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Summer holiday series: 2. Red capsicum/pepper and tomato dip

Cooking is my favourite form of relaxation. It makes me really really happy and completely relieves all my daily stresses. When on holiday, it’s even better as I have all the time in the world to plan, shop, prepare and present food and share it with those dear to me. This holiday has been no different. As I mentioned before, I’m joint queen of a rather wonderful kitchen with all modern appliances, cool pull-out drawers and cookbooks to last me a lifetime. Given these luxuries, I’ve been spending a fair bit of time in the kitchen. Not to mention, it is the coolest (temperature wise) part of the house.

Last time I told you about a Hurry Burry Curry. That was dinner for four one evening. The next evening, I thought we’d have something more fancy. Some sort of self-inmposed challenge with French food being so pretty and tasty. One thing that French food is frequently not and my food almost always is, is vegetarian! The menu on this fine summer evening ended up being a 3-course meal with the following items accompanied by a lovely bottle of Malbec that my partner’s dad had bought earlier in the week.

Starter: Red capsicum and tomato dip with Walnut bread
Main: Summer spaghetti with zucchini and cherry tomatoes
Dessert: Peaches and nectarines baked with a macaroon topping

I will share these recipes with you over the next 3 posts. Hope you try them and like them!

This recipe is a Donna Hay classic from a magazine published many years ago. I’ve made some modifications to it – some out of necessity and some out of curiosity. The walnut bread that we had with the dip was from the local village bakery.

Red capsicum and tomato chunky dip

Ingredients (Serves 4 adults):

1 large red pepper, chopped into small bits smaller the better)
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced (red onion would be better)
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of hot chilli powder (optional)
sea salt to suit your taste
freshly ground black pepper to suit your taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the onions, garlic and peppers to the pan.
2. When the onions and capsicum have released their moisture and start to turn brown, add the  tomatoes, vinegar, salt, pepper and chilli powder to the pan and stir well.
3. Cook the mixture until it reduces to a thick, chunky sauce. If you like it smooth, give this cooked mix a quick blitz in the blender once it has cooled.
4. Serve it warm or cold with fresh salad leaves and some walnut bread, olive bread, baguette or crackers.
5. On each bread slice, we put a leaf of lettuce and topped it with the dip. Cool, crunchy and tasty.

Changes to the original recipe:

1. The original recipe calls for 370gms of cherry tomatoes, halved. We had a large, juicy, beef-heart tomato and so I used that instead and thought it worked well.

2. The original recipe calls for a red onion but all we coudl find was white so I used that instead and it worked out just fine.

3. Finally, we didn’t find any red wine vinegar in the pantry but plenty of balsamic vinegar so I used that instead. Again, the dip was pretty tasty.

4. Oh,I forgot, the chilli powder was my own little addition – gave the dip a little kick.

Red capsicum and tomato dip with walnut bread

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