My cherry tomatoes continue to rampage through the summer and even though they’re being used creatively in virtually every dish we cook, there’s still plenty left. 

So, after experimenting with oven-drying them, I decided to try another recipe to prolong them for use later in the year. 

As we’re both fans of spicy food, harissa seemed an obvious choice. It can be added to winter soups and casseroles but it would also make a thoughtful gift to take to a BBQ.

Tomato and Chilli Harissa - simple

  • ½ tsp caraway seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 50ml olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • 250g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded


Put the spice seeds into a small pan and toast lightly until aromatic. Crush in a pestle and mortar.

Heat the oil in a large pan and add the remaining ingredients and crushed seeds. Cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, for around 15 minutes until the tomatoes and garlic are soft.

Blitz in a food processor until you have a paste like consistency.

Pour into a small, warm sterilised jar.  This will keep for a few months in the refrigerator.

Sterilising the jar

You can do this in two ways:

Heat the oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Wash the jar in hot, soapy water and rinse. Put in the over for 10 minutes until completely dry.  If you’re using a Kilner jar, boil the rubber band in hot water for the same time as the dry heat will damage it.

Alternatively you can put the jar into a large pan filled with water until fully covered. Bring to the boil and keep boiling for 10 minutes, turn the heat off and cover the pan to keep the jars warm until ready to fill.