I’m back from another wonderful craft camp at Sewjourn. Time to sew and chat, and share meals with a most fabulous bunch of ladies. This time was difficult for me – I seem to be in the middle of a wardrobe crises – probably brought on by a combination of prolonged jetlag, change of seasons and return from a conservative country. I forgot all my long learned lessons about what works for my body shape and tried all sorts of things that were never going to work. Frustrating. All my own fault. I still made some good things, including a Cabarita Tee which I love, and some Noodlehead pouches – one of those beautifully and thoughtfully designed constructions that take a bit to wrap your mind around and then you are never the same again. Brilliant. I still don’t know how it works….
As a result of sewing malaise & frustrations the food was my highlight. Everyone cooks (or shares the cooking) of a meal – which gives you the time to thoughtfully plan and prepare a meal for nine friends that will sustain the heart & soul. It is such a pleasure to sit down, take a break and chat without the noise of sewing machines. We had some truly spectacular meals, and it’s one of the major joys of craft camp for me. Suzie suggested we share some recipes, so here’s what I cooked for Sunday Brunch:
Shakshuka (Serves 2-4) as brunch, though in feeding nine I multiplied by 5 and made enough for 10 (or 20).
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
2 tsp cumin, ground
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric, ground
2 x 400g tins of tomatoes (diced)
4 tbsp tomato paste
4 tsp honey
2 bay leaves
4-6 free range eggs (allow 2 per person)
Additional salt to taste
Sauce (prepare the night before to allow the flavours to deepen)
- Saute the onions in a large, deep saucepan with the olive oil over low-medium heat until translucent.
- Add minced garlic and ground spices and saute for another minute or so until they become aromatic.
- Add the tomato paste and fry until it thickens and colours slightly.
- Stir in tinned tomatoes, honey and bay leaves.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high until sauce starts to boil and then lower to a simmer.
- Finish with additional seasoning to taste if required then turn off the heat and allow to cool.
- Warm up the sauce and put it into a wide, shallow skillet or frying pan (I had a huge quantity, and used two large deep roasting pans instead).
- With the back of a large tablespoon, make an indentation for each egg into the sauce, allowing for enough room so the eggs won’t spill over into each other.
- Turn the heat on to medium-high and bring the sauce to the boil (we used roasting pans instead)
- As soon as the sauce reaches a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer, cover the frying pan with a lid (or cling wrap/foil if you don’t have one) to retain heat and help cook the eggs more evenly.
- Cook for around 5-10 mins, depending on whether you prefer your yolks runny or hard. Make sure to keep an eye on the eggs and check in on them every minute or so to see if they’re done so they don’t overcook. Our eggs went into a highly unpredictable oven – what should have taken 15 minutes took 25 to start cooking, then 5 minutes to cook, resulting in hard cooked eggs which should have been runny in the middle. Dang.
Serve an egg (or 2) in a generous amount of sauce with a couple of slices of toasted sour dough bread. If cooking in a small container add some goats cheese or fetta & some cooked chorizo). Finish with a drizzle of some good extra virgin olive oil.