As a lover of all vegetables and bitter flavours, I found myself confounded at the Christmas table by my indifference to the little Brussels sprout. 'Three please,' I muttered as the serving dish came my way (wrinkled nose, pout) ... but why?
Then last Christmas, I was holed up in a picturesque country house with a well-stocked kitchen, loads of recipe books, and many willing participants. I decided to cook my way through that indifference and beyond. A couple of favourites emerged from that sojourn – baked with blue cheese (thanks, Nigel) and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's festively flavoured salad. Later, in New Orleans, I ate them grilled with kimchi and buffalo wings – now you're talking!
For our Second Annual Pickle Competition, we'll be serving this little beauty – pickled Brussels and Bramley apple – atop sourdough bread, with walnut butter, slow-roasted pork and sour cream. Plus, of course, homemade beer.
Pickled Brussels sprouts with Bramley apple
Once you've made your pickle, leave it for at least four days before serving; a week or more, and your veggies will be full of flavour. This pickle should keep for about a month.
Ingredients: 225ml boiling water; 125ml white balsamic vinegar; 6 tablespoons sugar; 2.5 teaspoons sea salt; 25ml rice vinegar; 300g thinly sliced Brussels sprouts; 2 Bramley apples, sliced into 3mm moons;
- Combine the water, sugar, vinegar and salt in a mixing bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Pack prepared vegetables and fruit into a little container; pour over the brine and refrigerate.
- To serve, drain the desired amount of pickled veg, and mix with sour cream and mustard.