Tag Archives: pine nuts

Recipe: Spicy Sprouts


I had a first last week. I sent a dish back at a restaurant. The first time in my life that I’ve ever had to do that. I’m not going to name the restaurant because they didn’t quibble and took the dish off the bill so I have no complaints about the service. The dish was a mexican take on brussels sprouts. The problem was that sprouts aren’t a traditional mexican dish and in any case the chef cooking them didn’t know how to cook sprouts. For anyone reading this, rolling whole sprouts around in a hot pan for a few minutes will not cook them. They were warm, but like bullets.

This irritated me, because it could have been a nice dish. I determined to try my own version with heat and citrus notes but where the sprouts were actually cooked. I’m pretty pleased with it. And, considering that sprouts aren’t as strong-flavoured as they used to be, you could also make this with shredded spring greens to get that slightly bitter tang.

This is a side-dish, but if you wanted to make it more substantial, a bit of feta wouldn’t go amiss. You could also swap out the pine nuts for chopped hazelnuts as well.

spicy sprouts photo DSCN1736_zps4c0788d4.jpg

250g brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/2 green chilli, chopped
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
Juice 1/2 lemon

Blanch the sprouts in boiling water for 3-5 minutes.
Drain and set to one side.
Heat some oil in a medium hot frying pan.
Add the chilli and garlic and fry for a minute.
Add the sprouts to the pan and cook until the sprouts take on some colour and are tender.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with the pine nuts and lemon juice sprinkled over.

Serves 2 as a side dish


Recipe: Pasta with chargrilled peppers, pine nuts and feta


I’m a fairly unpicky vegetarian, but I do draw the line at sun-dried tomatoes. After all, who wants to eat shoe leather? At one point it was all you ever seemed to find on restaurant menus. Now goat’s cheese is the new black (and at least edible!)

So I adapted this recipe from one a friend used to make. Come to think of it, her version had broccoli in as well as sun-dried tomatoes. I love broccoli, but oddly enough, not with pasta very much. So I went off and started fiddling.

I’m always on the look-out for dryer pasta sauces, given I’m not fussed about creamy ones, and sometimes get a bit bored with tomato-based sauces.

I like peppers a lot. I was a lazy minx and used half a jar of chargrilled peppers that I happened to have in the cupboard. And some of the oil from them loosened up the final dish.

If you’re vegan, you could certainly put the broccoli back in and omit the feta.



Serves 2

Clove of garlic, chopped finely

Small red chilli, chopped finely

Tbsp of toasted pine nuts

Chargrilled red and yellow peppers, cut into bite-sized chunks

Feta cheese

Black pepper

Penne pasta


Cook the pasta. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan. Once they’re done, set them aside and add a dash of olive oil to the pan. Warm the garlic and red chilli through, but don’t let them colour. It’s up to you whether you warm the peppers through as well, or whether you use them straight from the jar. I tend to warm them slightly. Crumble the feta, then add everything to the pasta and mix well. Serve with plenty of black pepper.