Monday, 11 August 2008


Last week I escaped to my aunt’s house in Cornwall for a few days to try and clear my head. The stresses of council applications, sewerage pipes and packaging decisions seemed a million miles away as my aunt and I went for long walks along the coast, swam in freezing water and cooked some fantastic seafood with help of a Cornish neighbour:  Rick Stein’s cookbook "Seafood".

While I was there I became a little addicted to rouille, a garlicky mayonnaise served with the French fish stew bouillabaisse, but also fantastic on crab sandwiches, any type of seafood or even just spread on toast for breakfast. The magic ingredient in rouille is harissa, a north african spice paste made from red chilli peppers which gives the mayonnaise a fiery kick.

Now back in London, I'm relying on harissa to give me a warm holiday glow and fire in my belly.

Roast fennel with chickpeas, feta and harissa dressing (for 2)

1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 bulb of fennel cut into wedges (keep the fennel fonds for garnish)
1 red onion cut into wedges
half a punnet of cherry tomatoes cut in half

Harissa Dressing
1 generous teaspoon of harissa
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mix the dressing ingredients in a large bowl and add the chickpeas. Stir to combine and let it sit awhile.

Put the fennel, onion and tomatoes in a baking tray. Toss in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast in the oven for about 30-40 minute or until fennel is cooked.

Add to the chickpeas together with the crumbled feta and garnish with chopped leaves from the fennel top.


Anonymous said...

isn't it funny how we all call erica our 'aunt' when she is technically our first cousin 'once removed' - age difference gives her the aunt status and it's also more intimate which is what i think we all want - she is so awesome, we secretly want to be more closely related to her!

Shelagh Ryan said...

I know, first cousin once removed just sounds all wrong for Erica.