Thursday, 28 March 2013

Recipe - Beef and Aubergine Shakshuka

On Thursday, I really felt like I needed to realign my chakras. I was walking home after having tutored a girl who loves to chat and asks me if I'm sure whenever I tell her she's got something wrong. I was exhausted and tired and felt like I needed to bed down for a really long time. Nothing bad had happened and I'd had a week of doing nothing much at all. But on my walk home from the tube station I was just hit with a horrible feeling of wanting to give up and sleep forever. To rectify this, I planned a day full of calming, non-essential activity. This started with a needlessly expensive but delicious brunch followed with some stacking up of some 'cultural currency' and then succeeded by more unnecessarily expensive salted caramel ice cream. These leisurely activities had nothing on what came after them all. MARKET TIME. I love the markets near where I live even more than I love Whitechapel Sainsbury's. I rave about them and every time I remember how good they are, I feel a rare rush of affection for my little-brother-cum-housemate and feel inclined to do something nice. (On this occasion, I bought him a couple of bagels. He's undernourished.) It feels so wholesome making a list (an Ottolenghi list) and then trotting down the road to grope some supercheap fruit. I bought some great quality aubergines, juicy ripe tomatoes and the cheapest avocados I've ever seen. Mango too but that made me a little sad because one was all mucky and rotten. Still, 50p!

Beef and aubergine shakshuka
8 small aubergines, pierced in several places

Place the aubergines under a hot grill for an hour, turning occasionally.
Once removed from the oven and cooled, cut open the aubergines and scoop out the flesh.

1 large onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 red chillies, finely chopped
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground paprika
300g minced beef
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp tomato purée
4 eggs
Salt and pepper
1 handful parsley

Fry the onion, garlic, chilli and ground spices on a medium–high heat until it begins to colour.
Add the minced beef, salt and some black pepper and brown well on high heat.
Mix in the tomatoes, tomato puree and aubergine flesh and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add a cup of water.
Make 4 small wells in the mix and break an egg into each.
Cook the eggs on low heat for about 10 minutes, until the egg whites are cooked but the yolks are still runny.
Sprinkle over parsley.

Avocado salad
4 large tomatoes, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 avocados, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
Handful chopped fresh parsley
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

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