I've been extremely disturbed by the escalating violence, intolerance and misguided self righteousness that abounds in our world today. It has effected me more profoundly than it usually does - I'm ashamed to say that I have probably become hardened to hearing that someone has shot or defiled someone else or that whole nations are caught up in international or civil war. The television news delivers daily accounts of the horrors that mankind afflicts on its neighbours with a scale and frequency that just seems to gather momentum. Why is peace such a difficult concept? I am naive regarding these matters - I suspect, but I do think that a lack of communication and education, coupled with greed and self promotion are at the root of the problem. Quite how one gets the perpetrators of violence and aggression to listen, I don't know! The bloody war in Israel and Palestine appals me and makes my blood run cold. All lines of communication and compassion seem to have fallen on stony ground. At the weekend, I was particularly effected by the events and repercussions of another conflict, in this case, the desperate pleas of a Dutch lady interviewed on Sky television who had lost her son in the missile attack that brought MH17 to the ground killing all on board. Her anguish, torment and heart break were visible to the world. And I ached for her! How would I cope if these atrocities had enveloped my family? So, as I often do, when I want to think, reassess or relax, I head off to the kitchen! I have a simple belief that prayers to your God, effective communication (which starts in the home) and ensuring that the people of all nations have enough to eat, would play a greater part in bringing about a more peaceful world for us all to share.
I have just found an excellent site on the subject - www.foodnotbombs.net
So, off to the kitchen I went with a glass of chilled wine (or two!), to create dinner - my very own Peace Pie which I served with some scrumptiously delicious chorizo sausages that I recently bought in Spain.
This is my Peace Pie!
The holes in the pastry were 'heart' cut outs,
but they didn't quite work! I'll make it with short crust next time.
The pie contains olives (or did contain olives - we've eaten it now!),
and the olive branch was just to give it a theme!
1 aubergine, diced and cubed (I salted and drained it first, then washed off the excess salt)
1 large courgette, sliced and cubed
1 stick of celery chopped
1 red pepper, de-seeded, sliced and diced
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped (to ward off evil spirits!)
3 large tomatoes, chopped
A squeeze of tomato paste
100g black olives without stones and chopped (my symbol of peace)
50g finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
4 handfuls of baby leaf spinach
a good slug of Moscatel de Setubal ( for the cooking!) - jolly nice it is too to drink, served chilled.
Salt and Pepper
For this pie, I used ready rolled puff pastry because I had some in the fridge, and truth be known, I was feeling lazy! Next time, I will make it using my own all butter short crust pastry. Well actually, it's not my own, my great friend and pastry chef Roe, gave me her recipe and taught me a few things about making pies! Thank you Roe.
Into a pan, pour about 3 or 4 table spoons of olive oil, add all the vegetables apart from the olives, aubergine and spinach. Add salt and pepper. Add the Moscatel wine (or a Sherry). Mix together well and allow to cook/simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the aubergine and spinach and olives. Continue to cook letting the juices reduce, but be careful not to over cook! Take off the heat and leave to cool.
Butter a pie dish and line with the pastry. Fill with the cooled contents and cover with a pastry lid. Brush with a beaten egg and bake in the oven for 25/30 minutes at 180/190 degrees.
The pie was delicious, combining 'taste-full' local vegetables, most of which I bought at our market in the village, with lots of garlic to ward off the evil spirits of the world and black olives to symbolise peace. Well, let's hope and pray!
And with a teenage boy in the house, I need to serve a meat dish - so, to accompany, we feasted on ............ da-dahhh.....!
Chorizo sausages (2 kinds) pan-fried in Olorosso Sherry
with crushed garlic, whole black olives, black-eye beans and fresh basil
Introducing the star ingredients,
courtesy of Iberian pigs - ' morcilla negra and salchichon Bellota'
This is one of my favourite Spanish 'tapa' dishes which I had on my 'tapas' menu in the restaurant. Served with good crusty bread to mop up the red oily juices, it's just a little taste of heaven!
As a digestive . . . . . my message from a peaceful corner of the world, is "Make Food, not War!"