Tag Archives: Cooking

Computer Science and Cooking a la Babushka: Recursive stuffed pepper


Very rarely I can combine two of the loved ones in my life – computer science and cooking. But getting some inspiration from watching modern Aussie food in Master Chef Australia (they did some flowered seafood strangely enough, but surely I can’t pick how my own brain works anyway) as well as my beloved partner making a Bolognese  sauce, I came with this recursive dish: A stuffed pepper with a stuffed pepper inside…


You need to pick up pepper that match in shape and allow you to cook such a recursive dish.

Essentially a stuffed pepper, with an inner stuffed pepper… Depending on your stack size (silly inside joke) you can try to put a smaller chilli pepper inside, and yet even a smaller birds eye pepper inside to make it even geekier.

Below recipe has two levels, and does not specify exact quantities as they pertain the count and size of pepper you are using.

Bon a petite!

Ingredients:

  • Large peppers (e.g. bell pepper) – You can use other shaped ones (like the long ones)
  • Smaller Peppers – Match the shape to fit within the bigger ones
  • Optional: Even smaller peppers (I used diced birds eye)
  • External stuffing : rice, oil and water
  • Internal stuffing:  minced meat, onions, carrots,  tomatoes, celery, garlic, thyme, olive oil, red wine, bay leaf
  • Roasted pine nuts
  • Tomato
  • Salt and pepper

Preperation:

  • Make the inner pepper filling – I’ve done a Bolognese alike sauce, using the ingredients above – slightly sweating the onion in the pan in some oil, then adding the carrots, tomatoes and celery, and then adding the meat, wine and spices
  • Preheat oven to medium-high (~200 C)
  • Make the outer pepper filling – I’ve done plain white rice
  • Roast some pine nuts, walnuts or both on a pan for a short while – make them slightly coloured and smoky but not overdo it
  • Note: You can mix the fillings, or keep them separated – and can mix the nuts as well. You can also make any other baked fillings
  • Now for the stuffing – cut the inner pepper head (figuratively, it does not normally hurt but what do I know), clean the seeds and white thingies, clean the head – and fill it with the meaty sauce. I added also some diced birdseyes. You can put the head back.
  • Cut the outer pepper head, clean it and the head, add some rice and roasted nuts, then fit the smaller pepper inside, with more of the rice and nuts mixture.
  • Put a slice of tomato on the top then close with the head.
  • Bake for an hour or so.
  • Serve hot.

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Goulash on Fire


I’ve always cooked since I was very small. My expertise has been soups and stews. I’ve developed soft spot for other dishes, but remained faithful to my origins.

One particular favorite soup & stew was Goulash soup. As a carnivore, meat in my plate is always in demand. And hot spicy food became a passion after abandoning my adolescence rebellion against the hot Yemenis’ Schug my father ate with everything (and still does) adequately getting reputation of Eastern/Arabic Jew with his dark skin (from years on the sea) and his passion for that red green boiling hot substance. Refusing to adhere, as was my trademark, I avoided hot food for long. But Goulash was a love affair. Some swear my arms got bigger from no less than 25 turns of that Pepper Mill knob on every Salad I eat. Well, swearing is not polite anyhow.

My probably first consistent acquaintance with this Soup, was following Maccabbi Tel-Aviv basketballs games in Yad Eliyahu, stopping at Mifgash-Ayalon after their victory (at that time, every Maccabbi Tel-Aviv European Cup or otherwise game in Yad Eliyahu was a victory), and taking meaty Goulash Soup before my main (you guessed right: grilled meat skewers as well).

Then I learned to make my own Goulash Soup, keeping honest to the traditional recipe, making sure the Paprika is not burnt, but still adding my own signature (lately in UK it has become Parsnip – god forbid), I was imprisoned in my own vanity – truly believing I have The Goulash within my palms and taste buds.

As I had an Hungarian Ex for while, and had some chances to taste the real thing, even with those almost magical-to-whisper Nokedli Hungarian Soup Noodles companions, with shapes as diverse as one liners aimed at Tourist Girls on Tel Aviv beach, so I had some confidence in my own creation, doing the sin of comparison. And sins are there to be avenged.

So I guess HR all mighty decided to pay back today, in Hungarian Budapest, on the Buda castle side to be accurate, in a seemingly unassuming way. Quite late after a Conference day, on a rainy day, I found myself strolling to a nearby-to-hotel little place, with those pleasant white table cloth, and severe looking middle aged well eating waiters. Can’t go wrong. I had the invisible Paul Auster with me, introduced to me by the above Ex long ago. Very fitting, as like Goulash, he keeps a mysterious taste, but with a good old comfortable exactly-the-same feel. And Goulash Soup it was. In Rome, be a Romanian as they say in Asfur.

Blimey. As a Britton-to-be I must admit this was a Proper Goulash. First it was served in a traditional metal cauldron called Bogracs, Harry Potter style. It had all the needed ingredients, but not more. A hearty, rustic dish. As should be. With those alien lookalike Nokedli friends. Served with fresh from the oven chunky pieces of white bread. When on a rainy cold evening, your forehead seems to get just a glimpse of tiny little sweat spots of hot pleasure you know you have Heaven on Earth.

God bless all mighty.

But the main amazement was a little side pot with a condensed Peppery / Paprika Goulash extract on the side. This is innovation at the highest scale. After years of trickery methods and trials and errors, between my beloved spouse and myself how to make food that will be spicy for me, but still blend for her, and failing to find resolution – I found god in this little place: I could just add as much of this extract, meld it to the soup (and after all it was of similar disposition so blended easly) without distorting the Soup, and be able to control the Spice I like in my Girls. Genious.

We have tried all sorts before. Big pan / small pan sauce, where the main dish is basked in the big pot, and at the end spices are added to a small portion in the little pan. Works OK, but demands good guessing of quantities each of us would actually want to have. Not as easy as one would reckon, when you have a Morag as your spouse. Marking with a line of garnish (e.g. some peppers, or otherwise) when we share an Oven dish, Pizza, Pie, or toasts – making sure the marks are not lost in translation, making me feel I’m eating foodless food, and making Morag natural eye color turn to sun-setting colors of red / orange and purple, if we make a mistake and eat the wrong portions.

For that reason, I’m out. Sorry Dragons, I meant I’ve finished my Soup to its atomic bits and bobs. And as my young Tom emits after getting her M’n’M sweet post a successful potty training:  Another one tomorrow.

PS

I can only add the aftermath picture. Mainly because I was too starving to take a picture at the beginning, but also to avoid any drooling from you on the PC screens in front of you. Small consideration on my part.

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