I know that for some, the sprout is the work of the devil. Me, I love them. And as the evenings begin to lighten, I know they're not going to be around for a whole lot longer, so I bagged a few at the weekend. Last night I felt like some comfort food, so after a nose in the fridge, I came up with a Cheesey Sprout Squeak for supper.
First, select your brassicas: a few sprouts and some shredded spring greens was what I had to hand. For mash, I boiled some potatoes with chunks of swede. Then I pushed them through my trusty potato ricer and added a grating of nutmeg and a dollop of butter. While the roots were cooking, I grated a good handful of Keen's chedder. And put the sprouts on to boil, adding the spring greens when the sprouts were nearly done. Once they're drained, they joined the mash.
I was being really lazy with the cheese sauce - just a tub of single cream brought to the boil, taken off the heat and the cheese stirred in. Lazy but effective. A hard-boiled egg is another thing I love, and a good companion to squeak and cheese sauce.
The egg nestled into the squeak, ready for the cheesey topping. Over goes the sauce and into an oven, gas mark 5, for 20 minutes or so.
Then out of the oven for a soothing plateful.
I'd made more mash than I need on purpose: tonight's supper is a variation on Lindsey Bareham's matar aloo tikki from In Praise of the Potato, a wonderful book.
Add a couple of desert spoonfuls of plain flour to the mash and fork in to combine. In a frying pan, heat a little groundnut oil or ghee and add:
something alliumy - about half a shredded leek or a couple of chopped spring onions
110g frozen peas
2 tbs dessicated coconut
1/2 tsp chilli powder (more if you like it hot)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garum masala
1/2 tsp paprika
When this has cooked for around five minutes, take it off the heat and add the juice of a lemon and some chopped coriander leaves. Now you can go two ways: either add the pea mixture to the mash and mix to combine, or, more daringly, take the mash and shape it into an egg-shaped ball. Poke a hole into the ball and carefully spoon in the pea mix. I took the lazy route again, and just made my mash/pea mix into rissole shapes, then turned them in semolina to coat.