Stuffed peppers and tomatoes – guest post by Cristina Grohmann
One of the great things in life is sharing the joy of cooking with youngsters, I love to get into the kitchen with my girls and teach them new things. With this in mind, and to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People, I asked sixteen year old Dig-in Bruntsfield volunteer, and Edinburgh Steiner School student, Cristina Grohmann to tell me what food means to her and share a recipe for stuffed peppers and tomatoes from her Scots-Greek heritage.
What food means to me:
Rich hazelnut and dried apricot cake smothered in butter icing for every birthday; tuna mayonnaise sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper for packed lunch; sticky jam tarts fresh from the oven followed quickly by a burnt tongue. Most of my memories circulate around food. To me food is happiness, and guilt, and excitement, and anticipation, and the highlight to every day. Whether it is a quick snack between classes or dinner with my family, eating, and preparing the food I eat gives me immense pleasure.
How I ended up cooking:
Marble cake used to be one of my dad’s favourite sweet things and as a young child it was the cake I helped my mother bake the most. Well, I’m not sure ‘help’ is the right word; my job was to lick the bowls at the end – ‘quality control’ we would call it. Nevertheless, the quality control soon progressed onto mixing the ingredients myself and eventually onto cooking more complex savoury dishes.
What I like to prepare:
I enjoy preparing food from a variety of different cultures, especially India. It is also the healthy aspect of food that interests me, and because I am currently working towards my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award and needed somewhere to volunteer. I was thrilled to find Dig-In, a community greengrocer in Bruntsfield which specialises in fresh and local produce, that is run almost completely by volunteers. Having helped out there for a few months now, I thought this blog post would be the perfect opportunity to create a dish that I love using their fresh and healthy ingredients. The recipe itself is a traditional Greek dish my Great Aunt used to make for us every summer, with a few added ingredients. Originally it was made without feta cheese and nutmeg, however these two additions enhance the creaminess and flavour of the filling. Although this recipe conjures up personal memories of summer lunches in my grandmother’s flat in Thessaloniki, it is a dish that can be eaten all year round.
Stuffed Peppers & Tomatoes
5 medium sized tomatoes
5 green (or red) peppers
500g minced meat
150g cup short-grain white rice (rinsed well)
1-2 finely chopped onions
A handful of parsley (finely chopped)
2 Garlic cloves
2 teaspoons grated nutmeg
100g feta cheese
1 cup vegetable stock
- Wash the tomatoes and peppers well; slice off their tops and save for later.
- Remove the contents of the tomatoes and whiz it in a food processor. Store in a separate bowl until later.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onions and gently cook until soft but still golden.
- Add the meat to the pan and cook until slightly coloured. Then add the rice, nutmeg, salt, pepper and parsley and cook for a while. Add the feta and a little of the puréed tomato until gently heated. Slowly add the stock, stirring well after each addition until the rice becomes soft. You may not need to use all of it.
- Place the prepared vegetables into a roasting tin and fill using the mixture from the frying pan. Drizzle over with the remaining tomato and some olive oil.
- Cook in the preheated oven at 180°C for 70-80 minutes. Serve warm as part of a selection of dishes, or simply with some feta on the side
Half Greek, half Scottish, Cristina has lived in Edinburgh her whole life. She has found that the range of nationalities that her school embraces has opened doors to learn about new cultures and their cuisines, which as a food lover she has found very important. She hopes to continue to pursue her love of cooking in the future.
Recipe and images copyright Cristina Grohmann