Stuffed Chilli Peppers – Serves 2 as a starter
This is one of my favourite recipes, bringing back memories from my childhood. Stuffed chilli are delicious and you can use them in so many ways, from starter on their own, to prepare salads, a side dish, charcuterie boards or as canapés. When I see stuffed chillies on some delicatessen, I can’t believe how expensive they are. Let’s make our own, the best thing is you can prepare a nice batch and keep it in a jar with olive oil and they will last for years!
500g fresh cherry chillies
1 litre of water
1 litre white wine vinegar
3-4 anchovies in oil, chopped
200g canned tuna in oil
1 heaped tablespoon small capers in vinegar
25g freshly chopped parsley
500ml extra-virgin olive oil
1. Wash the chillies well and using a sharp paring knife, remove the tops, leaving a hole big enough to insert a small spoon and remove all the seeds.
2. Bring the water and vinegar to boil in a pan. Place the cleaned, de-seeded chillies in the boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain and leave to cool for a few minutes.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped anchovies, the drained tuna, capers and chopped parsley. Using a fork crush and mix the ingredients until you are left with a medium textured paste. If you want to use a food processor you can do that but remember with this dish the texture is really important. Don’t over blend the mixture.
4. Take the drained chillies and, using your fingers, stuff them with the tuna paste, taking care not to overfill them. Pack the stuffed chillies closely in a sterilized 500ml Kilmer jar and cover with extra virgin olive oil.
5. Seal the jar and place in the fridge for 24 hours, Enjoy your homemade stuffed chilli peppers!
Recommended Wine: Greco Di Tufo (Italy)
Cod in Tomato Water – Serves 4
Cod is an amazing fish especially here in England. Sometimes the problem of cooking cod is to keep a soft and delicate texture but be able to bring the flavours through. This recipe I think is a perfect match, if you don’t like cod, haddock can be used instead.
4 medium size cod fillets
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 pinch of chilli (or more if you prefer bit spicier)
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
1. Start by preparing the tomato water, place all the ingredients (except the cod fillets) in a wide sauce pan, add 1 litre of water and simmer (with no lid) for 30 minutes or until reduced by a third.
2. Gently place the cod fillets in the liquid and poach for about 5 minutes. Remove the fish and place in serving bowls.
3. Turn the heat up on your sauce and let it cook until it’s reduced by half.
4. Once reduced, pour over the fish (you can strain the sauce to remove tomato skins) and top each serving with extra parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.
5. Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy!
Recommended Wine: Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)
Banoffee Pie – Serves 10-12
The first time I tasted a Banoffee pie was when I arrived in London in 1997, was love at first sight and from that day I tried Banoffee pie everywhere I went to eat out, cafe, restaurant etc. Until one day in 1999 we went out for lunch in a cafe in Portobello Road with a group of friends, and I tried what for me was pure heaven. I asked the waitress if I could have a word with the chef, she was scared that I wanted to complain about the food. Finally I met the chef and explained my passion for that particular dish and that I was a colleague, we had a coffee together and he wrote me the recipe of his Banoffee pie on a small napkin. I’m happy to share the recipe with all of you!
2 tins sweetened condensed milk
400g digestive or malt biscuits
200g unsalted butter
3-4 bananas, ripe but not beginning to be brown
1. Remove labels from the condensed milk tins. Place the tins in a large deep saucepan, cover with hot water and bring to the boil. Place the lid on the pan and return to a gentle boil, cook for two hours (remember, keep topping up the water during cooking time). In South America they call this cooked condensate milk crema de leche. Once cooked leave it to cool off for few hours.
2. To make the pie crust grind the biscuits in a food processor to a fine crumb. Pour the melted butter and keep mixing, turn the contents in a mixing bowl and mix well. Get a cake tin approximately 2 inches deep and 10 inches wide and spread the mix on the base and sides. Place in the fridge to firm for up for 2 hours.
3. Open both cans of the cooled, caramelised milk and tip into a bowl, mix well to soften it up then spread one fifth of the mixture over the bottom of the pie crust. Peel and slice the bananas 1cm thick.
4. Spread slices evenly in the tin and press into the caramel. Spoon caramel on top of bananas and smooth it over with the back of a spoon.
5. Cover the pie with cling film and leave it to chill in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours before serving. All done!
Recommended Wine: Sauterne’ (France)