Week 7: Mushroom, Feta and Tomato Baked Peppers

There’s a turn of phrase that you might get bored of reading on here.  That phrase is: I’ve never cooked with __enter name of common foodstuff here__. Cue gasp and y’all shriek “What never?  What have you been eating for the last 31 years?  Gruel?!?”

I have eaten loads of things at other people’s houses and in restaurants and stuff, just not gone to the shop and bought them to use in delicious meals…

This meal marks me losing my feta-ginity, and also the first time I’d ever cooked a sundried tomato.  No one warned me that feta comes wet, so I squirted feta juice all over the kitchen, and my shoes, and got it in my hair.

To make this (to serve two) you will need 4 sun-dried tomato pieces (in oil, drained well), 2 tsp sunflower oil, 175g chestnut mushrooms (wiped and diced) 20g blanched hazelnuts, 1 garlic clove, 50g dry white breadcrumbs, parsley, 1 tsp dried chilli flakes, 100g feta or soft goats cheese (drained) and 2 smallish peppers (red or yellow).  The book recommends to serve with a mixed salad – which I forgot to buy.

To make, turn your oven to 220c (200c fan) /gas 7, and cut the peppers in half from top to bottom – remove the seeds and membrane.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and stir-fry the mushrooms for 4 minutes, add the roughly chopped hazelnuts and fry for another minute until the nuts are lightly toasted and remove from the heat.

Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley and chilli flakes until thoroughly combined.  Break up the feta and toss them around with the rest of the stuffing.  Stuff into both halves of each pepper and put on a foil-lined roasting tin (stuffing side up).

A quirk of the recipe was that to stop the filling burning, you have to make a little cover for each pepper from tin foil – this would be fine but the fan in my oven seems to have been swapped for the fan from an industrial leaf blower, and the little foil hats kept blowing across my kitchen when I put them in.

I skewered them with cocktail sticks, but I think this affected how quickly  they cooked, because the second time I made them they were blacker.

Bake for 35 minutes until tender – remove the foil hats for the last 10 minutes.

stuffed peppers

They turned out much better than the photo!  Also, they were surprisingly spicy considering they only had a teaspoon of chilli flakes between 4 half peppers.

When you go out shopping for this recipe, don’t get peppers that are too big, or they’ll be half full.

The book says that one portion (two half peppers) is 401 calories – obviously this will be different for everyone, unless they have the exact same brand of cheese and identical peppers.  I thought I might be left hungry after eating this, but I wasn’t.  I’ve already made this a second time and one of my friends has requested this for a dinner party when I get a table.

I would definitely recommend the book, although, all the recipes are for different numbers of people, which is a bit of a nuisance when just cooking for the two of us!

Hairy Dieters

The Hairy Dieters by Dave Myers and Si King (Weidenfield & Nicholson/Orion 2012 ISBN: 978 0 297 86905 4)

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