Ingredient of the week: Sprouts

Is there any vegetable which epitomises Christmas like the humble Brussels sprout? Done well, it is a delight, and deserves better than being relegated to appearing on the table once a year. Boiled for hours and it ends up looking and tasting like soggy cardboard. So treat them with care… boil or steam for just a few minutes til al dente or stir-fry with almonds and bacon, a splash of cream and salt and pepper. Heaven.

Alternatively try a fresh and stylish take by pan-frying breadcrumbs and torn parma ham in olive oil with herbs and the zest of an orange and a lemon until golden brown and crispy. Scatter over your sprouts and serve. This makes a lovely way to spruce up them up for Christmas.

Sprout tops have also reappeared recently, reflecting current concerns over wasting as little as possible of our food. You may have to venture slightly further afield to find them, however.