Shakshuka

I flipping love Shakshuka! It’s so tasty, easy to make and just looks so divine and colourful when ready.

It’s traditionally a North African, Middle Eastern recipe that consists of eggs, tomato and peppers. I’ve mixed it up a little in this recipe as I have chosen to use a combination of tomato puree and fresh tomatoes instead of the traditional tinned tomato. It’s so versatile, which is why we have a cheeky addition of mushroom here; brilliant to absorb all the juices. Also, I didn’t add it to this version but something to experiment with if that suits your taste buds are tinned artichoke hearts; I swear to you, you will not regret it; juiciness overload! You can mix this recipe up as you fancy, adding as many vegetables as you like; fantastic if you have anything that needs using up.

Shakshuka ticks all the boxes, healthy comfort food, full of nutrients, so quick and easy to make; a recipe you’ll revisit time and time again.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 large pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 white onion, sliced into strips
  • 150ml water
  • 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 100g baby button mushrooms, cut into quarters or halved (depending on size)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. On medium-low heat, fry the onion and garlic until soft and lightly browned.
  2. Add the mushrooms, pepper, tomato and all the seasonings and fry for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the tomato puree and fry for a further minute.
  4. Pour in the water, cover and leave to simmer for 5-10 minutes; allowing the liquid to reduce and thicken. Once this has happened give it a quick taste and season again with salt and pepper if required.
  5. Make 4 wells in the mixture and crack the egg directly into it. Then cover the pan and poach until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

Serve immediately

Buenos Aires Steakhouse. Richmond, Surrey

It has felt like absolute yonks since I had a good piece of steak. Buenos Aires steakhouse in Richmond have always delivered good quality, juicy steaks; it has been my go to for a good few years now.

On their menu they used to have medallions of beef which came in the weight of 6oz with an accompaniment of vine tomatoes. Around 95% of the time that used to be the option that I’d go for.
Unfortunately they took that off the menu before lockdown, which was disappointing as a fillet steak is the most tender and the least likely to have nerves. This time I went for the 8oz Rib-Eye which was just so flipping tasty. As you can see in the picture below, just serious juiciness. Please believe that bad boy did not last long, it was so damn good. I am a sucker for a steak sauce too, my go to tends to be peppercorn; I just can’t get enough of that stuff, with actual peppercorns in the sauce too.

If you ever get the change to venture down to Richmond and are in the mood for some good steak meatiness then check out Buenos Aires; you won’t be disappointed.

Sweet Potato Soup

Now that we have arrived in September I automatically get that overwhelming feeling that we getting closer and closer to the end of the year and forgive me for saying it… but Christmas! I associate this time and the next few months with the preparations for the end of the year and the slow change we make from summer into the autumn time. Before we know it the leaves on the trees will start to fall and the temperature will drop and soon we shall be referring back to those cosy jumpers and jackets that we are very well acquainted with.

To slowly ease ourselves back into those ‘winter warmer’ meals I have made this Sweet Potato Soup which is so flavourful, and currently brilliant to have as a light lunch with some sourdough bread. Fantastic for those who are still working from home but fancy that lunchtime heartiness instead of a cold dish.

Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium sized white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 165ml coconut milk
  • 400ml water
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (I used Knorr)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. In a pan, fry the garlic, ginger and onion in the olive oil until lightly browned on medium-low heat.
  2. Then add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, paprika and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add in the sweet potato, tomato, coconut milk and stock cube and mix well for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Pour in the water and give it a good mix.
  5. Leave to boil on medium-low heat for 13-15 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and put the contents into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth.
  7. Put the soup back in the pan and give it a taste. Season with salt and pepper if required.

Best served hot.

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