Category Archives: Cookbooks

Introducing my Black Garlic Harissa!!! So exciting!!!! (PLUS a discount for this amazing garlic)

IMG_0557As I mentioned earlier in the week, I have been playing with some black garlic recently; the lovely people at Balsajo Black Garlic sent me some to play with and I’ve had a LOT of fun! Over the next week I will be sharing my various dishes and recipes with you and hope that you like them 🙂

IMG_7434Black garlic is just that: black! The garlic bulbs are slow roasted for a very long time to create these beautiful, shiny, soft, balsamicky cloves. They are so soft you can squeeze them between your fingers and so tasty that you just want to eat them all up as they are…however, I have forced myself to actually cook with them and not just eat them!! I’ve added black garlic to endless dishes in their original form and it adds a lovely extra to any dish.. this one, harissa pan cooked cauliflower with pumpkin seeds and black garlic. You’ll be seeing more uses like this, but today I want to share with you the experiment I am most proud of, my black garlic harissa, and keep on reading right to the bottom for a fabulous discount offer from Balsajo Black Garlic just for you 🙂

IMG_7202I’ve read a lot of harissa recipes, and made a lot. One of my favourites is Kellie’s, which I’ve used and amended to my tastes quite a few times now; I recently read another version in Thomasina Miers cookbook ‘Chilli Notes’ in which she roasts all of the vegetables and this was my starting point for my black garlic harissa.

My black garlic harissa


2 long red peppers or 2 red bell peppers
2 large tomatoes or 4 medium tomatoes
2 red onions
3-4 fresh red chillies
Olive oil to taste
3 tsp cumin seeds
3 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp dried coriander / bunch fresh coriander
Juice of 1-2 lemons
Salt and pepper

AND a bulb of black garlic cloves, removed from bulb


Preheat oven to 200C/390F

Roughly chop the peppers, tomatoes and onion and toss in olive oil with whole chillies and black garlic cloves.

Season and roast in oven until they start to char and become soft.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan.

In a warm pan, dry fry the spices gently until the aromas start to release, ensure not to burn them. Remove from heat.

Add everything to your food processor, scraping the vegetables from the oven pan along with all of the lovely juices and oil and mixing with the spices. Whizz to a consistency you like, I like mine a bit chunky.

Add lemon juice a little at a time to suit your taste and mix well. The lemon juice really lifts the flavour and brings out the taste of the black garlic.

Stir dried or chopped coriander through the mix.

NOTE: I found this quite spicy to I threw in some extra oven roasted tomatoes to take the heat down a bit.

Store in a clean jar with a layer of olive oil over the top to preserve the harissa.

OR…like me..dig in with a spoon!!!!

Then, add it to EVERYTHING!!!! spread on toast, use it to marinate chicken, cook vegetables in it, experiment and play with it 🙂

IMG_7557Over the next week I will be sharing lots more recipes with black garlic and hope you like them. If you fancy trying black garlic for yourself (and I highly recommend it!!!) visit the brand new online shop and enter ‘foodbod’ as your discount coupon code and receive 10% off the prices plus free shipping until 28th February 2015. Enjoy!!!

I have not been paid to tell you about black garlic, I do not work for Balsajo, I am merely sharing something that I love with you because I just can’t keep it to myself!!!

I’m bringing my Black Garlic Harissa to this week’s Fiesta Friday and hope that the party goers like it. This week we have two lovely hosts: Tina and Juju – pop over the join the fun and say hello 🙂

Terrific tagine: a big pot of fabulous vegetables and flavour..

IMG_4918.JPGThis week I had 8 guests round my table for lunch and I served them a vegetable and chickpea tagine, couscous with saffron, roasted coconut and chopped pistachios, and my spinach flatbreads. I’m very happy to say that there was a table full of happy tummies and smiling faces after eating my dishes 🙂

A ‘tagine’ is merely a dish made in a single pot, like a casserole, it doesn’t have to be made in one of those wonderful shared ceramic tagines, it can be made in a large saucepan, which is what I used here. This vegetable tagine was inspired by a recipe in the Vegetarian Tagines & Couscous cookbook by Ghillie Basan; the book recipe includes dried apricots, dates and sugar, I used unsulphured (brown) dried apricots as I prefer their flavour, the orange ones are too sweet for me; I also used raisins instead of dates, and left out the sugar for the same reason. I made a HUGE great pot full food all of my guests so my quantities reflect that, feel free to cut them back.

IMG_4972.JPGThe dried apricots become so soft in the dish, they’re so gorgeous to eat; the ras el hanout spice mix adds such a wonderful warm flavour to this Middle Eastern dish, I used the ras el hanout spice mix that I was sent by Just Ingredients this week – very nice!!! When you look at some of the ingredients in ras el hanout – ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves – it almost has a Christmas aroma, and the addition of rose petals adds that final flourish.

Please note, you could add chicken quite easily to the dish if you’d prefer.


2 large red onions, chopped into sixths
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
4 small/medium aubergines, chopped into chunks
4 medium courgettes, chopped into chunks
4 long red peppers, chopped into fair size chunks
2 tins of chickpeas, washed and drained
1 cup dried apricots (I always use unsulphured apricots)
1 cup raisins
800ml passata
4 heaped teaspoons ras el hanout
A bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
A bunch of fresh coriander, chopped
4 teaspoons sugar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a LARGE saucepan (if you’re making my quantity) and cook the garlic and onions until they soften.
Add the aubergines and courgettes and cook them for a few minutes, then add everything else, cover with a lid, no cook on a low heat until the vegetables are cooked and soft, mine took a good hour.

I actually made my tagine the day before the lunch as I like to leave the flavours to develop, it also enable the sauce to take on a slightly syrupy finish from the dried apricots and raisins – very tasty!

And I’ve got leftovers in the freezer….anyone want some??


IMG_4922.JPGI’m bringing my tagine and flatbreads to this week Fiesta Friday, I hope the guests enjoy the flavours and the party. Join this week’s fabulous co hosts Nancy and Loretta and check out everyone’s offerings…see you there…