Up until I was planning the move to NZ, I was super gung-ho about living a life of adventure and long-term travel. I was going to NZ and then Oz and then who knows – Thailand? Columbia? Vietnam? It was all up for grabs. Who wants to settle down and stay put and do horrid things like have traditions and friends who can come over when you’re sick and bring you soup?
Me, it turns out. I want that. I want all of that and a house I can decorate and a dog. God, I want a dog. I want a big fluffy duvet and cute plates and dinner parties. I want to cook good food and have a well-stocked pantry and to be able to make more than scones and chocolate chip cookies.
In short, I got old.
To cement the fact that I am apparently turning into an NPR-listening, house-decorating, cheese-making homebody, my favourite thing about Wellington is the farmer’s market. It’s down by the harbour, so I get to walk along the water, and there’s food trucks and farmers and butchers. It’s heaven, basically. Not only is it heaven, it’s cheap heaven. Vegetables that would cost $40-50 at the grocery store are $12-15, so I try to pick up a few things that I haven’t cooked before and see what I can do with them. I got tamarillos last week. This week I got Brussels sprouts.
I blame my friend Donovan for my obsession with Brussels sprouts. I went to visit him in March to help set up his trapeze rig (yes, my life IS awesome, thank you for noticing) and he forced them on me the same way he forces me to do things like learn to drive stick shift or try the flying trapeze. He tells me it’ll be good for me/fun/delicious and then he mocks me until I try it. It’s surprisingly effective. Anyways, he roasted a pan of them and fried up some bacon and hello, new favourite vegetable.
But then I got lazy and didn’t cook them. Ever. So when I saw them at the farmer’s market this weekend, I thought, “Why not?” I’ve been inspired by Queen Nigella, long may she reign, and thought I could totally tackle the world’s most finicky vegetable. So I looked up recipes and found this awesome recipe for roasted Brussels sprouts and grapes.
Looks good, doesn’t it?
So I did a little mental math, preheated the oven, tossed the Brussels sprouts and grapes with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar for no other reason than because I’m adore it, and popped them in the oven.
Spoiler alert: I’m apparently really bad at math.
See those grapes? No, not the ones that look like grapes. The other ones. The weird, flat black ovals at the top of Mount Godawful. Those grapes are so hard you can’t even crunch them under your shoe. The ones that look like grapes I added at the end, in the vain hope that I could still eat this charcoal mess. I tried! I really did. But the insides of the Brussels sprouts were as mushy as the outsides were burned and I just gave up and made poached eggs.
Tell me I’m not the only one to fail so badly at this vegetable. Please?