Of all the foods that I detest most, the Brussels sprout has to be up there at the top of the list, along with beetroot and fresh coriander. I don’t care how people dress it up. You can sauté it with hand-reared, milk-fed pancetta or stuff it with the finest Iranian caviar for all I care but it’s still a disgusting vegetable. And I’m not the only person who thinks so. I only know one person who enjoys eating these wind-inducing, foul smelling, soggy little brassicas… and that’s my father! And why do we hate sprouts? Well, it’s all down to a chemical with a sulphorous stench called glucosinolate sinigrin, which is released when sprouts are overcooked.
However, despite being universally despised, two British women are trying to rehabilitate the humble sprout with a cookbook devoted solely to Brussels’ finest. Deborah Kershaw and Rachel Peck’s book is devoted to the vegetable and features recipes for bubble and squeak and sprouts masala to a cake with sultanas and coconut. And get this… the book includes a recipe for sprout ice cream. Yes…sprout ice cream. Frankly I can’t imagine anything worse except for, perhaps, hamster fricassee.
The authors of the book met each other when their daughters were being treated for cancer at a hospital in Sheffield. Unfortunately, Deborah’s daughter Laruen, who loved sprouts, didn’t make it through her treatment so proceeds from the book will be donated to the hospital. Deborah and Rachel’s recipe book, Once A Sprout, Always A Sprout . . . Or Maybe Not? is available online for £5 from www.forestschoolsblog.com
Anyway, I thought I’d ask you, dear readers, if you consider sprouts to be a good thing and if anyone out there with the energy and wherewithal might be willing to make some sprout ice cream and then report back to let us know if it’s a flavour to rival vanilla. If you’re interested in giving it a whirl then here’s the recipe...
• 175g sprouts
• 600ml single cream
• 2 large eggs
• 100g caster sugar
• 1/2tsp vanilla extract
Blend the sprouts and 100ml of cream until smooth. Heat 300ml cream, two egg yolks and the sugar to a custard-like texture, then leave to cool. Once the mixture is cold, stir in the sprout mixture, vanilla extract and the remaining cream, then place in an ice cream maker. Begin the freezing process, then whisk the egg whites until fluffy and add to the mixture.