Shakshouka with Pitta Bread

Whilst staying in Paris, our friend cooked us a delicious shakshouka so as I had some eggs to use up I thought of this and decided to make it for myself with some pitta bread. I’ve tried making pitta before but this time using the BBC Good Food recipe it came out really well. I made enough for three people to have some leftovers and I halved the pitta recipe to make four pitta breads. Pitta is a flat bread, in English we use the Greek word pitta but in the Middle East, i.e. the home of shakshouka, it’s called ‘fatteh’.

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 10g parsley
  • 500g passata
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 3/4 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 250g bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil + extra for oiling the bowl.

Method

1.) Make the dough for the bread by adding the yeast to 150ml tepid water and leaving it to brew for 10 minutes.

2.) Add the salt to a bowl and then pour on the flour. Pour on the yeasty water and the olive oil. Mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook or knead by hand for 5 minutes until the dough is soft and smelling yeasty.

3.) Oil a large bowl, place in the dough then cover with a tea towel or cling film. Leave to rise for one hour.

4.) After 30 minutes, start on the shakshouka. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees C. Peel and chop up the onion.

5.) Cook the onion in some oil until soft. In the meantime, peel and chop up the garlic and the pepper and finely chop up the parsley.

6.) Cook the garlic and pepper for a couple of minutes then add the spices and cook for 1 more minute.

7.) Add the passata and turn to a low heat. Make some holes in the passata and crack the eggs in them.

8.) Flour a large baking tray and when the bread dough is ready, divide into four and roll into thin oval shapes.

9.) Place the dough on the baking tray, you may need to do two batches.

10.) Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. They will puff up and brown as below.

11.) Move the pittas to a cooling tray and bake the other 2 if need be. Set to one side to cool down a bit. Continue to cook the shakshouka until the eggs are set – about 8 minutes. Sprinkle over the parsley and serve.

Peanut & Sweet Potato Soup

Another of my pre-Christmas healthy recipes was this lovely peanut butter and sweet potato soup that I found in ‘Vegan for Good’. Admittedly, the big dollop of sour cream isn’t particularly vegan but you can replace it with a vegan alternative if you are so inclined. I had a go at veganism and it wasn’t for me but I’m more than happy to eat a vegan meal occasionally and this is way more tasty than the dull chile con carnes you get in the pub. It’s a take on an African dish where the soup is made with ground potatoes and the sweet potatoes are served on the side. It’s very filling, as you’d expect, packed with superfoods like peanut butter, sweet potato and kale.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 onion
  • 4 – 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 – 3 tomatoes
  • 2-3 sweet potatoes
  • 120g peanut butter
  • 1 litre veg stock
  • 100g kale
  • 1 tin black beans
  • salt
  • sour cream to serve
  • fresh coriander

Method

1.) Peel and dice the onion. Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a frying pan on a low heat. Add the onion to the pan with a splash of water. Cook until the onion is soft.

2.) In the meantime, peel the sweet potatoes and chop up into chunks. Chop up the tomatoes and peel and finely dice the garlic.

3.) Add the garlic, cinnamon, allspice, chilli flakes, tomatoes and sweet potato to the pan and stir to coat everything in the spice.

4.) Cook for a couple of minutes, make up the stock and weigh out the peanut butter.

5.) Add the peanut butter and stir quickly until it’s all dissolved.

6.) Add the stock, bring to the boil and lower the heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes.

7.) Blitz the soup with an immersion blender. Add the kale to the soup. Open the tin of beans, drain off the water and add that to the pan.

8.) Cook for another 5 minutes or so until the kale has wilted and the beans are hot. While this is cooking, chop up the coriander.

9.) Season the soup and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of herbs.

Green Shakshuka

I’ve been wanting to try shakshuka which has had a little boom in London as a popular brunch dish. It hails from North Africa but is now widely enjoyed in the Middle East as a breakfast food. The more common version usually has tomato sauce in it but looking through ‘Bosh – Healthy Vegan’ this green version did look appetising. That’s a vegan recipe book so they used plant based yoghurt which I switched back to eggs (sorry Vegans!).

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 leek
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 eggs
  • 10g mint
  • 10g parsley
  • 10g dill
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 200g spinach
  • 1/2 tsp za’tar
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Chop up the leek

2.) Heat up the oil in a frying pan and once hot, add the leek

3.) Peel and chop up the garlic, add to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes

4.) Add the peas and let them defrost

5.) In the meantime, finely chop the herbs.

6.) Add the spinach to the pan in batches and let each batch wilt before adding the next batch

7.) Once all the spinach is wilted, add the herbs to the pan and stir. Make 4 wells in the vegetable combination.

8.) Crack an egg into each well and leave until cooked but with a soft yolk.

9.) In the meantime, peel and slice the avocado.

10.) When the eggs are cooked, serve up with the avocado and maybe some bread on the side.

Slow Cooker Harissa Mackerel

When I moved into my house, I found a slow cooker recipe book in one of the drawers (Slow Cooker Recipes – Hamlyn) and with it this great recipe for mackerel slow cooked with potato and harissa. The slow cooker is more traditionally associated with meat but it’s great for curries that need spices to develop over some time. I’ve made this recipe a few times now as it’s become a favourite of mine. I use smoked mackerel as it’s got such a robust flavour and because it’s so easily available but the texture of fresh fish would be perfect. I also pre-cook the potatoes because I like to have big chunks of potato and I’m not sure they would cook down enough in the pot this way. This is delicious with a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 700g potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp harissa (I’ve used both dried spice and paste)
  • 200g punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 250g passata
  • 200ml stock (recipe calls for fish but I find that pretty tricky to find these days)
  • 4 small mackerel
  • salt and pepper

Method

1.) Put a kettle on to boil. Peel and chop up the potatoes.

2.) Put the potatoes in a pan, pour over the boiling water and cook until soft.

3.) In the meantime, peel and chop up the onion.

4.) Heat the oil in a frying pan and start to soften the onion.

5.) Boil some more water for the stock and chop up the peppers.

6.) Add the peppers to the pan

7.) Peel and chop up the garlic.

8.) Slice the cherry tomatoes in half

9.) Add the garlic to the frying pan and cook for a minute.

10.) Make up the stock. Add the tomatoes, a pinch of salt and the harissa to the frying pan and a splash of the stock.

11.) Cook until the tomatoes start to break down.

12.) Drain the potatoes and transfer to the slow cooker.

13.) Peel the skin off the mackerel and discard. Flake up the fish and scatter over the potatoes.

14.) Add the rest of the stock to the pan with the passata and stir.

15.) Pour the tomato sauce over the fish and potatoes.

16.) Set to 3.5 hours on a low heat then serve!