Seasonal local food recipe No.393 – Shakshuka

We’ve so many really ripe tomatoes in our veg boxes at the moment as well as peppers and aubergines. So why not use them to make this classic Middle Eastern breakfast dish? It’s ideal for weekend brunch or a simple evening meal.

This version comes from food writer Felicity Cloake, who recommends it for being “spicy, hearty and cheap”. She adds: “Feel free to swap the peppers for one medium aubergine, or two courgettes, or four medium boiled potatoes as desired.”

Serves: 4

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes

4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp cumin seeds
½-1 tsp cayenne pepper
800g tinned tomatoes (or ripe tomatoes in season)
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
4-8 eggs, depending on hunger
Small bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large lidded frying pan over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook until golden, then add the peppers. Fry until both are soft, then stir in the garlic and spices and cook for another couple of minutes.

Pour in the tomatoes and roughly mash. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and season, adding more cayenne if you prefer it spicier.

Make 4-8 divots in the sauce and break in the eggs. Season them lightly, turn the heat right down as low as possible, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until they’re just set. Sprinkle with coriander and serve.

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Seasonal local food recipe No.280 – Jamie’s Couscous with grilled summer vegetables and loadsa herbs


This is from Jamie Oliver’s second book, the Return of the Naked Chef.

Serves 4

Preparation and cooking time: 30-40 minutes

255 g couscous
285 ml cold water
3 red peppers
1 handful asparagus, trimmed and peeled if need be
2 or 3 small firm courgettes, sliced
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
2-4 fresh chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
3 good handfuls mixed fresh herbs (basil, coriander, mint, flat leaf parsley)
4 Tbs lemon juice
10 Tbs olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
red wine vinegar

Place the couscous in a bowl with the cold water.  This will start to soften the couscous and you will see the water disappear as it soaks in.  While the couscous is softening, blacken the peppers.  Either place the peppers directly on to the naked flame of a gas hob or blacken under the grill.  Both ways you need to blacken the peppers on all sides, so turn when need be.  When fully blackened cover in a bowl for 5 minutes until cool.  This will steam the skins and make peeling and deseeding easier.  Remove the skins and seeds and roughly chop.  On a very hot ridged grill pan, lightly char the asparagus and courgettes on both sides then toss them into the bowl with the couscous with the peppers, spring onions, chillies and ripped up herbs.  Mix well.  Make a dressing with the olive oil and lemon juice, add and toss well.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and a couple of dribbles of red wine vinegar for a slight twang.

Seasonal local food recipe No.241 – Moroccan aubergine, chickpea and red pepper salad

My husband made this delicious salad for tea yesterday.  Instead of red pepper we used the green peppers out of our veg box.

Serves: 2-4

Cooking and preparation time: 30 minutes

2 small or 1 large aubergine, sliced into 1cm (½in) rounds
2 tbsps olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 red pepper, cut into quarters
1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsps parsley, chopped
2 tbsps mint, finely chopped, plus 2 tbsps of small leaves for garnish
For the dressing:
1 tsp honey
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
4 tbsps olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Brush the aubergine slices with olive oil, season lightly then cook them on a very-hot ridged grill pan until nicely coloured on each side with char-grilled lines.  Do the same with the red pepper. Once these are cooked, allow them to cool. Whisk together the honey, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, olive oil, lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.  In a large bowl, combine the dressing with the chickpeas, chopped red onions, parsley and mint, then toss together to dress the salad.  Top the salad with the aubergine and pepper slices, garnish with a few mint leaves and serve.

Seasonal local food recipe No.224 – Patatas a lo pobre (poor man’s potatoes)

Easy, quick, tasty and cheap! A tapas idea this time, from Tapas Revolution by Omar Allibhoy (via Guardian Life & Style). I don’t keep sherry vinegar, so used balsamic instead.

Serves: 4
Preparation/cooking time: 30 minutes

1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm slices
1 large green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
200ml olive oil
salt and black pepper

Mix the onion, potatoes and pepper, season with the salt, pepper and vinegar.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the vegetable mixture. Cook for about 20 minutes, turning over occasionally. The vegetables should be soft, but not too crispy.

Seasonal local food recipe No.197 – Masala omelette

Enjoy this delicious, spicy Indian omelette at the start or the end of the day. This version (there are many) comes from the Edible Garden. Kerala-born food blogger Nags (Nagalakshmi V ) says: “Needless to say, the omelette has many forms in India and every household makes it differently. Even I have a few variations… depending on what I have in the pantry and vegetable tray.”

As I didn’t have any sweet pepper to hand, I used some freshly-cooked French beans along with the tomatoes and coriander in Camel CSA’ s veg boxes this week.

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

4 eggs
3 tbsp of shallots or minced onions
3 tbsp of finely chopped tomatoes
3 tbsp of finely chopped capsicum (bell pepper)
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped (see notes)
3 tbsp of finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
1/2 tsp of freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp of curry powder or garam masala
1/2 tsp of salt (adjust to taste)
2 tsp of oil

Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add all other ingredients (except oil) and beat again.

Heat the oil in a small pan and swirl around so it coats it completely. Pour half the egg mixture in the pan and cook until the edges curl over and the centre bubbles up. Gently flip the omelette over and cook for another minute (the centre may be jiggly but the edges would have cooked). The omelette will rise a bit and then fall, making it fluffy and soft.

Add more pepper powder on top if you prefer. Serve hot with toast / ketchup or eat on its own.

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