Harissa Happiness

I had a hankering for spice today, and we just happened to have bought a bulk order of Al Fez Harissa (both red and green) from Suma recently – so I went with something with a bit of a North African twist.

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Aubergine is one of the most amazing things in the world. And when it’s first griddled, and then baked until meltingly soft, and smothered in green harissa it becomes almost supernatural in it’s perfection.

I’m also, as you may already know, a HUGE fan of okra. Here’s a tip for you – if you don’t want your okra going slimy, or breaking down in your sauce – toss it in lemon juice, salt and oil and roast it until the skin bubbles – chuck it in whatever sauce you’re cooking at the last minute. Alternatively you could always take a leaf out of Bundobust‘s book and make okra fries. (These WILL make an appearance on the blog in the future – I set out to copy them the first time I tasted them.). If you aren’t familiar with Bundobust – it’s a craft beer bar in Leeds that also serves amazing vegetarian Indian street food.

The sauce for the okra is loosely based on one I first tasted in Empires Cafe in Edinburgh. It’s made from charred tomatoes and red peppers, flavoured with ALL the garlic, lemon juice, paprika and a generous amount of red harissa.

The couscous has pumpkin seeds and rocket through it, and is flavoured with black pepper and ajwain seeds. I’ve only recently discovered ajwain seeds, and love their thymey/minty flavour.

Last, but not least, the chickpeas. My wife had really gone off chickpeas (ok, maybe I *might* have added them to just about every meal for a while) – but then I introduced her to ROASTED CRISPY chickpeas. It’s just a tin of chickpeas (don’t forget to keep the amazing AQUAFABA to use as an egg substitute!), tossed in olive oil, smoked salt, smoked paprika and roasted. Then, just before serving, coat them in a teaspoon of red harissa (that might actually be the first specific measurement on this entire food blog!).

Goes rather nicely with a fruity red wine 🙂

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Sub-Saharan Deliciousness.

I’m always on the look out for new “cuisines”, and until recently haven’t really explored Sub-Saharan African foods. This changed recently when I discovered Nigerian “Suya” – a type of kebab which will no doubt feature in an upcoming post as it’s addictive.. like delicious, spicy, tofu-crack.

Nigerian curry

Tonight’s meal is a curry inspired by the same Nigerian flavours – chillies, black pepper, cumin and nutmeg, a peanut and coconut sauce, and big chunks of hearty veg – cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato, red onion and spinach.

Topped off with crispy baked chickpeas in red harissa – firey!!

I mopped this up with some home made flat breads, and can now barely move.

A little fire to start your day off…

Scrambled tofu is the food of the gods – this is a known fact across every civilisation on Earth.

Cropped scramble

What’s even better than scrambled tofu, is topping it off with some Al’Fez Green Harissa.

Red onion, spring onion, chestnut mushroom, fresh chillies, tomatoes and spinach fried off with turmeric, smoked paprika, black mustard, black pepper and asafoeteda. Silken tofu folded through and broken down into a scramble, served piping hot with toast (more of the “soaker” bread) and a jar of harissa. Nothing sets you up for the day better.