Spring cleaning noodles.

The calendar is saying it’s spring, but other than the rare gorgeous day it’s still pretty rainy and cool here in Vancouver.  It’s the time of year when I’m itching to get outside but from experience I know it’s still a bit early to start planting much in the garden.  So instead I’ve resorted to that other ubiquitous spring activity.  Cleaning.

Spring really is on it's way!

Brussel Sprouts, welcome back.

Thanksgiving is ridiculously early this year here in Canada.  While I haven’t had much time to sit and research new recipes I’m not worried.  Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t need to be fancy.  Just friends, a big ol’ bird and some simple home cooking.

If your family is anything like mine they have their holiday dinner traditions (even if sometimes you can’t help but wonder why since no one really seems to like them!).  When I was younger, turnip, parsnips and brussel sprouts always seemed to show up uninvited.

Sprouts tend to have a (pretty legitimate) bad rep.  Often served boiled beyond all recognition (with a horrible smell!) it’s no wonder many people don’t like them.  As a member of the brassicas family (like kale, cabbage and cauliflower) brussel sprouts are high in vitamins K & C, folic acid and loaded in dietary fibre.  Cooked properly they are a great little addition to your diet and your table.

With age, thankfully, comes wisdom.  Brussel sprouts are now a welcome fixture on my menu.  This year for the first time I actually grew them in the garden (word to the wise – they take up a lot of real estate!) and they should be ready just in time for Thanksgiving.

If you are willing to give sprouts a second chance try this simple recipe for pan seared sprouts and pancetta.  You just might welcome them back to your family table.


  • 1lb of brussel sprouts
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1-2 tbsp canola oil
  • 5-10 slices of pancetta
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste


  • Wash the sprouts and peel off any loose leaves. Place sprouts in top part of steamer and steam until just cooked (approx 10mins).
  • When done rinse with cold water and immediately squeeze lemon juice over top. (Note, all the steps up to this point can be done up to a day ahead to free up stove space and save time.)
  • Before proceeding cut each sprout into either halves or quarters.
  • Very lightly coat bottom of large saute pan with oil.  Cut pancetta into strips.  Slowly cook pancetta until soft, but not overly crispy.
  • When the pancetta is done, remove and place on paper towel to drain.  Pour off any excess grease at bottom of pan.
  • Add garlic to pan. When slightly soft add the sprouts, remaining oil and pepper to taste. Heat through. Re-add pancetta.
  • Toss and serve.

In the interest of full disclosure I still don’t get turnip or parsnips…