Lemon Oil, Pesto Oil, Harissa

So cutting right to the chase, these are very simple and lovely gifts to give for Christmas, when you’re invited for dinner or keep for yourself, they’re quite simple & easy to make, you just need to ensure your bottles are clean & sterilised and slightly warm before you fill them.

Lemon Oil

Lemon Rind from 1 lemon

500 mls Good quality olive oil

Wash the lemon thoroughly and remove the rind with a potato peeler, ensuring there is no pith on the rind, warm the olive oil to 180 degrees with the lemon rind in the pan. Allow to cook slightly and pour into a bottle or jar. Allow to steep for a week, then drain to remove the rind and re bottle. Keep in a cool dark place.

Pesto Oil

Handful of Basil stems

2-3 cloves of garlic

Rind of parmesan cheese.

500 mls good quality olive oil

Wash the stalks of the basil & place into a saucepan with the cloves of garlic & parmesan rind, add the olive oil & bring to 180 degrees, allow to steep and when it’s cooled slightly pour into a large jar and place in a dark cupboard, leave for a week. Then drain and re bottle into sterilised bottles.

Harissa

This is a tear inducing chilli paste that’s native to Morocco, so of course it’s well loved in our house, but not by me, because I don’t do chilli, at least not with this much punch. You will need preserved lemons to make this so if you haven’t already had a go at making them  either buy some, or get on it and a month or so you will be able to make the harissa.

You will need:

15 large red chillies

1 head of garlic

2 preserved lemons

1 Heaped Tbsp Ground Cumin

Olive oil

I would recommend you wear rubber gloves before you start this. Remove the stalks from the chillies, if you want to you can remove the seeds as well, but it’s not necessary, do bear in mind though that with the seeds it’s going to be even more potent.

Peel the garlic & rinse the 2 preserve lemons, in the bowl of a food processor place all the ingredients except for the olive oil. Puree until the ingredients begin to combine, start pouring in the olive oil, you want a chunky consistency, not completely smooth, taste for seasoning, although you shouldn’t need any extra salt as the preserved lemons should have enough residual salt. Add at least a heaped Tablespoon of ground Cumin at this stage. Place into small sterilised jars & cover with a layer of Olive Oil, store in the refrigerator & use in moderation unless you want your socks knocked off!

Serve with bread, your tajines, as part of an antipasto platter or as a dip.

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