run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Friday 13 June 2014


One of my colleagues just flew to Israel, for his first visit. He asked for my tips, and although I haven't been for a few years, (despite Ottolenghi's Jerusalem cookbook-pics making keen to fix that) I still had a few bits of advice. 

The first - leave an extra hour for Israeli airport security, and don't let their stern questions put you off; the beautiful country is worth a few snarls at immigration to access it. And my second? Eat shakshuka for breakfast, every day. You'll never look at a hotel's continental breakfast in the same way. 

This dish might sound like it should denote a particularly-violent sneeze, but shakshuka is filling, tasty, and made with basic ingredients that you'll probably have in stock even when you can't remember the last time you ventured into a Sains-esco-sda.

Shakshuka also defies a single recipe.. Every Israeli restaurant serves it differently, and most households have their own secret ingredients too. This is a basic version - feel free to jazz it up with other veggies (red pepper is usual, I omit it only because I don't like it.) I just mixed some spinach into the below recipe as I had some leftover from Breakfast-in-a-Glass. Add more garlic and chilli if you want more of a buzz, or take out the latter if you like a calmer mouthful. The addition of soy sauce - inspired by my friend delicious Linda's shakshuka - adds a salty tang.  

I serve my shakshuka up with crusty bread (toasted Challah works perfectly) or, as here, potato wedges (chopped par-boiled potatoes with paprika, chilli and garlic, roasted for 45-minutes). The perfect Sunday brunch/hangover cure, or an easy mid-week supper. Sunny side up.

Ingredients (serves four)

Tablespoon olive oil
One onion, finely chopped 
Two cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed
Two tins chopped tomatoes
Chilli flakes - as desired
1 teaspoon each of paprika and cumin
Pinch of pepper
Six eggs
1 tablespoon soy sauce
(Optional other veg include spinach leaves, handful of chopped mushrooms, spring onion, bell peppers..)
Handful fresh parsley leaves


Fry off the garlic and onion in the olive oil in a large pan until browned. Add any other desired vegetables. 
Pour the chopped tomatoes over the veg, add the soy sauce, chilli, pepper and spices, and fry for a further 3-5 minutes, the tomatoey water has evaporated.
Take one egg, crack it gently and lay it over the tomato mixture. Repeat with the next six eggs, in a clock-like arrangement with one in the middle.
Cook for a further 3-5 minutes, until the eggs are cooked to your liking. 
Sprinkle the torn parsley leaves over the top
Serve in cake-like slices, with crusty bread to dip into the oozing tomato sauce, or potato wedges to absorb it, or a green salad for a crunchy contrast.


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