As you know I get most of my food inspiration from the fruit & vegetables I see growing in the fields where I walk with the dog in the morning. There are hundreds of these peppers everywhere.
This time of year there is always a glut of tomatoes. So much so that they are basically being given away or left to rot on the ground.
This whole field of corn is being left to dry out completely. The corn was ripe about a month ago but has not been harvested. I don’t know why, I’m hoping that they are going to use it to make corn flour or something. It seems such a waste.
My scotch bonnet chilli pepper plant is still producing more chillis. I have 3 large tubs already in the freezer and it has just flowered again which means another crop.
I have just been back to England for a few days for my mum’s birthday. As usual I had to buy another cookbook while I was there. This time I decided to go for something Caribbean as I have so many Scotch Bonnets to use. The book is Spice it Up by Levi Roots.
There are lots of recipes I’m eager to try but his Caribbean chilli was the first one because it used a lot of stuff I had to finish up in my fridge. I love recipes like this It’s so versatile. I added the sweetcorn and used lentils instead of kidney beans as that is what I had.
I also have a really healthy thyme plant on my terrace. It’s not woody at all so you can use the whole sprigs for seasoning as well as the leaves. Fresh thyme is used a lot in Caribbean food.
So you can kind of see how my brain works. The stuff I see growing while walking the dog stays in my head. It gets added to the things I have on my roof terrace and inspiration from books brings it all together somehow. It’s this creativity that I love and that keeps me cooking and writing this blog.
So I made the chilli which was delicious on its own with some rice or cornbread and then used the rest to stuff into the green peppers for lunch the next day. A sprinkling of grated cheese before roasting gives it that something extra and takes it in a slightly more Mexican direction.
For that late summer vibe you can’t beat a bit of Caribbean spice. So if it’s rainy where you are, bring on the sunshine, get creative and start cooking.
Caribbean Chilli Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4 as chilli, 6 for stuffed peppers, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free.
Adapted from Spice it Up by Levi Roots
For the Caribbean chilli:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, halved lengthways, rinsed & finely sliced (optional)
- 1 carrot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 sticks celery, finely sliced
- 1 heaped tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- salt & black pepper
- a bunch of fresh thyme leaves
- 1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and roughly diced
- 2 small long green peppers, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 250 gr mushrooms, quartered or sliced
- 2 large tomatoes chopped (or 1 x 400 gr tin)
- 1 or 2 red chilli (ideally scotch bonnet) I used 4 of my small ones
- 1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
- 1 tin/jar cooked lentils, rinsed
- 1 tin/jar cooked kidney beans/white beans, rinsed
- 1 ear of corn, silk removed and kernels sliced off into a bowl
- 2 tbsp tomate frito (tomato puree/ketchup)
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 or 2 tbsp soy sauce
- a handful of fresh coriander leaves, chopped plus extra for garnish
- 1/2 a lime juiced
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek, celery, carrot & garlic and cook for about 5-8 minutes until softened.
Season well with salt & pepper and add the cumin, allspice and fresh thyme leaves, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Next add in the peppers, cook for 2 minutes then add in the mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the chopped tomatoes, chillis, sweetcorn, lentils & beans and stir well. Then add the tomato puree, sugar & soy sauce.
Lower the heat, cover and cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste, add more salt, sugar or cayenne pepper if not hot enough for you. Stir in the chopped coriander and squeeze over the juice of 1/2 a lime.
Serve straight away with plain boiled rice or some cornbread or use to stuff peppers.
For the Stuffed Peppers:
- 1 large long green pepper per person
- Caribbean chilli (see above)
- olive oil
- salt & black pepper
- fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
- dried chilli flakes
- grated cheese
Preheat the oven to 180C. Cut the peppers in half lengthways and remove the seeds and core. Line a baking tray with baking paper and place the peppers on the tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, thyme leaves and chilli flakes, toss to coat.
Roast in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, you can do this while your chilli is cooking if you like. When the peppers are cooked spoon the cooked chilli into the peppers and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Put back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes for the cheese to melt. Cook for 15-2o minutes if the filling is cold.
Serve on their own or with a simple green salad.
Things That Made Me Smile Today……..
My best friend Tara, who I miss a lot, made dinner for me when I was back in England. I’ve never seen her cook before so I was very honoured!!
Especially as she made my White Bean Dip as well as a Blue Cheese, Pear & Walnut Salad, Nachos and some delicious Spicy Roasted Potatoes. It was far too much food for the two of us but we still managed to polish off some Baklava and a bottle of pink champagne.
She has two gorgeous Chihuahuas, a boy & a girl called Rocky and Coco. Rocky is the white one and Coco is brown. I don’t usually like little yappy- type dogs but they are so cute.
Thanks T, I miss you. Come and see me soon!!