Saturday, 1 February 2014


Good Morning to you,

Have you heard the saying "The way to a man's heart, is through his stomach"?

I am not advocating that this is true, as there are many ways to a man's heart, but for George, this statement is certainly true.

He loves good food, and as I have mentioned before, scrumptions left in the fridge to snack upon, makes him very happy indeed.

..... and so I thought, that with St Valentine's Day being just around the corner, it would be fun to cook food, which I know George loves. So each Sunday and Wednesday, until St Valentine's Day, I am going to be cooking random dishes which George enjoys.... and this will be my gift to him.

If I am honest, we don't really celebrate St Valentine's Day, in the traditional way, as George feels it is all too commercial. He hates the idea of being told that each year, on 14th February, he has to demonstrate how much he loves me, by being forced into buying flowers, at exorbitant prices.  He would rather bring home flowers on days when he is out and about, when he sees a bunch of flowers which he knows I will love. It could be a bunch of early daffodils, which I love, it could be a bunch of Lilly's which I also love, or it could be a bunch of roses which have caught his eye.

Does that makes us both unromantic..... no, not at all.  I am such a romantic person, I love all the hearts and flowers which surround us on the run up to St Valentine's Day, but I do appreciate George doesn't.  So without George knowing, my gift to George is, going to be cooking foods which I know he will enjoy.

The first of those things, is nothing complicated, but something I know he will enjoy eating, whilst watching  football.

He will eat this Roasted Red Pepper Dip with slices of carrot and cucumber or sometimes with crisps. Once the beans are cooked, this is a quick and simple dip to make and one which disappears very quickly. The unexpected ingredient is Cannellini beans.... yes the same ones that I used for the Beans in Tomato Sauce.  When I cooked the dried beans, I kept a few back to make this Dip, but if you prefer, please use tinned Cannellini beans. You know I am an advocate of dried beans, simply because you get more for your money, but I also understand that time is also very precious, and when speed is the order of the day, tinned beans have their place.

So it is on with my apron, and the music I have chosen to listen to today is,

the fabulous Canadian jazz singer and pianist, Diana Krall.  Listen to Diana's version of "A Case of You", "Just the Way You Are", "Deed I Do", "The Look of Love", and I've Got You Under My Skin". I had better stop before I list all the album tracks..... can you tell I like Diana's music. This album was recorded at the Paris Olympia, in front of an audience, so, along with the audience, you have the pleasure of enjoying Diana singing live. 

So it seems appropriate, that as this Roasted Red Pepper Dip is for George,  "Just the Way You Are" is the perfect song to listen to.

Now I am ready with my ingredients, although there is not a lot today.


200g of cooked Cannellini Beans
400g tin of Cannellini Beans
2 cloves of garlic
2 large Sweet Red Peppers
1 red onion
1 teaspoonful of chilli flakes 
1 tablespoonful of olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
Sea Salt to taste


If you are using dried Cannellini beans,
soak them in water the night before you are going to use them
cook them the following day.

Place the peppers on an oiled baking tray.
Brush the peppers with olive oil
and bake in a 200C oven
until the peppers are roasted.

Place the roasted peppers on a plate,
then cover with another plate.
(The steam will make it easier to remove the skins
 from the peppers.)

When the peppers are cooled a little,
remove the skin and seeds
set aside.

Finely slice the onion.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a pan
and gently cook the onions
until they are golden brown.

Add the chilli flakes and cook for 2 minutes.

Crush the garlic
and add to the pan.
Cook for 2 minutes.

If using
tinned Cannellini beans
strain the liquid from the tin
rinse the beans in cold water.
Place the beans in a saucepan 
cover with water.
Bring to the boil and then
turn off the heat.

Drain the beans.

Place the hot beans, onion,  garlic and chilli mixture
into a blender,
then add the roasted red peppers
 and whizz until smooth.

Check the seasoning and add sea salt to taste.

Add a squeeze of lemon to taste
and whizz again.

When the dip is cold,

spoon into a dish.

Have your crisps at the ready
or if you prefer,
pieces of celery, cucumber and carrot,
ready to dunk into this 
Roasted Red Pepper Dip.

There are changes you can make to this dip, sometimes I will add a tablespoonful of Tahini, because I love the flavour of sesame seeds. Other times I will leave out the lemon juice and add a couple of tablespoonfuls of sour cream.  It's about whatever you fancy on the day.

In case you are wondering, why I heat the beans. I find, when the beans are hot, the other flavours are absorbed much better and then you get a much better depth of flavour.

I know that this dip will make George very happy, especially whilst he is watching football and as I have prepared it with love, isn't that what St Valentine's Day is all about..... love..... and not money.

What are your thoughts, do you love St Valentine's Day, with all it's hearts and flowers?  Or do you have other ways which you celebrate St Valentine's Day?

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,


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