(and sometimes the beast!)




Once upon a time when I was a child, our mother, who was very skilled at stretching her meagre earnings, cooked one exotic meal; Chow Mein. She delighted in using capsicum in this, her signature dish.  I loathed the stuff with a passion and would eat everything else except the capsicum. She tried cutting it up into tiny little pieces but I would return my plate with a ring of tiny red or green bits decorating the edge. Choko was also a vegetable that I despised and when we ate at Grandad's house, I was too timid to reject it and would force the disgusting stuff down.  He loved his choko, growing masses of them in his chook pen and would even eat them raw! As an adult, capsicum never entered the house because, fortunately, my husband didn't care either way; choko was another story and I was often coerced into cooking it and making white sauce for it but did not partake myself.  My eldest, though, as a child must have felt deprived because if we ever went to Sizzlers she would come back to the table with a plate of capsicum!  A couple of years ago I was invited to dinner at her house and was dismayed to see grilled red capsicum on the menu.  I asked that she not give me any and, of course, she chose to ignore my request.  To be polite I just ate it.  I was not too proud to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it and so began my own love affair with red capsicum.  I still do not like green capsicum and will pick it out of my Asian takeaways.
This year I decided to have a go at growing my own.  Cunningly (read that as stupidly), I managed to buy mini gourmet capsicums seedlings not realising the fruit would be so tiny. I left the first two arrivals for a while, waiting for them to grow up.  A passing critter relieved me of them so I've been watching the rest like a hawk and this is the first of my crop that I've been able to pick.  Delicious, if I may say so but not terribly filling.
You can read about choko on the blog here.