• - Nini

There is PLENTY more where that came from! Ottolenghi's Marinated Pepper Salad.


IT’S a MONDAY, which means that the three day weekend is over and we are back to working a full week.. sigh! Although I can guarantee that this week is going to fly by because it seems as if the year has just zoomed by. Just had the realisation that in two months we will celebrate the new year! WHERE DOES THE TIME GO? Either way I'm sure the majority of you who celebrated Mashuja Day were with loved ones surrounded by food. Initially that was me this weekend, however I had to restrict myself a little bit from eating. Last Sunday I had a bit of a scare, was having a lot of pain around my abdomen and it was strange because I’d never had it before and it was irritable. Couldn't sit, laugh or even breath without feeling this pain which I could only describe as the stitch you get after running . The irony there is that I hadn't done any form of exercise for lets say a good month (my laziness is a real problem). To cut the long story short I had to go to the hospital. At the end of the hospital round and results from tests it wasn't anything severe, although there was still this form of discomfort. In the end it had something do with the fact that I had some digestion problem.

It seems as if I had too much acid in my system, now when your 24 and you find out that you have digestion problem you come to the realisation that you’re not a spring chicken anymore and that you can’t eat everything underneath the sun. It’s disheartening but then again better solve the issue and find out what I ate that caused this commotion. For the next couple of weeks I am going to try to eat less fatty things and more healthy dishes. Not that I don’t eat healthy now but just to be on alert as to what I am consuming. Also it gives me a chance to shed some weight! Now mainly my idea of eating healthy and losing a bit of weight is a mixture between quantity and quality. The quantity is important, having only one serving is more than enough, having two is just greedy. Now in terms of quality I find that having lots of vegetables is quite filling. Cooking vegetables in my mind can be very creative, it all just depends on the vegetable. There is this one cookbook that I have (which I believe was my very first purchase out of uni) and it’s my ultimate favourite called Plenty. Plenty is a collection of all vegetable recipes from renowned British chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Each recipe in this book makes my mouth water, and the photos in the book really do justice to how the meal is represented in the end. I have made a couple of recipes so far from this book such as Pasta Zucchini Salad, and Lemon and Eggplant Risotto. Now after I finished uni, which was roughly two years ago, this book disappeared and I was heartbroken, couldn't find it anywhere and I was certain I left it with my other cookbooks. Low and behold I discovered that my darling sister “borrowed it” and forgot to mention it to me. I was annoyed but then to be fair I was out of the country so it made sense for her to take it. Luckily though when she came to visit a couple weeks ago she BROUGHT THE BOOK WITH HER! Needless to say I was very happy. There was no choice but to rekindle my love for Ottolenghi’s food and create his magic.

In the book Plenty, I chose to make a Marinated Pepper Salad. By focusing on eating healthier and shedding a bit more weight this was a perfect choice. When making the peppers it was a long process but in the end it was well worth the wait. The key to this recipe is definitely the marinade that the peppers sit in. With just few simple ingredients the peppers burst out with more sweet flavours. Also the aroma while making the peppers was heavenly. There is something about baked peppers that make them so delectable. Initially though had to make a few adjustments to the recipe as here in Kenya they didn’t have all the ingredients.

Today’s playlist is a mixture of female artists from the 90’s - 00’s. These songs when I was younger and even now are still some of my favourites…lets just say if there was ever a lip-sync karoke I would win without a doubt. Check out the playlist HERE.

Ingredients in Plenty :

1 red bell pepper, quartered

1 yellow bell pepper, quartered

4 tbsp olive oil

salt

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp water

1/2 tsp muscovado sugar

2 thyme sprigs

1 garlic clove, thinly sliced

black pepper

2 tbsp flat-leaf parsely, leaves picked

2/3 cup basil leaves

1 cup watercress

2 oz mature pecorino, shaved

1 tbsp drained capers

Method from Plenty:

1) Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Toss the peppers with 1 tablespoon of the oil and a little salt. Scatter in a roasting pan and roast for 35 minutes, or until they soften and take on some color.

2) Remove to a bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap. Once cooled to room temperature, peel the peppers and cut into thick strips.

3) Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the oil, the balsamic vinegar, water, sugar, thyme, garlic, and some salt and pepper. Pour this over the peppers and leave aside for at least and hour, or overnight in the fridge.

4) To assemble the salad toss together the herbs, watercress, drained pepper strips, pecorino and capers. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon (or more if you like) of the marinade. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

NOTE:

- This recipe is from Plenty (Vibrant Vegetable Recipes) [2010] by Yotam Ottolenghi

- In the recipe is says to use watercress, but unfortunately here in Kenya you cant get watercress. To substitute the leaf I mixed romaine lettuce and arugula together. Equally as delicious!

- For the marinated peppers, I left the peppers in the marinade in the fridge overnight. By leaving it overnight I think the flavours become more potent. Didn't add the sugar in the marinade for personal preference, however by adding the sugar it does help cut a bit of the acidity of the rest of the ingredients for the marinade.

- I added a bit more cheese, because I like cheese haha. Who doesn't like cheese?

Do you know any healthy, vegetarian recipes? Let me know in the comment box below! Have a good week everybody!!

#marinatedpeppers #vegetarian #vegetables #pecorino #salad #healthy #ottolenghi #arugula #romainelettuce #capers #lunch #plenty #cookbook

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