Israel

June 9, 2014 at 8:01 pm | Posted in Western Asia | Leave a comment

Time to resurrect this journey, and this weekend I stumbled across an interesting breakfast set of ideas in the Herald.   So far, breakfast has made up very little of our trip, and now I’ve found Shakshuka, its time to conduct a culinary visit to Israel.

Israel – its formation, its tumultuous history, and the uneven treatment it enjoys from the US – is a source of great tension, both directly in the Middle East but in truth this echoes around much of the world.    I imagine that modern Israel could likely operate with much lower levels of global tension if it could find a way to moderate some of its own extremists.

Outside of the uncomfortable position in the Middle East and its highly interesting birth as a nation, there are some other interesting parts to this country.   Numerically, it has the 2nd largest airforce in the world, which may not be surprising given its rabid interest in defense.    Its the only country in the world to have revived a dead language as its national tongue.   Its also the place where the iconic 80s action series, Might Morphin’ Power Rangers, was devised.

The Plan

I stumbled across this while reading the Herald, Shakshuka.   Its a Middle Eastern dish that has a disputed origin (huh.  In Israel.  Who’d a thought) and is effectively eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce.   Its a favourite breakfast in Israel, and is actually classified as parve, which means effectively ‘neutral’ – containing no milk or meat.    Its also quite spicy and with Chris and Jacq out buying furniture, I figured Liam and I could try it, along with his mate Sam.

I lost the link, and again turned to the excellent people at SBS Food for the receipe

Shakshuka 

Ingredients
  • Olive oil, plus extra, to drizzle
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 large red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 800 g (about 10) ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 8 eggs
  • chargrilled crusty bread, to serve1 tbsp butter

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, chilli and capsicum, and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until onions are golden.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and spices, and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 25 minutes.   It should thicken up nicely.  Season with salt and pepper
  3. Make 8 small holes in tomato mixture and crack an egg into each one. Cover and cook for a further 8 minutes or until the eggs are just done.    Some of the moisture of the tomatoes will float to the top and eggs might look underdone, but they’ll be done
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with bread.

The Event

This was an easy recipe, and needed a big wide fry pan with a lid.  I used two tins of tomatoes and it worked fine. A teaspoon of chilli gave it just the tang – quite hot, but nice.

The Outcome

Liam: “Niiiice!    *cough* a bit spicy.     Its good but you know what it needs?  Bacon

Sam:  “I don’t normally like spicy food, but this is gooood”

Me: This was pretty good, and I think one for brunch as well.   The bread works really well as a side.  The tomato was a bit tart but the eggs balanced it nicely.

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