Friday, 9 January 2009

Red Hot Romano Peppers

In a ideal, perfect and affordable world, I would always buy fair-trade, organic, seasonal and local, but I also have to be honest and realistic with my budget. So there will be many times in my life when I will have to shop around at the local supermarkets for offers. Times when I have to compromise with my green values and buy vegetables and fruit that are neither of the above. This is a fact in many peoples lives, including mine and cannot be avoided.

It was one of the reasons, I got an allotment to keep food costs down, and it worked to an extent – we barely bought any vegetables from supermarkets, grocers or farmers market between the months of May and October last year. We enjoyed eating our own home and allotment grown seasonal and organic produce.

However, we are a very long way from ever being self-sufficient, and right now my allotment plot is low on fresh produce. Plus I am a little tired of eating winter greens, I need something that warm and uplifting to cheer me up on these cold wintery days.

During my lunch hour, I found myself being drawn to these reduced priced, red hot Romano peppers which were of course neither local or organic.

Some peoples lives cannot always be about being organic (because it tastes much better) and local (saving on food miles). It is also about doing what is right for your pocket. Today, like many I am watching my pennies, and therefore being thrify - such is real life.

So here is one of my adapted creations from Vegetable Heaven.

Romano peppers stuffed with mint, feta and pine kernels

Serve with small roasted potato chunks
Serves 2

2 Romano peppers
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
15g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
150g feta cheese, drained and crumbled
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp dried mint or 15g chopped fresh mint leaves
50g pine kernels
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to gas mark 6

Cut peppers in half lengthwise, leaving the stalks in tack, remove seeds, then rinse the pepper halves

Fry the onion in butter and olive oil until tender. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes, then set pan aside to cool.

With a folk blend feta, lemon juice and mint to a smoothish puree. Put the cheese puree and pine kernels into the pan with the fried onions and mix together, taste and adjust seasoning.

Put the mixture into the pepper halves and place them on a non stick baking tin. Cover the tin with foil and cook in oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake uncovered for a further 10 minutes, until the tops of the filling is lightly bronzed and bubbling.

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