Mid-Day Open Thread

My Kiwi partner’s eldest daughter is an incredibly good cook, and started her own culinary blog not long ago, Cake For Breakfast. All the mouth-watering photos are her own, taken of dishes she’s made herself. Check out her recipes, you won’t be disappointed, and just as a ‘taste’ from her blog, here’s one we tried earlier and loved. So, gentle C&L readers and fellow foodies – have you got a favourite recipe to share?


Brussels sprouts, pear, bacon and hazelnut salad

This is the salad that changed my Brussels sprouts worldview. Prior to this, I thought they were okay in a nourishing-suppose-I-had-better-eat-them sort of way. Nowadays I actively seek out Brussels sprouts at the Sunday market. Combining seasonal neighbours Brussels sprouts and pears, this salad also vitally features bacon and hazelnut; I wouldn’t make this if I didn’t have these four ingredients. The balance of these four parts with a tangy, mustardy dressing is just so perfect.

This salad is a great quick weekday dinner, but it’s also good enough for special occasions; I made this for two of my favourite food-loving friends, and served it with a crunchy baguette. As a side note, I’ve also added steamed purple-skinned kumara (pumpkin) before, to bulk out the salad and counter the sautéed components.

For the salad:
 20 or so smallish Brussel sprouts, kept whole if they are little, halved if biggish
 salt & pepper
 4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
 2 pears, thinly sliced (squeezed with a bit of lemon juice to prevent discolouration)
 handful of hazelnuts
 chopped Italian parsley

For the dressing:
 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
 pinch flakey salt
 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
 juice of half a lemon

First off, toast the hazelnuts in a 160˚C oven for about ten minutes. Keep an eye on them and do keep testing them – you want them to be toasted all the way through to their centres.

Meanwhile, warm a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the bacon, cooking until it’s starting to get golden and crispy. The pan should be fairly-well coated with bacon fat, but if not, add some olive oil and then the Brussels sprouts. Cook for five or so minutes until the sprouts are golden and even slightly charred in places, but still have a bit of bite. Season with salt and ground pepper.

To make dressing, combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake it up.
Rub the hazelnuts between your hands to remove their skins and then roughly chop up.

Put the Brussels sprouts and bacon, sliced pear, hazelnuts, and chopped parsley into a large pre-warmed serving bowl. Pour over dressing and lightly toss together.

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