RED PEPPERS WITH GORGONZOLA

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PERFECT PEPPERS 

FOR 6

3 large red peppers, halved and deseeded

1 tbsp olive oil

200 gm gorgonzola cut into cubes – roughly 2 per pepper half (if poss. get the dolce not the piccante gorgonzola..

To dress

Juice of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped

3 tbsps olive oil

Balsamic to drizzle over – I use crema di balsamico – a balsamic glaze

Heat a large frying pan – brush the pepper halves with olive oil inside and out. Pop them in the hot pan cut side down for 5 minutes or so. Turn them over and add 2 pieces of cheese to each one. Leave to cook for a further 10 minutes. Pop the pan then under a hot grill to finish off melting the cheese for about 2 minutes – keep an eye on them!

For the dressing – combine all the ingredients well in a bowl. Arrange the peppers in bowls – drizzle over a little of the dressing and then finish off with a squiggle of the balsamic glaze.

This is a fabulously simple Italian starter from the pages of Gino D’acampo – only tinkered with slightly! You could also use taleggio cheese like Gino…though I have to say the walnuts in the dressing combine mellifluously with the gorgonzola.

It is a surprisingly filling dish too when served with a slice or two of a good rustic bread to mop up the juices. It would be a great lunch dish on its own.

All purpose red pepper cream sauce…

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All purpose red pepper cream sauce...

This is a classic standby of mine…you can have it over chicken, pork, fish, or just simply over a good bowl of fresh pasta. This is a red pepper chopped and pan fried with a chopped clove of garlic in olive oil until the red pepper starts to brown a little. Then add a sprinkle or two of rosemary and a grind of black pepper and sea salt. Add a slice or two of prosciutto cut torn into pieces. Fry for about 30 seconds more. The peppers should be soft. Add a small pot of fresh single cream. Heat through for another minute or two, then pour over the dish of your choice…
marvellous, cheap and simple.

Chicken Pepper Wrap with Cumin Crisps

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Chicken Pepper Wrap with Cumin Crisps

Speedy supper tonight. 4 left over chicken thighs, cut into thin strips, 3 red pepper halves that had been marinated the previous day with olive oil, garlic, baby tomatoes and basil for a light lunch and had been thankfully left over – cut into strips too and pan fried with two spring onions sliced thinly. Once they had attained a sparkly, gleaming brightness, I pushed them to one side of the pan and added the chicken and pan fried it until it was browning a little. I then stirred it all together and added some fresh coriander. This was now in a state of extreme bliss.

5 or 6 Majorcan new potatoes were sliced thinly – not peeled – and pan fried in hot olive oil with a generous sprinkling of cumin and rock salt.

Just as the chicken was about to be served I ground over some lemon thyme salt. I added a portion of the chicken pepper mix to a wrap, plus some of the fabulous juices along with a few baby salad leaves and some cumin crisps on the side.

Instant satisfaction.

P.S. Dear Mr Jagger – if you still cannot get any of the aforementioned abstract noun – please try these wraps.

Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Garlic soup…Mmmm!

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Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Garlic soup...Mmmm!

How healthy were we last night! This is a really filling soup full of goodness, yumminess and all round smugness. And easy to do – although a soupcon of patience is required – excuse the potage pun.

Ingredients – enough for 4 or 5

6 red peppers, halved & deseeded
8 decent tomatoes – halved and seeds removed
3 cloves of garlic, skin on
600 ml of chicken or vegetable stock
50 gm bread crumbs
1 tbsp paprika
Bunch of coriander

Pop your red peppers and garlic on a baking tray and place in hot oven until skins start to blacken – about 15 minutes.

Remove garlic to one side – place peppers in a bowl and cover with cling film. After about 10 minutes or so, remove and skin – the skin will come off easily. Doesn’t matter if odd bit of black doesn’t – all adds to the flavour! Pop in a blender – blitz and add to a deep pan. Then blitz the toms – add to the pan. Pop the garlic out of its skin and add to the…yes…you guessed….pan! Add the breadcrumbs, half the coriander and the paprika. Then the hot stock. Stir well.

Bring to a low simmer and leave for about 15 minutes to warm right through. Check seasoning – mine needed none. Stock should give it all the salt it needs. Serve with more chopped coriander and a little more bread. We had some cold salami on the side too. Wonderful, warm and a tonic for weary winter bones.

Note to self – Must make this more often!!

Creamy Dreamy Salmon Tagliatelle

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Creamy Dreamy Salmon Tagliatelle

Simple dish – I am sure it is not new to any of you but it is one of our family stand by quick suppers. I love it. They love it . We all love it!

Ingredients for 4:

100 gm of smoked salmon cut into strips
300 gm tagliatelle
25 gm butter
175 gm single cream
Roasted red peppers cut into strips – or you could use them drained from a jar
Flat leaf parsley chopped
A little black pepper

Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the cream, black pepper and warm through gently for a couple of minutes. Add the salmon and the peppers. (You could do this dish just with either ingredient if you were so inclined of course.) Toss in the drained cooked tagliatelle and the chopped parsley and stir round. You should not need salt but I daresay there are some folk who might want to add a brisk grind of sea salt at this juncture. But not for me – the smoked salmon is salty enough.)

A dreamy dish for a summer evening supper…… or…… salmon chanted evening! (Oh dear…ouch!)

Barnsley, butterfly or saddle – take your pick!

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Barnsley, butterfly or saddle - take your pick!

I bought 4 fabulous chops from Parsonage Farm recently – and they were awesome. They go under any of the above names – I always call them Barnsley Chops. Barnsley is a town in South Yorkshire and the name seems to have come fro there in the mid 1930s  – there are several versions of the story. Not especially exciting enough to recount here though! In the butchery trade, Barnsley chop has come to mean a chop around 2cm or one bone thick, cut across the whole loin in a butterfly shape. They are a serious piece of meat – and the art is not to overcook them. I grilled them on a high heat for about three minutes a side – leaving them nicely crispy on the outside but juicy and a little pink inside. They need little adornment. I pan fried long strips of yellow and red peppers, a finely sliced red chilli and a finely chopped clove of garlic in olive oil with a little black pepper and salt. Then I tossed in for the last three minutes or so some steamed asparagus cut into three inch strips.

Chops are the ultimate fast food. Indeed they emerged in the 17th century in London, served up to busy city dwellers, as a sort of forerunner of the hamburger, in places known as chophouses from the late 1690s on. Any meat containing a bone and ‘chopped’ from the loin, shoulder or the ribs was a referred to as a ‘chop’. And it was either mutton or lamb – bits of beef being too big to walk round with I guess! Though Samuel Pepys in his diary in 1663 refers to him having ‘had a chop of veal’ one lunchtime.

There are some horribly mangled looking things masquerading as lamb chops in supermarkets – but go to a good butcher or a farm shop- and experience the real thing – and try one of these saddle chops – or whatever you want to call them! They are lusciously, mouth-wateringly, filling.

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Lazy Sunday afternoon, stuffed peppers, cats and salad

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Lazy Sunday afternoon, stuffed peppers, cats and salad

One of those very, very lazy days – gardening, playing with the cat (that’s our Pip above..as you can see being very helpful in the garden!), cooking, snoozing now and then, reading the papers and sipping rosé all day with Van Morrison mumbling love songs on the cd player…hmmm.. a wonderful mellow day to be alive. Lunch was stuffed peppers with a fabulously simple tomato and onion salad from the marvellous French Brasserie Cookbook by Daniel Galmiche. If you haven’t got it – buy it…superb – a big thank you to Johnny Parker for recommending it!

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I pan fried some spring onions, a tomato deseeded and chopped, a clove of garlic and a finely slivered red chilli. I cooked some basmati rice,let it cool a little then aded it to the pan, with a little salt and pepper and some chopped coriander.

I had deseeded and blanched the red peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes, then plunged them into a pan of cold water. I stuffed them with the rice mix, drizzled olive oil over them and whacked them in the oven 190c for 45 minutes – they could actually go in longer if you wish – pop some wetted grease proof paper over them if you cook them for longer.

For the salad de tomate aux onions …arrange 5 or 6 sliced vine toms or the best you can get on a plate, finely slice a white onion – I used three shallots – or you could use the white of a salad onion- and sprinkle over the toms. Season with s & p. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons of good olive oil over them, then 2 tbsps of red wine vinegar and then 2 tbsps of balsamic vinegar. Finally finely chop a clove of garlic – swizzle over the top and a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley. I ate this with a baguette – vital for mopping up the sensationally scintillating juices!

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