• 6 dried nora chillies, or 1 tsp each of sweet and smoked paprika • 1 red pepper • Olive oil • 1 slice of bread • ½ onion, chopped • 1 tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped • 1 garlic clove • 50g blanched almonds, roasted • 25g hazelnuts, roasted • White wine, to taste • Red wine vinegar, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7. If you’re using dried nora chillies, place them in a small bowl then cover with boiling water. After 30 minutes, when they’ve softened, drain the chillies, chop them and use a pestle and mortar to bash them into a paste. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the pepper on a baking tray and roast until soft and blackened on the outside, about 30–40 minutes. When the pepper is cooked, remove from the oven, place in a bowl big enough to contain it, then cover with clingfilm. Leave the pepper to cool – the steam will help loosen the skin, so you can peel it easily.
- While you’re waiting to peel your pepper, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan on a medium-low heat, then fry the bread on each side until golden and quite crisp. Remove from the pan, allow to cool, then finely chop and set aside.
- Gently sauté the onion with a pinch of salt in a little oil until soft, then add the tomato and a splash of water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce is sweet and thickened.
- Meanwhile, use a pestle and mortar to pound the garlic clove with a pinch of salt until smooth. Add the nuts, then bash until the texture of coarse sand. Add to a bowl with the peeled red pepper and continue to bash with the mortar until the pepper is incorporated, then stir in the tomato sauce, the nora chillies or paprikas and the chopped fried bread. (You can also use a food processor for this step if you prefer.)
- Add a splash of white wine and vinegar, followed by a little cold water, until you have a thick, coarse sauce. If you like a thinner sauce, blend with a little more water. Taste for seasoning, then place in a bowl and serve.
These are some recipes collected over the years in kitchens. They are mainly in note form, hence rough, and often scribbled down like a madwoman. Contact me if it’s all too confusing!