As you know, I wage a constant battle to get the Bear to eat what I want him to eat. All in the interest of health, you know, it’s not just me wanting to assert dominance over my poor, beleagured husband. It makes things easier as well, if you both eat the same things. I am having some success – he is now eating prawns and has started to eat broccoli.
Yes, I know, not everybody loves broccoli and for some the slightly bitter tang puts them off, but my reasoning is that if the Bear can eat raw broccoli with a dip as a crudite, or broccoli and stilton soup, or even the deliciously tasty Broccoli and Stilton Pastryless Pie then he can eat it as a vegetable.
And not complain.
Finally, it seems, I may have cracked it.
I’d made the salt and pepper pork tenderloin for supper and knew we needed something with it. He’d started with a crisp salad of leaves, red and yellow peppers and tomatoes so I reckoned that if he didn’t eat what was served with the pork, that wasn’t going to harm him.
Anyway, I love broccoli.
I had gone to our local farm shop and come back with two gloriously green and hard heads of broccoli. We have been on a high protein and low carb diet and butter (thank God) is allowed. I had a feeling that I could make something delicious – well, delicious for me – and if he was hungry enough then he would eat it.
So, I chopped the florets off and sliced the stalks into smaller chunks.
Broccoli stems take longer to cook than the florets so they need to go in a pan first with some butter and a sprinkle of salt. Put it on a medium heat so you don’t burn things.
Give them a couple of minutes to soften slightly before you add the florets.
Toss them round in the butter – you want them to soften and cook but not turn to mush.
It still looks green and delicious and it is holding its shape but now there’s a softness about it.
Sooooo… all well and good but I have to get the Bear to eat it.
I need to up the protein level as well so a great big spoonful of Philadelphia cream cheese goes in and melts over the broccoli.
It is now on a low heat, stir it round and let it cover everywhere.
A spoonful of double cream helps loosen things and makes a delicious sauce.
With salt and pepper added to bring everything together, the creamy, faintly coolly-cheese (you know how cream cheese has that sort of taste) sauce the broccoli feels slightly tamed.
Take the broccoli out and reduce the creamy sauce so it thickens, adding a knob of butter – this makes it taste even more rich and delicious. Just the thing to add to that steaming green goodness.
The bitterness has disappeared and you have a savoury, tasty pile of broccoli, just ready to serve to an unsuspecting Bear.
So I did. There was his pork just asking for something to sit along side it… there was that sauce just begging to be poured over everything. I served it up.
After all, he’d already had a lovely big crisp salad… if he didn’t like the broccoli it wouldn’t be so bad.
It was delicious. Utterly, absolutely, totally gorgeous. I had justified giving myself the larger portion because, after all, he doesn’t like broccoli.
“Did you like it?” I asked.
“Yes…. I just wish there was more broccoli…. ”
Drat. There was more and I had my greedy little eyes on that but in the interests of converting the Bear to a love of broccoli, I just had to do it. This was unprecedented in our lives together – my Bear actually asking for broccoli. He got the lot.
Now, once I have got him to eat it like this I can start to cut back on the cream and Philly – not too much, you understand – and it becomes even healthier.
Maybe I won’t though. Maybe it is just delicious as it is.
Oh, and you know what? He’s asked for, and eaten, broccoli cooked like this several times since. So maybe if you have children who find broccoli just too bitter, try it like this. You never know… one day you might hear the magical words “I just wish there was more broccoli”