We don’t really celebrate Valentines Day in our household so instead of jumping on the consumer band-wagon and buying each other gifts, my husband and I prefer to make an effort to spend some quality time together in celebration instead. We both lead pretty busy lives with our work and hobbies – as do most people these days – that we get a little like ships passing in the night during the week, and there’s so much to squeeze into weekends they go past in such a flash!
This Valentines Day I thought it would be nice to stay at home, and sit down to a shared breakfast and a catch-up on each others lives. What better way than a massive pan of Shakshuka with crusty bread and coffee!
Shakshuka (or Shakshouka) is a fantastic dish of eggs baked in tomatoes, red peppers, and spiced chilli, cumin and paprika. I think it originated from North Africa, but there are numerous versions, all as delicious and as easy to prepare as the original. Anyone can make this dish and adapt it to suit your own tastes.
I added a few extras in this time, mainly because I like to use whatever is fresh in my pantry. The addition of some feta gives it a little extra creamy goodness, and I pretty much add Coriander to everything so a dash of that on the top gave it a bit more flavour.
- a bunch of spring onions
- 1 large red pepper/capsicum
- 1 chopped red chilli (or more depending on your chilli tastebuds….mine are pretty well established)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- I can chopped tomatoes
- 2-3 fresh vine tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4-6 eggs
- salt and pepper to season
- coriander to garnish
Grab the largest fry-pan you can find, fry off the garlic, spring onions, capsicum and chilli until your throat can take it no more. Add the spices and cook for about a minute to release the delicious flavour of the spices, then add some chopped fresh tomatoes, then the canned tomatoes, then the tomato paste, stir it all together and let it bubble and boil for about 10 minutes until it reduces a little. Add the feta if you choose and then crack the eggs on top of the tomato mix.
You can either just keep cooking this off on the stovetop (like I did) which does take a while or you can whack in in the oven until the eggs are just cooked (7-10 minutes depending on the size of your pan). It pays to keep a close eye on it as you need (yes NEED!) the yolks to be runny in the middle.
Garnish with a dash of your favourite green herb and serve with crusty bread. This is so good eaten straight from the pan, dipping the bread in and scooping out all that flavour. Believe me it doesn’t take long for it to be reduced to nothingness at the bottom of your pan, and meanwhile you can have a great old natter with your chosen dining partner.
Perfect for a sunny Valentines morning!