Thursday, 24 December 2009

For the love of sprouts

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

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.


  1. Sprouts - I agree, though I usually buy a stem to decorate by running tinsel up the spirals which demonstrates Fibonacci numbers (Now that is a geeky Christmas)
    Corainder - I share the gene that makes it taste vile and soapy.
    Beetroot - pickled, pure heaven!
    Have a Happy Christmas

  2. Brussels sprouts are good for you; they're low fat and they're nifty.
    If you eat a dozen every day, you'll grow up strong and thrifty.
    They have the stuff your body needs, to keep you fit and loose.
    So eat up all your brussel sprouts; their taste is no excuse.

  3. Nothing wrong with the good old Brussels sprout in my opinion!
    Being Dutch, I love all veg except green beans and mangetout as they can get stringy. My parents used to make a stew with dried green beans (a local dish from the times when not everybody had a freezer) - YUK.

    Best wishes for a Happy Christmas and good health in the New Year.


  4. Has to be one of my favorite green veggies along with Kale.
    But they have to be cooked just right not soggy and waterlogged. I'm sure its the memories of school dinners that put most people off them and if cooked properly you dont suffer afterwards!!
    didnt i hear somewhere this week that theres going to be a shortage of them because of the weather?.
    coriander i cannot stand tastes like soap!

  5. Not sure about willing to try sprouts' ice cream: but I don't like vanilla, either!! Flavours I like: coffee, hazelnut, chestnut, carrubo, torrone, pumpkin seed, papaver seed, chocolate, pistacchio, almond, to name but a few.
    Vegetables I like, albeit not in the form as icecream: leeks, carrots, peas, caramelized white cabbage, red cabbage, milk fermented cabbagge, szegedin cabbage, sarme, paprikas, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, lentils, onions, garlic, parsley, asparagus, pumpkin, zucchini, melanzane, cucumber, chick peas, chestnuts, cauilflower, broccoli, beans, sweetcorn, spinach, nettles, wild garlic, daisies, olives. I eat brussels sprouts, but only about once or twice a year. I can also do without lettuce. It's a good think that there are so many good things growing around and giving such a vast choice! Merry Christmas! Barbara (Styria)

  6. I love sprouts even more then peas, but not as ice cream.
    Merry Christmas!

  7. I've had my fill of peas this year.

  8. sprouts are lovely when only just cooked. try chopping them up and frying with chopped bacon and mixed herbs

  9. I'm scarred for life thanks to my mother cooking me sprouts when I was little. She used to steam the bejesus out of them so they stank, and there was no butter/bacon/yummy stuff to disguise their taste. I used to peel all the leaves off so there was a little pile of them left on my dinner plate, then sneakily scrape the whole lot into the bin.

  10. Sprouts are my children's absolute favourite - honestly! My 15-year old boy cannot get enough of the things. We all love them and are having lots and lots tomorrow....


  11. Kev & Linda,Tenerife24 December 2009 at 17:32

    Iam with you on this one Sprouts should be banned under Health and saftey gounds. Anything that can induce such an oder before it been eaten isn't good. My loverly wife has been waiting all year to get them over here it's the only time the shops get them (thank god)
    Have a great Christmas and a hospital free new year.
    Kevin, Tenerife

  12. Sprouts. The Devil's testicles.

  13. I like them - really nice stir fried. Sadly my teenage boys do not like them :-( Hope you have a very merry christmas and a happy and healthy new year, the emphasis being on healthy

  14. The devil's testicles!!! Love it.
    Come on someone, make that damned ice cream.. and tell us... did it make you fart?

  15. I don't think I am brave enough to try the icecream but do you think the sprouts are cooked first or raw ?

  16. I love sprouts, but I don`t think they were meant to be added to ice cream somehow..!!

    Good tip if you suffer from heatburn, add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to your gravy, also stops you farting after eating sprouts.

  17. I love sprouts and beetroot but I'm with you on fresh coriander. I got to my sprouts and my partner's at Christmas dinner. My excuse for not making the ice cream is that I don't have an ice cream maker. There's only one real ice cream for me and that's vanilla!

  18. I DON"T THINK SO!!! Sprout ICE CREAM?? YUCK ... as icecream lover it gives me the goose bumps to even THINK of that!! Brrrrr ....

  19. I don't know about brussell sprout ice cream. Although I love to eat them I don't think as a desert they would be to good.

    You can't beat a good Canadian Maple Walnut ice cream anyway.

    Hope your New Year is a good one.


  20. I've only just found and started following your blog today and am reading through past posts with great amusement! Just wanted to say I loooooove sprouts, one of the tastiest and most fabulous veges ever. If I had an ice-cream maker I would so go there!