Tuesday 2 January 2018

Halloumi and Chickpea Shakshuka

First of all, happy new year to all you lovely peeps!!! Let's all welcome 2018 with open arms and see what great and wonderful things this year will bring us all. On the foodie front, I have some exciting things to look forward to in my life, such as starting my undergraduate year placement this July as a junior food product developer, woop woop! Not forgetting before that... I have the rest of my 2nd year of uni to complete which I'm sure will bring along its challenges but of course, that's expected and with a'lotta fun on the way too. 

One of the advantages to going to my uni is that we seem to have a rather lengthy and generous Christmas break unlike a lot of my other student'y friends elsewhere. I ain't complaining! This means I can indulge myself and this blog a bit more than I usually would when I'm busy with assignments and all that shebang. 

A time to come up with some recipes to share with you guys as we go forward into the new year, when everyone starts to consider resolutions such as the craze that seems to be happening this year - veganuary, i.e trying to be a vegan for a month and probably succeeding and continuing for the rest of the year (if your will power is strong enough not to give in to a bacon butty or some cheese). I don't think I'll be joining in on this craze, buuuttt, that's not to say I don't try to have at least a few meat free meals per week. 

Leading nicely into this shakshuka recipe, oh look, it just so happens to be vegetarian. It makes a really hearty breakfast/brunch/lunch well even anytime time of the day meal... and has the perfect dippy eggs scenario going on, what's not to like? 

For those of you thinking what the hell is shakshuka, let me enlighten you. It's a middle eastern dish, often served as breakfast fare in Israel, with chunks of challah bread to dip in. A tasty start to the day - eggs poached in a smoky, slightly spicy vegetable-laden tomato sauce. Some like to serve it sprinkled with feta cheese on top, but mine isn't so traditional in that I've added what I fancied, little golden cubes of halloumi, chickpeas to the tomato sauce and then some avocado as a side for added freshness. All of which I felt were valid additions, although feel free to swap and choose for whatever you have; different cheeses, beans, vegetables!

Halloumi and Chickpea Shakshuka

Serves 2 generous portions (3 normal sized)


125g (about 3/4 cup) halloumi , cut into small cubes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
3 tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
200g (1 cup) chickpeas, drained
1 tsp smoked paprika 
1 tsp ground cumin 
½ tsp mild chilli powder 
400g (2 cups) tinned chopped tomatoes 
a pinch of sugar 
4 eggs
salt and pepper

Optional side:
1 avocado, sliced


Heat a non stick frying pan with 1 tbsp olive oil. Fry the cubed halloumi until they gain a golden  exterior. Once cooked, put to one side to add to the shakshuka at the end. 

Next heat a large frying pan/skillet pan with lid. Cook the onion and garlic in 2 tbsp of olive oil until soft, then stir in the peppers, chickpeas and spices, continue to stir and cook for a further 3 minutes before adding in the tomatoes and sugar. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Make 4 dips in the mixture with the back of a spoon and crack an egg into each, sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over each egg. 

Put the lid on and cook gently until the whites are set and the yolks are cooked to how you like them. 
Take off the heat, sprinkle over the cooked halloumi cubes and serve with crusty bread to dip in. Best to serve straight away as it is not suitable for reheating. 

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