Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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It’s well known that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But when it comes to these ten ugly ducklings of the culinary world, we're guessing any man would need to take a second look before he fell for them…


Liver: Although offal can boast a great many loyal fans within gourmet circles, just knowing where it comes from makes liver a huge turn-off. But if you can overcome that, you will be impressed not only by its wonderfully tender consistency. Traditionally cooked with slices of apple and onions, liver provides the body with a wide range of proteins, vitamin A, iron and zinc.

Blue cheese: Smelly, smellier, blue mould: if you have a sensitive nose, eating gorgonzola and the like could be a real torment. But this cheese, strange-looking as it is, is a real chameleon. Whether it’s on steak, together with pasta and cream or as a salty topping for salads – when used in moderation, this little sourpuss creates a tangy taste sensation.

Aubergines: It’s not easy for this dark purple vegetable to please the gourmand. Either too soft and greasy or too raw and bitter – the aubergine is pretty tasteless in and of itself and needs a talented cook to really let it shine. Baked with a parmesan topping or wonderfully creamy in that Greek favourite, the moussaka, this relative of the courgette can win over even the most ardent hater of veg.

Okra: These green seed pods are used above all in Creole cuisine. In Germany, it is a vegetable that is either unknown or frequently spurned because of its slightly sticky, slimy consistency. But if you simply toss okra briefly in olive oil, rather than cooking it, the end result is fresh and crunchy. A little garlic and voila: a hefty portion of vitamins A and C could hardly be more delicious.

Sardines: Oily and fishy – not exactly the ideal characteristics for a gourmet snack. But if you can overcome your distaste, you will be rewarded with a massive portion of omega 3 fatty acids and proteins.

Lima beans: Their colour might remind you of washed out kitchen curtains from the 1970s, but the great beauty of the rarely seen lima bean comes from within. In particular, their high fibre and low fat contents make these sad-looking little beans the perfect fitness food. And if you need some Dutch courage to get started: sautéed and lightly salted, lima beans make a tasty accompaniment to a beer.

Brussels sprouts: A misery for the nose both before and after they’ve been eaten: whilst the kitchen is still emitting the distinct smell of cabbage, those who have partaken in the Brussels sprouts turn into little stinkers themselves. But sprouts not only increase gas production, the green buds are also full of goodness: beta carotene, folic acid, potassium, calcium, fibre and much more are a real boon to the immune system. A dash of lemon and a little bacon make this member of the cabbage family well rounded in terms of taste too!

Hard boiled eggs: Waxy on the outside, floury on the inside: beyond the breakfast table, it would be hard to find any fans of these little packs of protein. But hard boiled eggs are pretty much indispensible in Indonesian cuisine in particular. Together with potatoes and coconut milk, these long-lasting bundles of nutrients give off a fantastically sweet aroma.

Beetroot: Vitamin B, potassium, iron and, above all, folic acid: these roots have got the lot. If you are one of those people given pickled beetroot as a child and promptly put off for life, you should give this beet a second chance. A light vinaigrette lends the slightly earthy taste an almost nutty flavour.

Author: Hendrik Jürgens