Tuesday, 19 March 2013

brussel sprout bubble and squeak

Busy busy busy- I feel I have been overclocked since this year began. Before was the single minded charge to pulse laser deposit a film (didn't happen) by the visit to KAUST and now I need to start thinking about conjuring something up for the Early Stage Assessment to show that I'm not all faff. Even more than that, I really need some preliminary results for when I head over to MIT for a week in the summer. I am just a little excited about this excellent opportunity and have my good God to thank for it, but not quite as delighted over having to drag my sodden self through the rain to college last Sunday night to pop some samples into the furnace.

A little comforting is in order in the form of blogging and while it does feels a little odd posting something that was made three months ago, going through my photos of food and recounting the 'good stressy' that went into making it is my little treat to savour. Also, given that the weather now is comparable to that over Christmas, this recipe fits pretty well with the prolonged winter chill as a nice homey addition to any meal.

As I may have mentioned before, the unwelcome intrusion of brussel sprouts at our Christmas meal has always been deemed a poorly conceived Christmas tradition to be tolerated. In her attempts to persuade her staunchly declining family to consume it, my mum would extol its nutritional virtues while bravely gulping down a few heads. Nevertheless, the sprouts would soon after be quickly relegated to the end of the table where they would remain untouched for the rest of the meal.

Last year, however, I was given full presidence of the kitchen for Christmas day and was determined to give the sprouts their moment of acceptance. Frying them with bacon and flaked almonds the year before still wasn't quite enough to endure the sprouts to us. So, this year I thought bubble and squeak. Actually, I  thought of every single cabbage containing recipe I liked, latched on to okonomiyaki and then trained it down to sprouty bubble and squeak, and there you have it.

I  spent a lifetime trimming off the stem and the nasty bitter outer leaves of the sprouts. Even though I wasted a prodigious number of leaves and the better part of Christmas day I had lovely sweet and vibrant green sprout leaves in the bubble and squeak that my family gobbled. Having spent all that time preparing the leaves, I couldn't bring myself to the effort of grating and wringing the potatoes, besides which my family were braying for food by then. So I just boiled what potatoes were at hand and mashed it up. This also explains the lack of decent photos- trying to prod mounds of potatoes into a more attractive arrangement under horrible stove-top lights and handling a camera with potato-ey fingers, all the while with hungry breaths down my neck, is a tricky thing to do.

6 new potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed                     500g brussel sprouts

4 rashers of smoked bacon         

  • Remove the outer leaves of the sprouts, halve, stem and chop halves into thirds (or just chop them up as you will)- you will probably lose half of it.
  • Chop the bacon rashers into squares and sizzle off in a dry hot pan until crispy and brown, and the fat has rendered off.
  • Throw in the sprouts and give it a quick stir fry until the leaves are just cooked and still a wonderful light green (as in my pic =P).
  • Mix the mash with the bacon and sprouts, season to taste, and shape into small patties. You could also lump it all into one giant disc as a bubble and squeak ought to be, but why not maximize on fried surface area?
  • Heat up a pan with a tablespoon or two of oil, depending on whether your pan is non-stick or not.
  • When the oil is hot, fry off your patties over a high heat. They are already cooked, and probably still warm, so you really just want to brown it off and heat it back up to piping.

A note on the bacon: I had the poor fortune once to have to resort to lowest grade (i.e. 'value') bacon while cooking under budget for church. The amount of brine that oozed from the meat as I let it sit in a hot pan was appalling. My bacon wasn't frying at all, it was boiling! It took a good slug of oil in place of what ought to be scrumptious bacon fat to get things going. I guess most of you are rolling your eyes as if it were the most obvious thing, but to actually see the poor quality of the meat like this was disquieting.

This blog will be moving to a new, more appropriately named, domain soon: www.feeding-times.com.
Updates soon to come!

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