The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

roast red pepper with garlic and basil

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Like many others I have been horrified by the fires that have raging in the Amazon rainforest and utterly appalled by the deliberate inaction of the Brazilian government under President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro, a populist neo fascist, came to power in January this year. Backed heavily by agribusiness and the mining industry, he has already gained the nicknames “Captain Chainsaw” and “Trump of the Tropics”.

Like Trump, one of the first things Bolsonaro did when he took office was to begin dismantling the country’s environmental protection agencies. Where previously illegal logging would have been subject to heavy fines, now the Brazilian government regularly turns a blind eye. This is Bolsonaro paying back his wealthy backers.

The Amazon rainforest is the largest in the world, absorbing around a twentieth of all global carbon emissions. These fires are not only reducing the forest’s capacity to absorb carbon but are now also releasing carbon back into the atmosphere.

Beyond the cynically corrupt Bolsonaro, the single biggest factor in Amazonian rainforest destruction is the beef industry. Previous illegal land clearances in Brazil have resulted in those cleared areas becoming grazing land or land for growing soy, which is then fed to cattle.

Cattle are very big business in Brazil: the country is the world’s largest exporter of beef.

Thus it is that our seemingly insatiable appetite for the beefburger is inextricably linked to the destruction of one of the world’s most precious and iconic natural resources.

On to the recipe. This is a particularly delicious way to enjoy red pepper. I sometimes serve this as a vegetarian tapas dish, along with my aubergine with pomegranate molasses and rocket, crispy shallot and Parmesan salad.

roast red pepper with garlic and basil

6 red peppers
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15 g basil leaves, choped
150 ml extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4). Place the red peppers in a roasting tray and place in the oven to cook for 45 minutes, or until they are very soft, collapsed and beginning to catch. During the cooking time, shake the tray a few times to ensure even cooking and prevent the peppers from sticking to the tray.
2. Carefully tip the roasted peppers into a large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Carefully peel of the skin on the peppers. Avoid the temptation to rung them under cold water as this will detract from the flavour.
3. Halve the peeled peppers and remove the seeds. Chop the pepper flesh into strips and place into a bowl. Add the garlic, basil and olive oil. Mix to combine. Leave for at least an hour, preferable longer, so that the flavours infuse.

Categories: dairy free, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian

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8 replies

  1. mmm, money always tops common sense, it’s so hard to comprehend what humans are capable of…

    Your recipe however, is Simply Stunning…thankyou for your thoughts and recipes..ox

  2. Steve this looks so simple and yet so tasty – what could be better!
    The rising numbers of those following plant-based diets has to be maintained if we’re ever going to save the planet. Your posts are part of this drive. Please keep up the good work.

  3. There is something so totally evil in those few people who use all their power to aid those few owners of businesses that are continuing to rape our lands.

    • We are beginning to understand, John, that activities we might once have dismissed as greed actually go far further: they are anti-humanity and anti-future. Steve

  4. Steve, you put the Amazonian tragedy for the country but more so for the world so simply and in such a heart-rendering way it is difficulty to comprehend the criminal acceptance of Bolsonaro’s actions . . . has the world gone mad ?! Far from happy to hear our current right-wing Prime Minister’s statement that we are too far away from the situation and have no right to interfere !!!! What a disgusting copout !! Oh, your recipe is great . . . just the other matter so much more important for each and every one of us . . .

    • Thank you Eha. It does increasingly seem as if humankind is determined to press the self destruct button, but the reality is that it is a very small minority of greedy, sociopathic individuals that are steering us towards oblivion. Unfortunately that minority do currently wield disproportionate power. But then again, we are many, and they are few. Steve x

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