Why Aethelread is fat; or, The stuffed peppers that weren’t

What I had planned for my meal last night

Stuffed Peppers

Sweet peppers (aka bell peppers; aka salad peppers; you know – these)
Mange Tout
Olive oil
Ground pepper
Herbes de Provence/ Mixed herbs

Put the rice on to boil
Finely chop the onion, mushroom, mange tout and bacon
Put olive oil and generous pinch of Herbes de Provence in a frying pan, and heat together
Add bacon and onion to herb-infused oil in pan, then fry until moderately well done
Add mushroom and mange tout to pan, fry until bacon is crispy, onion is nicely browned, and mange tout is no longer so raw it makes your teeth squeak

Meanwhile, cut sweet pepper(s) in half, remove seeds and bizarre white connective material that probably has a real name
Rinse and drain thoroughly, then place, open side down, on oiled sheet of foil placed inside grill-pan
Brush olive oil over pepper halves, and place under a hot grill until just very slightly softened (hot grill is important; you want to cook them without drying them out)

Put fried bacon, onion, mushroom and mange tout in a mixing bowl, being sure to include all the herb-infused oil from the pan
Add drained rice to bowl, then mix thoroughly with fried mixture, adding ground pepper to taste, and more olive oil if necessary

Turn pepper halves open side up, brush with olive oil, stuff with rice mixture, put back under grill until they look done (i.e., cooked, but not falling apart)


Sauce: if you absolutely must have one, then some kind of mixture involving cooked chopped tomatoes, garlic and basil, and added to the stuffed peppers as they’re put under the grill, would probably be the best way to go.  But if the recipe works as it’s meant to (and especially if you don’t overcook things) the stuffed peppers should be moist enough without, and the tomato will overwhelm the other, more subtle, flavours.

To vegetarianise: get rid of the bacon (well duh…), and add more mushrooms, some finely-sliced green beans, and toasted pine nuts to the frying mixture.  (You can of course have the pine nuts and sliced beans even if you’re not getting rid of the bacon, but they’re added here for protein as much as flavour.)

To posh-up for a dinner party: replace the bacon with pancetta (or with a mixture of poncey mushrooms for a vegetarian dinner party); use wild rice; infuse the olive oil with a mixture of crushed fresh thyme, basil and garlic instead of dried Herbes de Provence, and add crushed fresh thyme and parsley to the bowl as you mix the rice and fried mixture together.  If you can get your hands on some of those tiny little baby peppers, then tiny baby stuffed pepper served with a lettuce, radish and cherry tomato salad would make a good starter, assuming it’s not all so fiddly you end up throwing the peppers at the wall, swearing at your guests, and going to the pub for a large vat of wine.

What I actually had for my meal last night:

Bacon & Chips

Oven chips

Spread the chips in a single layer over a baking tray, then put in the oven
Watch 2/3 of an episode of Eggheads on the iPlayer
Turn the oven chips, and adjust oven temperature as necessary
Put the bacon on the grill pan and place under a moderate heat
Watch 1/6 of an episode of Eggheads on the iPlayer
Turn the bacon, check the chips aren’t burning, adjust oven & grill temperature as necessary
Watch final 1/6 of Eggheads


Suppress all thoughts about RDA of salt versus amount of salt contained in multiple rashers of bacon
Suffer uncontrollable thirst, and nagging fear of cerebrovascular accident, for next 24 hours


Sauce: tomato ketchup to taste

To vegetarianise: replace the bacon with those weirdly pink strips of homogenised mycoprotein, or just have the oven chips on their own, given that the weirdly pink strips of homogenised mycoprotein will inevitably end up in the bin anyway, since they are truly disgusting.  (Vegetarian food can be delicious, but trying to directly replace meat in this way doesn’t work.)

To posh-up for a dinner party: replace the bacon with thick slices of Wiltshire-cured ham, and fry rather than grill; replace the oven chips with potato wedges cut from skin-on new potatoes, then roasted in olive oil with rosemary, garlic, and crushed black peppercorns; make the tomato ketchup yourself. (Cook the tomatoes, push through a fine sieve to remove the skin and pips, reduce over a slow heat, adding vinegar, muscavado sugar, and a small amount each of mustard powder, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon).

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3 Responses to Why Aethelread is fat; or, The stuffed peppers that weren’t

  1. Danni says:

    I actually prefer the bacon and chips- stuffed peppers doesn’t appeal to me.

    Tonight’s dinner for us was a slightly poshified version of the bacon and chips- honey roasted gammon and chips. With Aunt Bessie’s Rustic Oven Chips, with skins. It was yummy :)

  2. gun street girl says:

    You’re so fancy. A posh dinner for me is when I chop up a green onion with my 25-cent bag of ramen.


  3. aethelreadtheunread says:

    Thanks for the comments. :o)

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