sproutsIf you read my previous post you will know that I am not a fan of Brussels sprouts with my Christmas dinner. The nasty after taste. The “just one on your plate”, which always turned into more than that. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I have. Even Delias “Brussels Sprouts with Riesling and Bacon” turned out (in my humble opinion) to be a waste of good wine and bacon. A couple of years ago I stopped doing them altogether as they always ended up in the bin. My mother-in-law has never forgiven me. This year she is our guest again. (don’t get me wrong, she is very welcome!)

I thought about it and decided that perhaps they are not so bad. The colour is wonderful after all. So out I went out and bought some (5 bags!) and worked out a way to have them on my Christmas table this year, just not in the traditional way.

The intention was to create a decorative piece that would adorn the table. Initially I thought I would string them along some garden wire and have them working their way along the table or some such thing. Then I thought I would create a pyramid with a base of holly. This quickly and rather obviously became a tree. But how to do it? A chat with my local florist convinced me that it would work using oasis. She reckoned it made no difference whether I used the green, usually used to create “wet” displays or the grey “dry” stuff. So here is what I used: Florists oasis (2 blocks) Garden wire Pliers to cut wire 5 bags of brussels sprouts One large plate (my final tree was c 38cm or 15” high but obviously can be any size) IMG_2471 Firstly I prepared the tower base by drawing out a series of ever decreasing circles onto the oasis. oasis This picture shows the biggest one, using the full width of the oasis which was approx. 10cm (4”). I used measuring cups to draw 3 more circles each one slightly smaller than the previous. Then I cut the oasis with a sharp knife which is very easy to do.


Then I simply created a tower with the largest circle on the bottom. I did four but it can be as many or as few as you like. I held the circle in place using a long metal skewer which I later replaced with a shorter timber one which wasn’t visible at the top.

Then for the sprouts! 3 sizes

First I separated the sprouts into small, medium and large sizes.

 Then I peeled the outer dark layer off to reveal the lovely bright colour underneath.

Then I cut up lots of small pieces of garden wire. (about 4cm or just over one and half inches) before putting a piece of wire into each sprout. It just needs to go into the woody bit and not right through the veg.

wire After that it really couldn’t be easier.


Simply start at the bottom with the largest sprouts and complete one circle before moving on to the next.


Keep working your way up, packing them in tightly as you go, keeping the smallest till last.


Some battery operated lights were added when complete for dramatic effect!


The end result, ready to go on my Christmas table.

PS. With much thanks to my assistant who was a huge help and also came up with the idea of putting lights onto it which I think you’ll agree make it. Thank you Sadhbh!

PPS. With thanks also to my sister-in-law who gave me this plate for Christmas many years ago. I seem to remember her saying “I saw this plate and thought of you”. I absolutely love it. The colour is simply amazing and it seems it was made for this. Thank you Margaret!

PPPS. My children are quite convinced that their Granny will almost certainly remove said items from the oasis and put them in a saucepan on the day. I shall keep you posted. (with apologies Berna!)


6 thoughts on “Mother-in-laws-Sprouts

  1. I’m laughing Nicki…. Róise’s first question every morning is “Mom, has Nicki done her Christmas Blog yet?” She is determined to do exactly what you suggest…… Don’t know will she entertain a sprout centerpiece!!! Amazing! Well done!

  2. Very creative indeed. I have traditionally followed a recipe for ‘scraped sprouts’. It involves boiling them for an hour in salted water. Draining them and then scraping them into the bin. Best place for them!

  3. Now THAT is sprout glamour. They are palatable if you shred them (on a mandolin or with the skinny-slicery-fitting on your food processor). Quickly sauté them in sesame oil, with some grated ginger, lemon zest and sea salt. Finish with a good squirt of lemon juice and a splash of soy.

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