I have always been a fan of eggs. I think it goes back to the days of going to school with an egg in a cup with butter and toast. The Irish palate has become a lot more adventurous over the years and this Tunisian-inspired spicy baked eggs recipe is well worth trying. You can have it as spicy or mild as you like and these jazzed-up eggs work for breakfast, brunch or a light lunch. Instead of the chorizo you could use smoked streaky bacon.
I made a video of these sweet potato cakes recently so you can find it on my Instagram. I find avocado can be that bit bland so there is plenty of added flavour here. St Tola is a very good feta-style cheese that is made in Clare that you might like. This is another great brunch of midweek meal.
Grilling the bacon reminds me of a great campaign run by Clean Coasts, part of the An Taisce Environmental Education Unit, reminding us to be careful of what we put down the sink and into the water system. The idea is to “Think Before You Pour” and it is a good idea to have a “gunkpot” near the sink for all the fats, oils and greases that shouldn’t go down the sink. An empty yoghurt carton is ideal.
Neven Maguire’s Midweek Meals is out now, published by Gill.
Shakshuka (Middle Eastern baked eggs)
Shakshuka (Middle Eastern baked eggs). \ Photography: Philip Doyle. Food styling: Janine Kennedy
Serves four to six
1 × 290g (10¼oz) jar of roasted peppers in olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp sweet paprika
½ tsp cumin seeds
½–1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
2 × 400g (14oz) tins of whole cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp caster sugar
4–8 eggs (depending on how hungry you are)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
fresh coriander leaves
crumbled feta cheese
sizzling chorizo sausage
chargrilled sourdough bread1 Drain the olive oil from the peppers into a sauté pan over a medium heat. Dice the peppers and set aside until needed. Add the onion to the hot oil and sauté for about 5 minutes, until it has just started to pick up some colour. Stir in the garlic and spices and cook for another few minutes.2 Pour in the tomatoes and roughly mash. Stir in the reserved peppers along with the lemon juice and sugar and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 3 Make four to eight holes in the pepper mix using the back of a wooden spoon just large enough to fit the eggs, then crack one egg into each hole. Season them lightly, turn the heat down as low as possible, cover the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the eggs are just set. 4 Scatter over the coriander (if using), feta and chorizo and serve straight to the table with plenty of chargrilled sourdough bread to mop up all the delicious juices. If serving with Greek yoghurt, put aseparate bowl on the table so that everyone can help themselves.
Sweet potato cakes with crispy bacon, smashed avocado and poached eggs
150g (5oz) plain flour
6-8 large eggs
100ml (3½fl oz) buttermilk
400g (14oz) sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
200g (7oz) feta cheese, crumbled rapeseed oil, for frying
225g (8oz) dry-cure streaky bacon rashers
2 ripe avocados
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper1 Sieve the flour into a large bowl. Break in two of the eggs and add the buttermilk. Slowly whisk together to combine. 2 Add the grated sweet potatoes, spring onions, chilli and 75g (3oz) of the feta. Season with plenty of pepper and a small pinch of salt, as the feta is already quite salty. Using a spatula, mix until well combined. 3 Pour about 1cm (¼in) of oil into a large non-stick frying pan and place over a medium heat. Working in batches, place four separate heaped spoonfuls of the sweet potato mixture into the pan and gently flatten down each one with the back of the spatula. Fry the sweet potato cakes for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Keep warm in a low oven.4 Meanwhile, grill the bacon on the grill pan under a medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, turning once.5 Bring a large pan of water to the boil and poach the remaining eggs for 2-3 minutes, until the whites are firm but the yolks are still soft. Cut the avocados in half and scoop the flesh in a bowl. Roughly smash with a fork and season with salt and pepper. 6 Arrange the sweet potato cakes on plates and top with the bacon, smashed avocado and poached eggs, then scatter over the rest of the feta to serve.