Chorizo shakshuka eggs – the perfect brunch!

During the week, I have getting up and getting out down to a science. I want to maximise the time I get to spend in bed, so my morning routine is as quick as possible! However, I can’t function without breakfast. I get shaky and hangry if I don’t eat in the morning, which means I need a breakfast that is quick yet filling. Every morning, just before I leave the house I make a smoothie from frozen bananas, oats and milk (with a little cocoa in for good measure!) and drink it when I get to work. It’s time efficient and keeps me going until lunchtime. I use my amazing Kenwood 3-in-1 blender to make them, which even copes with frozen bananas. Awesome!

On the weekends though, I like something a bit different. A friend introduced me to shakshuka eggs at a brunch date a while ago, and this is my twist on the recipe. It isn’t traditional, but it is a super tasty one-pan dish made with inexpensive ingredients. It makes a delicious brunch and is easy if you have guests as you can just leave it to simmer.

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Ingredients (serves 3)
– one onion, finely chopped
– two carrots, peeled and diced
– 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
– 100g chorizo, diced
– roughly 6 button mushrooms, washed and sliced
– 1 teaspoon each paprika, ras-el-hanout and cumin seeds
– 400g tin of whole peeled tomotoes
– 1 tablespoon tomato puree
– 1 tablespoon brown sugar
– 6 eggs
– salt and black pepper

– bread to serve

Method
1. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan and heat the onion and carrot for 2 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, then the chorizo, then the mushrooms. Stir each one in separately and cook over a medium heat until the vegetables are beginning to soften and the oil from the chorizo is coating everything nicely.

3. Add the spices and mix in. Enjoy the smell!
4. Pour in the whole tin of tomatoes and break them up with your wooden spoon (or I usually use a silicone spatula). Stir in the brown sugar and tomato puree.
5. Leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want to the sauce to reduce, but if it gets too thick, add a little water to loosen it.
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6. Taste the sauce and season well.
7. Make a little hole in the sauce and crack an egg in. Repeat with the other eggs, spreading them evenly across the pan.
8. Either keep the pan on the hob or put it under a grill for roughly ten minutes until the egg whites are set. I like the yolks to still be runny – just cook to your preference.
9. Serve with plenty of bread to mop up the delicious sauce. You can garnish with coriander or parsley if you have some available.
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Cheesy mushroom and quails’ egg breakfast cups – Vegetarian

Cheesy mushroom and quails’ egg breakfast cups

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These breakfast cups are really easy to make and so tasty! They’re great for a vegetarian brunch or breakfast… you could also try them with a bit of bacon mixed in with the mushrooms if you’re not veggie!

You don’t need any special equipment, just a standard muffin tin.

Serve warm with a dab of spicy ketchup – you can either buy chilli ketchup or mix regular with a small amount of Sriracha.

Ingredients (made 6)
– 2 flour tortillas
– 1 cup mushrooms
– half a cup of grated cheddar cheese
– 6 quails’ eggs
– freshly ground black pepper
– chilli ketchup to serve (optional)

Method
File_000 (1)1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Lightly grease six holes in a muffin tin. Use a glass to cut six circles out of the tortillas – the glass works like a cookie cutter. Push each circle into a hole in the muffin tin.

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3. Roughly chop the mushrooms. Saute in a little oil (or I used roasted garlic butter) for 3 or 4 minutes until they are starting to colour. Divide the mushrooms between the six tortillas circles.

File_0024. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the mushrooms.

File_0035. Crack a quail’s egg on top of the grated cheese. (It helps if you push the centre of the cheese down to make a dip first, so they egg stays in the middle. Guess which one I didn’t do this with!)
Top with black pepper.

File_0046. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the white is set but the yolk is still runny. Keep an eye on them, as the yolk goes from runny to set very quickly! Serve with the spicy ketchup and enjoy.


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Wholewheat vanilla pancakes with home-made strawberry syrup

Wholewheat pancakes (9)Wholewheat vanilla pancakes with home-made strawberry syrup

These pancakes are a bit of a conundrum, because they’re made with wholewheat flour but actually tasted lighter than regular pancakes. I only went for wholewheat flour because we had run out of regular and I thought I’d have a bit of an experiment, but I’m really pleased with how they turned out. I started off following Delia Smith’s basic pancake recipe and then adapted as I went along.

The strawberry syrup is really easy to make. I just made enough for two of us, but you could make more and store in the fridge for a week in a sealed container. The longer you cook it, the softer the fruit becomes.

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I’ve recommended a mix of butter and olive oil for lubricating the pan. I find butter on its own tends to burn, and olive oil on its own just isn’t rich enough! You can use just olive oil or cooking spray if you want to be healthier.

Ingredients (made 6 large pancakes)
– 110g wholewheat flour
– 2 eggs
– 200ml semi skimmed milk
– 75 ml water
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 50g butter plus olive oil to prevent sticking

– 12 strawberries, sliced into 3-4 pieces
– quarter cup of sugar
– quarter cup of water
– tablespoon lemon juice

Wholewheat pancakes (7)Method
1. Put the sliced strawberries in a saucepan with the sugar, water and lemon juice. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and leave to simmer uncovered while you make the pancakes. Stir occasionally.
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2. Sift the flour into a large bowl. (If I’m perfectly honest, I didn’t sift my flour. The world did not end. My pancakes were still good. It’s up to you.)
3. Add the eggs to the bowl and whisk in well. Don’t worry if there are lumps at this stage.
4. Add the vanilla essence, then whisk in the water and flour a little at a time until you have a smooth batter. Make sure you get all of the bits of flour from the sides.
5. Melt the butter in a medium-sized frying pan – mine is by Monix. Once it has melted, tip it into a spare cup so that you can use it for the next pancake. Make sure your pan is HOT or you will suffer from rubbish-first-pancake syndrome.
Wholewheat pancakes (4)6. Spoon a ladleful of the batter into the HOT frying pan. Tip it around the pan to get an even coating. Keep a close eye on it. Test with a rubber spatula – once it is golden brown on the underside, flip it over.
7. Cook the other side to a golden brown. Toss if you are brave!
8. Slide the cooked pancake onto a plate and keep warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the rest of the batter. I had two frying pans going at once, because I like to live life on the edge….Wholewheat pancakes (5)
9. Test the strawberry syrup and adjust the sugar to your preference. (Be careful, as it will be very hot!)
10. Serve the pancakes with the strawberry sauce spooned over the top.

Wholewheat pancakes (9)

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