brussel sprouts



Our kids have been counting days till Christmas. In just a few days I will have several pots on the stove, both ovens on the go, sink full of dirty dishes and hopefully a glass of wine somewhere near. Following the Czech tradition I cook my main meal on Christmas Eve. This gives my children a taste of Czech Christmas and I get to do minimum cooking on Christmas Day.

Recently Daily Mail online posted an article on the healthiness of European Christmas dinners. The Czechs are proudly standing at number 2 surpassed only by France ( I think the use of foie gras calls for disqualifications). I do have reservation about the way this survey was conducted, but one thing I know for sure the Czechs do not stuff themselves silly on the day. Growing up our Christmas meal consisted of split pea soup (virtually fat free), breaded fried carp (special white sausages for my fish bone phobic Dad) and potato salad. For dessert we always had stewed apple compote with a few walnuts for a crunch. After dinner the homemade cookies would finally make an appearance (they are usually made a week ahead and nobody is allowed to have a crumb).

One thing that didn’t seem to feature on out table were vegetables (apart from few vegetables in the potato salad). Daily mail mentions sauerkraut but I don’t remember ever eating at Christmas. These days my Christmas fishless/turkeyless dinner has been adapted to feature both Czech and English elements. Split pea soup is a must but so are Brussels sprouts. Every year I try different ways to make Brussels interesting and this year I am going to cook them with walnuts.

The recipe below was a quick test batch that serves 3-4 but if you are feeding a crown do double or triple recipe (no need to triple the coconut oil of course). Serve hot straight from the pan. I can guarantee you will want to make these more than just at Christmas.


Easily doubled or tripled. Coconut oil doesn’t need to be tripled. For an oil free version add the garlic and walnuts to the brussels when they are softened, cook for couple of minutes. You will not get the golden brown colour but it will still taste delicious.

Serves 3-4

2 cups of small Brussels sprouts
2 tsp coconut oil
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped garlic
handful of walnuts (about 1/2 cup)
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Pull of any damaged leaves of the Brussels sprouts and halve them lengthways.
  2. Put the Brussels sprouts into a wok (or a deep frying pan) add enough water to barely cover them and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer till the sprouts are tender, about 8minutes. Most of the water should have evaporated by this time.
  3. Add 2 tsp coconut oil, the garlic and walnuts. The Brussels will start gently frying in the coconut oil. Cook till some of the Brussels turn golden brown.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and serve.



This week I was catching up on my post Christmas ironing, two back breaking sessions each lasting two hours! To make my job easier I watched some cookery shows on TV. Watching Nigella made me realised how much we have in common. No I do not indulge in pigs ears, deep fry bounty bars or have an obsession for alliteration.

Like Nigella, however, I am obsessed with food. I am obsessed with eating it, cooking it, writing about it, talking about it. I love discovering new flavours and ingredients (like the yellow carrots I bought today). Most of all, like Nigella, I love cooking for myself.

You won’t see me grabbing a quick sandwich or couple of Ryvitas for lunch. I believe it is not a waste of time to cook or prepare something delicious just for one. This is my me time, I love it. Of course not everybody has the time, that’s where batch cooking comes to its force, freezer full of stews and soups can ensure you have a nutritious meal when pressed for time. Even salads can be made ahead. Some keep really well even for a few days. Just don’t try to store tender leaves that have a dressing on.

Lunch for one can be a brilliant way to use up odds and ends from your fridge or pantry. Got some leftover rice, one lonely noodle nest or half a pepper in the fridge? Bits and bobs get my cooking mind going! Yesterday I found that lonely nest of noodles, some Brussel sprouts and a recipe idea was born. Delicious it was too! If you want, double it, triple it.... just maybe go easy on multiplying the curry paste, you don’t want it to blow your head off. I did fancy some edamame beans or just regular green beans, but my freezer was bare.... hence the peas. Can’t complain, they did taste great.


Beware that Thai red curry paste very often contains dried shrimp or fish sauce, if like me you want to avoid those, read the ingredients!

For 1

1/2 cup of light vegetable stock
1 small onion, thinly sliced
80g of flat Asian noodles (rice, wheat or buckwheat, whatever you have)
1-2 tsp vegan red curry paste (they very in heat)
1 cup of Kara coconut or other non dairy milk (not coconut milk from a can)
12 Brussel sprouts
couple handfuls of frozen peas, green beans or edamame
1 Tbs smooth peanut butter
juice of half a lime
handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)

  1. In a medium sauce pan heat the veg stock, add the onions and simmer till soften.
  2. In another medium sauce pan cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Rinse with cold water.
  3. While the onions are sauteing prepare your Brussels sprouts. Peel off any unappealing leaves of the sprouts, cut of the stalk end bit and halve them lengthways.
  4. Add the curry paste and coconut milk to the onions together with the Brussels sprouts.
  5. If using green beans or edamame add them now too.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook about 5 min or until the Brussels sprouts are tender.
  7. Now add the peas and peanut butter. Heat up together, the peanut butter should melt into the sauce.
  8. Add the cooked noodles, just heat them up.
  9. Turn off the heat and add the lime juice.
  10. Serve generously garnished with chopped coriander and an extra lime wedge.



Poor brussel sprouts, they have a very bad reputation, nobody seems to like them. They are only put on English tables at Christmas and that is only due to tradition. Everybody seems to blame them for after Christmas dinner flatulence (I guess nothing to do with the thousands of calories eaten in one setting). They are boiled to death, endured and quickly forgotten for another year.

Brussel sprouts do need an image change. I think they are rather pretty, mini little cabbages, green gems you could say. They definitely are nutritional gems. Powerful anticancer food, full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, they promote heart health, have anti-inflammatory properties and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. A lot of power in this small vegetable.

No, I am not expecting a major brussel sprout revolution, however they do deserve to be on our plates more often. Please give sprouts a chance.


Slicing the brussel sprouts thinly is a very clever way of preparation. Not only they cook very fast, but they do take on a whole new identity, you may even forget what you are eating. The apple juice counteracts any of the bitterness making this a very fresh and tasty side dish. Allow about 7-10 sprouts per person ( I am talking adults here), after all veg should be half of our plate.


40 brussel sprouts, discard any discoloured outer leaves and the stem, slice thinly
100 ml apple juice (preferably fresh juice, not from concentrate)
2 large apples, cut into matchsticks
handful of walnuts (can be toasted)

  1. In a sauce pan heat the apple juice, add the sliced sprouts, cover with a lid and cook gently for about 5 min. Test if tender enough for your taste.
  2. Add the apple and heat through.
  3. Mix in the walnuts and serve.