Tag Archives: stuffed peppers

A trio of Italian starters

To Tuscany Villas have challenged bloggers to come up with a Tuscan-inspired recipe, using typical flavours and influences from Italy. Regular readers of my blog will know that I love a recipe challenge and Facebook memories have just reminded me this week that it is a year since I was at the Dorchester receiving my award for British Turkey 2015 best blogger recipe.

Although I’ve never visited Tuscany yet, I’ve enjoyed plenty of tasty Tuscan food at Italian restaurants. Some of its food and drink are irresistible. Just imagine a delicious Tuscan bean soup, followed by wild boar sausages and then gelato. Of course, served with a bottle of Chianti. Yummy.

However I only got invited to participate in this challenge yesterday, just one day before the closing date, with not a lot of time to come up with my recipe or to source my ingredients. So I’ve passed on pasta, beans, Chianti, olives and ice cream. Instead I’ve opted for a trio of Italian starters using tomatoes, peppers, olive oil, mozzarella, basil and ciabatta.

Italian starters


My first dish is an Italian Tomato and Bread Salad. Although I have blogged my Chinese variant on this previously, I hadn’t shared my Italian version. This recipe is my competition entry, but keep reading for two more recipes to compliment the theme.

Tomato and Bread Salad

Tomato and Bread Salad

Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)

600g mixed tomatoes
200g ciabatta bread, preferably stale
6 tbsp olive oil
salt
pepper
5g fresh basil

Method

Cut the ciabatta into pieces and put aside to dry out. If necessary, toast slightly in the oven.
Chop the tomatoes into pieces and put in a large serving bowl.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add the bread and mix together.
Stir in the olive oil. Add extra if necessary.
Shred the basil and stir in.
Serve and enjoy.

Tomato and Bread Salad

Secondly, I decided to do a twist on the stuffed olives you see in every supermarket deli. Instead I have made my own stuffed peppers. I grilled the peppers to bring out the best flavour, but alternatively you could make this using raw mini peppers.
Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Cheese Stuffed Mini Peppers

Ingredients (serves 3 – 4)

250g mini sweet peppers
150g cream cheese

Method

Cut the ends off the peppers and remove the seeds.
Place on grill pan rack and cook under a pre-heated moderate grill for about 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Turn and grill on other side, again for about 5 minutes until starting to soften.
Allow to cool.
Using a teaspoon, fill peppers with cream cheese.
Serve and enjoy.

Cheese Stuffed Peppers


And lastly, although I had half an unused ciabatta loaf left, I thought one bread dish would be sufficient, but if you’re keen to know how to make bruschetta, you may see my recipe here. However you can never have too many tomatoes in Italian cooking, so I made a Tomato and Mozzarella Salad.
Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Ingredients (serves 2 – 3)

125g mozzarella
100g tomatoes
fresh basil leaves to garnish

Method

Cut the mozzarella into slices.
Slice the tomato.
Arrange mozzarella and tomato on a plate in an alternating pattern.
Garnish with basil leaves.
Serve and enjoy.

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

It was just too Autumnal to eat al fresco today, but I am imagining enjoying these dishes along with a glass of Chianti outside one of the gorgeous villas in Tuscany, a region I would love to visit.

I’d love to hear your favourite Italian recipes.

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Disclosure: This is my entry for the To Tuscany Blogger Recipe Competition and I want to win a week in one of your Tuscany villas! Participants will have a one in ten chance of winning. Other entrants will receive a hamper of Chianti goodies.

Winner of 2015 British Turkey Awards Best Blogger Recipe


British Turkey awards best blogger recipe 2015

Wow. Amazing news to share on the blog today. My Flotilla of Pirate Ships was judged the winning entry in the Turkey Blogger Challenge sponsored by Red Tractor. And I was asked to attend the British Turkey Awards to collect my certificate and trophy. I invited my very proud mum along as my +1, because I have my mum to thank for sparking my interest in cooking from an early age when I would help her in the kitchen.

British turkey awards menu

It was a very posh black tie event held at The Dorchester in London. And as expected, turkey was on the menu, but not just for the main course. The starter was a Thai turkey salad, followed by turkey wellington for main. These dishes followed the pirate theme and were also both prize winners for Student Chef of the Year Award. And then a flaming crème brûlée for dessert.

British turkey awards 2015

We were entertained by comedian Mark Watson who also presented the awards and by former snooker player Willie Thorne who hosted the charity auction and raffle. I should have bought one more raffle ticket, as I was one number short of winning a holiday too.

British turkey awards 2015

Captain Jack Sparrow lookalike was also in attendance.

with jack sparrow

Here are some photos of my winning entry. See my original post for the recipes.

Pirate food

Turkey, Broccoli and Apricot Pirate Ship Pies

Stuffed Pepper Pirate Ships

Pirate food

The pirate flags and sails are designs from Cottage Industrialist and Paging SuperMom, used with permission.

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Disclosure: I was reimbursed for the cost of the turkey and Red Tractor products for my entry for the British Turkey Blogger Recipe Competition. 

Cooking up a flotilla of pirate ships

Avast Me Hearties! Shiver Me Timbers!

British Turkey and Red Tractor have invited bloggers to take part in a competition to find the British Turkey blogger of the year 2015. They have challenged us to cook up a “Pirate” themed dish. I was pleased to be invited as I enjoyed cooking Turkey Pasta Special for this challenge back in 2013.

British Turkey Awards 2015

I Love British Turkey Red Tractor Assured

You can find the Red Tractor on a wide range of seasonal British ingredients. It’s an independent sign to show you that your food has been produced to responsible standards and is traceable back to independently inspected assured farms in the UK. You can see a list of Red Tractor approved ingredients here.

Red Tractor products

British Turkey and other Red Tractor products used in these recipes

So in line with the theme, I decided to make a fleet of pirate ships to sail the seas. And the largest two ships also have a hold full of treasure – gold apricots and turkey pearls hidden amongst the broccoli seaweed.

Pirate food

Stuffed Pepper Pirate Ships

Ingredients (serves 4 as a starter or side or serves 2 as a main)

100g diced British turkey breast
125g bag of fresh spinach (red tractor assured)
100g greek yoghurt (red tractor assured)
50g parmesan cheese
75g wholegrain rice
2 peppers
salt and pepper

Method

Chop the turkey into small pieces.
Boil the kettle.
Spray a wok with oil and heat on hob.
Add the turkey to the wok and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
(You may cook 500g turkey for both recipes at the same time if you wish).
Meanwhile add the rice to a saucepan.
Cover with boiling water and bring back to the boil.
Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, adding extra boiling water if needed.
Meanwhile pierce the bag of spinach and cook in microwave according to packet instructions.
Grate the parmesan.
Add the spinach and rice to the turkey and mix together.
Mix in the natural yoghurt and parmesan.
Season with salt and pepper.
Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds.
Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture.
Place on a baking sheet and cook in preheated oven.
Decorate with flags and sails.
Serve and enjoy.

Stuffed Pepper Pirate Ships

Turkey, Broccoli and Apricot Pirate Ship Pies

Ingredients (serves 6 – 8)

400g diced British turkey breast
200g broccoli (red tractor assured)
200g apricots
50g margarine
50g plain flour
600ml milk (red tractor assured)
100g mature cheddar cheese (red tractor assured)
salt and pepper
olive oil spray
500g shortcrust pastry

Method

Chop the turkey into small pieces.
Chop the broccoli into florets.
Cut the apricots in halves, removing the stones.
Grate the cheese.
Spray a wok with oil and heat on hob.
Add the turkey to the wok and cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile melt the margarine in a jug in the microwave.
Mix in the flour.
Gradually mix in the milk, reserving a little for brushing the pastry.
Microwave for about 5 minutes, stirring at 1 minute intervals until the sauce has thickened.
Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the grated cheese.
Arrange the broccoli, apricots and turkey in the bottom of two oval pie dishes.
Cover with cheese sauce.
Roll out the pastry to make lids for both pies.
Cover the pie dishes with the pastry lids, pressing the edges down and trimming off any spare pastry.
Use the spare pastry to make 2 sets of skull and cross bones.
Brush the underside of pastry decorations with milk and stick onto the pie lids.
Make a few holes in the lids to allow steam to escape.
Then brush all of the pastry lids with milk.
Cook in preheated oven.
Decorate with flags and sails.
Serve and enjoy.

Turkey, broccoli and apricot pirate ship pies

Turkey, Broccoli and Apricot Pirate Ship Pies

Stuffed Pepper Pirate Ships

Pirate food

Pirate food

I had some pastry and quite a lot of pepper filling left over, so I combined the two for a couple of extra ships for the fleet. I gave these “X marks the spot” lids for where the treasure is buried. My peppers were quite small, so for small peppers, I recommend that you use 3 rather than 2 to avoid having leftover filling.

Pirate food

And I hope you like the pirate flags and sails. I have used designs from Cottage Industrialist and Paging SuperMom with permission.

Pirate flags and sails

I’d love to hear your ideas for pirate food, especially if they use turkey.

Update on 25/9/15
Fantastic news. I’m really pleased to have won. See details of the awards here.


British Turkey awards best blogger recipe 2015

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Disclosure: This is my entry for the British Turkey Blogger Recipe Competition. I will be reimbursed for the cost of the turkey and Red Tractor products.