Sweet mini peppers stuffed with feta, spinach, edamame beans and of course some gorgeous spices
As teenagers my best friend and I went on our first holiday together, without family, to Bulgaria. Not Ibiza, Sharm el sheikh or Tenerife, but Bansko, a town at the foot on the Pirin mountains. We’d decided to deviate from the popular, bikini-cladded sun soaking and wild nights of clubbing and we’d also decided that we liked mountains.
We’d of course done no research. Google wasn’t a word that existed in our lives back then and of course we didn’t buy travel books. We just rocked up at the travel agent with about £300 as our budget and a clear ish view of what we wanted; no loud clubbers, beautiful mountain scenery, friendly people, a different culture and cheap. I’d never contemplate contracting to a holiday under such exposed and ill-informed circumstances now, because obviously I’m not daring and old(er)
We really had no idea what we’d let ourselves in for. Funnily enough, I’d kind of like to go back there. There were no known brands being sold in the kiosks. There were no known fast food joints in the town. Our guide wanted us to hang out with his daughter so that it would improve her English but of course we taught each other rude words in our respective languages. Restaurants looked like huts and we sat on big timber tables. Outdoor bands played in the moonlight as the residents of the town gathered. Children climbed under the water features in the town and hollered at us saying, ‘look at the Spanish girls’ as they’d never seen an ethnically Indian person. Donkeys walked with their owners through the streets and as we walked through the evening streets we were frightened as there was barely any street light, so we sang ‘nelly the elephant’ loudly. As you may expect, I’m smiling as I write this.
I don’t even think we appreciated the scenery fully. We hiked with a guide and stopped to look at Viagra plants and beautiful rocky and vast mountains, cool whites, blues and greens. I remember the vastness and quietness of the mountains and the distant ringing of bells around the necks of cows. I remember drinking fresh spring water after crossing streams on logs.
I don’t think that the hotel we were staying at, or the restaurants that we ate in had encountered many vegetarians. They seemed baffled. On the first couple of days we were served boiled veg. We then negotiated a spaghetti dish with the non-English speaking chef, but it didn’t taste of much. Once they realised that cheese was in fact an option for us they served us huge long peppers roasted with loads of moist and salty feta. It tasted faintly of clay and we loved it. The cheese was so fresh and spongy. Oh and they served it with a beautifully simple and mellow bean soup served in a clay pot. Brilliant.
So this recipe isn’t as simple as the one I had in Bansko but it is absolutely uplifting and thoroughly sensual. I picked up a 500g bag of mini sweet peppers from Tesco for £3 which I thought was good value for money. I’d eat the stuffing raw off a big serving spoon, but…
The colours of this dish are striking; sharp yellows and red against bright green. The smell is a whole new thing…my kitchen smells gorgeously sweet and toasty right now as I’ve just made these peppers. I’ve used nutty edamame beans from the freezer, but if you can’t find them maybe use frozen broad beans instead? I’m putting these peppers on top of a salad, but you could put them on some cous cous, pasta or even vegetable rice. I’ve used 1tsp of piri piri spices, but you could use more or less. Honestly, this is a fresh, juicy and toasty dish that I hope you will want to share.
Makes approximately 20 mini stuffed peppers
150g feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup finely shredded spinach (I put it in the food processor)
1 cup of edamame beans boiled for 3 minutes
About 20 mini sweet peppers, washed
Spices; 1 tsp cumin seeds toasted and lightly crushed, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1tsp piri piri spice
1. Take a mixing bowl be crumble the feta into it. Add the spinach and mix well before adding the edamame beans
2. Stir in spices and mix again
3. Place the mixture into a food processor and turn it into a coarse mix. We don’t need the edamame beans to be smooth, chunky, is great.
4. Remove the tops off thee peppers and place onto a lined baking tray
5. With a teaspoon, fill the peppers generously and coat them lightly in oil. Roast the peppers on 180degrees for about 12-15minutes or until they look browned and you are able to pierce them.
November 6, 2013
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