I'm still in Hydra, glad to be out of the crazy Bodrum Bayram traffic, with plenty of time on my hands. Luckily I packed my travel watecolour set so I've been able to make use of my free time to add to my collection of cards. Peppers are abundant at this time of the year and every day has found a plump specimen posing in the late afternoon light.
I'm beginning to see human characteristics in each member of the Capsicum family that I paint so it probably about time I return home to human friends and family and abandoned this solitary 'One woman and her dog' island life.
Having made friends with my 'sitters' it seems cruel to eat them, but they are the basis for so many delicious Aegean dishes.
(The yellow pepper at the top is my 'Shy Pepper')
Red Pepper and Walnut Meze
4 large red peppers (Bell or long)
1 bulb of garlic
1 cup walnuts
1 red onion
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 tblsp pepper paste (optional)
1 glug of olive oil
Heat the oven to 190 degrees C
Cut the peppers in halve and remove seeds, peel and cut the onion in quarters. Remove as much papery skin as possible from whole garlic bulb and cut off the top so the tips of the cloves are showing. Lightly oil a baking tray and put all the veg on it in the oven for 30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes to make sure everything is softening without burning.
Remove tray from oven and cover with a tea towel and allow to cool completely.
Dry fry the walnuts over a low heat until they start to release a little oil but don't let them burn.
Remove the skin from the peppers - it will come off easily once cooled under cover.
Put the walnuts, peppers, onion and a glug of oil into a blender and mix to a chunky paste.
Squeeze the body of the garlic to extrude the aromatic roast garlic paste and add to the mix.
Add salt and pepper to taste, pepper paste if you have it (I couldn't find it on the island) and a few chili flakes. Mix again and taste. I add a tsp of chili but you may prefer just a pinch.
Serve as part of a meze drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, piled on top of a baked potato, as a pasta sauce or as a dip with drinks.