on sale before though, so when I saw bunches being flogged off for almost nothing at the local market, I wanted to give them a go.
So what are brussels sprouts tops actually like? Really nice! They're brussels-y in flavour but nice and robust, sort of like spring greens. I wanted to use them up in something where their strong taste wouldn't be masked, so I fried them off with a bit of soy sauce and some shiitake mushrooms.
The result: I'm still having good thoughts about those brussels sprouts tops. If you see any at your market, I reckon you need to get your wallet out.
And keeping on with the readymade vs homemade theme, here's something that's normally readymade that I mocked up at home: