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Tomato and pepper recipes

Sun, 17 October, 2021

Autumn treated us here in the south-east of England with a lovely spell of Indian summer, perhaps to make up for the rubbish summer itself. Thanks to that we have had surprisingly more tomatoes ripen in the garden than expected.

Even the ones in the shops, mostly grown in the Isle of Wight (none of that Italian rubbish since Brexit!), are really rather delightful and riper than they normally are.

At this time of year I do miss visiting French village markets, with the stalls groaning under the weight of autumnal produce. I do appreciate local as those who read my posts regularly know, but some locals are better than other locals.

The varieties of French beans; the apples and plums, much skankier than here but dirt-cheap; the grapes grown right opposite the market square… and the peppers. The most enormous red peppers that I have ever seen anywhere.

That to me is October cooking: tomatoes and peppers. It’s a race to use as much seasonal produce as possible before it ends, and all we are left with are leeks and carrots.

Relating to last week’s post, there is absolutely no effort involved in eating less meat at this time of year: I just naturally do it because there’s no space left on my plate for a steak after I've prepared all the vegetables I want to eat.

The best tomatoes for cooking, naturally, are the fleshy, almost seedless San Marzano type – large plum shaped. We had quite a few ripen on our patio plant so I had a tomato cook-fest making a crostata, tomato Tatin, stuffed baked ones and stuffed uncooked ones (tomato nuns).

But really, I guess only in France and Italy you are so spoilt you will only use a specific variety of tomato in a specific dish. Cherry type or beefsteak type are as good if that’s all you can get. I added them to green beans and cabbage, I cooked them into a stew with prawns, and I made tomato butter to put on toast and confit tomatoes to put in salads.

With peppers, red or yellow, you must try making piperade which is a cross between a side dish, a sauce and a pasta/toast topping. That’s with tomatoes, too. The alternative red pepper pasta sauce recipe is a little different: peppers cook down literally into a sauce here.

If you want a meaty but fully seasonal dish, try partridge breast with grilled peppers. Or stuff them with rice and leftover roast shredded chicken, and a cheesy topping.

Red (or green or yellow or orange) peppers are excellent blasted under hot grill, then skinned. You can make them easily at home and spare the expense of a shop-bought jar, plus make a dressing yourself, like in this red pepper salad.

For dessert, I’ll be making a pear tart tonight, the recipe to turn up here soon. That’s only because I’ve made so many apple things recently: apple pie, old-fashioned apple cake and a Norwegian eplekake.

If you haven’t made an apple dessert yet this season, now is the time. Hope you enjoy it!

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About me

Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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