RSS Feed

YUK BALLS: a cri de coeur. The Brussels Sprout: a cry for help.

May 9th, 2011

I have never met a brussels sprout I liked.

I know brussels sprouts are supposed to be good for you being chocka block full of anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and having no negative impact in terms of fats and cholesterol. They just taste ‘erky-perky’!

Brussels sprouts have been forever known in our household as yuk balls.  As children, my sister and I would howl the place down when confronted with a bowl of brussels sprouts as being the green vegetable to be consumed as part of the evening meal.  Please note that I use the word confronted rather than presented.Photo taken by Eric Hunt. 24/10/2006

I describe the vegetable as green advisedly, as it was so overcooked that the only way Bet, my mother,  could keep said vegetable green was with the liberal application of bicarbonate of soda.

Bet was a powerhouse. She was a dynamic, unique, engaging, uncompromising woman of integrity who encouraged my sister and I to believe that we could be anything that we wanted to be at a time when that was decidedly unfashionable. Cooking, however, was not her long suit.

So I have spent all my adult life avoiding yuk balls.  These miniature cabbage balls of bitterness sit in the F & V section of my supermarket daring me to play with them. For four decades I have avoided taking on the challenge.

Feb 1st, 2012

My intention behind writing this piece was to find and collect recipes that make the seemingly inedible edible

I wrote this before I started to tweet. Since then I’ve developed a friendship with a number of the artwiculati who are also foodies. A discussion arose about brussels sprouts, and it quickly divided into those who, like me, gag at the mere thought of yuk balls for dinner, and those who love them. Recipes and methods of cooking sprouts were offered up as examples. Here they are. Feel free to add to the list and discussion.



Vivienne is a very talented and much loved member of the artwiculati. She seems to have endless time and patience with those of us who still don’t know what the hell we’re doing. To be “mwahed” by @vivchook brings a smile to the dial. Here are her suggestions.

  • Cross cut the bases of the Brussels sprouts
  • Fill with a sliver of garlic
  • Roll in Olive Oil
  • Roast for 40 mins @ 190C (I’m assuming this is a conventional oven, minus 10C if fan forced).
  • The outer sprout will be crispy and nutty, the inner nutty and garlicy
  • Season to taste.

Vivienne also suggested cutting  a cross in the base of the sprout, inserting the sliver of garlic and then standing the base of the sprout in a pool of balsamic vinegar for an hour or two.



Silia is the numero uno of artwiculati players. She is seriously brilliant in her command and manipulation of  language. She plays with words like a sculptor would play with plastercine. She tempers her brilliance with being one of the nicest people with whom you can chat about anything. Like Ms Chook, Silia makes you feel welcome.

Silia suggests roasting the sprouts in the oven and topping them with shaved Parmigiano.

She also gave me a link to It is as follows:

Good Luck





About boeufblogginon

I am a frustrated cook who is also a lover of all sport, politics, film, TV, theatre and a standard poodle with attitude called Toss.

5 responses »

  1. Thank you Joan! I’m so honoured to be described in such lovely terms.. Mwah!

    Just one minor point – when using the balsamic version, just sit the cross-cut sprouts by themselves in the vinegar, without the garlic. The balsamic is sucked up into the sprout by capillary action, & the garlic sliver would interfere with that. After an hour or 2, remove the sprout, Then insert the garlic sliver, then roll in oil, then roast. And the 190C is for FanForced.. I’m sorry I didn’t give the fan-less temp of 200C – I’m so used to FF myself..

    Enjoy! It would be great to see some feedback.. Mwah!

  2. Hello, my dear Joan!
    I just say boil or steam them, then douse with vinegar or lemon juice. Butter is optional (I don’t like butter on my vegetables). I also enjoy cracked black pepper! They are delicious! 😉

    -John (jwla)

  3. This is a lovely idea but life is very short and there are some delicious greens around which are inherently so nice they don’t even need to be cooked. We don’t need to try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. (Remember I am biased!)

  4. garlic, onion in olive oil – add chopped red cabbage, spalsh of sherry and soy, stir fry for 4 minutes and add BS (halved and then finely sliced. cook for 3 -4 minutes – delicious, healthy, colourful – no predominate BS flavour and all the goodness.
    Feel good about your healthy eating so open another pinot noir

    • Dear Bongo Beach,

      I have passed on your line about Pinot Noir to His Nibs. He smiled and nodded knowingly. He’s a big Pinot fan and has a glass with dinner every night. Many thanks for taking the time and trouble to reply and share the recipe. I’ll let you know how I go.

      Madam Boeuf.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: