Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Charred Red Peppers & Chickpeas with Harissa & Rose

Hoping everyone is enjoying 2014 so far! We've been enjoying plenty of nutritious fruit and vegetable-based escapades, perfecting our use of the juicer and making some beautiful drinks - certainly makes the lack of alcohol easier to bear, you can still sponsor our "Dryathlon" here:, to help us reach our fundraising target. If any of you have been thinking about getting a juicer I would definitely say go for it! Such an amazing piece of kit, even if you do have a teeny-tiny kitchen like ours. 

Baby it's cold outside, I just need good old winter comfort food. January calls for spice and a bit of self-medication using all of natures goodness - garlic, chilli, ginger, lemon et al. This one is big on the garlic and cayenne pepper, which is a treat for your sinuses. This recipe has a little kick of heat but shouldn't be too overpowering or lasting. But what do I know? I have an asbestos tongue when it comes to chilli! I suppose you'll just have to trust me...

To serve 2, you will need:

  • 40g dried Chickpeas (soaked overnight)
  • 3 medium-sized banana Shallots
  • 2 small Garlic cloves
  • ½ jar of Harissa Paste (82g jar) - I used Bart Infusions, but Belazu also do a very good one with rose incorporated
  • 3 red Peppers
  • 1 tbsp Coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Small handful of Basil & Parsley
  • Small handful of dried Rose petals, partially crushed in a pestle and mortar
  • Salk flakes and black pepper

Firstly slice the top off of your red peppers and de-seed. Then halve the peppers and cut into slices. Pop these into a baking dish, pour over the olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt flakes and a little grinding of black pepper. Then into the oven at 220°c for between 30-40 minutes, or until they start to char and blacken. Turn at least once during cooking to ensure even charring.

While the peppers are roasting rinse the soaked chickpeas, pour into a small saucepan then cover with boiling water. Bring to the boil then simmer steadily for 7-10 minutes before draining.

Finely slice the shallots and garlic then warm the coconut oil on a medium-heat in a frying pan. Once melted add the shallots and garlic to the pan to sauté and soften for 5 minutes. Once the shallots are starting to become translucent add the cooked chickpeas to the pan.
Mix well then add the Harissa paste and half of the crushed rose petals. Coat everything well in the paste and move around the pan to release the aromas. 

Remove the peppers from the oven and add them to the pan. Finely chop the basil and parsley, mix in well then warm everything through before taking off the heat. Serve with the remaining rose petals scattered over the top.

Harissa is a very aromatic flavour and the rose is a great partner. If you have trouble charring the peppers (as all ovens vary) then knock it up to the top heat to really blacken the edges - it's such a lovely, deep flavour - but just make sure not to burn them entirely!! I also like this same recipe using Mograbieh (giant couscous) instead of Chickpeas - just cook it up as per the instructions on the pack and add in the same way.