Homemade Harissa Paste

18 11 2010

Harissa is a hot and spicy paste from North Africa, the key ingredient in it is red chillies and it’s use is prevalent in Moroccan, Tunisian and Algerian cuisine.

Harissa is hot I won’t deny it but don’t let that put you off, there is more than just heat! There is a lovely rich fruitiness from the tomatoes and indeed from the chillies themselves and the kick of spice just transports you a million miles away from a wet and windy November afternoon.

I know that some recipes will disagree with me on this but the chillies that you use really should be dried, in my opinion this gives the best flavour to the sauce.

Depending on how hot you want the harissa you can vary which type of chillies are used and can remove the pith and seeds if you wish, personally I use a mix of dried habanero and scoth bonnets  and leave all seeds and pith intact.

To make your own harissa you will need:

250g tomatoes

100g Dried Chillies – I use a mix of habanero and scotch bonnet

1 onion

4 cloves of garlic

1tbsp cumin seeds

1tbsp coriander seeds

1tbsp mustard seeds

1/2tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

2tbsp vinegar

olive oil

Add the chillies and the spices to a food processor and blitz until the chillies have started to break down

At this point add the garlic cloves and the onion and blitz until these are combined

You can now add the tomatoes and the 2 tbsp of vinegar and continue to blitz.

Once everything has reached a paste consistency you can add in the salt and pepper adjusting to taste.

Pour everything into a saucepan and bring to the boil, leave to cool completely and then pop into jars. Add enough olive oil into each jar to completely cover the harissa





Easy and delicious homemade pesto

9 11 2010

Who doesn’t love pesto?

It is just so versatile and delicious, if you are in a hurry it is great by itself over fresh pasta, it can be drizzled over a salad or you can use it as part of a tasty lunchtime treat (here)

The pesto that you buy from the shops is good but it isn’t as fresh as it could be and will never be as good as one that you make at home.

Pesto is so easy to make that there really shouldn’t be any need to even think about buying it from the store.

All you need is a food processor and 5 simple ingredients:

100g pine nuts

1 clove of garlic

300g of basil

100g Parmesan cheese

extra virgin olive oil

Place the pine nuts, the basil and the garlic into the food processor and blitz together until you have something that resembles biscuit crumb in consistency

Now add in enough oil for it to become a paste, probably about 3 1/2  or 4 tablespoons.

Taste your pesto, you might find that you want to add a little bit of sea salt to it but that is down to you.

There we have it fresh delicious pesto in less then 5 minutes








%d bloggers like this: