Friday morning arrived and after the usual morning disagreements over teeth brushing, shoe putting on and “why do we have to walk to school?” (me : “because it is good for you”, five year old: “its’ boring”) my friend and I took to the front garden, mugs of tea in hand to experience the solar eclipse.
Cloud cover and our location meant that totality was not visible but the sky certainly began to dull as the sun began to be temporarily eclipsed by the moon. As totality neared a thin sliver of the sun still brightened our little corner of the country but others had been plunged temporarily into pitch darkness, silencing even the giddiest of school children in quiet awe.
Afterwards, it being my day off, I took to my kitchen. In the oven I had on a low roast a handful of red and green chillies that I had found lurking in the bottom of the salad box. As they began to take on colour and an even more intense flavour I began chopping garlic and sun dried tomatoes for my version of harissa paste.
Harissa is widely used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking as a condiment and is a blend of spices, chillies, garlic and oil. BE AWARE; it is pungent stuff, use sparingly.
- 4 -5 chillies, green and red, roasted on a low heat (150ºc)for around 60 – 90 minutes – they should still be soft but really tender and just taking on a little colour- when they are done carefully remove the stalks.
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 4 good sized sun dried tomato pieces (the kind sold in oil)
- A good pinch of sea salt
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Decant into a sterilised jar (an old jam or mustard jar, washed well and sterilised with boiling water or on a dishwasher cycle will be fine) and then top up with oil to cover and form a seal.
Use sparingly and remember; once it’s in it ain’t coming out so add a little at a time to your dishes.
Idea, while the oven is on – try slow roasting some tomatoes or peppers to preserve in a little oil?