As someone who loves vegetables lots now, but absolutely hated them as a kid, I really feel for any child miserably pushing boiled sprouts around their plate on Christmas Day. Children sometimes get such a baptism of fire with vegetables, being faced with them in their most simple, and offensive state.
What a lot of parents don’t realise is, vegetables really taste differently to children. Babies and small children are very sensitive to bitter tastes. So whilst I enjoy a plate of lightly steamed broccoli (even raw broccoli with hummus floats my boat), to a kid that same meal is a bitter nightmare. I learned when my son was small that if I cooked his green veg (spinach and broccoli mainly) in milk it seemed to draw out the bitter flavour or at least lessen it.
I’m not recommending you serve all your vegetables like these sprouts as they are a pretty decadent side dish, but if you have a fussy kid like I was, try to fancy up your veg and serve it with some added flavours and interest to see if your kids might give them a go.
These creamy sprouts always get rave reviews and unless I make them my son says a sprout will not pass his lips.
In this recipe I halve my sprouts. I find that the shape is better coated with the delicious sauce – also it makes them look less “sprouty” which always helps as kids eat with their eyes.
350g sprouts, halved, nasty leaves removed
1 large leek, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Tablespoon of butter
1 beef stock cube
150ml double cream
Salt and pepper
4 rashers streaky bacon, cooked til crisp
Steam the sprouts until al dente (depending on the size the time will vary!)
Add butter to a large pan
Fry leeks for a few minutes, add garlic and crumble beef stock cube. Add a little bit of water if the pan is getting dry.
Add in sprouts, stir in cream. Stir on a low heat so cream doesn’t boil.
Season with salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg.
Served topped with crumbled crispy bacon