Shakshuka Foccacia

Now look: I realise it’s only the 10th January but I still think this shakshuka foccacia is going to be one of the best brunch items I make this year. 

With the pillowy dough, spicy sauce and perfectly runny eggs, how can it not be? Shakshuka has to be one of the most instagrammed brunch items after avocado on toast – I’ve made plain and spanish style versions before – but combining your bread and eggs into one is a real stroke of genius that is new to me.

I found this recipe in a round up for some of Food 52’s favourite recipes from 2016, but rather than the original 8 person serving, I’ve scaled this down so it’s the perfect breakfast for two. Get your dough and tomato sauce made the night before, and then it’s just a matter of assembling in the morning for your breakfast-in-bread.

One of my resolutions for this year is too cook a new recipe a week, but given this was my week 1 starting point, I reckon the rest of this year is going to have a pretty tough act to follow.

Shakshuka Foccacia

Shakshuka Foccacia

Ingredients

  • 200g strong plain flour
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 5g salt
  • 60ml olive oil
  • 150ml water
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  • The night before you want to eat this, begin by making the foccacia. Mix together the flour, salt and yeast before gradually adding the oil and water until you form a sticky dough. Knead it a couple of times on an oiled worksurface and then it into an oiled bowl in the fridge to rise over night.
  • You can also make the tomato sauce ahead of time - gently fry together the onion, chilli and garlic before adding the tinned tomatoes, honey and spices. Simmer for 40 minutes until the colour has darkened and the sauce thickened.
  • The next morning, tip the dough into a small baking tin with high edges. Let it sit for an hour until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 200C, and and make two deep wells in the bread, where you will later add the tomatoes and eggs. Create more space than seem necessary to avoid the egg overflowing down the sides of the bread.
  • Bake the bread for 15 minutes, before pulling out of the oven and spooning in the tomato sauce. Break one egg at a time into a jug and then pour into the centre of each well. Bake for another 7 minutes until the whites are set.
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    Harissa Steak and Red Pepper Salad

    Steak salad with roasted red pepper dressing

    New year, new start, eh? Not quite with this steak and red pepper salad. We had this for lunch in the between Christmas and New Year lull when I realised we hadn’t had anything resembling a fruit or a vegetable for well over 24 hours, and it was probably time to try and get some goodness in our bodies.

    Having accidentally ventured into the Hawksmoor Spitalfields for lunch a few days before, this was a good alternative to the slightly sadder steak we had waiting at home for us in the fridge, since I think most at home steak sides will struggle to top their anchovy hollandaise and triple cooked chips. This easily stretches a 250g rump steak so it comfortably feeds two, although as with most salads, a few extra croutons tossed through wouldn’t go amiss either.

    The dressing is a nice element too in the salad – you use natural yoghurt (much like the lightened up chicken caesar of summers past) for extra creaminess and a little acidity to offset the sweetness of all those peppers. Not necessarily the healthiest start to the new year, but not the worst you could give yourself either.

    Harissa Steak and Red Pepper Salad

    Harissa Steak and Red Pepper Salad

    Ingredients

    • 2 red peppers, sliced thinly
    • 250g rump steak
    • 1 tsp harissa
    • Handul salad leaves
    • 100g natural yoghurt
    • Juice half a lemon

    Instructions

  • Heat the oven to at least 220C, and roast the red peppers in plenty of oil and garlic for 20 minutes until they are soft and starting to blacken around the edges. Put a handful of these in a blender with the natural yoghurt and lemon juice and blitz together to form the dressing.
  • For the steak, rub the harissa paste over both sides and season with salt and pepper, before cooking on a very hot pan until it's done until your liking. Let it rest for five minutes before slicing thickly. You can then assemble the salads with the leaves at the bottom, steak and red pepper slices tossed through, and the dressing drizzled over the top.
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    2016 in review | Best eats, coffees and travels

    London pub wedding - picture by Jo Crawford

    I know 2016 hasn’t been great on a global scale, but for me it couldn’t be have had a happier end to the year thanks to our wedding. I felt like most of our year was spent thinking about that day one way or another, but looking back on it, there was a lot of eating, drinking and general other merriment that we managed to fit in along the way as well.

    Best Eats

    Brunch at Eat 17 Walthamstow

    We cut back the eating out a lot this year due to wedding saving, but some of the highlights were brunching at Eat 17, multiple trips to Hawksmoor (might be developing a bit of an addiction to their anchovy hollandaise), and an incredibly special meal at Ottolenghi Islington the night before our wedding with my parents and brother. There were multiple burgers with my burger babes Mike, Sophie and Flick, and we finished the year with an outstanding meat feast with twenty of our friends at Craft and Cleaver in St Albans.

    Best Bakes

    Cardamom Chocolate Mousse Cake

    Blogging got off to a great start earlier this year when my chocolate doughnuts made it onto BuzzFeed, but my most favourite bakes this year have actually been these Viennese Whirls and my chocolate cardamom mousse cake. On the savoury side, my comte cheese scones were great for snacking on over Christmas, and I still love these parma ham wrapped broccoli stems. Plus who could forget the incredible brownie tower Flick and Sophie made for the wedding?

    Wedding Brownie Tower

    Best Coffees

    Hand Cafe in Stratford's East Village

     

    Working five minutes from Soho Grind has been great for improving the standard of my weekday coffees, but less good for my bank balance. I’ve continued drinking the good stuff at the weekend, both locally at newly opened Hand Cafe in Stratford’s East Village, further into Central London at places like Kaffeine, plus discovered favourites from the Parisian coffee scene such as Telescope and Ten Belles on our trip there in September.

    Best Travels

    The Douro river as it flows through the centre of Porto

    Champagne at the Pig in Brockenhurst

    Lisbon and Porto were both great (if hot) to explore in July  – Porto really does deserve it’s reputation as Portugal’s foodie capital . We snuck off to Paris in September for a few nights of wining and dining, but the highlight of the year was our stay at the Pig in Brockenhurst. Ponies, outstanding food and the most comfortable rooms – what more could you want on a mini moon? We also fitted a visit to Norfolk and a stay at the George in Stamford earlier in the year with my family.

    An autumnal golden hour at the Pig in Brockenhurst

    I’m so excited for everything 2017 will bring – we have our full honeymoon to Seattle, Portand and Vancouver coming up in May (all tips welcome!), plus I might actually get some blog posts out now the wedding is over and done with.

    All photos my own, except the wedding ones from Jo Crawford