Nigel Slater’s peppers recipes

Its easy to build peppers the centre of your supper. But the real starring of the show is always their cook juices, says Nigel Slater

I like peppers best when they are deep red or orange, and roasted until their flesh is sweet. Even more when they are soft enough to fall apart as you carefully remove their charred skin. Come to think of it, that is pretty much the only route I like them.

They are good to stuff( with basmati rice and vine fruit; feta and olives or garlic-spiked pork ragu flecked with lemon and juniper ). Their capability is generous, which is more than you can say for a courgette, where most of your stuffing falls into the cooking dish.

A dish of roast peppers is a useful thing to have in the fridge, kept luscious with a drizzle of olive oil and clingfilm. You can stuff them into soft pillows of focaccia and taleggio; fill them with goats cheese and folds of Iberico ham, or spread them with artichoke or olive paste and shredded basil, and roll them up.

At their best, they come with their cook juices. This is the treasure that must never be wasted: the mixture of olive oil, pepper juice and seasoning( salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, perhaps rosemary) that collects for the purposes of the peppers as they roast. It is simply gorgeous, as sweet as caramel with a deep, fruity note. Mix it with red wine or sherry vinegar to make it go further. Percolate it, like the precious balm it is, over your cooked peppers and anything you might serve with them.

Roast peppers, toasted almond pesto

Simply red: roasted peppers and toasted almond pesto. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin for the Observer

Dont be seduced to skip the toasting of the almonds, it deepens their flavour immeasurably. The pesto will keep for three or four days in the fridge. If it solidifies, then let it come up to cool room temperature before serving. It makes a rather fine sandwich filling, too.

red pepper 3
garlic 4 cloves
olive oil 1 tbsp

For the pesto:
scalped almonds 100 g
garlic 1 small clove
basil 50 g
lemon juice 1 tbsp
white wine vinegar 1 tbsp
olive oil 75 ml, plus a little extra
parmesan 60 g, grated

Set the oven at 200 C/ gas mark 6. Wipe the peppers, cut them in half lengthways and remove any white cores. Place the peppers cut side down in a cook tin, together with the whole, unpeeled garlic, trickle with olive oil, then bake for a good 40 minutes, until they have softened and wrinkled. If their skins have blackened then all to the good.

Make the pesto: set the almonds in a shallow pan and softly brown them over a moderate hot, flinging them around the pan from time to time until they are golden and toasted. Dont let anything confuse you almonds can burn in seconds.

Put the nuts into the bowl of a food processor, then add the peeled clove of garlic and the basil leaves and their stalks. Process to a coarse paste, add the lemon juice and white wine vinegar, then blend in the olive oil, taking care not to reduce the mixture to a smooth paste.

Stir in the grated parmesan and set the paste aside, covered, in a cool place.

Remove the peppers from the oven and let them relax for a few minutes until cool enough to handle. Peel off and dispose the scalps( they should come away easily ). Squeeze the garlic from its scalp. Place the skinned peppers on a serving dish, dot with the roasted garlic.

Pour a little more oil into the roasting tin. Stir to mix with the roast juices, scraping up any deliciousness from the pan, then trickle over the peppers. Serve at room temperature, with a bowl of the toasted almond pesto, stirred at the last minute.

Lentils, peppers and gorgonzola

Serves 3-4
romano peppers 6
olive oil 2 tbsp
red onion 1, medium-sized
white wine vinegar 3 tbsp
lentils small and dark green, such as le Puy1 50 g
parsley a small bunch( 20 g)
gorgonzola 200 g

For the dressing:
basil 25 g
parsley 15 g
red chilli small and mild
shelled walnuts 50 g
olive oil 6 tbsp
lemon juice 3 tbsp

Heat the oven to 200 C/ gas mark 6. Place the whole peppers in a roast tin, add the olive oil and 2 tbsp of water and bake for 30 -4 0 minutes until they have collapsed and the skin is black in patches. Remove them from the oven.

Peel and finely slice the onion, set it in a small mixing bowl then cover with the vinegar and set aside for at least 40 minutes. Turn the onion over in the vinegar from time to time to ensure it is evenly marinated.

Boil the lentils in a pan of deep, lightly salted water for 20 -2 5 minutes until tender but with a little bite in their own homes. Drain them in a sieve, put in a bowl then add the drained onion to them.

Peel the skins off the peppers, reserving their roasting juices. Tear the peppers into long, wide strips and place on a serve plate. Add the juices to the lentils. Transgress the gorgonzola into bite-sized pieces and add to the lentils.

Roughly chop the parsley. If the foliages are small, I like to leave them whole. Stimulate the herb dres by putting the basil leaves and stems and parsley foliages into a food processor or blender, with the chilli( halved and seeds removed ), shelled walnuts, olive oil and a pinch of ocean salt, and processing to a coarse green paste. Taste the paste for seasoning and add salt and lemon juice as necessary.

Spoon the lentils and cheese on to the peppers, percolating over any garmenting from the bottom of the bowl. Place a spoonful of the herb garmenting on top.

Email Nigel at nigel.slater @observer. or follow him on Twitter @NigelSlater

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Kratom Proponents Take Their Fight To D.C. As Potential Federal Ban Looms

Dozens of advocates, consumers and vendors of the botanical narcotic kratom traveled to Washington , D.C ., last week, hoping to preserve access to an herb they say has improved and even saved lives.

The week of advocacy began last Tuesday with a rally outside the U.S. Capitol building and continued across three days of meetings with legislative aides. Participants took the opportunity to share their personal experiences with kratom and educate congressional staffers on issues around a federal it is proposed to ban the herbal supplement, a move that would criminalize a treatment that many users say they prefer over prescription drugs.

Organizers told many of the Hill staffers they met with had heard about kratom, a psychoactive herb derived from the leaves of a Southeast Asian tree related to coffee, which hadn’t been the case during previous appointments. But they admitted it would be a constant battle to counter “misinformation” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has sought to portray kratom as a deadly opioid, even as many doctors and scientists say that likely isn’t true.

“Our goal is to educate in an effort to be proactive rather than reactive, ” a spokesperson for Kratom Community Grassroots, a nonprofit advocacy organisation, told HuffPost. “Many legislators are leaving office with new Representatives and staff taking their place. Educating will be an ongoing endeavor to increase awareness and preserve our access to kratom.”

The group told advocates specifically talked to congressional aides about the FDA’s recent utilize of a “misguided computational model” to categorize kratom as an “opioid, ” as well as controversy over the agency’s mandatory recall of kratom products following positive exams for salmonella.( Kratom Community Grassroots called the latter issue a “closed instance with no source identified.”)

They also challenged the FDA’s presentation of 44 deaths that it claims were associated with kratom. As HuffPost has reported, almost all of the cases cited by the agency involved the use of many different substances — as many as 9, according to one autopsy. One alleged kratom-associated demise involved an individual who was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest. Another succumbed by suicide.

Matt Kelley
Dozens of proponents, consumers and vendors of the botanical drug kratom gathered for a rally in Washington last week, ahead of three days of sessions with legislative aides.

The week’s events marked the latest chapter in a protracted battle over the legality of kratom. The federal government has appeared intent on enforcing a forbid, despite vocal opponent from proponents and other experts who say the move would heap additional misery on kratom users, many of whom suffer from serious medical conditions that they’ve been unable to effectively treat with more traditional medications.

Kratom products are sold in the U.S. as herbal supplements, meaning they’re subject to few federal regulations. Six countries have already banned kratom, employing many of the same arguments the federal government is now putting forth. Industry groups calculate there are between 3 to 5 million kratom users nationwide, who commonly take it in powder kind, often shall be as set out in capsules or brewed in tea. Users regularly tout kratom for its mood-enhancing qualities, as well its stimulant or sedative properties, who are capable of vary depending on the dose and strain.

But the federal government has seized primarily on kratom’s opioid-like impacts, following reports of the herbal drug’s growing popularity as an alternative to prescription painkillers, or a replacement therapy for most harmful opioids. Earlier this year, the FDA announced it had run a computer analysis showing that kratom was an “opioid, ” and that the agency could therefore “predict its biological function in the body.”

Researchers have called that computer model’s accuracy into question and argued that the “opioid” label is so broad and obvious that it’s meaningless. Compounds can interact with opioid receptors in a variety of ways, and not all of them involve the harmful side-effects that have made the opioid epidemic such a deadly and addictive problem today.

In fact, while kratom’s active ingredients — mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine — do appear to activate opioid receptors, initial analyses have found that they do so without triggering the sort of severe respiratory depression links with fatal opioid overdoses. Scientists and doctors have called for further research into kratom’s potential benefits and risks amid the broader search for safer painkillers.

Alissa Scheller
An assortment of kratom products, which are marketed in the U.S. as herbal supplements.

Nevertheless, in 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced plans to place kratom in Schedule I. Substances in Schedule I include heroin and other deadly synthetic opioids, and are considered to have no known medical benefit and a high possibilities for abuse. Following a month of intense public backlash from kratom proponents and members of Congress, the DEA decided to postpone the move.

But the FDA renewed talks of a kratom ban last year when it issued a public health advisory outlining concerns about the botanical drug’s “deadly risks” and possibilities for abuse and addiction. Because kratom hasn’t officially been approved for any medical purpose, the FDA has expressed concerns that people are using kratom to self-medicate for pain or opioid withdrawal symptoms, sometimes at the exhort of vendors who have attained misleading claims about the herb’s efficacy.

Amid this public campaign, the FDA has officially recommended that the DEA proceed with scheduling, legislative aides told kratom advocates last week. The DEA has hinted that a decision could come as early as this summer, but an agency representative declined to provide HuffPost with a more concrete timeline.

At the kick-off rally last Tuesday, kratom advocates from across the country explained what they’d stand to lose if the DEA pushings forward with the ban. Many recounted battles with chronic ache, which they’d spent years trying to treat with prescription painkillers. Some said they spiraled into opioid craving as a result. Others considered a diminished quality of life, as powerful narcotics plunged them into a cloud that made day-to-day activities difficult.

For many users, kratom had worked in ways that more conventional narcotics hadn’t. And that wasn’t merely the instance for chronic pain sufferers.

Sage Beam, a Virginia-based peer supporting expert, said she’d discovered kratom 18 months ago. She now considers it to be one of the many tools she can use to feel better and combat the depression and anxiety that once led her to endeavor suicide, she said.

“I like my life now, ” Beam said during a speech. “I like my friends. I like my family. And I don’t just like my life, I want my life.”

Matt Kelley
Kratom advocates hold up a sign at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol building last week.

After the rally, kratom advocates headed into the Capitol to meet with legislative aides. By the end of the week, they met with staff members of 26 House and Senate offices, according to Kratom Community Grassroots.

The feedback was mixed, said Melanie Victor, a volunteer who built the trip-up from Tennessee. Most of the aides were receptive to the concerns of kratom proponents, but in the end, unwilling or unable to offer assurances. A few dedicated a bleaker outlook, saying that if the FDA supported a prohibition, the DEA would most likely follow suit.

“They were pretty much letting us know that this isn’t looking too great, ” Victor told HuffPost. “This is probably going to be a pretty big fight.”

The stakes are high for Victor, who was introduced to kratom after having an unpleasant experience with the opioids she’d been prescribed following a string of surgeries to treat a near-fatal liver illnes, which she says was caused by another medication. Victor said she continues to take kratom, but not every day.

For other kratom users who are grappling with severe chronic pain and issues of opioid addiction, the consequences of a prohibit could be worse, said Victor. If the government takes away their preferred method of treatment, she predicts many will end up being forced to go back to the medications that caused them problems in the past.

That thought only drives Victor to work harder to keep kratom legal.

“Right now I think is crunch time, ” she told. “This is when we have to push.”

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How to have a zero waste kitchen: tips-off from Jamie Oliver, Tom Kerridge, Skye Gyngell and more

Restaurants have a daily combat against wasting food. We asked top chefs for their home hackers that will save you money and give your cooking a flavour boost

According to the campaigning garbage charity Wrap, UK households bin 5m tonnes of edible food every year. That is 1.1 m tonnes less than in 2007, a drop-off that, in CO 2 terms, to equal taking 2.2 m autoes off the road per year. But, clearly, there is still a lot that could be done to inspire us to use the ingredients we buy with greater diligence.

Tom Tanner, a spokesperson for the Sustainable Restaurant Association( SRA ), tells:” It’s all very well telling people that the average UK household hurls out PS700 of food each year, but it can be tough playing Ready Steady Cook at home .” The SRA is attempting to help with its new One Planet Plate recipe site, a global inventory of sustainability-focused eatery dishes complete with recipes.

But faced with a fridge full of turning veg, the wreckage of a Sunday roast or pans of leftover rice, there is no such thing as too much inspiration. In that spirit, we asked a range of cooks who grapple with this issue daily to give us their waste-saving tips-off. Some are eco-conscious practitioners of nose-to-tail and root-to-fruit cooking( Silo in Brighton is Britain’s first “zero-waste” restaurant ), while others are simply trying to keep costs down. Here are their household hacks, aimed at saving you a few quid and giving your cooking a flavor boost. Who said that saving countries around the world can’t be a win-win?

Skye Gyngell, Spring, London

Fruit and vegetable peels should not be disposed.

We keep all vegetable peelings. Almost the best flavour is to be found in carrot, beetroot or celeriac scalps. We make a simple puree employing potato peels cooked in salted water with herb stalks, then pureed with butter, pepper and buttermilk. To turn that into soup, omit the butter and thin using stock. We also make a peel coleslaw- at this time of year, from asparagus, young carrots, leek tops, beetroot and radish foliages- which you can dress with creme fraiche. Stir in honey, salt and any soft herbs for a nice summer accompaniment to roast chicken.

Jamie Oliver, cook and campaigner

Stale bread can be used to stimulate croutons.

Bread should never be wasted. If you look at great cooking from around the world, bread is often used stale and transformed into all sorts of tasty things, such as the classic Italian tomato and bread soup, pappa al pomodoro, or panzanella( tomato and bread salad ). Turn already-stale bread into croutons or, if you know you won’t finish your loaf before it turns, thinly slice it and leave to go stale for perfectly crisp toast- it is a fantastic vehicle for tapenade or bruschetta toppings. And you can always blitz stale bread into breadcrumbs for crispy coatings on fishcakes or to toast and scatter over pasta dishes. Delicious.

Ryan Blackburn, the Old Stamp House, Ambleside

A chicken can provide ingredients for several snacks.

Take the breasts off a chicken, use the leg meat in a curry and, for a third meal, roast the wings and carcass to make a lovely bone broth. Add madeira wine and roasted vegetables, top it up with water and cook gently with fresh herbs and salt. Don’t boil it; it will go cloudy. It surprises people that this clear liquid delivers so much flavour.

Hong Sui Li, Moshi Moshi, London

Don’t dispose prawn heads after you have eaten the tail meat …

Once we’ve simmered tiger prawns to turn the tails into nigiri sushi, we’re left with a mass of prawn heads. At home[ in Hong Kong] we’re used to eating the brains. Prawn heads are quite like brown crab meat, so we took to dusting them in potato starch and deep-frying them. Eat them hot with a dipping sauce. We use chilli mayonnaise.

Mary Ellen-McTague, the Creameries and Real Junk Food, Manchester

Many foods can be pickled to preserve them.

You can pickle pretty much anything with a 3:2: 1 mixture of vinegar-water-sugar. If it can’t be pickled, it can usually be frozen. In the restaurant, we sweat vegetables in fat, puree and freeze them. That’s a good soup base. You can freeze herbs or salad leaves and mix them with petroleum to make sauces and pestos. I use the freezer loads at home. Label everything, though. It’s really important. A permanent marker pen is essential kit.

Rachel Stockley, Baratxuri, Ramsbottom

Don’t discard meat fat after cooking. As small children, I’d eat my Filipino mum’s veggies cooked in pork fat. In a Spanish kitchen, we use traditional recipes that emphasise the need of fat for flavor. We’ve use rendered iberico fat to cook eggs, to flavour garlic soup and whipped like aioli to accompany fish. You can store most fats in jars in the refrigerator and they will be more effective than constantly employing that posh olive oil that you should only used only for garmenting , not frying.

Tom Kerridge, the Hand& Flowers and the Coach, Marlow

Shop little and often. When I used to shop for the week, I’d end up with everything in the fridge going off, especially quick perishables such as salad foliages, tomatoes, cucumber and mushrooms, or going out of date before I got around to cooking it.

Gouranga Bera, Curry Leaf Cafe, Brighton

Why not use the leftover veggies from your Sunday roast to attain pakoras? Any vegetable you have is fine. Thinly slice, add chopped onion, ginger, garlic, whatever spices you like and chickpea flour( about one-fifth of the total ), attain into balls in your hand, then deep-fry until crispy.

Tim Bouget, ODE& Co and ODE cafes, Devon

The best way to reduce household waste is putting less on your plate. You can always go back for more. As for leftovers, dried fruit scalps blitzed into a powder add an intensive orange or lemon zest to cakes.

Nicholas Balfe, Salon, London

Try to buy a cauliflower with its foliages and stem intact.

Rather than a supermarket cauliflower that has been stripped of all its leaves and wrapped in cellophane, I’d encourage people to get one that has still got its beautiful green plumage. Don’t be afraid of using everything. It’s a versatile vegetable. We saute the florets, stir-fry the leaves or toss them in turmeric and ras-al-hanout and griddle them, and make a puree from the caramelised stalks.

Paul Collins, Yeo Valley Canteen, near Bristol

When we have a roast on, any’ left yeo vers ‘, as we call them, go into the following day’s beef and potato cakes, shallow-fried with a poached egg and hollandaise. That would work a treat at home too.

Richard Corrigan, Bentley’s Oyster Bar& Grill and Corrigan’s Mayfair, London

It’s better to run out of things than have food left over. Plan what you are going to eat each week, main meal, breakfast, at work. Write it down and buy accordingly. Talk to your butcher: how many grams of meat do you need per head? Instead of a leg[ of lamb ], get him to bone, roll and stuff a shoulder. It’s half the price. I think we should approach waste differently. Try not to have any.

Josh Overington, Le Cochon Aveugle and Cave du Cochon, York

Make sauerkraut from cabbage leaves that would normally be thrown out.

I don’t geek out over fermenting but where, domestically, most people throw outer cabbage leaves away, I build sauerkraut. It’s great with confit duck or sausages. Roll the foliages into cylinders, cut them into strips and- utilizing a non-reactive container; a glass bowl is perfect- mixture the shredded leaves with salt[ 100 g per cabbage ]. Weigh down the cabbage to keep it submerged in the liquid it will release. Encompass the container with cheesecloth, leave it in a cool place for a week, then refrigerate it for a further two and it’s ready. Easy as that. It will maintain for six months.

Saiphin Moore, Rosa’s Thai and Lao Cafe, London

Day-old cooked rice is the best for fried rice, so if you’re cook jasmine rice, store any you don’t finish in an air-tight container and refrigerate it right away[ it is recommended you eat cooked rice within 24 hours ]. Keep it in the refrigerator and cook it from cold so it doesn’t run clumpy when stir-frying it. I add eggs, springtime greens, cherry tomatoes, dark and light soy sauce. With cooked sticky rice, roll it into balls and deep-fry it so it’s crunchy outside. It’s perfect in the spicy fermented sausage salad, yum nham khao tod.

Scott Smith, Fhior, Edinburgh

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Why is the US banning kratom, the virtually harmless herb? | Marc Lewis

It acts on opioid receptors, hence the anxiety. But since some heroin users take it to ease withdrawal, its prohibition could have some very harmful effects indeed

Just this morning I got an email from a head shop Id dropped into on my last trip-up to San Francisco. I didnt recall leaving my email address, but I surely recollected the store, festooned with fascinating herbs in colorful packets, unfamiliar plants, water pipes like octopi, merging aesthetics with efficiency. Sunshine streaming through the windows and the odor of incense, scarcely noticeable but enchanting as always.

I was visiting the haunts of my hippy days, the famous intersection of Haight and Ashbury, and of course everything appeared so much cleaner, more commercial, and, well, more legal, than it had back then. But what to buy? I dont commonly take drugs anymore, legal or not, but I recognized the name kratom on several vividly coloured pockets on display behind the counter.

Kratom( Mitragyna speciosa) is sold as the crushed-up leaf of the kratom plant, grown in jungles throughout southeast Asia. You can induce kratom tea or dissolve it in juice to experience its effects, and its become increasingly popular all over the Western world( though its been around for centuries ). You can buy it at head shops, hundreds of internet site, and now at kratom bars popping up in Los Angeles and other happening places. Plainly some people enjoy this legal high.

Kratom was indeed the topic of the email, and the tone of the message was urgent 😛 TAGEND

Important Info Considering the Future of Kratom

In case you havent heard, theres a very important development regarding your access to this safe and unbelievably helpful herb!

And then:

On August 30 the DEA announced their intention to place Kratom on the Schedule I list of substances starting September 30.

You can read all about this remarkable decision by the drug police. Theres a tidy article in Forbes, theres lots on YouTube, and the DEA sitesuccinctly states their rationale 😛 TAGEND

The Drug Enforcement Administration( DEA) today announced its intention to place the active materials in the kratom plant into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in order to avoided an imminent hazard to public safety.

The first thing you should know is that Schedule I narcotics most famously heroin, and somewhat embarrassingly marijuana and LSD call for the most severe controls and punishments.( Meth and cocaine are nearby on Schedule II ). So the kratom user may end up cell-mates with meths and heroin addicts.

The second issue is why? Whats the imminent hazard to public safety?

I wasnt aware of any hazard when I asked the pierced young lady behind the counter what type of kratom I should try. I had taken kratom with a friend in the Netherlands where I live. Here its fully legal and sold in shops, as it is in most( but not all) Western countries. Kratom happens to be illegal in Thailand, apparently because it undercuts the lucrative opium industry.

I hadnt felt much the first time Id taken kratom and wanted to give it another try. So I asked the young woman what she recommended and she brought out a menu card. Midnight Blue is the most relaxing, Sunrise is sort of inducing but melloweds you out at the same period. Starshine just helps you feel … centered. Each mixture was touted to profer a slightly different buzz. So I bought a couple of packs for about $20 and got a little … high?

High is a strong term for what kratom actually offers. This plant is just one of a list of age-old plants and herbal extracts that construct people feel a bit peppier, a little bit happier, a bit more relaxed. A listing that includes St Johns Wort, ginseng, wild lettuce, coffee( yes, coffee ), kava, lavender, valerian, betel nut the list goes on and on. The word medicinal is sometimes utilized. But high? That would be stretching it.

You can read all about kratom on the web, but perhaps one reason the DEA considers it an imminent hazard is because part of its effect comes from inducing opioid receptors. You know, those receptors that get you smashed when you shoot heroin. Anything that stimulates opioid receptors and constructs “youre feeling” pleasant must be very dangerous, so we shouldnt take any opportunities. In fact, lets ban alcohol( martinis owe much of their buzz to opioid receptors ), lets ban jogging( that notorious athletes high a long, winding road to the gutter ). And while were at it, lets ban breast milk, which helps babies feel relaxed because it too stimulates opioid receptors.

But kratom is not an opiate. The molecule isnt even vaguely related to morphine or heroin. Its only an herb. Its impossible to overdose on kratom. Youre likely to get a headache if you take too much. The approximately 20 demises attributed to kratom in recent history are thought to be caused by other drugs: the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that commercial forms of kratom are sometimes laced with other compounds that have caused demises. And considering the 88, 000 deaths a year linked to alcohol and the 28, 000 overdose demises from opiates( heroin and analgesics) in the US alone, it seems someone isnt doing their math.

Is kratom addictive? Maybe a little. But not as much as coffee and cigarettes or Q-tips, tattoos, and Pokemon Go. And if you take it daily, guess what? It loses its effect.

Ive built the DEAs announcement sound silly, even stupid. There they go again, banning whatever bothers them until voters in Colorado or somewhere start to object. But theres a terribly tragic outcome to be expected if kratom is banned. Because kratom attaches to opioid receptors, its an ideal route for heroin addicts to get off heroin with minimal withdrawal symptoms a harmless, herbal methadone substitute. This folk-wisdom is splashed all over the net and freely shared among drug users. If kratom is banned in the US, many heroin junkies who want to quit will go back to heroin instead, and many, many more people will die.

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