The association of stuffing and peppers has the ring of anathema. Experience, together with hearsay, tells us that nothing good can come of it. Just the mere consideration of such a possibility awakens the culinary Torquemada that lurks in the dark recesses of my food prejudices. There are also the visual concerns to be addressed. Not only does the bisected pepper look like a pair of gay pianist’s spectacles but the two halves appear to be offering a challenge out of the side of their toothy mouths, whilst leering at each other over their respective shoulders :
“Come on then, stuff me if you think you’re hard enough….or more to the point, if you think Jenny will ever speak to you again….”
It was as though those red devils had addressed their challenge to a cocktail fueled Margot Asquith:
” Fuck you”…came the witty riposte, perfectly in tune with the inimitable style of that most pithed of repartee artistes.
I feel that I should be giving a reason as to why I would consider stuffing a pepper and, as fortune would have it, a timely excuse has just come to my notice on Twitter. The excuse is called “Fridge Foraging” and that is what I was unwittingly doing. In the white interior of a sparsely furnished fridge it’s hard to miss the chromatic shock of a bright red pepper. Not being a diligent forager, I felt that I had looked for long enough and took the pepper rather like a press ganged drunk would have taken the queen’s shilling. When I find myself in times of trouble Nigel Slater comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, recipe….and so it was, yet again.
Slater’s impressive tome, “Tender”, has a privileged place on my cookery book shelves. Although the pages are, unsurprisingly, filled with delicious and imaginative ideas what I really like is the shiny piece of ribbon that acts as a book marker…that, together with the cover and a tiny, illegible, but wonderfully designed, font for the page numbers singles this book out as special. I know that can be a disparaging term but, in this case, it isn’t. I quickly searched the index for “good legal things to do to a pepper” and, within the hour, had found the page number with the aid of a linen glass. On the pages relating to peppers there were so many wonderful possibilities and one of them coincided with the fridge forager in me…..torn mozzarella, tomatoes, black olives and anchovies…..I’ve cooked them , cooled them, photographed and admired them. I gave Jenny something different for supper and the peppers are now back in the fridge from whence they came…I think they’ll be very good cold…I think