My brothers came over for brunch today in the garden. For them, brunch is synonymous with a full English. Meat, meat and eggs. Sometimes a mashed avocado. I'm not saying that this doesn't have its appeal. Especially on a hangover day. But in anticipation of having to bare more flesh than I'd like in an upcoming show, I wanted something a bit lighter. Bacon plus stage underwear is not a happy combination. My visiting hubby and the lovely EM, long-suffering partner of brother number 2, made us a gang of five. They were MOST intrigued when I asked them to pick up a few flat breads on the way. And probably a little apprehensive.
Shakshuka is one of the greats. I've been lucky enough to travel to Palestine for work, where I first enjoyed this spicy, eggy delight in a very unassuming cafe. (Most food joints in Palestine are. I'm sure they'd be amused to know that many of their specialities are appearing on shi-shi menus in European capitals). It's easy and cheap to make, and can feed up to six at a time. As I knew I had hungry boys to feed, I made hummus as well as the usual tzatziki or yogurt accompaniment.
For five, takes 40 minutes
brunch / vegetarian / perennial (without peppers) / quietly smug / easy peasy / gluten free / dairy free / main / on a budget
* Onion - 1, diced
* Harissa - 3 tbsp
* Cumin - 1 tsp
* Olive oil
* Garlic - 3 cloves, crushed
* Sweet peppers - 3, deseeded and finely sliced (you can use marinated peppers out of season)
* Tinned tomatoes - 2 tins
* Eggs - 10
To serve - adaptable to any dietary requirements!
* Greek yogurt, or yogurt with sliced cucumber, lemon zest and mint
* Pitta or flat breads
Fry the onion, harissa and cumin in a drizzle of olive oil in a large heavy based frying pan, until softened. Add the garlic and peppers and cook for a few minutes. Then add the tomatoes and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender. Make ten little dips in the tomato sauce using the back of a spoon, and crack an egg into each dip. Cover and cook for anther 10 minutes, until the eggs are cooked through. Serve with a sprinkling of crumbled feta, a dollop of thick yogurt and some flat bread.