Making Harissa

Harissa, as I’m sure you know, is a North African hot chilli paste used as an ingredient in, for example, tagines; for flavouring soups and vegetables, and as a condiment. You can buy it in tins and tubes, much like tomato puree, but the bought stuff lacks subtlety.

Two years ago, almost to the day, I made a batch, based on a recipe I got from an evening session in the Dublin Cookery School in Blackrock, to celebrate the end of the speech and drama examining year.

Here’s the recipe …

Here we are again, at the end of another examining year. It’s been a good one. The Irish Board has grown. The Irish Board of Dance Performance had twice as many exams this year compared to last year. Thanks entirely to Vicky Sargeant, the Board’s administrator, the transition from a paper based administrative system to an online one was a resounding and verifiable success. And so, today, I decided to repeat the celebratory Harissa-making, sticking more closely to the recipe this time. This is today’s creative venture.

Here’s the process. It’s not difficult but it is very worthwhile. The resulting paste has a subtlety and a complexity that cannot be matched by the tinned stuff.



Here’s some of the things I did this week.

I blogged …

Click on the pic to get to

I bought some spray satin varnish in a sale in Evans. I was a little concerned that the gouache that I had used to paint on pebbles might fade over time or get damaged if something got spilled on it. So, I dealt with that this morning.

I did this this evening. I had previously used acrylic for something similar some months ago. I used gouache for this one. I wouldn’t be framing this, with its wonky moon and the harsh track of the light on the water, but I think that with another few goes I might have something quite pleasing.

This was just playing with new brushes and new paints this evening …

To be candid: it was a mixed week. Interesting in both good and not so good ways. Let’s just say I’m glad it’s over, and leave it at that.