Brussel sprouts tend to have the Marmite effect on people. You either love them or hate them. In the Bangers & Mash house we fall firmly on the ‘love them’ side of the fence. Even the children. Miss Bangers was asking me to buy some in the greengrocer just the other day. Strange I know…
So while most people only dish up sprouts as part of Christmas lunch in a dutiful nod to tradition, we tend to eat them all through the winter months. It’s their crunchy nuttiness I love, which I think works particularly well in this tart, teamed with strong, salty Stilton and some lovely smoked ham. And as these ingredients are the kind of foods you find hanging around in the fridge at Christmas time, it also offers an ideal way to use up some of the festive leftovers.
If you make your own shortcrust pastry, this tart costs just £4.80 to make from scratch. Serving at least six people, that works out at around 80p a head. So it’s as cheap as it is tasty. And it’s very, very easy to make too.
That’s why I’m entering the recipe into Action for Children’s Festive Food for a Fiver recipe competition.
As more and more families struggle to put regular meals on the table, they’d like people to put their creativity to work for a good cause and learn new cooking and money management skills from others, by sharing frugal recipes ideas on Facebook and Twitter.
The two best recipes will be rewarded with a lovely family cookbook, full of many useful tips, kindly provided by Giraffe Restaurant.
To enter the competition, you need to come up with a festive recipe that families can make on a budget:
- The recipes should be festive themed and creatively presented
- They need to be cheap (ideally £1.25 a head or £5 for a family of four), nutritious and reasonably simple to make
- The ingredients should be very easily available at standard shops or supermarkets all around the country
- They should be original (so no turkey curries, please!) and include elements that younger members of the family might be able to help with
- They need to be family recipes – something the whole family will enjoy eating.
You can enter your recipe via Twitter or Facebook, or both. Visit the Action for Children website to find out how.
This is my entry – what dish will you submit?
Stilton, ham and brussel sprout tart
175g plain flour
350g brussel sprouts
150ml double cream
Salt and pepper
100g chopped ham
50g Stilton cheese
Preheat the oven to 190°C / gas mark 5.
To make the shortcrust pastry, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl with the salt. Using your finger tips, rub in the butter until it resembles soft breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to make the mixture come together to form a firm dough. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge for half an hour.
Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the pastry to line 9 inch well-buttered flan dish. Pop back in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
Break the eggs into a jug and lightly whisk with the cream and milk, and season with a little pepper.
If you’re not using left-over sprouts, steam or boil them until just tender. Rinse under cold water to stop them cooking any further and to retain their bright green colour. Drain well and then slice each sprout in half.
Arrange the sprouts across the pastry base and season with a little salt – not too much as the cheese can be quite salty.
Sprinkle over the chopped ham and then crumble over the Stilton. Finally pour over the egg and cream mixture.
Carefully place the tart in the oven for about 20 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden and the filling is set and slightly browned. Serve with a simple salad and enjoy!