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Lock Down Shakshuka

The preferred breakfast in our house.

We put Shakshuka ('Shock-shoe-kah') on the menu in the cafe on Day 1. It is a simple, delicious combination of tomatoes, peppers and spices which is then topped with poached eggs. Shakshuka comes in many guises, shapes and sizes. The dish is likely of Tunisian or Yemini origin, and the name is thought to originate from either Arabic or Amazigh (Berber) for "mixture." Hugely popular in the Middle East, North Africa and now on menus in hip cafes across the world from London to New York to Sydney. Ottolenghi loves it and so do my daughters so It was a no-brainer as a breakfast/brunch option and we felt Petersfield was ready for it.

So this is our home version which varies according to our larder and it is now being made here in vast quantities as a wholesome, healthy start to the day. Feel free to add whichever herbs you have available - we happen to have a lot of fresh oregano in the garden. Thyme, coriander, parsley would all be good. I always sweeten my tinned tomatoes to balance the flavour but again, sugar is optional! We also like the slight bitterness of a green pepper but swap for a colour of your choice. Can be topped with feta or perhaps chorizo and mopped up with hunks of your favorite bread.

Serves 4


Olive Oil

2 Large Onions - thinly sliced

1 Red Pepper - seeded & medium sliced

1 Green Pepper - seeded & medium sliced

2 Cloves Garlic - thinly sliced

2 tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika

2 tsp Ground Cumin

2 Bay Leaves

Smattering of Chilli Flakes - to taste

2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes

Fresh Herbs - we are using Oregano

2 tsp Brown Sugar

Salt & Pepper

200ml Water

4-8 Eggs - how many do you want?


Take a large frying pan and fry onions and peppers in olive oil over a medium heat until slightly charred and softened. Add garlic, paprika, cumin, chilli flakes and give it a quick stir before adding tinned tomatoes, bay leaves, herbs, sugar, seasoning and water.

Simmer for at least 20 minutes until tomatoes broken down and it gets that oily sheen and has thickened to a sauce consistency - you know what I mean... Season again if you need to.

When ready, briefly increase the temperature so bubbling enthusiastically, then reduce and make as many indentations in the sauce as you want eggs. Break in your eggs, cover and keep temperature low until eggs are set the way you want them. Either put whole pan on the table and dig in or serve into warm bowls making sure eggs stay intact. Eat immediately.

NOW - if you want just one serving, transfer quarter of the mixture to a small frying pan and cook eggs in the same way and eat from the pan. Cool the rest of the mixture and refrigerate.

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