Di's Red Pepper Relish
Our latest travels proved to be ace yet again. In case you’re curious we did the Eurotunnel flexi package, which means you sail through all the rigmarole with a minimum of queuing and before you board the early train a very nice lady hands you a bag containing breakfast which keeps you perfectly occupied while you do the amazing 20-minute journey from England to France.
Calais happens to have a brilliant restaurant (called Au Cote d’Argent) on the beach overlooking the ferries speeding in and out, where an exceedingly good lunch was had by both of us. Then still more thoughts of food as we wandered around Calais and shopped for our evening picnic on the Motorail to the south of France, which departed at 6.30 and arrived at St. Raphael dead on the dot of 10.00 the next morning. From there we spent five glorious days with our friends Peter and Di in what can only be described as a bit of Provencal paradise: a very traditional farmhouse (right) set amongst beautiful vineyards in a rugged but verdant valley some half-an-hour back from St. Tropez. We drank lots of Provencal rose, and even ate one or two Summer Collection recipes remembering the exact spot where we had photographed them many years ago. We were cosseted and waited on with the most loving hospitality, as we played our Scrabble and read our novels stretched out by the glorious pool overlooking the mountains. And that’s not all – on day six all of us packed our cars (and Rosie the Labrador) and headed off to Les Tourettes, a medieval village perched high on a hilltop overlooking the Mediterranean, where another warm welcome awaited us from our mutual friends Rose and Alban. More beauteous Provencal summer, another garden ablaze with vibrant colours, more chilled wine and a pool and terrace overlooking the sea. A five-course dinner (of which you will hear more next week) was accompanied by some 50s and 60s music, which made the whole thing utter magic. The next day, Friday, and the next we drove like the clappers for 1447 kilometres to get home – not as the old TV ad said ‘because the lady loves Milk Tray’ but for a certain rather important World Cup football match. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear (as Tony Hancock used to say): after the heat, the miles, the motorways and the ticking clock...'nuff said. We returned however with a jewel of a recipe, which Di wrote down for us before we left. It would be terrific served at a barbecue with bangers or kebabs, or for a summer lunch with pate and cheese.
Start off by preparing the peppers: cut off the stalks then halve each pepper and scoop out all the seeds. Now cut them into ¼ inch (5mm) strips approximately 2 inches (5cm) long.
Next add the olive oil to a thick-based saucepan, pour in the vinegar and 2 fl oz (55 ml) water and stir in the honey. Bring it up to a simmer then add the peppers, stirring them around to get them coated.
Now cover the pan and cook the peppers over a lowish heat until they are just tender (about 20 minutes). After that take the lid off and boil until the liquid is almost completely evaporated.
Then remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, allow to cool, and that’s it!