Cygnus Advent day 7: Food to inspire

One of the best aspects of the festive season is feasting. Indulging in the fruits of the harvest, treating ourselves to extra luxuries and sharing the joy of food. This doesn’t have to mean excessive overeating or eating lot’s of unhealthy foods. It’s an opportunity to take a little more care preparing special food and having time to enjoy the flavours. for a selection of vegetarian cookery books see our Recipe Books section.

Sprouts are a traditional part of Christmas in the UK. Here’s a fresh approach to the beloved and sometimes misunderstood vegetable of the British winter from one of our favourite Chefs Yotam Ottolenghi: Roasted brussels sprouts with hoisin sauce (V).

750g brussels sprouts, trimmed

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and black pepper

6 little gem hearts, quartered lengthways

5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin

2 tbsp hoisin sauce

1½ tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

20g ginger, peeled and finely diced

1 tbsp white-wine vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

Skin of ½ orange, finely shredded

2 tbsp ready-made crispy fried shallots (optional; get them in Asian food stores)

Set the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Bring a pan of water to a boil, add the sprouts and blanch for two minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water and cut in half lengthways. Toss the sprouts in half a tablespoon of oil, half a teaspoon of salt and some pepper, spread out on a baking tray and put in the oven. After 15 minutes, mix the gem hearts with half a tablespoon of oil, add to the tray, cook for three minutes more, then tip everything into a large bowl.

Heat the remaining oil in a small pan and cook the garlic on medium heat for five minutes, until it turns golden. Tip the garlic and oil into a heatproof bowl to stop the cooking.

Mix all the remaining ingredients bar the orange peel and shallots, and drizzle over the sprouts and lettuce. Pour on the garlic and oil, scatter over the peel and shallots, and serve.

 Yotam Ottolenghi’s sumptuous vegetarian recipe book Plenty is available from Cygnus Books for £14.99

More of Yotam’s innovative recipes available here.