Christmas leftovers

Shredded brussels sprouts salad, crumbled Stilton & roasted hazelnuts

If you haven't discovered the pleasures of raw Brussels sprouts yet, do not delay. Give them a little squeeze of lemon, a splash of oil and some seasoning and this once-unappetising mini cabbage is elevated to the status of one of the greatest salads of all time. Who knew? 

This recipe is perfect for those bits of blue cheese leftover from Christmas and sitting at the back of the fridge. Stilton is ideal, but any blue cheese will do. Indeed, any punchy, crumbly cheese works here. It's perfect as a light starter before something more substantial.

Shredded brussels sprouts salad

Shredded brussels sprouts salad

Serves 4-6

60g peeled hazelnuts
400g brussels sprouts, outer leaves discarded
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
100g Stilton or other blue cheese

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Scatter the hazelnuts over a baking tray and place in the oven for 7-10 minutes, shaking the tray occasionally, until golden brown. Remove and leave to cool.

Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and add a few handfuls of ice cubes. With a very sharp knife (or using the slicer attachment on your food processor or a mandolin), very finely slice the sprouts, throwing them into the iced water to crisp up once done. It may take you a while, but will give you an opportunity to practice your knife skills! Once you’ve sliced all the sprouts, drain and spin dry, then return to the mixing bowl.

Roughly chop the hazelnuts and add to the sprouts along with the remaining ingredients. Season generously (though not too much salt as Stilton can be salty) and mix everything together with your hands. Transfer to plates, then serve. 

Pan-fried sprouts with thyme and honey dressing & salted almonds

This is a really lovely way of cooking sprouts - they get a little colour and flavour in butter, but retain a some bite so they're nothing like those soggy things of our childhood nightmares. The thyme and honey give them a fresh floral lift while the almonds add a salty crunch. It's super easy to make and great way to use up any sprouts still hanging around. Brilliant as a side with some roast meat or as a warm salad before the main event.

Pan-fried sprouts with thyme and honey dressing & salted almonds

Pan-fried sprouts with thyme and honey dressing & salted almonds

Serves 6 as a starter or side

15g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus a splash
50g flaked almonds
½ bunch of thyme, leaves picked
½ garlic clove
2 tablespoons floral honey
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
500g brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and halved lengthways

Make the almonds first. Melt the butter and a splash of oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat and as soon as it begins to bubble, stir in the almonds and 1 teaspoon of sea salt and gently swirl as they begin to turn golden, about 1-2 minutes (take care not to burn them, as this can happen quite suddenly). Transfer to a plate and leave to cool.

Mix the dressing next. Place the thyme and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar and when it begins to break down, add the garlic and bash until you have a green paste. Stir in the honey, followed by half the lemon juice and the extra-virgin oil. Season a little. You should have a lovely bright green dressing.

Using the same frying pan you used for the almonds, heat the remaining olive oil over a medium-high heat. When hot, add the sprouts, and fry for about 5 minutes, turning them over occasionally, until golden on both sides. Add 2 tablespoons of water, season generously with salt and pepper, then cover and turn the heat down to low for another 2 minutes. The liquid should have evaporated and the sprouts cooked, but still al dente in the middle. Squeeze in the juice of the remaining ½ lemon and swirl everything around in the pan. Check and adjust the seasoning.

Transfer the warm sprouts to a large plate, then sprinkle over the almonds and drizzle over the thyme dressing before serving.