Ma and I seem to have settled into a Saturday ritual. It’s not every Saturday, but she comes for dinner, bringing a bottle of wine and I cook. It’s easy when you live alone to get stuck into a rut, cooking the same thing day in and out, so Saturday night dinners are good practice for me. Helping me to think a little more creatively about food or to try new recipes.This week, I gave myself a bit of a challenge and made dinner from what was in the fridge on Saturday morning. I had half a packet of feta, a packet of bacon lardons, garlic, onions, mushrooms, peppers and half a carton of passata. I decided on stuffed peppers and they were pretty good. Because I was making this up as I went along this is actually a meal for 3 people, which means that I got to eat the same thing for dinner on Tuesday night.
3 sweet peppers
130g smoked bacon lardons
2 red onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
100g mushrooms, chopped
100g pearl barley
1) Bring a pot of water to the boil. Cut the peppers in half and remove the stalk and seeds. Drop the pepper halves in the boiling water and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
2) Remove the peppers from the pot and add the pearl barley, simmer for 25 minutes or until the pearl barley is cooked, drain and set to one side.
3) Add the bacon to a frying pan over a medium heat and cook until lightly browned.
4) Depending on how much fat the bacon has released, you may need to add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan with the bacon, add the garlic and onion to the pan and cook for another 5 or so minutes.
5) Add the mushrooms, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. You’re looking for everything to be cooked through and the water to have cooked out of the mushrooms.
6) Turn down the heat and add the pearl barley and passata to the pan. Stir it all through and leave over a low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the passata had thickened slightly. Then take off the heat.
7) Crumble the feta into the pearl barley mixture and stir through. Then fill the pepper halves with it.
8) At this point, you can cover the peppers and leave in the fridge until you’re ready to cook them. Or you can put them in a pre-heated oven at 180C to 200C for 25 to 35 minutes. (remember my oven runs hot so know your oven!)