I love watching cooking shows. Ready Steady Cook was probably the first one that I fell in love with when I was a student and there are still tips that I picked up then which I use today. With the wealth of TV available on Youtube, I’m really spoiled for choice. In recent months I’ve found time for Heston Blumenthal, Jamie Oliver and Anthony Bourdain who all present in very different ways. At the moment however, my favourite is Gordon Ramsay – but not the nasty, intimidating X-Rated Gordon of Kitchen Nightmares (which is also good fun in small doses), but rather the family friendly Gordon Ramsay at home, in which he cooks a series of themed dishes with one of his kids in his home kitchen.
The huge advantage of the show is that he’s using equipment which could reasonably be expected to be found in a regular kitchen and for the most part, his ingredients are readily available at a decent produce market. Furthermore, he’s making food for a family of kids who, although slightly older than my brood, are also fussy about what they eat and as a result most of the food is fairly normal fare which may already be on the menu – so that all I’m doing is altering it based on suggested tweaks from a multiple-Michelin star winning chef.
His sweet and sour pepper recipe, looks quite similar to my peperonata but the technique is totally different, producing a delicious dish in a very short space of time but with added sugar to help the caramelisation process – I’m guessing that cutting the amount back a little wouldn’t kill the dish. Although his recipe was with red peppers, using a mixture of red and yellow (orange too but green would probably make it a little bitter), makes for a more colourful presentation but really – go with whatever you have available to you. The basil is a further touch which adds an appropriate flavour and colour. If you don’t have to hand, parsley would give the colour and the flavour would work, and is less pronounced than basil.
Leave to rest before serving I think this works best at room temperature and it’s also a great dish to make ahead of time – I think it’s even better the next day.
It’s excellent in a sandwich, the juices, oil and vinegar all soaking into the bread – use something sturdy like a ciabatta that won’t fall apart on you – a white sliced loaf would disintegrate into a soggy, albeit delicious mess.
2 medium sized red peppers sliced thinly
2 medium sized yellow peppers sliced thinly
1 small red onion, sliced thinly in half rings
1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
salt and pepper
red wine or balsamic vinegar
a handful of basil leaves, roughly sliced
Heat oil in the pan on a high heat. Add peppers and onion. Keep tossing in the pan.
After 2 – 3 minutes add white sugar, 10 grinds of black pepper and a pinch of salt.
Keep tossing in the pan until peppers begin to soften.
Add 1 tbsp of vinegar and 1 tbsp of olive oil
Remove from the heat
Add basil whilst the peppers are still warm.