Monday, 19 May 2014

I Cooked Something Without Cheese!

It seems likely that nearly everything I like to cook and eat has a good dose of cheese in it.  I can't deny it, I love cheese.  I also tend to love things with a tomato sauce, whether it is full of vegetables, slightly curried or delightfully cheesey.  If I am cooking, you can bet there is likely to be tomato, onion, mushroom, garlic and spinach in the dish.  All things my ex husband greatly disliked.  I kept cooking these things trying to get rid of him but he just wouldn't leave so finally I had to.  No, I'm kidding, honestly!  Really. 

One day while wandering around on the internet looking at recipes I came across something called Shakshuka or Shakshouka.   I don't remember where I originally found it but there are recipes all over the net, if one only googles it. Here is an explanation of it  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakshouka 


Believed to be Tunisian in origin, it is basically eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce so although I probably pinned it to my long neglected pinterest board,  I just kept the basic idea of it in my head.  Some recipes include feta cheese with it and some don't.  I am quite fond of feta but also very happily eat this dish without it.

A recipe isn't really required.  I used a bit of marinara sauce and add my favourite veggies, those mentioned above and sometimes some roasted eggplant and/or some sweet peppers if I have them.  In this case I forgot both the peppers and the feta though I did have them on hand.  Sometimes I just use come canned tomatoes mashed up a bit.  I add salt, pepper, and a bit of spicey pepper such as cayenne or chipotle according to my taste preference.
The main thing is to aim for a spicy tomato sauce with some chunky veggies in it.  I tried it out with some chopped olives and that was quite tasty.

There's enough sauce here to serve four people so I used only a quarter of this amount when I added the eggs and put the rest of the sauce in the fridge.



When the sauce is simmering in the pan, crack a few eggs into it and pop a lid over them to poach them on low heat.  I eat three eggs at a time for this meal.  I like to make a big batch of the spicy sauce to keep on hand so I can just heat some up and cook eggs in it any time. 

I'm not fancy.  I dump it all into a bowl and happily eat my eggy, tomatoey, veggie stew.  Fancy recipe sites make it look pretty garnished with parsley and feta.


This photo directly above comes from Smitten Kitchen where there is a recipe, information and apparently 300 comments worth of controversy and contention over which country this dish originated in and what ingredients should be in it.

I have no desire for such controversy so I will not call my dish Shakshouka and claim merely to be inspired by it.



I don't eat grains, but I'm sure this dish is very tasty with couscous or quinoa. It's probably also great with nice crusty pieces of bread and some wine.   I think it is totally appropriate as a meal any time of day though I usually have it for dinner.


Perhaps some time I will follow an original recipe a little more closely, because how much fun is it to say 'I had Shakshouka for dinner tonight!'


22 comments:

  1. I've never heard of Shakshouka! It sounds and looks very yummy! I often make eggs with tomatoes, onions and whatever else I might want that day (could be chicken or turkey breast, or sausages, or mushrooms...). One of my favorites for a hearty breakfast (or dinner, you are right, it's good any time). I will keep it in mind - good stuff! xxx

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    1. It seems like pretty much everything goes with eggs! I have thought that this dish would be nice if there were sausage in with it too.
      xoxo

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  2. Sounds yummy … but my chances of getting the boys to eat it are somewhere between none and nil. They're fussy eaters that prefer anything and everything covered in batter or breadcrumbs :0P
    xx

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    1. Oh my son would not eat that either and nor would my ex husband have eaten it. Who doesn't like things battered and crumbed? Years ago we learned from my sister in law who worked in the hospitality industry, that most restaurants actually had chicken strips and chips on hand even if it wasn't on the menu. It was about the only thing my son would ever eat in a restaurant and to this day he sometimes defaults to it. It doesn't matter if it's not on the menu.
      xo

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  3. I've eaten this in Israeli snack joints and love it! You're the third blogger to mention Smitten Kitchen since yesterday so I definitely need to check them out and make this for myself.
    Love that you kept cooking your ex stuff he hated. Jon used to hate food I loved, its taken me 21 years but he's finally got round to my way of eating. xxx

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  4. MMmmm, mouthwatering! The boyfriend loves cheese, he eats a whole chunk of it everyday. And I hate cheese, it's just blah :D

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  5. Oooh yes! I am going to give this a try, it looks like my type of food, like Jo I wouldn't have a hope of getting my kids to eat it but that's why the freezer was invented, more for me ha! I have been craving aubergine/eggplant (I think it's called eggplant) lately and seem to have gone off meat spectacularly (I'm not pregnant, nooooooo, definitely not pregnant!) x x x

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  6. I'm typing this comment in starvation mode. Reading your post made me want to lick my computer screen. Yum!

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  7. I think it's a gift to not truly have to follow a recipe. I love cooking and shoudl probably write down what I do in case I ever want to truly replicate it, but I never do! This sounds absolutely amazing...I never would have thought to poach eggs in a marinara, but now I have to try!

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    1. I wouldn't have either! But once you hear of the idea you kind of smack your forehead and wonder how you could have not thought of it.

      It's been said that cooking is an art and baking a science. With baking, the measurements do matter more because you are usually after a chemical reaction to get the right texture or to make the bread rise. Cooking is more about creating flavour and texture combinations and there is much freedom to experiment.

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  8. That looks HEAVENLY!! :)

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  9. Sounds and looks delicious - I am a sucker for tomato-y, cheesy dishes too! I've seen recipes for similar dishes but never tried to make it, so I think I should give it a go. xxx

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    1. I think you should too. It's easy and tasty. xoxo

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  10. It's pretty Mediteranean recipee. i would cook something similar any day of the week. It seems a great dish and I'm sure it tasted delicious. I'm not a creative cook but I can te one!

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    1. Yes, it is a very mediterranean type dish. I tend to make it a bit more so with my liking of olives and eggplant. The original dish is claimed by Tunisia, Israel and I think even Libya. It does indeed taste delicious and is one of my favourite things to eat.
      xo

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  11. That looks and sounds delicious! I've had pizza with an egg on top, and it was delicious, so this is probably similar but without the crust. Yummmm!

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    1. Yes it would be quite similar and quite tasty with the crust! I can't eat it that way but I am envious of those who can!
      xo

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  13. Ooohh, that looks so lip-lickingly, stick to your ribs fantastic - redolent in many ways of eggplant parmesan, but in a much more pared down, rustic one might say, sort of way.

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Yes, I am all for pared down and simple and dump it in a bowl kind of food! Thanks for dropping by, Jessica.

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  14. hi shawna! you are productive&creative like ever while i was prancing around venice :-)
    so now i will play catch up....
    your levantine dish look and sound very delicious - we both have the same taste in food - although i would add some bread/pasta/couscous. a can eat feta cheese with almost everything. have you tried with melon?
    xxxx

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    1. I envy you that prancing around Venice! I would add bread too if I could, but gluten free bread is not quite worth the weight I would gain after eating it. I love feta on many things. I haven't tried it with melon but I can imagine quite well how it would taste. It's similar to the idea of adding proscuitto to melon, it's a salty/sweet combination. I will have to try it soon!
      xoxo

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