Here I am again. It has been a while but it has been that busy holiday season and I feel sure you do no want a Christmas Cake recipe (although I do have a really great one which is very simple) or indeed other holiday fare which is what I seem to have been doing. All back to normal now although I am in New Zealand where all the summer produce is at its very, very best.
As I know not all of you are in the Southern summer I have gone for a starter which is not purely seasonal and all the ingredients are easily available year round. Although I generally serve this as a starter, with a few salad leaves and if possible lavash (Middle Eastern bread) I sometimes use this, as a side dish, with roast lamb.
When choosing your peppers it is a good idea to check the shape of them. They need to have quite flat sides, or as flat as possible. Avoid round ones, so that when you have cut them in half, lengthwise, and filled them they will sit nicely in the roasting dish.
This is a sort of "anything goes" dish. You can use either all or some of the ingredients and as much, or as little, as you like, for the filling although the feta and tomatoes are essential.
The ANCHOVY OPTION
A variation of this dish is to use tomatoes, anchovies and basil for the filling and stud the top with black olives.
RED PEPPERS FILLED WITH FETA & TOMATOES
3 large red peppers
150 grams ( 4-6 ounces) of good quality feta
18 ( or so) cherry tomatoes, depending on the size
1-2 cloves of garlic (you know how much you like) peeled and crushed.
1 tbsp of capers, drained
1 fresh red chilli ( again if you want to)
Thyme leaves removed from a few sprigs
Basil leaves - about 18-24
24 black olives
2 tbspns virgin olive oil
Heat the oven to 200C 400F with the rack in the middle.
Very lightly oil a shallow roasting pan.
Cut the peppers in half lengthwise remove the seeds and membrane. Be careful to try and keep the bowl-like shape of the pepper.
Put the garlic in the bottom of each pepper.
Cut the tomatoes in half, or quarters, again depending on the size and put them into the peppers.
Divide the feta into 6 portions and crumble each portion as you stuff it around the tomatoes. Don't be precious, squidge it all in.
Disperse the capers over the six peppers and add the thyme leaves and chilli, if you are using it.
Add salt and pepper- at this stage be a bit sparing with salt because feta is sometimes incredibly salty. You can always add more at the table.
Give all this a bit of a squash down into the pepper then top with the chopped basil leaves and dot the whole thing with the olives.
Drizzle the olive oil into the peppers and place them into the prepared roasting tin. Cook for about 35-45 minutes until the the cheese starts to go golden and everything looks bubbly and cooked.
10 regular tomatoes -chopped very small
2-3 cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
Preserved anchovies- as many as you like.
Basil leaves -chopped
Heat your oven and prepare the oven dish as above.
Prepare the peppers and line the base of the pepper 2 or 3 anchovies or more depending on their size.
If you are using garlic it goes in next.
Fill the peppers with the chopped tomatoes. You can easily use cherry tomatoes, cut in half, but in both cases use enough tomato to fill the peppers.
Add salt & pepper but very sparing with the salt here as anchovies are saltier than feta.
Add the basil and olives, drizzle on the oil and cook as for the feta recipe.