Tender. What a great name for a book. And what a book it is. Nigel Slater speaks so engagingly and comfortingly about his garden near Highbury Barn in London. He cooks my style of food – homely, so so simple, yet packing incredible flavours. Despite being British in style he loves to use Indian spices and experiment with flavour combinations.
When I say “British in style” I don’t want to conjure up images of old-fashioned British food like chip butties and steak and kidney pie. I do imply, though, that the food is cold weather food – root vegetables, cabbage, oven cooked food. For even a hot day in the UK does not pass muster as a summer day in Australia. Nigel would argue that some of his food is for the hotter seasons, but his recipes are not, say, like Bill Granger’s, built with the 30C – 45C degree heat of good ol’e Aussie summers where it is hot enough to cook a falafel on the sidewalk and everyone who is sane heads for the beach.
Having made myself clear about that, I love the food in this book. And yes, it does include dishes that will work in our summer too. Especially if cooked beforehand and perhaps served cold. I mean, who wants to turn on the oven when it is 43C outside and 30C inside?
There are some beauties in this book and I hope you get to at least browse through it in the bookstore or library.
I love this dish, so simple and yet so surprisingly flavoursome. It has joined our list of “make and make and make again” dishes that take no time to prepare and can cook while other dishes are prepared, or verrryyy laayyyyte on a hot hot evening to be used the next day for a picnic on the beach.
The original recipe stuffed the capsicums with tomatoes only, but I added a couple of extra ingredients.
Baked Peppers with Cherry Tomatoes for a Summer Picnic (or Lunch)
Source : inspired by Tender
Cuisine: Modern British, Italian in style
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
Serves: 4 – 8 people, depending how you use it
4 large peppers
12 – 16 small or cherry tomatoes
150g or so of fetta
1 tspn dried herbs – rosemary, mint, etc or mixed eg an Italian herb mix (optional)
2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled
a handful of basil leaves
Heat to oven to 200C.
Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and discard the seeds and any white pith/core. Put the peppers, cut side up, in a roasting tin or baking dish.
Cut the tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on their size, and season with a little sea salt and black pepper. Not too much salt as the feta will add salt to the dish.
Divide the tomatoes between the peppers. Cut the feta into small cubes and distribute between the peppers and tuck in between the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the dried herbs, if using. Cut the garlic into large pieces and tuck into the peppers as well.
Drizzle some olive oil over the peppers and bake until the tomatoes and peppers are lusciously soft, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Blitz the basil leaves with about 70ml olive oil in a blender or use a mortar and pestle. Pour over and into the peppers.
Serve hot, warm or cold. You could even have them for breakfast. Enjoy!