I just love recipe books. I really do, I can read one any time, any day. I have many of them. Some people come visit and make remarks to the tune of how can anyone cook all these recipes? Completely missing the point. For me, they are a little indulgence, a catalogue of escapism … sure, maybe not escapism in the Game of Thrones sense of the word, but an escape nonetheless into a sensuous world of deliciousness and creativity, of a slower paced world where things always look and taste amazing! At this time of year particularly, I love to drape myself over my wingback with a lovely drink and maybe a little treat if I have made any and start trawling for Christmas inspiration. It feels like a present, I love it! This year’s home celebration is going to be quite casual, more of a picnic feast than a sit down affair. After the intense pace of 2013, I want us all to unwind on the lawn and laze away an afternoon under the tree. So despite all the temptations of wonderful complex recipes, I will be sticking to simplicity and assembling a feast made up of lovely components so everyone can graze to their liking. This is one of the little dishes I think will make its appearance.
4 peppers – red, yellow or orange
red wine vinegar
handful or shredded basil or some flat leaf parsley if you prefer
Rub the peppers with olive oil and place on a roasting tray upside down (standing on their stems) and put under a hot grill. Watch them, you want their skins to turn black as evenly as possible. Rotate them as they blacken until you have nicely charred peppers, try keep them whole. Remove from the roasting tray and put them into a plastic packet large enough to hold them all, remove as much air as possible and close the packet, leaving them to sweat. While they sweat, take a handful of pine nuts and toast in a dry pan over a medium heat. These beauties turn really quickly so watch them closely so that they toast but don’t burn and turn bitter. Remove from the heat and set aside. I don’t think the peppers will be cool enough to handle yet, so make your dressing by crushing the garlic with some salt until you have a creamy paste. Add capers, a few tablespoons of olive oil and red wine vinegar. I use salted capers, which must be rinsed and drained before being used, but use brined ones if you prefer.
Now, carefully remove the peppers from the packet and pull out the stems with the pips if you can. Open up the peppers and remove the veins and whatever seed are left. Tear them into a pretty bowl. Or cut them into quarter sections if you prefer. Taste your dressing and adjust seasoning if necessary, then pour over the peppers. If eating that day, scatter over toasted pine nuts and shredded basil.
Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Make this up to a week in advance and store in an airtight container in the fridge, as long as the peppers are submerged. Make sure to bring it to room temperature, add pine nuts and basil before serving as an accompaniment to a hot meal or alongside lovely tapas. Enjoy!
We have been loving our Bulletproof coffee to get us through the end of year mania! I don’t proclaim it some miracle cure all, but it is delicious, so give it a try for a little morning lift and sustained energy without the normal caffeine crash:
Some good, strong, organic coffee
1 heaped tsp organic coconut oil
1 Tbl unsalted, grass fed butter
Put all the ingredients into a blending container and blend until nice and frothy. Beware, it is hot! That’s it! Pour into your favored mug and enjoy!