Douglas Adams once described the alcoholic drink the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster as being similar to “having your brains smashed in by a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.” Well, sometimes that is exactly what is required. Sometimes you stumble across a day that can only truly be described by the terminology “A Shiter.” I’ve decided that today is one of those days. There’s that horrible, bitty, insidious rain happening. The kind that promises it will do nothing more than drastically fluff up your hair in a bad, ugly-extra-from-an-80s-B-Movie kind of a way but actually turns out to have the added bonus of making you damp from head to toe. And I don’t mean wet, I mean damp. Just vaguely, uncomfortably damp. It’s reminiscent of those student days when you had to dry your clothes inside your tiny, freezing, airless flat and when you put them on you were never sure if they were just cold or actually still wet. And they smelt vaguely of mushrooms.
Just me? Never mind.
Anyhow there is only one known cure for B-Movie hair and slightly damp pants and that is harrissa. Actually I completely made that up. The only real cure is alcohol, but the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is, unfortunately, as fictional as it is obviously incapacitating. And harrissa is to food what the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster would be to alcohol if it actually existed. Harrissa is pretty much like having your taste buds smashed in by a chilli wrapped around a large… gold… clove of garlic. The analogy is getting away from me here somewhat.
- 8 large dried red chillies, soaked in a little water overnight
- 1tsp cumin seeds
- 1tsp coriander seeds
- 4 large cloves garlic
- 1tsp sea salt
- 80ml olive oil
Take the chillies out of the water and drain them, reserving the water. Cut the stalks off, they don’t taste good, and roughly chop.
In a small frying pan, toast the cumin and coriander until they smell awesome and then bash them about with a mortar and pestle until they are powdery.
Put them in your food processor with the chilli, garlic, sea salt and oil and 2tbsps of the reserved chilli water.
Pulse it up until it turns into a beautiful red-y orange paste.
That’s all well and good but what do I do with it now, I hear you cry! Genuinely anything. Cut up some carrot sticks for dunking, toast some pitta bread and serve it with olives, spread it on toast, stir it into pasta. Whatever. Just find the fastest, most efficient way to get it into your mouth and you’re good to go. It is a wonderful, heady, spice explosion. Liquid sunshine. Not quite a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster but close.