Another weekend, another wash-out. We've had a string of family celebrations this 'summer'. All of them planned around enjoying the great outdoors, all of them dampened rather by rain. Fortunately, our spirits have not been dampened and we therefore soldier on. A naming ceremony for my nephew 'in the garden' next weekend and a sister's birthday party al fresco the next. Will we ever learn?
My favourite 'washout' though occurred this weekend. My nephew decided he wanted to celebrate his birthday at Wilderness Wood in Sussex. They specialise in children's parties here - you walk into the woods, build a huge den using branches and leaves from the forest floor and then build a campfire. Out come the sausages and marshmallows and everyone gets involved in cooking them over the smouldering fire. At least this is what is supposed to happen in theory...
The heavens opened at the crucial moment and sausages cooked over a rain-drenched fire. My favourite photo of this damp and muddy affair is this one...
I can't help thinking that the sausages look rather rude. I'm sorry. My mind is obviously impure and unclean. I have nothing to add in my defence.
Moving swiftly on, I'm reporting in briefly tonight to tell you that how delighted I was to get my hands on my favourite 'padron' peppers whilst in the butcher last week. These small green peppers are often found on Spanish tapas menus and whenever I see them, I always order them. The fun of these little peppers lies in the Russian roulette style gamble you take when plucking one from the serving platter...
You see, most pimientos are lovely and sweet and tasty. Every now and then, however, you'll pluck a hot one from the plate and your eyes will water! The good ones are absolutely delicious and totally moreish, the hot ones aren't too violently hot, but certainly enough to make you a little wary.
Traditionally, the peppers are fried in olive oil and then sprinkled with crunchy salt. Plenty of it. For some reason best known to myself, I decided to roast mine in the oven on a high heat instead. They worked pretty well, but I guess the might have been a little crisper on the outside had I reached for the frying pan.
Either way, to eat them, you hold them by the stalk and bite the pepper off in one go.
Pimientos de padron
Padron peppers- allow approx. 5 per person as tapas/nibble
Crunchy sea salt, such as Maldon
1. Place peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with generous amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with some of the salt and shake the baking tray to coat evenly.
2. Roast in a hot oven (210C) for 10-15 minutes until the pepper skins start to blister and brown. Blot on kitchen paper and sprinkle with a little more salt - don't hold back.