Tag Archives: peppers

The Tart, the Party, and the Christmas Tree Dress (Caramelised Onions, Peppers and Chorizo Tart)

 Last weekend, I had a work Christmas party to go to. I know a lot of people would rather gouge their own eyes out rather than attend the work party, but this is not the case here. I am lucky enough to be working with great people who are really, really fun to be around. We all decided a few weeks ago that we would go out and make the most of the happy hour, then head back to our manager’s place for food and a lot more drinks. We also decided that we would be wearing Christmas-themed costumes… it sounds like a recipe for disaster, right?

Well, in any case it explains how I ended up going out in Newcastle on a Saturday night wearing a Christmas tree dress. Yes, that’s right, a Christmas tree dress. In my defence, it actually looks a lot better than it sounds. And after a few drinks I thought it was hilarious that I seemed to be leaving a trail of tinsel behind me everywhere I went… 

But anyway, the point of this post is the food, not my sparkly sartorial adventures. I needed to come up with the perfect recipe to bring along to the party. It had to be freezer-friendly, as I knew I wouldn’t have time to make it on the day; I wanted it to appeal to a wide audience, and be easy to transport. A savoury tart seemed like a good option, and after much deliberation I finally settled on a caramelised onions and peppers filling, and added chorizo for some extra flavour.

This tart went down a treat and it was eaten in no time at all. In fact I wish I had made two! Unfortunately, when the tart was served I was a bit tipsy busy, and didn’t get to take a picture. Sorry…

Don’t be put off by the anchovies in the ingredients list if you don’t like them; they are only there to balance out the sweetness of the peppers and onions, and you won’t be able to taste them (Mr Greedy Frog hates anchovies, so I didn’t tell him they featured in this recipe, and he happily ate up the produce of my test runs without noticing a thing…)

You will need (for 6-8 people):

For the pastry:

300 g plain flour
150 g butter
Pinch salt
cold water

For the filling:

4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 anchovy fillets in olive oil
4 red onions
8 bell peppers (a mix of red and yellow looks best but green is fine too)
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
150g chorizo
salt, pepper

Method:

Make the pastry. In a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and the butter to the flour. Work the flour into the butter between your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add enough cold water to bind, knead briefly then form into a ball (you can of course use a food processor instead if you prefer). Wrap in cling film then chill for 20 min.

Preheat the oven to 200C/ fan 180C/ gas 6.

Roll out the pastry to line a 28 cm, loose-bottom, fluted tart tin (re-form any leftover pastry into a ball and freeze for another time). Chill again for 10 min, then line with foil, add baking beans, and bake blind for 15 min. Remove the foil and beans, and return to the oven for 5 min. Reserve.

Make the filling. De-seed and slice the peppers, slice the onions, peel and crush the garlic.
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In a large frying pan with a lid, heat up the olive oil. Finely chop the anchovies, and fry for a minute or two until they start breaking down. Add the tomato puree, cool for 1 minute more.
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Add the onions, peppers and garlic, toss to coat, and fry gently for 2 to 3 min. After this time, add the balsamic vinegar and oregano, cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook gently, stirring every once in a while, until soft (about 10-15 min depending on the size of your pan). If you end up with cooking juices, cook uncovered for a further 2 min to dry out. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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Meanwhile, cut the chorizo into small pieces (about the size of chickpeas), and dry-fry in a non-stick frying pan until cooked (about 10 min). Set aside.

Assemble the tart: If serving straight away, scatter the pieces of chorizo evenly over the pastry case, and top with the onion and pepper filling. Bake for 15 min until piping hot. If you want to freeze it for later, cool all the elements separately then assemble when cold. Wrap in foil and cling film and freeze for up to a month. Bake from frozen at  200C/ fan 180C/ gas 6 for 30 min or until piping hot in the middle.

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Filed under Bakes, Buffet, Christmas, Mains, Savoury Tarts, Starters

Pasta Bake With Goat’s Cheese and Turkey Meatballs

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I do not run for anyone. Not only do most of my shoes not allow it, but if I am totally honest I also find it rather tedious, and let’s face it, exhausting.

I am always happy however, to support friends running for charity in any way I can. Which is why this weekend I was delighted to welcome at Greedy Frog Towers two dear friends brave (and fit) enough to tackle the Great North Run.

The night before the race, I prepared this dish for them, with pasta for energy, plenty of vegetable goodness and lean protein in the form of turkey meatballs. It went down a treat!

They both finished the race and did amazingly well, raising a lot of money for Cancer Research in the process, and I am very proud of them.

You will need (for 6):

For the meatballs:
400 g turkey mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tsp dried sage
salt, pepper

For the sauce:
olive oil
2 large peppers
a handful mushrooms, chopped
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic

To finish:
500g pack pasta
1 small log goat’s cheese
1 tsp dried sage

Method:

Preheat your grill to medium-high. Grill the peppers on all sides until black and blistered, then place inside a plastic bag. Wrap this plastic bag into another one, then reserve until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, mix all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl, and form into golf-ball size meatballs.
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Heat up the olive oil in a large, deep pan. Gently fry the meatballs until golden on all sides. While the meatballs are cooking, peel, de-seed and dice the peppers. When the meatballs are well coloured, add the peppers and mushrooms to the pan, stir gently (taking care not to break the meatballs), and cook for 2 min more.

Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 30 min.

Preheat your oven to 200°C/ fan 180°C/ Gas 6. Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, then drain. Butter a large ceramic or glass baking dish.

Spread a layer of sauce at the bottom of the dish, and top with a layer of pasta. Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients. Slice the goat’s cheese, and distribute evenly on the dish. Sprinkle the sage, then bake for 15 to 20 min, or until the cheese slices start to take colour.image

Serve with some fresh crusty bread.

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Filed under Mains, Meat dishes, Pasta

Your Sunday Night Hug: Fried Eggs With Potatoes and Peppers

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Do you ever get this Sunday night feeling? You know, at the end of a great, sunny weekend, full of your child’s smiles, and laughter, and walks around the park, good food and good company, and a host of simple, little joys. When you realise this is over, and in the morning, once again, you will don your corporate smile, and matching suit, and make your way to work.

When you get this feeling, you want and need something that will help you make the most out of the small slice of weekend you have left. Something comforting and safe.

This is what this dish is. A little piece of sunny Sunday, a bit of a smile on your plate, an edible hug to help you through the week ahead.

You will need (for 2):

4 eggs
1 green pepper
3 medium potatoes
1/2 onion, finely chopped
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Method:

Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. In a non-stick frying pan, heat up enough olive oil to come up to about 5 mm deep. Gently fry the potatoes on a medium heat until cooked, but not crisp.

Meanwhile, de-seed the pepper and dice it. Add it to the pan about 10 min after the potatoes. When cooked, drain the vegetables onto kitchen paper and pour the oil out of the pan, reserving just 1 tbsp.
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Return the pan to the heat with the reserved oil, and gently fry the onion. Add the potatoes and pepper. Spread in an even layer at the bottom of the pan.

Break the eggs over the vegetables, taking care not to break the yolks, and cook to your liking. Season, then serve with crusty bread.image

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Filed under Eggs, Mains, Vegetarian

Beef and Feta Stuffed Peppers

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I was inspired by Eat Already’s Stuffed Sweet Peppers to try my own version of the recipe. I had made stuffed peppers many times before, but never cooked in a sauce.

Instead I would cut the peppers in half, pre-cook under the grill, then fill with cooked rice, or meat and return under the grill for a few minutes.

Then I read through Eat Already’s post and had one of these “how come I’ve never thought of this” moments. I just had to try it!

I changed a few things, and added the feta, simply because I have this compulsion not to follow recipes exactly; but essentially it is still Eat Already’s recipe. So without further ado, and with the recipe’s rightful owner’s kind permission, here it is!

You will need (for 4):

1 onion
1 carrot
2 cloves garlic
3 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 litre beef stock, hot
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
500 g minced beef
4 peppers
200 g feta
Salt
Pepper

Method:

Finely chop the onion and reserve half for later. Chop the carrot. Crush the garlic.

In a large pan, heat up the olive oil on a medium heat, and gently fry the onion, carrot and garlic. Add 2 tsp of the oregano, cover and leave to cook for 3-4 min to soften.

Add the tomatoes, stock and bay leaf, stir and bring to the boil. Season to taste.

Meanwhile, mix the reserved onion with the minced beef. Add the remaining oregano, salt, pepper, parsley, chopped feta, and mix thoroughly.

Cut the tops off the peppers, and remove all the seeds and membrane. Stuff with the meat mixture, and put the tops back on.

Immerse the peppers in the sauce, bring back to the boil, then simmer for 45 min to 1 hour.

Serve with some of the sauce, with some rice or pasta.

If you have any of the meat mixture left after you have stuffed the peppers, roll it into meat balls, and cook in the sauce alongside the peppers. This could make a wonderful lunch for the following day, with some pasta.

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Filed under Mains, Meat dishes

Baked Eggs with Chorizo, Tomatoes and Peppers

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I love eggs in every guise, but baked eggs are among my absolute favourite things. This is only one of many ways to have them, and you can vary the recipe depending on what you like, or what you have in your fridge.

You will need (serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a main):

6 small tomatoes
1 pepper (any colour you like)
1/2 a red onion
About 40 g chorizo
Olive oil
1 clove garlic
Dried oregano
Salt
Pepper
20 g Parmesan

Method:

Preheat your oven to 220 C/ fan 210 C/ gas 7. Butter 4 ramequins.

Peel and finely chop the onion. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl, pour enough boiling water on them to cover, and leave for a few seconds until the skins start to split. Drain.

Grill the pepper, or spear it with a fork and hold it above the flame of the hob until the skin bubbles and blackens. Wrap in two plastic bags.

When cool enough to handle, peel, quarter, de-seed and dice the tomatoes. Peel, de-seed and dice the pepper. Cut the chorizo into hazelnut-size chunks. Peel and thinly chop the garlic.
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Heat up a frying pan on a medium heat, add about 2 tbsp olive oil, and when hot, add the onions, tomatoes, peppers and garlic. Stir, then leave for 1 min.

Add the chorizo and a sprinkle of oregano, fry for about 3 min or until the vegetables are soft. Take off the heat.
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Spoon the vegetables into the prepared ramequins, reserving about 4 heaped tbsp . With your spoon, create a slight hollow in the mixture, and break an egg in each one. Top with the reserved mixture, grate the Parmesan on top and put the ramequins on a baking tray.
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Put the tray in the oven and bake for 6 min for a runny yolk, 8 min if you like your eggs more cooked.

Serve with some nice, crusty bread to dip.

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Filed under Eggs, Mains, Starters