…love, delicacy and know how…

Just out of bed this morning and starting to cook the bacon I saw a magpie flying across the back of the garden with a large twig in its beak. Presumably it was in the process of starting a nest but it must be starting early given that it was still freezing and had started to snow again.


In the meantime the grass under the bird feeder has been scratched away by the blackbirds and pigeons scrambling to get at the leavings from the tits and finches that have been at the bird feeder itself.

Another couple of hours have been spent up in the attic this afternoon as part of the tidying up process. I even threw a few things away. In the process I came across the oldest copy of the NME I have dating back to 1983. It was part of a batch that inherited from a fried who was moving house and could not bear to throw them away. I didn’t read them first time round as for the first six months of 1983 I was at Randolph-Macon College in the States. I remember coming home in summer and it felt as if I had lost touch with music because I had not seen the NME for six months and it was full of talk of The Style Council and this new band called The Birthday Party who had a singer with spiked black hair called Nick Cave.

This evening we are going to be eating a chicken stew with couscous from How to eat by Nigella Lawson. I remember when the book came out it seemed to set out a very nice blue print for our aspirational lives. Lots of copies were given away as a presents and we bought some of the sequels but then felt let down when some of the recipes in How to be a domestic goddess just didn’t work – particularly her recipe for flapjacks.


But I pulled How to eat off the shelf yesterday looking for something a bit different, perhaps another type of curry that would last until Monday evening. The main attraction of the recipe was the inclusion of harissa and the opportunity that gave to buy another tin of the stuff from The International Store so that in due course it can be added to my collection of empty harissa tins.


The brand sold in The International Store is du Cap Bon and the tins come in a range of sizes. I managed to resist the temptation to buy a 2 litre tin although I have no doubt I will succumb one day. As they say on their website it is made with love, delicacy and know how – as all good food should be!

4 thoughts on “…love, delicacy and know how…

  1. Hi Ralph, I did not know that you collected harissa tins. I now kn ow what to give your for a birthday present. When is it?

    • Hi Carol

      Harissa is a North African chilli paste. You can make it by putting a mixture of red chillies, roasted and skinned red pepper and various spices in a food processor until it turns into a thick paste. The spices can include cumin, caraway seeds, garlic and paprika. There should also be some red wine vinegar, tomato puree and olive oil. It should be a fiery red with a bit of a kick. I should really be making it but I like the tins! You can also get it in supermarkets in a tube.

      Glad you are enjoying the blog.


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