Friday, 18 December 2015

Katie's Christmas 2015 - Roasted Red Peppers stuffed with Fennel

This week, I've been both watching Christmas DVDs, helping at a shop in Leeds, and writing about Christmas DVDs.  I've often felt like I'm catching up with my own checklists, which I actually find so difficult even though I make weekly checklists.  I don't know how to take a break from it because it keeps me at least semi-organised.  A proper break might not happen until May.  In the new year, I think I will try to make a post on how I make checklists, but just remember that I keep them really flexible.

I think this will be the last vegetable part of my ideas for what to have at the table for Christmas Day, as I should really think about main courses.  Additionally, since I normally post about food on Fridays, I'll have to write next week's post a bit earlier than usual (Tuesday or Wednesday) because NEXT FRIDAY IS CHRISTMAS DAY!!!  Therefore, you'd need to know the recipe for the main course beforehand, wouldn't you?  In the meantime, I found this recipe for roasted red peppers stuffed with fennel in Delia's Happy Christmas by Delia Smith.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

4 large red peppers
1 x 400g tin Italian plum tomatoes
2 small bulbs fennel
8 dessertspoons good-quality olive oil
1 rounded teaspoon mixed pepper berries
3/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
salt flakes
the juice of half a lemon


  1. Slice each pepper in half lengthways, cutting right through the green stalk and leaving it intact (although it won't be eaten).  Remove all the seeds and place the pepper halves on a baking tray.
  2. Drain the tomatoes (you don't need the juice) and divide them into eight equal portions, placing each portion inside a pepper half.
  3. Remove any brownish bits of fennel with your sharpest knife and cut the bulbs first into quarters and then again into eighths, carefully keeping the layers attached to the root ends.
  4. Put the fennel in a saucepan with a little salt, pour boiling water on them and "blanch" them for 5 minutes.  Then drain them in a colander and, as soon as they're cool enough to handle, arrange two slices in each pepper half.  Sprinkle 1 dessertspoon of olive oil over each one, using a brush to brush the oil round the edges and sides of the peppers.
  5. Lightly crush the pepper berries, coriander seeds and fennel seeds with a pestle and mortar or rolling pin and bowl, then sprinkle these evenly all over the fennel and peppers, and finish off with some salt flakes.
  6. Bake the peppers for approximately 1 hour on the top shelf of the oven until they are soft and the skin is wrinkled and slightly browned.
  7. After removing them from the oven, sprinkle the lemon juice all over and cool.
NOTE: If you want to make the peppers ahead of time, cover with Clingfilm after cooling, but don't refrigerate them as this spoils the fragrant flavour.

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