Tag Archives: side dishes

Marinated peppers

marinated peppers

I am sharing these here as they are a staple of the lunch that I provide at my bread making courses. They are always a hit and I have been asked for the recipe more times than I can count. So here it is.  This is a simplified version (and in my opinion tastier) of one I have posted before. It’s very simple and can be jazzed up with a sprinkling of herbs, or capers, or sun dried tomatoes, depending on your mood. Try the peppers in the simple version first though and play around later.

I make them the day before I need them to give them time for the flavours to mingle, (but you could just eat them straight away if necessary), and they are good to eat for a few days, so they are handy to have in the fridge. I like the colours of the different peppers but if you prefer red peppers to green peppers feel free to make them with the colour that you prefer.

1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 green pepper
salt & pepper
half a lemon
Extra virgin olive oil

Method
Preheat your oven to 220°c, gas mark 7, or use the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga. Line a baking tray with foil (not absolutely necessary but makes cleaning easier). Place the peppers on the tray (or if using an Aga just spread the foil directly on the floor of the roasting oven) and roast them, turning every ten minutes until they get nicely charred on all sides. This can take 30-40 minutes.  Once charred place them into a bowl large enough to hold them all and cover immediately with cling film.  Leave them to steam and get cool enough to handle. The steam helps the skin be easily peeled off.  Once cool enough to handle, peel away the skins, whilst holding the peppers over a bowl to catch the juices.  Remove the core and the seeds and rip the pepper flesh into strips. Place into a serving dish and pour over all the juices.  Season with salt and pepper.  Squeeze half a lemon over the top and be generous with the olive oil.

 

Spicy caramel nuts

I am no Nigella Lawson!  When she gives a dinner party for friends she gives the impression that she wanders in from work and throws together a fabulous feast.  When I have a dinner party it takes me all week to move the billion and one toys out of the downstairs living space to be hidden out of sight upstairs.  Then the dusting, which has been put off for more weeks than is reasonable, has to be undertaken.  Then the sweeping and the mopping.  I don’t want my friends to see how slovenly I really am! So last week was a week of preparation for a gathering of friends at our house on saturday night.

I love having friends over and hearing the house ring with laughter and I love cooking something for everyone to share.  These nuts went down well with everyone.  Watch out though, one or two handfuls and you are hooked…

150g caster sugar
150ml water
1 tsp fennel seed
1½ tsp cumin seed
½ tsp crushed chilli
salt and pepper
400g mixed nuts and seeds

Method

Place the sugar and water into a heavy based pan and heat over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved.  Turn the heat up and bring to a boil and boil for about five minutes until the mixture has turned darker and is syrupy.  Add the spices.

Place the nuts onto a silicone sheet on a baking tray (a silicone sheet prevents the nuts from being stuck forever to your baking try) and pour over the syrup, being very careful as it is extremely hot. Put the baking tray into a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 for 5-6 minutes until the nuts have toasted.  Leave to cool and the syrup will harden.  Break up into chunks and serve with pre dinner drinks.

Oven Baked Pepper and Onion Bhaji

We have eaten more than our fair share of meat in this household this week so last night I wanted to do something meatless.  I have posted onion bhajis before, but last night I didn’t feel like deep-frying.  I wanted something a little bit healthier.  So I decided to give cooking the bhajis baked in the oven a go and they taste just as good as the deep-fried variety.

I served them with a cauliflower curry, rice and a cucumber and yoghurt dip.  Very tasty it all was too, except I might add more spice to the cauliflower next time as a cauli can soak up a lot of flavour. So I will work on that before I post it here.

I used the same batter as last time, but because they were going to be oven baked I sweated the pepper and onion slices before putting them in the batter.  Then I could be sure they would be cooked through.

Gram flour is made from ground chickpeas and imparts a delicious nuttiness and a beautiful yellow colour.

1 small red pepper, sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cumin seed
1 heaped tsp crushed chillies
100g gram flour
100ml warm water
salt and pepper

Method

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and sweat the onion and pepper until the onion is translucent and the pepper is tender. They shouldn’t brown.  Leave to cool.

Place the coriander and cumin seed in a dry pan and heat over a medium heat for a minute or two until their scent is released.  Tip them into a mortar and pestle (or use a bowl and rolling-pin) and grind them finely.

Sieve the gram flour into a bowl and add the coriander, cumin and crushed chillies and stir well. Pour in the warm water and whisk until smooth.  Add freshly ground pepper and salt. Leave the batter to rest for 30 minutes.

Put the pepper and onion into the batter and mix well.  Place spoonfuls of the mixture onto a greased baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the Baking Oven of the Aga for about 15 minutes until golden and crunchy.