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Fantastic opportunity to educate general public, and change hearts and minds in the process: CLICK HERE NEWSNIGHT

When is a sprout not a sprout?

Justin Rowlatt 11 Dec 06, 11:26 AM When is a sprout not a sprout? The answer appears to be when it comes in my familys organic box. Take a look at the picture and then read the blurb that came with this weeks cache of vegetables.

There is a new vegetable in town: the oh-so-cool sprout top. Its the brassica du jour, found on the menu of quite a few fashionable eateries in England. It will be gracing some of you with its exclusive presence this week and is quite simply the vegetable to be eating this season!

The missive from Abel and Cole goes on to distinguish the sprout top - the sweet and tender tip of the Brussels sprout plant - from the actual sprouts which apparently come from lower down the stalk of the same plant.

Im sure that whoever writes the companys weekly newsletter had their tongue at least partially in their cheek as they wrote this eulogy to the countrys least-loved vegetable. But I am not going to risk a fashion faux pas with the familys Christmas fare, so Ned, the Newsnight Turkey, will be garnished with only the very finest organic sprout tops.

Yum, yum.

I cant blame Abel and Cole for trying to make the much-maligned sprout seem a little, well, sexier. I quite like the things (wherever on the stalk they come from) but my wife Bee is not so keen. My suggestion of "sprout au gratin" for tonights dinner did not go down well.

But I am going to have to start getting very inventive with my veg come January because thats when I begin my new diet. And grating a bit of cheese on top is not going to be option because as some of you will already know I am going vegan for a month.

Right at the start of the Ethical Man experiment I asked for suggestions of devilishly difficult tasks. Ive been studiously ignoring the torrent of emails from viewers who insist that the only truly ethical diet is meat and dairy free. Unfortunately my producer Sara hasnt. She says the time has come to check out their claims.

Ive got a feeling this is going to be the toughest challenges yet tougher than stopping flying or giving up the car. I mentioned my worries to my friend Trish, one of the finest cooks I know. She has very kindly prepared a special vegan cookbook for me in a ring binder, and to get me started shes put in a dozen of her favourite vegan dishes.

I challenge even the most blood-thirsty carnivore not to be tempted by Trishs Butternut Squash Pilaff with Fruit and Nuts, her Red Curry with Cashews or her warming Winter Soup.

So heres a deal for you. Ill tell you how to make one of Trishs top treats if youll send me your absolute favourite vegan recipe. If I get just one great meal from twenty of you then my meat and dairy free month will be a breeze. And not only that, Ill have something to cook for Trish to pay back for her favour.

So here goes
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