Hi I have been cooking again and I decided to blog to introduce my new friend who helps me to make the food even tastier. This is a Delia Smith recipe that I have adapted for two people. It's a vegetarian recipe but it would also be useful if you have vegan friends to cook for, you would leave out one of the things I will do for vegans but it will still be a lovely dish and I can suggest an alternative.
for people with reasonable appetites I use:
8 oz pasta
2 peppers - different coloured ones are nice
3 largish tomatoes
1 or 2 red chillies depending on the size
2 cloves of garlic (here is where I differ from Delia who suggests 5 cloves of garlic for 4 people, I know it is shocking to disagree with Delia but I know I'm among friends).
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1.5 tablespoons of sundried tomato puree, the sort with herbs in is nice
1 dessert spoon of olive oil
AND this is where my new friend comes in - as much black pepper as you like, at baboon HQ we have lots
Cut up the red chillies into tiny pieces
(Baboon health warning: make sure you don't rub your eyes while you are handling them I know somebody who managed to make themselves cry with chillies in the eyes. If your human is as clumsy as mine swimming goggles may be useful here).
Crush or chop the garlic we have a nice garlic crusher at baboon HQ but you might chop it.
(Baboon suggestion: if you are a plushie like me get your human to do this they can wash the garlic smell off their hands, we can't).
Cut the peppers into small strips a bit like chips (aka french fries)
Heat up the sauce pan a little, then before you put any oil into the sauce pan, put a teaspoon full of cumin seeds into the saucepan and stir them for about a minute until they are fragrant.
Add the olive oil and heat it up, it won't take long.
Stir the chillies, crushed garlic and pepper strips into the sauce pan, put the lid on and turn the heat right down, leave them to soften for approximately 40 minutes, stiring occasionally.
You can practically leave this to its own devices apart from the occasional stiring. In the meantime chop up your tomatoes. You can discard the seeds and just chop up the rest, try and chop it really small.
At some point you will want to put your pasta on to cook. From when you put the peppers in to cook you have about 50 minutes so you can work out when you need to put your pasta on.
You can also spend a bit of time at this point preparing your topping. This is not essential as it is a great dish even without it. Vegans go and amuse yourselves for a few minutes I'll call you when this bit is over.
OK don't mention this to the vegans but I put some grated cheese on top of mine. Parmesan is ideal but any nice hard cheese is good. Please note that is not my glass of wine behind me and I didn't knock it off the worktop with my tail, so I'm innocent all round really.
OK vegans you can come back. You don't need to know what I was saying while you were gone, but if you want a topping on your dish pine nuts are always nice and when you toast them your house will smell beautiful, non vegans are allowed to have these too if they like.
OK back to the main dish. Your pasta is boiling away nicely by now.
If your peppers have been cooking for about 40 minutes its time to add the chopped tomatoes and sundried tomato paste to the peppers and, this is where my new friend comes into his own, plenty of black pepper, as much as you want (not compulsory if you don't like it).
Now I would say that my new friend looks as though he enjoyed adding pepper to our dinner, I think he gets tremendous job satisfaction from making our dinner taste nice.
Leave this to cook, with the lid on, for about 7 to 10 minutes.
Now, again here I differ from Delia, you won't be shocked this time because you already know I'm an independent minded baboon. That is the point really, I'm a baboon and Delia is a sophisticated lady. Delia would drain the pasta and put it into bowls and then pile the vegetables (relish as she calls it) neatly on top. As a baboon, I drain the pasta and mix it in with the relish and then serve it. OK it all comes out the same, I think its a matter of presentation and Delia is the best at that.
Now, talking about presentation, you might be thinking that it would be nice to garnish this dish with some fresh basil leaves. Yes, you are right, it would wouldn't it and indeed I would have done that if my human assistant wasn't so forgetful that they didn't get added to the shopping list.
What is a baboon to do? Anyway enough of my problems! Here is the finished dish served Kolo style.
Its very yummy so have a go and enjoy!