Two for one

Even in these times of restrictions, life can be hectic so one cooking session that provides at least two different meals can be a boon.

Here it has been rather a mad house of activity.  Enough mix for sixteen Christmas puddings was lovingly tied up with string for steaming in the individual bowls.  Long-term builder Rodney and his lads, Wayne and Andrew, were all over the garden for a week installing a magnificent new fence.   I reckon that the trellis topping will provide over 130 square feet of luxuriant sun-bathed growing space for productive climbers  (kiwi, blackberries, grape vine) plus annual climbing vegetables (sugar snaps, beans and more) plus some evergreen fragrant plants too.  The noise was pretty dreadful for the neighbours as they dug holes for new posts, chopped down neglected scrub outside the boundary and groaned to instal the heavy panels.  No peace for the neighbours as the security team tested the alarm system for what seemed hours.  Thankfully the plumber/heating engineer was distinctly more peaceful as he worked his special magic with a couple of leaks.

Most of these tradesmen have been here on and off for nearly 20 years.  It makes such a difference, when you can’t see to check the work, to have people whom you can trust entirely and who have become friends.  Although they still send the bills …

A quick cooking session was the solution with so much going on – perhaps an hour in the kitchen and at least two meals ready for later.

3 pieces of fresh rosemary

Good handful of fresh thyme

2 onions, peeled and finely chopped.

5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons of olive oil

6 red peppers, de-seeded and cut in half top to bottom

2 handfuls of pitted black olives, cut in half

1 tin of tomatoes

6 fresh tomatoes, chopped

Salt and black pepper.

250g sausage meat, divided and rolled into marble size.

Remove the leaves from the rosemary and thyme and chop finely.

Sauté the onions and half of the the garlic in the olive oil in a large ovenproof pan.

Add 4 halves of pepper, chopped, plus half the olives and herbs plus the tin of tomatoes to the pan – season and bring to a gentle simmer.

Mix the remaining herbs, garlic, olives with the chopped tomatoes in a bowl and season well.

Place 3 or 4 marbles of sausage meat in each of the remaining pepper halves and top with the tomato/herb/garlic/olive mix.

Add the remaining meat marbles to the pan.

Place the filled pepper halves in the pan and cover with a lid or foil.

Place in the oven at Gas 4 for an hour and then reduce to Gas 2 until the peppers are soft  (an hour or more).

Remove the stuffed peppers for one meal (they reheat perfectly in the microwave on a medium setting).

Use the sauce left in the pan to make another meal with pasta.  I prefer shells which capture the pieces of vegetable or meat.

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