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THE NATURAL COOK

THE NATURAL COOK

I can often feel uncomfortably preached at when I read books on seasonal cooking, but this is a joy: full of bright ideas and bright food; not an ounce of smugness, but full to the brim of just sheer joy in ingredients and how to enjoy them.
Many of you may be familiar with my Eggs in Purgatory recipe, so you'll know I love a spicy, speedy any-time-breakfast idea, and this is what draws me to the Shakshuka recipe: full of North African warmth and immediately gratifying.

 

Shakshuka

from The Natural Cook by Tom Hunt (Quadrille, £20). Photography: Laura Edwards.

The best breakfast, a healthy yet hearty replacement for the full English. We serve it in huge pans from my festival café, with hundreds of eggs poaching in the rich tomato sauce. Serves 2.

300g Passata (see below)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
glug of light olive oil
1 mild green chilli, sliced on the diagonal (optional)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 eggs
3 sprigs of parsley or coriander, roughly chopped

 

Passata

Preserve an abundance of tomatoes with this recipe… or just make a nice tomato sauce!


600g ripe tomatoes

2 basil leaves


Wash the tomatoes, then blend them to a fine pulp. Gently simmer them in a wide saucepan for 15–30 minutes, until they have reduced to a thick sauce. Taste them as they reduce, decide when you have reached your desired consistency and flavour, then stop cooking.

 

Shakshuka

Gently fry the onion with the cumin and paprika in the light olive oil, adding a pinch of salt and half the chilli, if using, for 10 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and fry for a further five minutes.


Add the passata and simmer for 10 minutes. If the sauce becomes too dry, add a little water.


When you’re ready to eat, make four hollows in the sauce and crack in the eggs. Cover with a lid and simmer for five minutes for soft yolks and 10 minutes for hard-cooked eggs. Serve, sprinkled with the herbs and a little pepper, on your favourite toast, or with bread. Sprinkle with the rest of the chilli, if you like.