You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2011.

Yes, you read that right.  Steve has self-professed his love for brussel sprouts.  If you search for brussel sprout recipes on the web, you will find a wealth of people promoting their take on the tiny cabbage green and explaining that most people who think they don’t like them have never actually had them cooked properly before.

I used to be one of those people.

Only recently have I begun to eat cooked vegetables.  For most of my life, raw was the only way I would eat ’em.  For me, food is all about texture and let’s be honest, most cooked vegetables are floppy and flaccid.  This has always been somewhat limiting, as frankly, a number of vegetables are simply no good raw. 

Living in Australia has rekindling my love of, and time for, cooking.  So I’ve begun to experiment with cooking vegetables, trying to find that balance between the watery crispness I so love and the additional flavor and variety that cooked vegetables afford.  And you know what? I’ve found that I totally dig a nice rack of lamb with roasted green beans and on-the-vine cherry tomatoes, or spicy asian noodles with lightly steamed snap peas, bok choy, carrots and onion.

When Leah and Jordan were visiting, she saw some lovely little round sprouts at my favorite organic food stand in the farmers’ market, and made them for dinner one night (steamed, with served butter and chopped bacon).  This weekend at the Prahan farmers’ market, Steve was the one to spot the sprouts and asked if we could get them.  Sure, I thought, why not? 

So last night, home at the alarmingly early hour of 6pm, I set out to make steak, mashies, and crispy brown brussel sprouts for dinner. Bacon, I figured, was the key ingredient to Steve’s desire for a repeat eat, so I picked up some Tassie smoked bacon at the butcher in the morning and two gorgeous porterhouse steaks.

As we finished up dinner I looked over at his plate and he had eaten every last one!  There were scraps of steak, a few smears of potato, but not a single leafy green.  And here’s the real shocker – I’d cooked the brussel sprouts with bacon and pine nuts, which let’s face it, one could eat to the face just by themselves, roasted.  But while the greens were gone, heaps of accoutrement remained.  He’d actually picked around the meat and nuts just to get to the veggies. 

My mother-in-law would be proud.  Here’s my recipe.

Crispy pan-browned brussel sprouts:

    • brussel sprouts, soaked in water and halved
    • handful of pine nuts
    • chopped bacon
    • garlic cloves, sliced thin
    • tbsp butter, tbsp olive oil

Melt butter and oil and crisp up the bacon for 4-5 minutes. Turn heat to low, add a tad more oil, pine nuts, and sprouts cut side down.  Cover and cook for about 15 minutes.  Remove sprouts (bottoms should be brown and crispy) and roast pine nuts for 3-5 additional minutes until toasted.  Toss with sprouts, squeeze a slice of lemon on top, and serve!

OK, so this one is cheating, because its not actually a picture of Melbourne.  But it fits with the memories of leah & jordan in Melbourne theme.  We played Settler’s of Catan nearly every night they were here; elated to have enough people to play something other than backgammon! 

World domination over dinner and wine, what could be better?


Melbourne has started perhaps the coolest public safety ad campaign ever – it involves 30 rhinos, skateboards, and a message about saving your life.  What could be better?  Oh I know, a great big yellow sign!

This is also an important message for would-be visitors.  On top of getting accustomed to the whole look LEFT before crossing the street thing, you’ve gotta also watch out the middle of the street for approaching trams!

Notice how hard the horses are trying to get away from that hurling hunk of metal!

Though the public bikes are not yet as popular as the famous Paris bike system, Melbourne is nonetheless a shining example of public transportation.  Trains, trams, busses, bikes… there’s virtually no need to have a car.

Which is good for us, since, well, we don’t!