Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers

Saturday 9/4/2005

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Diary and Notes

Some time ago, in those heady days when I lived in Germany and my NoshBlog was all new and shiny and read by millions, I mentioned a fantastic cooking ingredient that was available everywhere in Germany/France etc but was nearly impossible to find in Britain. The fabled pickled peppercorn (see 26/10/2004) seemed as elusive on our side of La Manche as decent inexpensive wine, good cakes and footballers reciting poetry.

"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think that sardines will be thrown into the sea." Eric Cantona, 31/03/1995.

I am now the proud owner of a jar and it only required going to Tescos - i.e. the posh Tescos in Didsbury that the famous daytime TV presenter, Richard Madeley, was arrested for stealing soap powder from.

It seems that not all supermarkets from the same chain are the same. They all pick and choose their products on account of the local demographics. Didsbury, being frequented by the more wealthy inhabitants of Manchester (As,Bs and C1s only - anyone else has to stand in the car park) has the more up market ingredients, including an excellent selection of local cheeses, a massive wine department and of course loads of expensive soap powder for visiting celebrities to ogle with jealous eyes.

It is not the same here in Exeter and I have never seen pickled peppercorns anywhere amongst the aisles of ready meals, cornish pasties and value brown sauce bottles that Tesco offer to the locals. Perhaps Tesco thinks the people of Devon are too common to need such things as pickled peppercorns or is worried that by introducing such 'foreign' foodstuffs there may be a dangerous backlash along the lines of when Oliver Twist was given meat by the Mr Sowerberry, undertaker.

In the words of Mr Bumble, "Where is that audacious young savage?"

So today I made something using these delicious pickled peppercorns and yum-scrum-tum-filling smiley face, Jon take a bow it was too. I didn't get back from my trip North until the shops were shut so had to make so with what I had in (i.e. some frozen chicken portions a can of canelleni beans and an onion) but it was still pretty good.


I apologise for the strange green glow with today's picture, there was some wierd light coming in from outside, I think it's to do with the new Dr Who series.

Cake Blog

Starbucks' Rocky Road: I imagine Starbucks is named after the hero of Moby Dick (one of my favourite books). They should have special cakes named after Queequeg, Ahab and the Peaquad etc. Today's cake should be called Moby's Stomach Contents Cake, as it appeared to contain just about anything that was left over and already munched up.


  • Pepper Chicken
  • Canelleni Beans in Tomato Sauce
  • Risotto of Wild Rice


    Pepper Chicken
    3 Chicken Thighs
    tsp Pickled Peppercorns
    Olive Oil
    Dash White Wine Vinegar
    1/2 tsp Dried Tarragon
    Canelleni Beans
    100g Canned Canelleni Beans
    Stock from Pepper Chicken
    1/2 Onion
    1/2 Clove Garlic
    Olive Oil
    3 Black Olives
    1 Anchovy
    Squirt Tomato Purée
    1/2 Can Tomatoes
    Dash White Wine
    Pinch Sugar
    Wild Rice
    100g Wild Rice
    1/2 Onion
    Olive Oil
    Stock from Pepper Chicken


  • Chicken: Skin the chicken and brown in a little olive oil. Crush the peppercorns and sprinkle over the chicken, along with the wine vinegar and a sprinkling of tarragon. Roast slowly in the oven for 40 minutes, draining off the juices to use for the beans and the rice.
  • Beans: Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. Sweat in a little olive oil then add the anchovies, olives, tomato puree, tomatoes, wine, sugar and salt and mix well. Simmer gently for 15 minutes then liquidize to make a rich sauce. Rinse the beans and add to the sauce, stir in 1/2 the liquid from the chicken and simmer until the chicken is ready.
  • Rice: Dice the onion and brown in a little olive oil. Add the rice and stir then pour in any remaining juice from the chicken and water to cover the rice. Keep adding water every few minutes until the rice is cooked and all liquid absorbed. Stir in some fresh parsley before serving.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for a single person