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Ingredient of the week: purple sprouting broccoli

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21 APRIL 2010

The far prettier, lither and slender cousin of the more common variety, purple sprouting broccoli is a treat. The leafy, springy stems are delicious simply steamed and are the perfect accompaniment to a Sunday roast – their floppy tips work as the ideal sponge for soaking up gravy.

The vegetable was originally cultivated by the Romans and has been grown on our green shores since the 18th century but its rise to fashionable status has only come about of late.

With a hollandaise it makes a decadent simple supper. Because of its narrow stems it cooks very quickly and is ideal for stir-frying.

Try frying garlic and chilli in a little oil before adding broccoli and spring onions. Add soy sauce, oyster sauce and a ladle of water and simmer till tender. Serve over boiled rice for a virtuous, healthy meal.