Serving this shakshoukah was my Sunday saving grace. Without this deliciously spicy baked egg number to provide me with the satisfaction of next level stay-at-home brunching, I’m afraid the latter half of my weekend would have been vastly less fulfilling (my attempts at napping twice were pathetic at best and I cleared my Gmail inbox out of over 4,000 messages dating back to 2005). I know something must taste good when I instantly want to share it with other people – so here you are, hastily snapped iPhone photo and all. I was far too busy demolishing my plate with a voracious appetite to grab my camera and haphazardly attempt to style the dish during the glorious eating process.
I’ve never made shakshoukah before – I think something about having to do two things and open a tin of tomatoes put me off, and now I’m seriously wondering why. With a handy pair hands nearby to cut the onions so I didn’t have to do any of the crying (seriously, it’s profuse and unfortunately not at all cathartic), it was nearly as easy as simply frying up my usual bacon and eggs. Perhaps what’s put me off further is that I’ve also never had a particularly amazing rendition of what I feel is its true potential when I have ordered it out at a restaurant – the tomato never quite reduced enough, the chorizo more sausage than Spanish vehicle for salty spiciness. I went all out in preparation for this, purchasing my very own “chorizo hot piece” imported from Spain for the experience.
Egg bakes are one of the easiest, most nutritious ways to make four portions of main meals. The additions of smoked salmon with the salty, citrus bite of the preserved lemon makes these eggs taste next level – to the point where I have brought this along for night shift and quite happily consumed it on four consecutive occasions.
I’m a huge advocate for lazy, one bowl situations for meal preparation, and this dish here is no exception. I’m obviously not coming up with anything new – a frittata is a frittata, after all, but I can’t overemphasise how great a combination the fish and preserved citrus are together. I’ve had the two things lying about in the fridge for a while (another bonus) – both bought on special and keep forever – and so ultimately very little effort was taken here. Previously when I’ve been throwing together egg bakes I’ve used cheese to cut through the obvious “egginess” of the eggs, but with the lemons finely chopped throughout, there’s really no need. I’m not just catering to dietary restrictions here (dairy free, paleo, primal, low carb, pescatarian) – this is simply delicious in general.
This is not a paella by any stretch of the Spanish imagination, as it is clearly missing its integral rice component. To call it by any other name, however, and I couldn’t convey how it tastes nearly as good.
(Let it be noted, however, that it is in fact primal/paleo/keto friendly/low carb/gluten free/dairy free, but don’t let that put you off)
Evidently, it’s not all treats around here. I’ve subbed out rice for cauliflower – one of my favourite, fart-stench-creating-to-prepare low carb substitutes. I absolutely love the taste of rice – to the point where I have previously claimed it to be one of my favourite carbohydrates, but thankfully with the caramelised prawns and spicy chorizo to contend with, I don’t miss it here. It even reheats beautifully – however there was certainly none left when I served this to my parents while I was home for the weekend.
At the end of 2012, I went from deliberating over which protein powder to buy for weeks because I had no idea what the difference was between whey and casein, and moreover, the obviously huge effect 23g protein/serve vs. 24g, to happily eating up to three serves of the stuff on a daily basis. I would eat protein powder in shake, sludge and pancake form, multiple times a day. To be completely honest, the pancakes that I made back then were dry and borderline inedible, and not like pancakes at all.
These are a little different (read: fluffy and akin to a pancake), thanks to a few tweaks. Separating the eggs and beating the whites at room temperature is utterly essential, along with the addition of a high fat, slightly sour dairy product to make the batter lighter and fluffier. The xanthan gum is a kind of celiac rite of passage to purchase when you get diagnosed – it acts as a binder when using gluten free flours, but is also great for thickening any kind of batter or smoothie. There are so many low carb pancake recipes, perhaps most notably the crepe-type involving cream cheese and eggs. My favourite McDonald’s breakfast was always the hotcakes with whipped butter as a child, and these are it, in low carb, full fat form.
I really have no excuse as to why I have never properly attempted to make my own mayonnaise before beyond the convenience of reaching for the Best Foods. I’ve read many a recipe, bookmarked a few, bothered never. Until now. My saying that it’s entirely worth the effort (this isn’t hard: very little is required) isn’t enough: just do it, taste it for yourself and see. Further adding to its merits? It’s low carb and absolutely zero sugar. Marvellous.