A Tasty Little Dipping Sauce

Instead of the usual shrimp cocktail sauce why not try this? Ratio is 3 tbsp. passata (strained tomatoes) to 1/2 – 1 tbsp harissa paste (depending on how spicy you like things. Definitely worth a try and can go with other ingredients – scallops or over zucchini noodles, etc.

 

Advertisements

Chickpea, Spinach and Harissa Stew (4)

FullSizeRender(59)

Harissa paste is a staple of Tunisian cooking and and adds a zing to soups and stews.  This is a vegetarian/vegan dish but can also be served alongside roast chicken or other meats.

1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium sized onion – finely chopped

1 large garlic clove – grated

1 tbsp. harissa paste

1 and 1/2 cups passata

1 cup vegetable broth

4 oz. baby/grape tomatoes

1 x 15 oz can of chickpeas

5 oz baby spinach

Heat seasoned olive oil in a skillet and when sizzling add onion and let soften and brown, then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add passata, chicken broth, tomatoes, chickpeas and spinach and cook for some 20 minutes until tomatoes are bursting their skins.

Tamarind Lamb Chops on a Bed of Moroccan Vegetables (4)

fullsizerender35

Lamb is a frequent feature in North African dishes such as stews and tagines and I have borrowed some flavors from the area – cumin, cilantro and harissa paste – to bolster this dish.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

4 x lamb chops drizzled with oil

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 of a large yellow onion – chopped

1 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. harissa paste

1/2 a medium size cauliflower – cut into smallish florets

6 fl. oz. water

1 x 15 oz. can of chickpeas – rinsed and drained

1 tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

Tamarind paste – for spreading on cooked lamb chops

Place the lamb chops in oven and cook for 30 minutes.

While the chops are cooking prepare the bed of vegetables.

Heat seasoned oil in a skillet and when sizzling add onion, turn heat down a little and soften.

Add cumin, harissa paste and cauliflower florets and stir. Then pour over the water, cover skillet, bring to boil and simmer for a few minutes until cauliflower is just tender. Pour in chickpeas and cilantro and heat through.

Place vegetables on a serving dish, top with lamb chops brushed with tamarind paste.

 

Mediterranean Eggplant (4)

fullsizerender18

Many countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea use eggplant (also known as aubergine) in their cuisines: ratatouille (France); eggplant parmesan (Italy); moussaka (Greece). My recipe borrows ingredients common to these countries and combines them with harissa paste which is found in many Tunisian dishes.  The topping is melted feta cheese.

Makes  a nice side dish or a good vegetarian meal.

To prepare the eggplant and get rid of any possible bitterness, I peeled, sliced and chopped it into small pieces. Then I liberally salted it in a colander and left it for an hour. After that I rinsed it well and dried the pieces in a dry T-towel.

2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

1 medium eggplant (prepared as above)

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup roasted red peppers from a jar – roughly cut

1 – 2 tbsp. harissa paste (depending on how fiery you like things)

3 oz. feta cheese

1 tbsp. vegetable broth

Start by heating oven to 350 degrees.

Heat seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish on the stove top and when sizzling add the grated garlic and turn down the heat.

Let garlic cook but not brown, for a few minutes then add the eggplant chunks and cook for 10 minutes, stirring fairly frequently. They should be lightly browned by then

Add tomato sauce, red peppers and harissa paste. Stir well together and place in oven (with lid on casserole dish) for 20 minutes.

Five minutes before eggplant mix is ready place 3 oz. feta cheese (crumbled) in a saucepan and add 1 tbsp. vegetable broth. Heat on stove top and whisk till mixture is smooth.

Take eggplant mixture from oven and top with feta sauce.

Jo’s ‘Pizzette’ (4 or more if for Tapas)

 

photo (51)

This little invention of mine, ‘pizzette’, is a cross between the Italian pizza and the Spanish omelette. Basically it is an omelette topped with things you might (or might not) find on a pizza and you can vary the toppings endlessly – today I used harissa paste, spinach and sliced new potatoes. You can serve it hot or cold; you can serve it as a meal, or you can cut it up into slices/pieces and serve as tapas/hors d’oeuvres.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 eggs

a spoonful or two of harissa paste (depending on how hot you like things) plus a bit extra to put on each slice of potato

5 oz. spinach – rinsed then wilted in a small skillet/frying pan

4 – 6 new potatoes – boiled and sliced

When omelette is cooked (tricky part is turning it over) place it on a plate and smear all over with harissa paste.

Place spinach on top and then slices of potato on top of spinach.

Pop a small blob of harissa paste on each slice of potato.

 

Jo’s Fiery Mushrooms (4)

photo - fiery mushrooms

Harissa paste adds the fiery taste – a tablespoon is all you need (or more or less depending on how spicy you like things). Great as an appetizer/starter, side dish, to take on a picnic or to work as lunch. Can be eaten hot or cold, is vegetarian and if you are able to eat bread it would good for mopping up the juices.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 an onion – chopped

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

8 oz. small mushrooms – sliced

1 cup crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp. harissa paste

1 cup veg. broth/stock (add more if needed but in the end you want a thickish sauce)

 

Place oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and garlic.

When softened, add mushrooms and stir for a moment.

Add crushed tomatoes, harissa paste and veg broth.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce is thickish.

 

 

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Stew (serves 4)

Spicy Chicken and Black Bean Stew (serves 4)

This stew is one where you pop all the ingredients straight into a cast iron casserole dish – no cooking onions first, then browning the meat, etc., etc. The spiciness comes from a blend of ingredients – canned tomatoes and green chilies, harissa paste and Creole spices. Other than chicken the stew contains sweet potatoes, tomatoes and black beans.

1 pound of chicken tenders – cut into bite size pieces
2 x large cloves of garlic – finely chopped
2 x 15 oz cans of black beans – rinsed and drained
1 x sweet potato – peeled and cut into bite size pieces
1 x red pepper – deseeded and cut into bite size pieces
1 cup of crushed tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
3 cups of veg. broth/stock
1 tbsp. harissa paste
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning

Place all ingredients in a cast-iron casserole dish, bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes.