The clever people at Marks and Spencer have splurged some festive marketing budget on the Peaky Blinders actor’s services as one of the roster of 9 famous actors – including Olivia Coleman, Naomie Harris and Dame Julie Walters – to voice their festive food ad campaign.
And in a genius – and unexpected – move not seen since Domestic Goddess Nigella Lawson had men salivating their way to the kitchen while spouting about massaging chicken breasts, the 45-year-old actor smoulders as he gushes over various delicious looking plates of sprouts.
‘Bring on the sprouts! 100 percent British gorgeousness, ah cheeky, farm fresh specially selected, I do love a sprout,’ he declares.
After listing varieties sold by M&S, he adds: ‘and if your one of these strange people who doesn’t like sprouts, think again sunshine, these aren’t just any sprouts, these are M&S sprouts.’
Unsurprisingly, Mr Hardy’s sprouty food porn moment got social media in all kinds of a tizz, with Twitter awash with comments such as ‘Only Tom Hardy could make sprouts sexy’.
He even turned avowed sprout haters, with one user posting: ‘I hate sprouts, but Tom Hardy narrating this makes me think I could eat them only for the rest of my life.’
But Mr Hardy’s endorsement aside, sprouts – currently in season – are actually really jolly good for you.
‘They can however cause gas and bloating as they contain a non-digestible carbohydrate called raffinose, which may be another reason they’re not so popular. But the way to avoid this and still enjoy them is to let your digestive system adjust over time. Or add turmeric and cumin to your dish [see recipe below] as they are both anti-inflammatory.’
So go forth, and sprout up your supper tonight with one of these 5 delicious and simple recipes…
Ben Whale’s Indian Spiced Sprouts
200g Brussels sprouts sliced thinly into discs
1 white onion finely chopped
6 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 large sprig of Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Freshly milled black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- Add the coconut oil to a large frying pan and place over a medium to high heat.
- Once the coconut has melted add the onion, sprouts, garlic, cumin seeds, salt and pepper and sauté for 3 minutes until the sprouts start to colour and sifted.
- Then add the rosemary, ground cumin and ground turmeric sauté for 2 minutes taste and add more salt if needed and serve!
Nigella’s Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts, Pancetta and Parsley
1 kilogram brussels sprouts
250 grams pancetta (rind removed, cut into 1 cm cubes)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
30 grams butter
250 grams vacuum-packed chestnuts
60 millilitres marsala
1 large bunch of fresh parsley (chopped)
- Trim the bottoms off each of the sprouts, cutting a cross into each as you go, or at least a slash.
- Then tip them into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook until tender but still retaining a bit of bite, about 5 minutes or so depending on size.
- Just spoon one out of the water and test to be sure.
- Meanwhile, in a pan large enough to take everything later (or just drain the sprouts and use their pan, once you’ve drained them), cook the pancetta cubes in the oil, with the rind for more salty fat rendering, until they’re bronzed and crisp, but not cooked to the point of having dried out.
- Add the butter and the chestnuts and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, press on the chestnuts to break them up a little. When they’re warmed through, turn the heat up and throw in the Marsala, letting it bubble away, fusing with the pancetta fat and chestnutty butter to form a glorious savoury syrup.
- Add the drained sprouts and turn well, sprinkling in half the parsley as you do so. Give a good grinding of pepper; you shouldn’t need salt, given the pancetta, but obviously taste to see. Decant to a warmed serving plate and sprinkle over the remaining chopped parsley.
Ottolenghi’s Sweet and Spicy Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
4 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Olive oil for sautéing (8-10 tablespoons)
900g Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, sliced into thirds.
2 cups thinly sliced scallions (2 bunches)
2 small red chili peppers, seeds removed, sliced lengthwise into quarters and then sliced thin crosswise
Salt, to taste
- Make the sauce: In a medium bowl whisk chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and maple syrup until combined. Set aside.
- Sauté The Brussels: Heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat until hot and add one third of the Brussels or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan in one layer. Leave them undisturbed to for 2-3 minutes until browned.
- Flip with a spatula and brown for another two minutes on the other side.
- Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the rest of the Brussels.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the same skillet. Add the chopped scallions and chilies and sauté for 1-2 minutes until they start to soften.
- Return Brussels to the skillet, pour the sauce over and cook, tossing, for 2-3 minutes, or until everything is combined and hot. Add salt to taste.
Nadiya Hussein’s Brussels Sprout Slaw
250g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, peeled and grated
100g cashew nuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
100g Greek-style yoghurt
50g full-fat mayonnaise
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
½ unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
large handful fresh chives, finely chopped
large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Put the sprouts into a bowl with the onion, carrots, cashews and cumin seeds and mix well.
- Put the yoghurt, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice and zest into a second, smaller bowl and stir until fully combined.
- Tip the mayonnaise mixture into the chopped vegetables, and stir well, making sure the creamy dressing covers all the veg. If you like your slaw extra creamy, just add extra mayonnaise and yoghurt.
- Stir through the chopped chives and parsley and serve.
Jamie Oliver’s Middle Eastern Roasted Sprouts
500 g Brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 small red onions
1 bulb of fennel
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
25 g hazelnuts
200 g Greek yoghurt
1 heaped teaspoon tahini
1 small clove of garlic
1 pinch of sumac
½ a bunch of fresh coriander, dill and mint (20g)
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil over a medium-high heat. Wash and trim the sprouts, then add to the pan and parboil for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside to dry.
- Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small frying pan over a medium heat for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Using a pestle and mortar, finely grind the toasted seeds with a pinch of sea salt.
- Tip most of the spice mix into a large roasting tray and toss in the sprouts.
- Peel and slice the onions, then trim and slice the fennel. Tip into the tray along with a glug of oil.
- Spread everything in an even layer – you may need two trays – and cook for 20 minutes, until tender and starting to caramelise.
- Meanwhile, return your frying pan to the heat and toast the sesame seeds and hazelnuts for 3 minutes, then grind up with the remaining spices, using a pestle and mortar.
- Combine the yoghurt with the tahini. Peel and crush the garlic and stir through, then finely grate in half the lemon zest and squeeze in half the juice (save the rest for another day).
- Taste the yoghurt and season well, then spread it evenly over the base of a large serving platter and sprinkle some sumac over the top.
- Spoon the sprout mix on top of the yoghurt mixture, scraping up the lovely crispy bits in the pan. Sprinkle the ground nuts and seeds over the top.
- Pick and finely chop the herb leaves, discarding the stalks. Scatter the leaves across the plate, then serve.