I have waited years to make this dish. It was first made for me by my friend Mike and I was blown away. Mike always makes fabulous food, but this was really special.
So why did I have to wait so long? Well, I had to wait until I managed to grow some peppers and they turned red. In effect this meant I had to wait for the polytunnel as they never ripped shoved into the corners of my over-stuffed greenhouses – tomatoes and tomatillos have a way of monopolising the space.
This year, finally, I have a few peppers that have ripened – enough for some ratatouille and shakshuka.
I used a recipe by Ottolenghi Plenty, but used fresh chillis instead of cayenne pepper. And I used duck eggs instead of hen eggs, because … why not?
Shakshuka: 1 onions, 2 peppers, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 2 tsp muscovado sugar, 2 bay leaves, small bunch of thyme – leaves picked off, 4-6 ripe tomatoes, 1/2 tsp saffron, chilli – chopped, 4 eggs, seasoning.
In a large pan dry roast the cumin seeds over a high heat. Add the oil and the sliced onion and fry for 5 minutes. Then add the sliced peppers, chilli, sugar and herbs and cook for 5-10 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, saffron and seasoning. reduce the heat and cook for another 15 minutes. You might need to add water to keep the consistency loose. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Remove the bay leaves, then crack four eggs into the pan. Cover and cook on a very low heat until just set.
Serve with bread.
N.B. reason number 47 why I love my polytunnel.
N.B. You could have this without eggs and it would be vegan and amazing.