Peppers and . . . peppers (and some bugs)

A special treat at this time of year, and one which for me brings back flavours and scents from my childhood in Turkey, is being able to stuff these Kandil dolma peppers with spicy rice and cook them in tomato sauce.

I added chopped sweet onion, sultanas, pine nuts, garlic, oregano leaves, ground cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg to some cooked rice and stuffed the peppers, put the ‘lids’ back on and arranged them in a large cast-iron pan. I poured over a jar of last year’s tomato purée mixed half and half with water, brought it all to the boil and simmered for about 40 minutes.  They can be eaten hot, straight away, but on a hot day like today I think it’s best to let them cool and then serve with lemon juice squeezed over them. You can use any variety of peppers for this, but these Turkish ones have a special aroma that I remember from the backstreets of Istanbul where there would be huge vats of them for sale in open cafés and shops.

And more peppers….

Yesterday evening when Lo Jardinièr was lighting the barbecue for our supper in the garden I grilled some red peppers over the charcoal as it was heating up, just placing them whole on the rack and turning them with tongs over the heat until the skin was slightly blackened and the flesh was soft. then I peeled them and saved them until today when I put them in the food processor with a clove of garlic, a handful of parsley leaves, some salt, lemon juice and olive oil to make a purée which could be eaten as a dip or spread on toasts. Another wonderful way to take advantage of the numbers of peppers we’re picking now.

And those bugs . . .

Out in the garrigue near the village this morning I found several pairs of these Mediterranean striped shield beetles – Graphosoma semipunctatum – mating on a dried thistle plant, and what looks like a spider playing gooseberry!

12 thoughts on “Peppers and . . . peppers (and some bugs)

  1. These stuffed peppers look oh so moreish: have to check my recipes to make certain I do use all the ingredients! A rude Q now: do those wildly beautiful beetles emit a rather foul stench and do they kind’of wreck fruittrees & bushes? On occasion late in summer I get such, not quite as handsome, on my lemon and lime trees and to get rid of them organically is quite a task 🙂 !

    • You can always vary the ingredients if you don’t have them all – I do! I have seen these beetles referred to as stink bugs but I didn’t notice any smell from them. They are difficult to get rid of – we have green shield beetles that eat our plants in the garden and the only organic way we’ve found to get rid of them is to pick them off and squash them – not very pleasant, but effective!

      • Alright, we seem to be on the ‘same page’! Ours tend to be more brownish, we call them ‘stink beetles’, but the smell from them reaches about 10 metres around!! And the usual way to get rid of them is to put some kero in a bucket of water and pick/drown them!! Not very pleasant, especially during their breeding season, when one may find literally hundreds on a small fruittree 😦 ! Oh, am in the state of NSW in Australia, about 100km S of Sydney!

  2. These peppers sound delicious. Adding sultanas and pine nuts would add both texture and sweetness to the baked peppers. And though I’ve often roasted peppers to make a sauce, I’ve never grilled them. This must change!

  3. I’ve seen those bugs (or something very similar) in long “trains”. They crack me up, but then they’re not in my garden! Yikes… Oh and I pinged you for that tomato post… mmmm!

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