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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 26 September 2015
20 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Add some heat to Learning some of the benefits of spicy food might convince you it can do a lot more than just burn your tongue ZOE THOMAÚDOU Although they probably originated in South America, chilli peppers - the most common spicy sources - have been cultivated around the globe ever since they were introduced to Europe and Asia during the 16th century. Both chillis and green hot peppers have thus been incorporated in the Mediterranean cuisine, adding flavour to numerous Spanish, Italian and Greek dishes. Despite being widespread in contemporary cuisine, however, spicy food divides opinions among food lovers. What is it about chilli that makes people either love it or hate it so intensely? Spicy stuffed peppers with feta Serve it as a 'meze' along with a glass of tsipouro or ouzo. The dairy filling takes the edge off the pepper's burning taste. Ingredients 18-20 bull's horn peppers 600g of feta cheese 3 tablespoons of olive oil 4 heaped tablespoons of finely chopped parsley 2 small hot peppers finely chopped 1/2 teaspoon of salt 1/2 teaspoon of pepper bread Method 1. Preheat oven to 200°C. 2. Cut a cap off the tops of the peppers and scoop out the seeds, taking care not to break or tear the pepper. In a bowl, mash the feta with a fork until soft. Add oil, parsley, hot peppers, salt, and pepper and mix until very well combined. 3. Using a small spoon, stuff the cheese mixture into the peppers (pressing down with the handle of the spoon to completely fill). 4. Press a small piece of bread into the pepper to keep the cheese filling from melting out during cooking. Place the cap back on each pepper. 5. Lay the peppers in a lightly greased or nonstick baking pan and roast for 20 minutes or until they soften. The answer lies in its active component, capsaicin. Found in greater concentration on the fleshy part of the pepper where the seeds are attached, capsaicin is responsible for the burning feeling we experience when eating something spicy. The irritant effect and pungent taste are the factors deterring sensitive palates from getting used to it. Capsaicin is not only an irritant for humans but all mammals. You might be surprised to learn that it is a common practice for African farmers to plant chilli peppers around their crops in order to deter hungry elephants from eating them. Meanwhile, it induces the production of endorphins, the brain chemicals that offer us a feeling of pleasure and alleviate pain. Chilli peppers were known in the past for their painkilling properties as well, while in today's medicine capsaicin is used as an analgesic in topical ointments and dermal patches for muscular or arthritic pain. Studies have also linked capsaicin consumption with lower risk for cancer and prevention or treatment of diabetes, yet no conclusive evidence exists. Packed with vitamins A and C, peppers can prove a worthy rival to oranges for boosting our immune system and fighting flu symptoms by clearing congestion. According to a popular myth, chilli peppers can potentially cause stomach problems, but recent research has shown that moderate use can actually protect the stomach lining and fight stomach ulcers. Adding chilli flakes to your meals can also contribute to a better figure. Tyrokafteri (spicy feta spread) This is only one version of the popular feta dip, as there are various recipes used across the regions of Greece. Depending on how hot you want it you can experiment with different types of peppers. Ingredients 1 -2 banana peppers, depending on how spicy you want it 300g feta cheese 1⁄3 cup Greek yoghurt 1 teaspoon cider vinegar 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil Method 1. Place the banana peppers directly over a gas flame (or under a broiler), turning often, until blackened spots appear on all sides. Place in a bowl and cover with a clean towel until cool enough to handle. Peel, seed, and remove the stems from the peppers, then chop them. 2. Add the peppers, feta, Greek yoghurt and cider vinegar to the bowl of a food processor and process until fairly smooth. 3. Slowly stream in the oil, while continuing to pulse. You may need more or less, depending on your desired consistency. 4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate for at least an hour. The fiery ingr fat burning and r excited however loss always c Challenge your toler of the r you will be c sensation in your mouth. Sour about.c food.c com, gr womansday marthastewart.c Chilli-lime roasted butternut salad A colourful and healthy salad like this one could possibly cheer you up on a boring day. Worst case scenario it will satisfy your appetite and your nutrient requirements. Ingredients 1 butternut squash (about 900g), peeled, halved, seeded, and cut crosswise into slices 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 teaspoon chilli powder salt and pepper 3 tablespoons lime juice (from 2 limes) 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro 3/4 teaspoon honey 2 hearts cos lettuce, leaves separated, larger leaves torn 1/4 cup toasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) 3/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese Method 1. Preheat oven to 200°C. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss squash with one tablespoon oil and arrange in a single layer. Sprinkle with chilli powder and season with salt and pepper. Bake until soft and lightly golden, 20 to 25 minutes. 2. Whisk together the lime juice, cilantro, honey, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange cos lettuce on a platter, then top with squash, pepitas, and cotija; drizzle with dressing.
19 September 2015
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