How to Serve Brussels the Fun Way: Hemsley+Hemsley Sprout Pops Recipe

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The new book Good + Simple by the super glamorous Hemsley sisters has popped onto my desk and the first page I opened it on had me squealing with glee. It’s a recipe for Coconut Roasted Sprout Pops with Gomashio.

Yeh, yeh, forget the coconut and Gomashio bit – they’re basically doing sprouts on sticks – joy oh joy oh joy (repeat ad infinitum).

white plate full of chargrilled brussels sprouts on sticks from Hemsley & Hemsley

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I’m not sure why this has pleased me so much other than it’s another option when it comes to eating a veg that is seriously good for you.

Why Brussels Sprouts are a Superfood

Brussels Sprouts are from the same family of vegetables as kale, cauliflower and broccoli. Known as brassicas, or cruciferous vegetables, and when it comes to the healthy veggie awards these guys are up there winning prize after prize.

For starters, they are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, potassium, omega 3 fats and vitamin K which is essential for bone health – and vascular health. This stuff is so powerful, it was even suggested recently that consuming it regularly could be linked to a longer life.

Adding to that longevity benefit is the fact that Brussels Sprouts contain an ingredient called sulforaphane.

This has been shown to aid the body’s natural detoxification pathways (the real ones that get proper nasties out of your body – not the made-up one with ridiculous teas that claim to help you do it).

It’s also been shown to potentially protect against changes in the cells of the body that lead to cancer – and, if tumours do form, the presence of sulforaphane seems to slow down their growth.

And it’s not me saying this – it’s legitimate, respected cancer scientists.

Making Sprouts Tasty

I’m aware that sprouts are a love-hate thing.

Personally, I have a sprouty sweet spot – if they aren’t cooked enough I can’t bear them, if they’re too mushy I’m not a fan.

My patented sprout cooking technique involves me seeing if I can cut them with a spoon – the point when I can just do it is the right point for me. (NB: This is why no-one is offering me a cookbook deal any day soon).

Anyway, the Hemsley’s are also sprout fans but the reason they do have a cookbook deal is that they can impart useful bits of advice like the difference it makes if you try roasting sprouts  in coconut oil saying

“The natural sweetness of the coconut counterbalances any bitterness in the sprouts – while the roasting process sweetens it further with some light caramelisation.”

In other words – coconut oil makes sprouts yummy! On top of that, the method to make Sprout Pops couldn’t be easier…

  1. You need to start heating the oven to fan 200C/Gas Mark 7.
  2. Now, put a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large roasting tin and place that the oven so the oil can melt.
  3. Prepare the sprouts by cutting off the thickest part of the stalk at the end. Then remove any loose outer leaves and any brown or yellow ones.
  4. Carefully, lift the roasting tin from the oven and gently add the sprouts. The oil will be extremely hot so be careful not to splash yourself. Using a spatula, carefully toss the sprouts so they are all covered in the hot oil.
  5. Roast for 30 minutes, then check on them. Remove any sprouts that are starting to caramelise. Then, carefully, stir the remainder and roast for a further 3-5 minutes.
  6. You then serve them in a dish with cocktail sticks, spear each sprout with a stick and dip them in your condiment/dip of choice

What Exactly is Gomashio?

In the Hemsley’s case, they suggest using gomashio which is a Japanese condiment made from ground sesame seeds and salt which gives the sprouts a yummy crunchy coat rather like savoury sprinkles.

You can make this yourself by simply grinding toasted sesame seeds with a little sea salt – or, you can buy it ready-made.

You’ll find it in specialist Japanese supermarkets (like Japan Centre)

Or brands like Biona also do their own version. Click here to order it to be delivered.

Biona does sell in the US, but the product is pretty expensive so you might want to check out brands like Eden. See here for that one if you’re reading this in the US. 

If you can’t get hold of this, you could also use a little parmesan cheese, steak seasoning, garlic butter, salsa, sour cream or whatever it takes to get you eating the sprouts and using the sticks.

If you really hate sprouts, you might be a supertaster – have a look at what that means, and how to work with it here.

Why You Need Good + Simple on Your Bookshelf

But it’s not just the sticky sprouts that I like about the book. The premise of Good+Simple is that good food doesn’t have to be complicated – and, as the sprout recipe shows, they’re definitely fulfilling the brief.

I admit there’s still a lot of ingredients in a lot of the recipes, but they’ve really pushed the boat out when it comes to creating some intriguing ideas.

I’ve spotted a porridge made from butternut squash, pancakes made from chestnut flour (what the heck is chestnut flour? – I thought I knew this stuff), scrambled eggs with lime, beetroot mash, an amazing looking celeriac and kale carbonara and even a healthy fish finger coated with almonds.

Well done ladies – I admit that most of the healthy cookbooks that have plopped on my desk recently have looked lovely but have also felt like ‘same ideas, same ingredients, different person on the cover’ – but you’ve impressed me and that takes some doing…..Now, I just need to get my butt in the kitchen and actually make some of the yumminess myself.

If you want to find the full recipe, it’s on pages 94-95 of the new Hemsley and Hemsley book Good + Simple out now and published by Ebury Press. If you like the sound of it, click to check out prices and availability.

Oh – and if you’re looking for something else intriguing to do with Brussels Sprouts, then how about juicing them….I know, I know, but trust me – it was good. Click here to see what happened when I tried it.

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