Saturday, 16 April 2011

Homemade Harissa!

I feel it is my duty, as well as a pleasure of course, to add to my must-pass-on recipes this Harissa paste. It isn’t my recipe and I take no credit for it, for it is my Fella, the First Mate aboard the good ship Mariquita, who makes it. I just use it copiously in my cooking and sneakily accept the credit then. I take it where I can get it.

The recipe was passed down from the last chef before me on Mariquita, Emily Kenyon who now lives in N.Z with her hubby Robyn and beautiful baby, Theo. So Thanks for this one Emily, it brings a lot of joy to the crew still.

It is a paste of rich, dark spice. It is a burst of mouth watering heat and exotic flavours, its… well it’s full of chilli and garlic. The crew like it so much they practically smear it onto their toast in the mornings. You can make it as hot as you like, if you're one of those, or use it in many a recipe for added spice and flavour. I find it makes great fajhitta’s when stir-fried with chicken and peppers and served with tortillas. Or mix in with cous-cous, chick-peas and dried apricots and serve with roast lamb. Basically it is a store cupboard must-have and lasts for ages.

                                 But do be aware. Like a woman in her thirties, it gets hotter with age.

You need to know that it took some gentle persuading to be allowed to give you this one. The recipe has been adapted and perfected by the Fella who takes huge pride and care when making it.So do take full advantage  of this rare and unexpected opportunity to spice up your store cupboard life!

Here it is boys and girls. I will say this only once;

For 3-4 jars worth, you will need;
50g whole coriander seeds
50g whole cumin seeds
30g whole caraway seeds
50g dried chillis
6 garlic cloves
3 tbsp Salt
Olive oil


  • Begin by soaking the chilli’s in a bowl of hot water till soft. (10-15 mins)

  • Toast the coriander, cumin and caraway seeds in a large dry frying pan till they start to become very fragrant. About 2 minutes.

  • Put the toasted seeds, garlic and the salt into a blender and pulse until well combined but don’t puree.

  • When the chilli’s have softened add them to the mixture and adding a good glug of olive oil, about a cup, whizz again.

  • Spoon into jars and add a dash of olive oil over the top so that it keeps before putting the lids on.

We went out for our first proper sail train today with about 10 very helpful extra training crew to put our numbers up to 22. Up went the main, the gaffed topsail, staysail, jib and even the jib top went up in stops. It was great to know that even though we haven’t done it since October of last year, it’s a bit like riding a bicycle, you never forget.

We’re out again tomorrow and I think I might have to tell you about racing and sandwiches. Sandwiches are a big and very important part of any race day to all those big, hungry, strong sailors out there. There is even a technique to eating French baguette sandwiches every day for a whole regatta without ripping the roof of your mouth to shreds.

So if your dying to know what that all important, baguette-eating mastery might be then tune in soon for your next addition of 33 Degrees. Cheers!