Thursday 16 September 2010

Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music... Ad Infinitum

I have a confession to make. Nothing drives me wilder than the smell of peppers being roasted or baked. The only other aroma that comes close to it is onions and garlic skating on sizzling oil on a frying pan. Which is why when I came across the recipe below in the July issue of the Observer Food Monthly I knew I had to share it with you, dear fellow bloggers and readers.

I'm aware that summer is gone and autumn is poking its sleepy face through my bedroom window already but this side dish or light lunch works with any season, like most of Nigel Slater's recipes, as I've found out over the years.

Baked peppers with a summer sauce

Serves 2-4 as a side dish (or light lunch, believe me)

large peppers
4olive oil
For the basil dressing:
basil leaves, a couple of good handfuls
oregano leaves, a small handful
mint leaves, a small handful
garlic 1 plump clove, peeled
extra-virgin olive oil about 150ml

Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Cut the peppers in half, tug out the seeds and cores and lay cut-side up in a baking tin. Trickle a little olive oil over them then bake until the skins have blackened. Remove from the oven and cover with a tea towel or clingfilm. (The steam this creates will make it easier to remove the skins of the pepper.)

Put the basil leaves into a blender or food processor together with the oregano and mint, the peeled clove of garlic and the olive oil. Add a good pinch of sea salt and mix till almost smooth.
Peel the skins of the peppers and put them on a plate. Trickle the herb sauce around them and serve warm.

The music to go with this recipe is full of unbridled hedonism. The reason is simple: Nigel is one of the few food writers (I can't think of any others, and Nigella 'tries' too much for my liking) who makes the phrase 'plump clove' sound both sensuous and naughty without meaning to.

Hence my first musical choice. This tune is sick. The DJ and keyboard player sound houseish, the singer and backing vocalists are pure soul, the brass section, THE BRASS SECTION! yeeeesss! is jazzy and the guitar, drums and bass combine for a slow-burning reggae sound. This is the sickest melody - 'sick' as in 'good', by the way - I've come across in a loooooooooooong time. If this song carried a label it would read: 'No artificial flavours or colourants, just raw ingredients'. Fat Freddy's Drop for you, ladies and gentleman.

Telmary is a Cuban rapper who has a very strong side (she needs it badly in such a male-dominated medium) as well as a softer one as the clip below demonstrates. I reviewed her CD, 'A Diario', here last year and everytime I listen to it I never cease to be amazed at the wild array of melodies her record contains. Whenever I hear this tune or watch this video I think of that olive oil sliding down the sides of those peppers as they are getting baked. Indulgent.

It's a pity that Macy Gray's subsequent records haven't achieved the same success as her debut album 'On How Life Is'. But this track from her sophomore effort, 'The Id', is as tasty as that plump, juicy garlic clove Nigel mentions in his recipe. Consume carefully. Have a brilliant weekend. Ta.

© 2010

Next Post: 'Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music', to be published on Sunday 19th September at 10am (GMT)


  1. Ah, food and music, lovely combo. Now, that is an unusual recipe, hot curvy peppers, cool-minty basil softening its curves. Nice notes.

  2. I'm adding peppers to the grocery list right now. Nice peppery music,too.

  3. Thanks Cuban, I love recipe posts and husband is vegetarian.
    I definitely want to be at Fat Freddy's Drop groove party, but alas, poor Macy. I listened to On How Life Is vitually non-stop for a week when it came out, but she's never touched there again, yet, for me.
    And Telmary is new to me. Thanks.

  4. OH wow I agree bell peppers are so delicious plus I have a surplus of them as they are the vegetable in season. that sauce with mint leaves and basil sounds intriguing.
    I like Telmary (had never heard of her until today)..

    Have a nice weekend and see you on Sunday with a cup of coffee!

  5. 'I definitely want to be at Fat Freddy's Drop groove party'

    Me too. :-) I have been playing this tune nonstop for the last few weeks and whenever I'm out jogging I make sure it's at the top of my playlist. I've got one of their albums on my amazon wishlist, too.

    Many thanks to everyone for their kind comments.

    Greetings from London.

  6. Mmmm...throw in some chicken and it will be perfect for dinner...

  7. That sounds yummy - I love peppers :)

  8. I have never understood why I love jalapenos and the like, but can't eat sweet peppers. It's just not right.

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  10. Wonderful selection of food and music. I have peppers in the oven skins blackening as we speak.

    Thank you for introducing me to Fat Freddy's Drop groove - amazing sound! Second selection is also new to me - and although rap is not ordinarily something I listen to this is a meaty 2nd course. I agree about Macy Grey and the last selection tops it off wonderfully.

    Thank you CiL!
    Greetings from Toronto

  11. I'm a big bell pepper fan too! Not a fan of onions or garlic though. They give me a headache.


  12. Many thanks for your kind comments. Peppers with skins blackening? Oh, yes!

    Greetings from London.



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