Stuffed Grilled Peppers

The Huerto, or Vegetable Garden, is doing well.  Although we won´t get to enjoy all of it over the summer, we are making the most of our vegetable bounty before we leave for the UK. The long thin peppers are doing well. Typically here they are used in salads or deep fried and served with a good sprinkle of salt.

To try something different, and because I had plenty of Creamy Goat´s Cheese “Paté”, I made this dish recently. Very easy and quick to prepare, and you can add whatever flavours/herbs you have to hand and enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium long green peppers
  • 200g cream cheese paté (or mix your favourite herbs and spices into a tub of cream cheese)

Blanch the whole peppers in boiling water for about 3 or 4 minutes, drain and leave until cool enough to handle.

Cut a slit down the middle of each pepper to create an opening and then fill with cream cheese. Use a cocktail stick to seal them.

I cooked mine on the griddle pan which I had sprayed with a very little olive oil. This would also work on a barbecue. Start with the uncut side first. When they are done on one side, flip them over and cook the other side which will probably need less time.

Remove from the heat and take out the cocktail stick. Serve either warm or at room temperature with a little drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of good coarse sea salt.

 

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Creamy Goat´s Cheese Paté

Our friendly local goatherd bought round some milk for us the other day, so I turned it into yogurt and then cream cheese.  So very tasty!

I made plenty, so to change things up a little I made a little “paté” which was delicious served with fresh crusty bread and then the next day on griddled bread (like little crostini) and with bread sticks.

Ingredients

  • 200g cream cheese
  • 1 small clove of crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped capers
  • About 6 sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Beat all the ingredients together and chill until ready to serve. Simple, easy, delicious.

Garden Vegetable Pizza with Blue Cheese

The vegetable garden is now delivering well and we are trying to make the most of it before we have to walk away from it for at least a month. We´re both really sad about this, and I don´t imagine I´ll get too much bottled or frozen this year.

However, some lovely neighbours will be coming in and keeping an eye on things and looking after our chickies. They don´t have a veggie patch of their own, so they are going to enjoy what we´ve planted, so we´re very happy that it won´t go to waste.

In the meantime though, we´re enjoying what we have and last night we enjoyed a pizza with a difference. No tomato sauce!

It´s a sort of Pizza Bianca, in that it´s white, with some lovely fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden – red onion, courgette and rosemary.  I seem finally to have cracked making a thinner, crispier dough, so if you fancy a change, give this one a go. It serves two hungry people or 3-4 regular folk if you have a salad with it.

For the dough

  • 250g strong white flour
  • 1 teaspoon of easy blend yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 125ml of water

For the topping

  • 125g cream cheese blended with 3 tablespoons of milk to make a thick paste
  • 75g blue cheese (I used gorgonzola) crumbled or chopped
  • 1 medium red onion halved and finely sliced
  • Half a large courgette very thinly sliced
  • About 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (pull the leaves from the centre stems)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

To make the dough mix all the ingredients together either in a bread maker or by hand and knead for about 10 minutes then set aside to rest for about 45 minutes. Roll out thinly and place onto a sheet of greaseproof paper placed on a baking tray or flat board. Leave for about 30 minutes.

When you are ready to make the pizza, turn the oven to high and leave to warm for at least 10 minutes and make sure you place the baking tray you will use for the pizza (not the one it´s sitting on right now) in there to heat up. If you have a pizza stone, all the better!

Spread the cream cheese over the dough, then add the courgettes and onions and sprinkle over the blue cheese and rosemary. Finish with a good grind of black pepper and then remove the hot baking tray from the oven.

Slide the pizza (you can leave it on the greaseproof paper) onto the hot baking tray and pop it back into the oven for about 10 minutes or until the dough is starting to brown.

Cut yourself a big slice of pizza and enjoy…

PS. If you fancy a thicker based pizza, take a look at this recipe.

Dukkah Cream Cheese Balls

 
Delicious Dukkah and Beautiful Bottle

Since discovering you can make yogurt and cream cheese from UHT (long life) milk, my life has changed!  I´m making them both all the time now and enjoying experimenting with flavours and textures.

Sawsan over at Chef in Disguise commented that in the Middle East they would strain the cream cheese for even longer then roll it in zaatar and drizzle with olive oil.  I decided to give this a go but inadvertently used dukkah instead.  A lucky mistake!

The cheese was drained for 3 days and was pretty firm and easy to handle.  I added salt to it and then made balls about the size of small walnuts and rolled them in the dukkah. Having said that, they look the size of tennis balls in the photo!

I served them with a delicious chilled Manzanilla which comes from the area which produces most of Spain´s dry “sherries” (as we would know them), around Jerez and Cadiz.  The gorgeous bottle which you see in the photo comes from a town called Sanlúcar de Barrameda which is famous for hosting horse races on its long sandy beach during August over two weekends.  The very low tide which happens at this time of year allows the horses to thunder down the beach over a couple of evenings.

Horses racing along the shore line

Big Man and I went last year for the first time.  It´s all very exciting and the best bit for me was to see all the young children on the beach in makeshift huts which they decorate themselves, taking bets!  I´m sure it wouldn´t be allowed anywhere else, but it´s all good fun with plenty of eating and drinking going on all day before the races, and long into the night afterwards.

Kiddies taking bets!

We didn´t make a fortune, in fact we lost, but we had a fantastic time.  The photos aren´t great as it all happens so very quickly, but you get an idea of the atmosphere.

If you can´t make it to Sanlúcar, make yourself some of these tasty little appetisers, pour a glass of something cool and delicious and put the horse racing on the tv!

Almost Tomato Tarte Tatin

Make it a big slice for me please!

Yes, tomatoes are now officially ripening at a rapid speed in our Huerto, and apart from drying and preserving, we are eating them too!

If you head over to Cook, Eat, Live Vegetarian you´ll find a wonderful tomato and quinoa recipe which shows you how to slow roast the delicious summer tomatoes we have in Andalucía at the moment.  The other night we were heading out for dinner, so on the way out I popped a couple of trays of tomatoes into the oven set at the lowest temperature, and when we got back about four and a half hours later I had perfect roasted tomatoes.  The house smelt wonderful too!

The next morning I braved the heat of the oven and decided to make a tomato tart.  You can also find another wonderful version over here at Sweet Pea´s Kitchen made with Heirloom Tomatoes.

I put greaseproof paper at the base of a loose bottomed tart tin (that always makes me giggle, it sounds a bit saucy!) and put the tomatoes in, cut side down.

Then I mixed 200 grams of my garlic and herb cream cheese with one egg and spread this over the tomatoes.  Finally I covered the whole thing with a sheet of puff pastry and tucked all the edges in.

I cooked it at 180ºC for about 50 minutes, left it to cool slightly in the tin for 10 minutes then turned it out on a plate.  You get a few lovely juices dripping out and it´s best served at room temperature.

Garlic and Herb Cream Cheese

 
Creamy and Delicious

Not long ago I posted on how I make Greek style yogurt.  Rachel from And Then Make Soup, commented that if I left the yogurt to drain for a little longer, I would end up with a spreadable cream cheese (rather like Philadelphia or Boursin). Thanks for the tip Rachel!

So, in a double experiment, I gave this a go.  It was a double experiment as I didn´t have any fresh milk.  I know this sounds a little odd, but in Spain it´s still quite hard to buy fresh milk, apart from in the larger supermarkets in the bigger towns.  Almost all the milk available here is UHT or Long Life.  It´s not a huge problem as I don´t take milk in my coffee and only really use milk in cooking.

So…with a litre of semi skimmed UHT at my disposal, I made a batch of yogurt to see if it would work.  Nothing ventured, I thought!  To my surprise, the process worked equally well as using fresh milk and tasted the same.

Instead of draining it overnight, I put a weight on it and drained for 48 hours.  I saved the liquid that came off it to make soda bread, but more of that another day.

This is what it looked like after 48 hours, straight out of the mould. 

After draining for 48 hours

I beat it up a little and then added one clove of crushed garlic, a sprinkle of sea salt and about 2 tablespoons of very finely chopped parsley.

Add your favourite herbs

The next morning I spread it on bread for my breakfast, and accompanied it with a very funny looking peach!  They´re called Paraguayas here, they have a whitish flesh inside and are very tasty.

Luckily I was not going anywhere that morning, as I was rather garlicky for a few hours!