|Baked Red Peppers|
The French Kitchen ~ Friday 12th August 2011 ~
|Off the bookshelf today is one of my all time favourite cookbooks, The French Kitchen, which coincidently is co-written by one of my favourite authors, Joanne Harris ~ she wrote the fabulous and entertaining book “Chocolat”, which was then made into a very successful film starring Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Alfred Molina to name just a few.
I dipped into this cookbook again today as I remembered a great recipe for baked red peppers with fennel and chèvre (goat’s cheese)……and I had all the ingredients to hand ~ plus, summer has returned today and I decided to cook a summery and colourful meal to enjoy outside on the terrace. Apart from the fact that this book has some unusual and authentic family French recipes featured, it also has some beautiful photos of France too…..it really is a lovely book.
A stylish collection of French family recipes by the author of Chocolat.
Joanne Harris’s best-selling novels, Chocolat, Blackberry Wine and Five-Quarters of the Orange, are affectionately known as her culinary trilogy. In them, Joanne Harris whets our appetites with some tantalisingly delicious recipes taken from her own grandmere’s recipe book. For, like Framboise, the heroine of Five-Quarters of the Orange, Joanne has family recipes which have been passed down through the generations and which she shares with us now in a mouth-watering celebration of French cuisine. From pumpkin soup to Moules Mariniere, from Tarte aux cassis to Fouace Aveyronnaise (Grandmother’s festival loaf), and taking in salads, starters, fish, poultry and plenty more along the way, these are simple and stylish recipes from the heart of the French family kitchen. Illustrated with stunning integrated photographs and complemented by anecdotes from her family, past and present, The French Kitchen will be a must-have cookbook for all lovers of food and France.
|Another attractive page in the book.|
|A page from the book|
I would agree that the book is complemented by Joanne’s anecdotes of her family and her past, it makes the book seem warm and familiar as she weaves threads of her life through her writing and recipes, she takes you to the heart of France through her family tales and grandmother’s cooking…….the photos also add great atmosphere to the book, making you feel as if you are there sampling the local delights that are on offer.
There are a selection of photos of rural France, architecture, local ingredients and of course the recipes themselves are beautifully photographed. The chapters cover most ingredients and courses ~ to include salads, soups and savouries, fish, poultry, meat, vegetables, desserts, a whole chapter on chocolate, plus at the back of the book is a very useful conversion table.
|French country dining|
Anyway, back to the Baked Red Peppers ~ I have made this recipe countless times and it never fails to please; it is essentially a very simple recipe, but the flavours of the aniseed fennel marry so well with the richness of the goat’s cheese and sweet red peppers……it makes a stunning luncheon dish, all that is needed is a mixed salad and a yard or two of crusty baguette for juice mopping!
|Served with salad and bread|
You can also serve this as an appetiser, it will serve six people, again with small salad garnish and a bread basket to accompany it. I have also served this as a buffet dish ~ I used small red peppers and baked them for less time than suggested…..you can use other French cheeses that melt well, Camembert and Brie immediately spring to mind, although I prefer goat’s cheese, after many samples and tastings!
|Just out of the oven|
I recommend a crisp chilled Rose wine to accompany these peppers, and the only other requirement would be a large tree, some old fashioned metalwork garden furniture, buckets of ice to keep the wine cool, friends and family and lots of time……I will be revisiting lots more of the dishes that feature in this book over the next few weeks, so watch out for more delights from The French Kitchen from my French kitchen!
|Served with salad and bread|
Baked Red Peppers with Fennel and Chèvre
from The French Kitchen
|Ready to serve|
Use good, well ripened red peppers for a cheery, colourful summer dish.
(Serves three people as a main course and 6 people as an appetiser)
3 large red peppers
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
freshly ground black pepper
200g goat’s cheese, preferably with no rind
|The recipe in the book|
1.Heat oven to 120C/250F/Gas 1/2.
2.Cut the peppers in half and and remove and discard the entire core and seeds. Lightly oil a baking tray or baking dish and place the peppers in cut side up.
3.Put the onions, fennel and garlic into a bowl and drizzle some olive oil before adding the seasoning. Mix well to coat the vegetables with the oil and seasoning and then divide them amongst the peppers ~ stuffing them inside the pepper halves. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
4.Remove the peppers from the oven & increase the heat to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
5.Slice the goat’s cheese and arrange the slices over the peppers. Return the peppers to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and is bubbling.
Serve with fresh mixed salad and crusty bread……
Don’t forget to add some of the juices for frenzied bread mopping!
|Right down to the last drop! A page from the book|
See you next time.