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:

Yep, all you people that keep mentioning all the fun stuff you find at Trader Joe's have driven me to make edamame hummus. We don't have that chain here, but I remember dropping into one a few times when I was last in the US, and buying up a lot of its edamame hummus. Now, I'm the other side of the Atlantic and I don't have a Trader Joe's near me, and I still need edamame hummus.

Luckily, it didn't take more than a couple of minutes (find stuff, chuck stuff in food processor, process) to make, and the end result was, if not a Trader Joe's level of excellence, then certainly still a good mouthful. I used in it wraps for a few days, and one of my colleagues commented on how good it smelled. Take that Trader Joe's!

And it wouldn't be a Flicking the Vs post if there wasn't a portion of vegan cake to end on, and this post is no exception - behold, a brownie from Cookies and Scream in Camden. 

Working out who makes the best vegan cake in London is something that keeps me up at night but after this massive slab of chocolaty wonder, I'm going to have to give the crown to Cookies and Scream. Not only do they do cakes, if you can get yourself down to their stall, you can try out their shakes, bars, and occasionally donuts.

Not pictured: a great big cookie I troughed down before I could take a picture. 


  1. Wow, I had no idea Brussels even HAD tops, let alone that you could eat them. Interesting. The edamame hummus looks great. I have some frozen edamame in the freezer, maybe I should do that too.

  2. Oh, I so know what you mean about having an idea to eat and then making exactly that. Fortunately, it usually tastes as good as you hope. Those dishes look scrumptious as usual.

  3. I'm impressed you got dinner on the table in 15 minutes. :-) Sometimes it takes me at least 15 minutes to figure out what's in the fridge to make dinner. Didn't even know brussels sprouts tops was a thing, it sure looks good though. Good job making your own edamame hummus! Can you believe I haven't tried it yet and there's plenty of Trader Joe's around me. I've got to get on it. :-)

  4. That lentil pasty! I haven't had a pasty in ages. Now I am really hungry after reading your post. I think I might still find some brussel sprouts at the store at the moment. You've instilled a craving in me now.

  5. Hell yes, this bowl sounds so good tonight for dinner! I love fried everything from greens to tofu. Now it needs some sriracha (jk)! Oh my, that’s a massive pastie…but I’m happy with big pasties..they look hearty, filling and pretty tasty though! I like the brussels sprout top idea…the topping looks so pretty! I haven’t tried TJ’s edamame hummus yet…glad your homemade version turned out fabulous!

  6. I love those moments when I know exactly what I want, and make it, and it hits the spot :)

    Also, I've been thinking about making the journey up to Cookie and Scream for a few weeks, and now I am convinced it's worth it. That's the only downside about being spoilt for vegan choices in London - I get fussy about having to travel more than 30 minutes!

  7. I looooove food that I can just stick in the oven! I love to cook too, but I think I might love eating more. Sometimes a whole bunch of doing stuff just to get to the eating will just not do. A giant ready made pasty sounds perfect :). We don't eat them here really, but that should change.

  8. Oh, Cookies & Scream! I torture myself by following them on IG.
    I'm so confused by the sprout tops. The only way I've seen them sold in the US is loose or on stalks: never with tops. They look great!

  9. Well, you got me with brussels sprout tops — I've never seen them. I can sometimes get brussels sprouts still on the stem, but I've never seen the tops. I suppose I'd have to grow my own if I wanted some. What I really want right now is one of those pasties!


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