…an intimate gathering
2 ripe avocados
Juice of a lemon
6-8 spring onions, chopped (don’t throw away the green bits, just keep chopping)
A small handful each of flat leaf parsley and coriander
A pinch of Himalayan pink salt and cracked black pepper
Your choice of toasted bread
A handful pumpkin seeds
Mash the avocados with some of the lemon juice, chopped spring onion, chopped herbs and a little salt and pepper. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or seasoning. Spoon the avocado salsa onto hot toast and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds.
This is a Tunisian dish of eggs baked in a sauce of tomatoes, peppers, and onions, spiced with cumin and a little chilli. If you’re serving vegans as well just poach the eggs in water, rather than adding them to the main dish. Then serve two dishes of Shakshuka, one with eggs and one without!
Set the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6
3-4 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1 large red onion, finely sliced
2 large red peppers, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small chilli, finely chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes, or approximately 200g fresh tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Himalayan pink salt and pepper
4 large organic, free-range eggs
A small handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Heat up the coconut oil in a heavy based, deep cast iron skillet. Toast off the cumin and coriander seeds in the oil until fragrant and then add the smoked paprika followed by the onions and peppers. Fry the vegetables for a few minutes until they begin to soften and then add the garlic and chilli. Once the onion mix has softened, pour in the tomatoes and lemon, season and simmer until cooked. Now make four shallow wells in the surface of the sauce and crack in the eggs. Slide the skillet into the oven and bake until the eggs are cooked, approximately 30 minutes, sprinkle over parsley and serve. I usually serve this with toast or bread to mop up the runny, spicy egg but it works well on its own or with some wilted spinach.
Savoury French toast
This is a great recipe to use up a loaf and works well with gluten free bread, as the egg counteracts some of its inherent crumbliness.
Set the oven to 200°C
4 large slices of bread (or 6-8 small ones)
A little nondairy milk
1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
A little Himalayan pink salt and pepper
A little coconut oil for frying
200g fresh spinach leaves
A pinch of nutmeg
Approximately 100g grated cheese
Start by laying the slices of bread in a single layer in a shallow tin. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, herbs and a little salt and paper. Pour the egg mixture over the slices of bread and, once one side has soaked up some egg, flip over the slices until all the egg is absorbed. Heat a little coconut oil in a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat and panfry the bread on both sides until golden brown. Layout the French toast on a small baking tray and set aside. In the same pan, over a low heat, wilt the spinach leaves with the nutmeg. Squeeze the excess water out of the cooked spinach and arrange a little on top of each slice of bread. Sprinkle over the cheese and slide the tray into the oven and bake for approximately 5-8 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling.
Sweet potato pancakes
Makes approximately 8 pancakes:
Ideally, use a round metal ring mold to make thick, uniform pancakes.
250g mashed cooked sweet potato (needs to be cold, so make the day before)
1 tsp grated nutmeg
Approximately 100g rice flour
1 tbsp psyllium husk powder
Approximately 200ml almond or rice milk
Coconut oil for frying
A small pot of coconut yoghurt
A selection of prepared fruit
Blend the sweet potato and almond milk in a food processor until completely smooth. Next add the rest of the ingredients and blend to form a thick batter (pourable but not too runny), add a little more milk or rice flour to get the right consistency. Let the batter rest for about 20 minutes, this is a crucial step, as the psyllium husk needs to react and bind the mixture together.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a low to medium heat and melt a little coconut oil. Pour in a little batter, into the mold if you have one, and allow it to spread gently. Once the surface begins to bubble and set, flip over the pancake and cook the other side. To save on effort, these pancakes can be made in advance and reheated in a frying pan when needed.
Serve the pancakes with small dishes of coconut yoghurt, fresh fruit and coconut nectar, so your guests can help themselves.
Feeding a crowd (ideas to make your life easier:)
Make the smashed avocado the day before and add lots of chopped tomatoes or some pink grapefruit segments (the acidity will help to keep the colour of the avocado bright). Scrape into a serving bowl and squeeze some extra lemon juice over the surface. Cover the dish with cling film, making sure the film adheres to the top of the avocado mixture, this will also stop everything discolouring. Serve the salsa surrounded by hot toast so your guests can help themselves.
The sauce can be made 3-4 days in advance and kept in the fridge until needed (or frozen for a longer period). Poach off batches of eggs up to a day before, plunge the cooked eggs into a container of cold water and store the whole thing in the fridge. When ready serve, boil a fresh pan of water and re-immerse the eggs for a few minutes, in batches if necessary. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, reheat the sauce and pour into your serving dish then slide the poached eggs onto the Shakshuska just before serving. For a vegan alternative; pan fry some slices of butternut squash in a little coconut oil and lay them onto the Shakshuska instead of the eggs.
Savoury French toast:
Make the French toast and the wilted spinach the day before and store in the fridge. When needed, cover a large baking sheet in baking paper and set out the slices of eggy bread. Chop up the wilted spinach and scatter over the bread, followed by the grated cheese. Pop in a hot oven, or under a grill, until golden brown and serve.
Sweet potato pancakes:
Make up to 3 days in advance and store in the fridge between leaves of baking parchment. Prepare the fruit up to a day before and refrigerate. When needed, set the oven to 200°C. Layout a sheet of baking paper on a large roasting tray and spread the pancakes in a single layer over the tray. Pop the tray into the oven for approximately 5 minutes, or until the pancakes have warmed through. Set out the fruit with the coconut yoghurt and coconut nectar in separate bowls and serve the pancakes.