Rose's Shop Watch: Belazu
The Belazu range
The Belazu range online
Give inspiration to your cooking
Writing this after nearly six weeks of lockdown, with limited online deliveries and no wish to make too many forays into the supermarket, we are all getting bored with our diet. Everything is starting to taste the same as we run out of ideas. What we need is some way to make our food more interesting. Which is why I am featuring an online company this month rather than an ingredient, and I am talking about my selection of their products.
That company is Belazu, who has brought us so many interesting products from the Mediterranean, some of which I have featured before. They are still operating their online business and it is worth taking some time to explore their website for inspiration. Here I am going to just feature some of my favourites, but you can choose yours.
The first of mine is Rose Harissa, which I featured back in 2017. As I said then, it is a fragrant spice paste of North Africa made of peppers, chilli peppers and spices, which adds a slow-burning chilli heat to almost any dish. Great to serve alongside sausages or grilled halloumi, to add to meatballs, but even better to use as a rub over a whole chicken before roasting it or onto lamb chops before grilling. You can read more about it by clicking on the link above.
Belazu have also mixed the rose harissa with sun-dried tomato and herbs to turn it into a pesto, (although not a pesto in the traditional sense of the word), which is great stirred through pasta as an alternative to pasta arrabiata, or it can be used to pep up scrambled eggs or avocado on toast. And while we are talking about the pesto range, there is a truffle and artichoke one. Now I felt uneasy about talking about what I would consider a luxurious product at a time like this, but then I decided we all deserve a treat. The mix of artichoke, truffle, Parmesan is good stirred through pasta, risotto and even mixed into mash.
Turning now to the other pastes, one of the ones I like is Zhoug, which I featured in January.: Persia’s answer to salsa verde but with more pazzaz. A herb paste which is best used as it is, or to add interest to a dish by stirring it through at the last minute to give a spicy freshness. Again, click on the link above to discover lots and lots of ways to use it (with potatoes, vegetables, eggs, halloumi, salads, meat and fish).
Then there is a paste fairly new to the range, and also originating in Persia: Sharwarma. This mixes ginger, tomato paste, garlic, onions, turmeric and spices and has a distinctive flavour and a real heat. I think it comes into its own as a marinade for a leg of lamb or for chicken or lamb kebabs (on the barbecue if the weather and social distancing allow – in the kitchen if not).
And my final choice is Roasted Aubergine Mezze – a smokey aubergine, garlic and paprika paste which is good on toasted bread to give a different slant to a simple antipasto lunch. I would suggest you also include some preserved lemons with your order as well as some risotto rice (Arborio or Carnaroli). Armed with all these, you will have a whole new door opening onto your cooking.
Go stir crazy!
Various sizes and prices on the website
Availability as at 29th April 2020