This particular harissa is no shrinking violet. It is hot. Very hot, so do be judicious in its use. That said, you could make a mellower version by roasting a couple of red capsicums, peeling and adding to the mix. This one keeps indefinitely in the fridge as long as it is kept covered with oil. Dried red chillies vary in heat – I get mine from either an Asian supermarket or green grocer. I usually put on gloves to remove the seeds from the chillies.

Makes: 1/2 cup
Preparation: 10 min plus 30 min soaking

Roasted pumpkin and fennel with harissa & feta

Cut pumpkin, fennel and red onion into wedges, toss with harissa and olive oil, and bake at a high heat until tender. Toss with greens such as rocket, watercress or baby spinach and then scatter with goat’s feta.

Gnocchi with white beans, harissa & red capsicum

Fry strips of capsicum gently until soft, add some garlic, harissa and tinned white beans. Add a dash of wine and toss with cooked bought gnocchi, chopped parsley and grated parmesan.