Winter Shakshuka

Shake a leg or two with a Shakshuka…

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Shakshuka is a traditional Israeli breakfast dish, which in the west we popularly know as baked eggs. Gooey, runny eggs cooked in an utterly flavour packed tomato sauce full of herbs and spices, lets be honest what’s not to love about it! I have previously made a harissa spiced Shakshuka, you can find the recipe here

While traditionally a Shakshuka is always made in a tomato sauce, I decided to change things up a bit. Today’s Shakshuka recipe is an ode to a chilled winter morning where all your heart yearns for is a pan full of comfort, flavour and indulgence. Butter, cream, leeks, peas and eggs these ingredients scream winter with a passion and you can most certainly guarantee that you are in for treat when these flavours combine together.

So what are you waiting for checkout the recipe below

Ingredients:  12   Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

  • Four free range eggs
  • One leek (white part only), finely chopped
  • 200 gms of peas (I used frozen)
  • 200 gms of spinach (I used frozen)
  • One small brown onion, finely chopped
  • Half a bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 10 to 12 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 100 ml light cooking cream
  • One tablespoon of butter
  • One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to season
  • Quarter teaspoon of smoked paprika

In a skillet melt butter and add the chopped onion and leek. Cook until leeks are soft and aromatic.

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Now add peas, spinach, parsley and mint. Give all the ingredients a good stir, once they a mixed well add cooking cream and olive oil. Season with salt as required and let the sauce simmer on a low heat for five to seven minutes.

Before cracking the eggs you can blend the ingredients into a smooth sauce, but since I love the different textures and prefer the sauce to be rustic, so I have not blended it.

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Crack the eggs into the sauce, leaving space between them. Lower the heat, cover the skillet with a lid and cook until the egg whites are cooked. The whole point of a Shakshuka is that the eggs should be runny, but if you don’t like runny eggs you can continue to cook the eggs until they are the consistency of soft-boiled eggs. Note, if you cook the eggs past this point you rather not make this dish at all because a hard-cooked egg is really not worth a Shakshuka. 

Lastly sprinkle some smoked paprika on each of the egg, this gives them a little extra flavour boost and makes them look really pretty too.

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You can serve this dish with warmed up Lebanese bread, chargrilled sourdough, Indian flat breads and if you are utterly health conscious then serve this dish with a simple green side salad.

One bite will give you a taste of nirvana. So don’t wait and try this recipe for your next weekend family brunch and remember to shake a leg or two with a Shakshuka.

Savoury Crepes with a Crisp Baby Cos Lettuce Salad

Like Paris, Crepes are always a good idea…

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I have been living away from home now for the past eight years. Nothing can ever replace Bombay or India in my life, but Australia is surely feeling more like home with each passing year. It is such a wonderful country! Full of natural beauty, laid back lifestyle, wonderful people and a melting pot of different cultures. Honestly, it would be hard to define who is a real Aussie because everyone here has their roots from another country. This is what makes Australia a truly magical place.

Imagine the food scene in a country where people from different origins live together in harmony! I could take a culinary cruise around the world all in a days time just by choosing what and where to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Moreover living in Melbourne which is the art, food and culture Mecca of Australia, I have had the privilege of eating beautiful food and meeting wonderful people from different countries.

Speaking of meeting people from other countries, I met some wonderful French expatriates whilst working with a French company and we are now really good friends. The connection was in some ways quite instant because the French love their food as much as I love mine! From social gatherings to serious work meetings talking about food seemed to navigate through every conversation seamlessly. Although I am yet to find out why French women don’t get fat!

Today’s recipe is a shoutout to all the wonderful Frenchies in my life. I love that you take your food seriously and make it look just as beautiful as you make it tasty. While I may not eat Foie gras or Pâté, I love hearing you gush about it. I look forward to many more culinary adventures with you, but for now I just want to thank you for introducing me to Crepes. My world has never been the same again!

Ingredients: 25  Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 2

For the Crepes
  • 250 gms of plain flour
  • 500 ml of milk 
  • Two free-range eggs
  • Two tablespoons of melted butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • Oil for cooking
For the Sauce
  • One leek (white part only), finely chopped
  • Four to five pods of garlic, finely chopped
  • 125 gms of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Three tablespoons of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 300 ml of light cooking cream
  • 100 ml of white wine (I used a Riesling)
  • Two tablespoons of butter
  • Salt to season
For the Topping
  • Three strips of bacon (for the non vegetarian topping)
  • One medium-sized brown onion, finely sliced
  • One teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves
  • Two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of cracked pepper
For the Salad
  • One bunch of baby cos lettuce
  • Quarter teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • One tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • One teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • One teaspoon lemon juice
  • Toasted black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

To make the crepes mix all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. The batter should be thin and smooth. 

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Spray a medium, non-stick frying pan with oil. Heat over medium heat. Pour approximately 2.5 tablespoons of batter into pan. Swirl to cover base. Cook for two to three minutes or until light golden. Turn over and cook for one minute. Transfer to a plate. Cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.

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To make the sauce, melt butter in a pan. Add garlic and cook until aromatic. Now add the leeks and cook until soft.

Increase the heat to high and add the white wine. Cook until the sauce has reduced and the wine smell has evaporated.

Now add chopped parsley, cream and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt as required and let the sauce simmer on a low heat for another three to four minutes.

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To make the toppings, cook the bacon until crispy and cut it in cubes. For the vegetarian topping if using an oven pre heat the oven to 150 degrees celsius.  Combine the onion slices, rosemary and olive oil and bake until the onion slices are golden brown. If cooking on a gas stove top, heat olive oil in a pan. Add the onions and rosemary, cook on a medium heat until onions are golden and caramelised.

To make the salad, wash the lettuce bunch thoroughly, break the leaves and assemble on a plate. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing. Taste the dressing and increase the quantity of either ingredient depending on your taste. Pour the dressing on the lettuce and garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

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To assemble the Crepes, place crepes on a warming serving plate. Add one to two tablespoons of the leek sauce in the middle and roll the crepe by folding both sides towards the centre and turn it over. Repeat the same for the remaining crepes. Drizzle remaining sauce on top of the crepes, garnish with the desired topping and serve alongside the chilled and crisp baby cos salad.

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