I am an admirer of Delia Smith. Unlike others, she has never gone out of fashion. Unlike others, she does not sneer at her readers. She is not the type who would waltz smugly into the dining room to the awe of her guests, having spontaneously whipped up some delicious concoction having found the ingredients in some corner of a hidden market. No: for her, I suspect, preparation is key; and while I doubt she needs to use a recipe book much of the time, she would do so - unlike others - without embarrassment. Her recipes work (by which I mean she puts in enough detail for anyone making the thing for the first time not to have to guess) and she should undoubtedly be included in the line of writers in this country who have been responsible for social change in the art of cookery: Mrs Beeton, Elizabeth David and Jamie Oliver are others.
Both my mother, my grandmother and even my grandfather (only an occasional cook) were keen on Delia; her Complete Cookery Course a well-stained volume in their kitchens. But one aspect of her writing used to irritate to the extent that it became quite a good parkour game: find a recipe of hers which is not one of her “favourites”...
This comes from her “Summer Cooking”. I do not have it in front of me so I may not be as precise as its author usually is, but it is a forgiving recipe.
Red peppers (at least half per person).
Salted anchovy fillets (at least two per person).
Cherry tomatoes (at least three per person) - or, if fresh tomatoes not available, a tin of chopped Italian tomatoes.
Plenty of olive oil.
Halve and seed the peppers and place the halves on a baking tray.
Halve the cherry tomatoes and stuff them into the peppers. If you are using the chopped Italian tomatoes, add them, including the juice.
Chop the anchovy fillets and top the tomatoes with them.
Fill the peppers to the brim with olive oil.
Bake. Then refrigerate. Eat.
I think these should be served fridge-cold. As Delia herself might say, nice for a starter or a collection of starters on a summer’s day.