Harissa Baked Eggs

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Some days, you just need to splash out a bit for lunch. A sarnie, soup or salad simply won’t cut it. In my humble opinion, there are few better option for lunch/brunch than baked eggs, or Shakshuka as its also know.

Ive spent years trying to recreate the baked eggs from the Angel branch of Ottolenghi, and these are pretty damn close! This recipe is from Sabrina Gheyour’s cookbook Persiana and I love the fact that as well as harissa in this recipe, which is a North African chilli paste, but also ground spices. You know its going to be good.

Make this for your mates or missus when youre a bit hungover, and serve it with massive handfuls of coriander, extra feta to crumble and big thick wedges of toast to dunk in.

Ive also spent a lot of time trying to perfect the runny yolk/cooked white concundrum. You sort of have to sacrifice one for the other. If you can handle your whites a little under for that perfect yolk, then crack on. But if ive had a few lagers the night before, seeing that see-through egg-to-plasm hanging off my fork can turn me green at the gills.

Just make ’em how you like ’em! Ive added a bit of pepper into my recipe as i like the sweetness it adds, and it just fits in perfect with all the other ingredients! Enjoy.

To feed four you’ll need:

  • 4tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 3 red onions, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cut into inch chunks
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp Harissa paste
  • 6 large tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 40g chopped coriander
  • 200g feta, crumbled
  • 8 medium eggs

Start by getting your oil into a frying pan and softening your onions and garlic. Add a pinch of salt to help them sweat until they become translucent. Add your spices and fry gently for 2 minutes before stirring in your harissa paste. Remember to have a little taste of this before adding it in, some are spicier than others! Add the tinned and fresh tomatoes, a splash of water, a pinch of salt and pepper, your cubed red pepper and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes.

While this is simmering get your oven onto 180ºC. Once your sauce is ready, stir through a handful of the coriander, I use mainly the stalks at this stage, leaving more of the leaves to scatter on at the end. Pour your sauce into a baking dish and dot some of the feta around, in and on top of the sauce.

Make 8 holes in the sauce and break your eggs into each indentation. Bake for 10-12 minutes until your eggs are cooked to your liking. Serve with coriander and feta to sprinkle, chilli sauce on the side and big wedges of toast to dunk in!

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Panzanella

  
Since I’ve become a baker I’ve (as you’d expect) been inundated with left over loaves. Aside from donating to my missus who is an absolute bread fiend and slicing and freezing them all for toast, I’ve been trying to use them up for my dinner. 

Like all bread based recipes, they link back to when times were tough. Soaking up juices and bulking out a meagre meal. Mine isn’t quite like that, but a great summery way to use up stale bread. And it must be stale. 

The recipe I used is from Jamie’s Italy. I really great starting point on most Italian recipes, when it come to Italian food Jimbo does know shit. 

Don’t bother making this with unripe tomatoes or poor quality bread. Your outcome will be shit. 

To feed 2 fat bastards or 4 normal people:

  • 200g good quality stale bread
  • 600g ripe tomatoes
  • 1 small handful of capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced 
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Big bunch Basil 
  • Tabasco

First off, get your peppers roasted. Either hold them over your gas hob with a pair of yonks until the skins blacken, or put them under the grill for the same result. Most importantly wrap them in a little foil parcel for 20 minutes so the skin peeles of like a dream. Delia once said that life’s too short to roast and peel a pepper. She’s wrong. 

I used my grill to blacken my peppers, and once I’d finished I tore my bread into inch pieces onto a roasting tray and popped it in the oven (once turned off) to dry while I made the salad. 

Finely chop your anchovies and put a bowl with the capers, and a few tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Lump up your tomatoes and put them In a colander/sieve above your anchovies. Give the tomatoes a generous pinch of salt and squash with your hands. Leave this for 10 minutes and it will put beautiful tomato juice into your dressing. 

Once you’ve peeled your peppers, cut into slithers the width of your little finger. A little smaller if you’ve got sausage fingers. Add these to the dressing with your onion, bread and tomatoes, a good glug of olive oil and toss together with your hands. 

You’re nearly there. Rip-in shit loads of basil and give it another toss. It’s really important to taste. Add salt, pepper, more oil and vinegar If necessary and if your feeling a bit spicy a few splashes of Tabasco. 

Serve in a big bowl in the sunshine. Something like this:

  

Gazpacho 

  So yesterday in London it was 37 degrees. THIRTY SEVEN. That was most definitely too hot for me and my pale, Irish/Scottish skin and temperament. I wasn’t made to cope with temperatures like that! 

So to cool down the only thing that would do was gazpacho. I’d been through chapel market in Angel the day before and spotted some beautiful on-the-vine English tomatoes sat in the sunshine. You know they’re gunna be good. 
Gazpacho is all about the tomatoes. If you haven’t got good tomatoes, don’t bother. There’s no point wandering down to your local supermarket and grabbing a pack of cold, under ripe tomatoes on the day either. Buy them early and leave them out, to ripen as the fruit they are! 

Get good tomatoes and this recipes a doddle. I’m also a baker so if you use cheap sliced white bread in this recipe I’ll excommunicate you. Gazpacho is most definitely the sum of its parts. If you buy shit ingredients you’re gazpacho will be, well, shit. All the ingredients are raw so if you don’t use quality throughout, your gazpacho will suffer.  Use the best you’ve got or can afford. 

This recipe will feed 6 people, 4 greedy bastards, or 2 very greedy bastards for 3 hot days. 

  • 150g good quality stale bread – I used a country style sourdough, crust and all. 
  • 1kg very ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 1 cucumber
  • 200ml extra Virgin olive oil
  • 3-4tbsp red wine vinegar/sherry vinegar
  • Basil

Tear your bread into pieces and soak in cold water for 20 minutes before starting. 

After your bread has soaked, squeeze out the excess moisture and place in your food processor or bowl. Lump up your tomatoes, peppers and cucumber and add it to the bread. You’re going to blend it so it doesn’t matter too much on the size and shape. Grate or crush your garlic. 

Blend

Add your oil in parts or stream in slowly as you’re blending to ensure it emulsifys thoroughly. 
Add some of the vinegar and a good pinch of salt. Taste and adjust. I won’t give you a measurement on salt, as its up to you to season how you like it. All I will say is: once it’s in, you can’t take it out! Season in small amounts and get someone else to try it for seasoning. 

That’s pretty much it. Piece of piss. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving, or if you can’t wait like me, throw in some ice cubes. 

Drizzle with some oil and lob on some torn basil. 

Seared salmon, avocado and pickled chilli and red onion wraps

  I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, but this is literally the perfect thing to eat for dinner in summer. It doesn’t get any better. It doesn’t. 
For 2 people you’ll need:

  1. 2 x 120g Salmon fillets
  2. 1 red onion
  3. 1 green or red chilli
  4. Juice and zest of a lime
  5. Juice and zest of an orange 
  6. Pinch paprika
  7. Pinch chilli powder
  8. 2 ripe avocados
  9. Coriander
  10. 4 wraps 

Take your salmon fillets out of the fridge and onto a plate. It’s really important you cook your fish from room temperature so it’s not cold in the middle! Finely grate the zest of the lime and the Orange onto the fish, sprinkle with chilli powder, paprika and salt. Give it a little drizzle of oil and rub all that marinade in. Cover and put to one side, not in the bloody fridge! 

Finely slice your red onion and chilli thinner the better. I cut my chilli at a jaunty angle, just because I’m a bit of a cheffy wanker. Squeeze over the juice of your orange and lime, and also really finely slice the stalk of your coriander. It’s a part of the plant that is often discarded, but arguably is fresher and juicier than the leaf. Give it a good pinch of salt and cover it and do put it in the fridge! The cold and crunch of this pickle will be a nice contrast to the smoky, hot salmon. 

After around half an hour, your ready to go. Put a frying pan on a medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Not too high or your marinade will likely burn before your skin is beautiful and crisp. Cook the salmon for 3 minutes on the skin side and 30 seconds to a minute on the other, depending on how you like your salmon. I like mine verging on sushimi! Like any piece of fish or meat, take your salmon out of the pan and onto a plate to rest. Just for a few minutes so it’s nice and juicy. 

Now it’s an assembly job. I like mayo as a base with a sprinkle of chilli powder. Slice, flake or tear up your salmon and get it on. Lump up your avo. Pickled veg. Big handful of torn coriander. 

Roll it up and get it in your gob. Jobs a good’un. 

Spaghetti with crispy breadcrumbs, chilli, garlic and anchovy

  This pasta dish is ridiculously easy, cheap and comforting. Crispy breadcrumbs or ‘pangrattato’ are a classic Italian peasant trick of adding flavour and texture to a dish with a few leftovers. Stale bread makes the best breadcrumbs! 
I’m starting work at a bakery in London Fields (trendy as fuck, I know) and I got my loaf from there. It was a fennel seed and raisin sourdough and it was fucking delicious. 

As there are few ingredients in this dish, the quality of your bread, anchovies, olive oil and pasta make all the difference in the final outcome. 

Just need to comb my ‘tache and I’ll be ready for work. 

For two greedy bastards you’ll need:

  1. 200g spaghetti 
  2. 100g breadcrumbs. Don’t use cheap shitty sliced white for fucks sake. 
  3. 1 large clove of garlic
  4. 1 tsp chilli flakes
  5. 3 large anchovy fillets
  6. 5-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  7. Zest of 1 lemon
  8. Big handful of parsley
  9. Parmesan

Start by getting your pasta on to boil. This is a proper Italian dish, so don’t cook it for more than 9 minutes. It should be Al dente. 

Thinly slice your garlic and get it into a frying pan with 2 tbsp olive oil, the chilli flakes and anchovy fillets. Have it on quite low so you melt then anchovies a touch and the garlic slizzles gently to a golden brown. 

I’n a separate pan put your remaining olive oil and heat it fairly gently before adding the breadcrumbs. Fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Take your time here. Go slowly and you’ll have a nice even colour. A bit like falling asleep in the sun all day. If you don’t turn over you’ll have a crispy front and a back whiter than snow. 

Toss everything together, adding a generous handful of parsley, Parmesan and grate the lemon zest. 

Bloody easy and bloody tasty. 

Spiced butterflied leg of lamb

  This one goes out to Andrew Bowler. The man who rips the piss out of me for writing these blogs, whilst at the same time encouraging me to write them!

My leg of lamb came on the bone. It’s fairly easy to take it off, simply follow the bone! There’s plenty of YouTube vids showing you exactly how, get stuck in! 

For the marinade:

  1. 1 bulb of garlic. Cloves crushed or grated
  2. One large piece of ginger, 3 inches by 3 inches 
  3. 1 tsp turmeric
  4. 1 tsp ground cumin
  5. 1 tsp ground coriander
  6. 1 tsp garam masala
  7. 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  8. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  9. 1 tbsp chilli powder
  10. 3 tbsp salt
  11. Zest and juice of a lime

Mix it up and smear it all over, I scored my piece of lamb to get the marinade right into the meat. Leave it to marinade over night, or as long as you can wait! To stop temptation me and my pals went down the pub.  

The cooking of this lamb all depends on the weight of your piece of meat. Weigh it once you’ve de-boned it and cook it at for 15 minutes for every 450g at 220°C and rest it for at least 15 minutes. It’ll be juicy, pink and fucking lovely. 

Do that and it’ll look like this: 

 So good I couldn’t stop my inebriated mates from helping themselves before I could get a picture! 

We ate it with a Cous Cous salad with left over roasted veg stirred through and a massive handful of coriander. 

It was bloody lovely. 

Tuna and Haricot Bean Salad 

Its around this time last year that I lived in France and the new seasons asparagus reminds me of huge bunches in Nice market. Me and my mate Nath used to make this salad in various ways about 3-4 times a week. We were skint so the main staples we had in our cupboard were balsamic vinegar, a massive jar of Dijon mustard, beans/pulses of various descriptions and tinned tuna. In France market shopping is much more common, you see and feel your ingredients more, choosing the one you want, that’s freshest and best. The supermarkets have take the joy out of shopping in that respect, when everything is wrapped in plastic and under ripe. Get yourself down to a market and let it it influence what you cook for dinner! 

For 2 for dinner / 4 (2 greedy bastards) for lunch:

  • 1 tin of tuna 
  • 1 tin of Haricot bland
  • 200g cherry tomatoes
  • Half a red onion 
  • 1 pack of fine asparagus
  • A few handfuls of rocket 
  •  1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • Balsamic vinegar 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Handful of parsley 

Set your oven to 180°C, whilst tossing your asparagus in oil, salt and pepper. Bang it in the oven for 15 minutes until charred. 

Make up a dressing with the oil, vinegar and mustard, drain your beans and get them soaking in the dressing while your asparagus roasts. They will soak up most of the dressing whilst also adding a little starch to the dressing and giving it some body. 

Finely slice your onion, half your tomatoes, wash your rocket, drain your tuna. At the last minute chuck it all together. Bobs your uncle, Fanny’s your aunt. 

Serve with cheap French red wine, crusty bread and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.