When Iâ€™m in the UK I am careful to try and not buy too much food out of season and nearly always look to find out how far away itâ€™s comes from. I like to try and keep my food miles down, but in Dubai you donâ€™t have that much choice. Although I try and use local produce, like Lebanon cucumbers, which are a smaller than European ones. I do like a variety of ingredients and some foods have travelled from miles away. Apples for example nearly always comes from the USA or Australia and Iâ€™ve yet to see any more mainland Europe, must Iâ€™m sure there must be, but even Europe is over 5 hours away.
As the vegetables have travelled they do not last very long. I bought the peppers, for this recipe, two days ago and they are starting to turn and so had to use quickly. In the UK these would have lasted at least a week before they started to turn for the worse. I wonder if that is because they have travelled or for other reasons, like added chemicals, but I wont look into it in case I donâ€™t like the answer.
I am a big fan of peppers as they are incredibly versatile, you can cook them quickly or a long time and they have a different texture. They work wonderfully in a salad, either raw of cooked and are very tasty when stuffed, roasted, as the main ingredient or as a complimentary ingredient in another recipe. When I was a vegetarian they became a stable in my diet and even now that Iâ€™m a meat eater I still use them a lot.
This is a very simple recipe that you can cook either quickly, if you want crunchy peppers or longer if you like them softer and sweeter. Itâ€™s also very low in fat and a healthy meal and if you donâ€™t want to use chicken it makes a lovely light vegetarian meal.
- 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1 red chilli (optional)
- 4 peppers of each colour, red, yellow, green and orange, sliced
- 400g tinned tomatoes
- 2 tbls tomato purÃ©e
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 400g chicken thighs, skinned, boned and diced
- 100g black olive, stoned and sliced
- salt and pepper to season
- (serves 4)
Put the oil into a pan and turn on the heat. Add the onions, garlic and chilli (if using) and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onions are soft, but do not allow to brown.
Add the sliced peppers and mix into the onion mixture and gently fry for 4-5 minutes.
Throw in the tinned tomatoes, tomato purÃ©e, mixed herbs and bay leaves and mix together andÂ bring to the boil
Add the chicken, olives and salt and pepper to season. Cook for a minimum of 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked or like me for over an hour as I like soft peppers
Serve with any kind of pasta or long grain rice.