A Sunday brunch – shakshuka
Brunch is one of my favourite meals as for me it represents a time when I can enjoy a leisurely morning of eating. Normally this is a rarity, especially in the week, as my typical routine for one reason and another means that I eat my breakfast at my desk at work.
Preparing brunch marks that positive step change into my weekend, where I can try something different, whether that’s scrambled egg with garam masala, smashed avocado with chilli and lime on toast or mushroom omelette with a drizzle of Sriracha. You will see my efforts on Instagram!
I’m always drawn to using spices in whatever I rustle up as they elevate flavour and easily enhance a dish, with the option to tailor your choices to suit your mood and taste.
In the spirit of sharing, this is what I made recently for a Sunday brunch for my friend Laura and I. My inspiration was Middle-Eastern (my favourite cuisine) and this shakshuka recipe is adapted from an Ottolenghi recipe in his ‘Jerusalem’ book. It’s the perfect comfort food with it’s combination of warming spices, plus it’s pretty much a one pot dish – so there isn’t loads of washing up. I made my shakshuka the night before to give time for the flavours to develop.
I cooked my eggs separately – fried rather than breaking them into the tomato sauce to cook, as I seem to so often overcook them that way.
Labneh is typically served with this dish. Instead, i made a preserved lemon yoghurt, using ‘Straight-Up’ plain yoghurt (you can use Greek yoghurt), seasoned with a pinch of salt, 1 chopped preserved lemon, a few fresh mint leaves and a scattering of sumac, fennel seeds and toasted sesame seeds on top.
It’s nice to have a couple of slices of toast on the side for dipping into the shakshuka or having it with butter – or both – whatever you like to do. I used Gerry’s white bloomer as the bakery is local to me.
P.S There will be more brunch coming soon as I’m currently writing my March feature for Now Then magazine, which will be all about places in Sheffield where you can enjoy brunch!!
Ingredients (serves 3 generously)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon shop-bought harissa (you could make your own if you have the time)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 teaspoon tomato puree
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
A large handful of fresh spinach
A small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
2 medium eggs
Labneh, yoghurt or make your own combo with your favourite spices.
A couple of slices of toast per person.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan, add the red pepper, garlic and cumin seeds and cook for 5-8 minutes until softened, taking care not to burn the garlic.
Add the tomato puree and harissa, stir and cook for another few minutes. Then add the tinned tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, stir and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
Meanwhile fry a couple of eggs and get the toast on.
Just before serving, add the spinach to the shakshuka pan so it wilts in the heat and scatter over the coriander.
Serve immediately, topping each dish with a fried egg, together with the yoghurt and toast on the side.