What are your feelings about cookbooks, if any? Do you own any? And if so, just a few, or truckloads? Do you leaf through them and drool over the pictures a few times then shove them on a shelf where they remain for years gathering dust? Or are your favourite ones used so often that the pages are crumpled, stiff with water stains and splattered with salad dressing and cake batter?
Me? Easy. Buy me a cookbook for Christmas and I’m one HAPPY girl (see my Amazon wishlist, family and friends! Ha! Only (half) kidding!) Once lunch and the Queen’s speech are over on Christmas Day, you may just find me curled up on the sofa anti-socially for the rest of the afternoon leafing through the pages of my latest acquisition. And the heavier and thicker the book is, and the nicer the cover, the better!
But thanks to the somewhat ‘always-sort-of-on-the-move’ lifestyle I’ve led over the past decade or so, actually I have ended up owning surprisingly few cookbooks. I have my well-worn ever-faithful Jamie Oliver , Nigel Slater and Nigella Lawson tomes and a few others, but not nearly as many as I would have if I had free rein (aka suitcase space) to raid my favourite bookshops’ cooking sections whenever I liked. But this is about to change. Once we’re settled in the UK, expect to find me on the sofa in my pyjamas at 2pm buried under a big pile of cookbooks! Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Mr. Scrummy!
So don’t laugh, but one of my favourite cookbooks is one that I don’t actually own yet! I know what you’re thinking: ‘Aha! She just scours the Internet for recipes from well-known cookbooks instead of buying them. Cheap-skate!’ Ahem. Well, I may have done this once or twice. Or three times. But honestly honestly, as soon as I get that permanent bookshelf space in this as-yet-non-existent new house or flat of ours in the UK, I will be a cheap-skate-cookbook-recipe-Internet-scourer no more! I’m getting those lovelies ordered by first-class post!
So this ‘much-loved’ book of mine that I haven’t even read yet is Yotam Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem: A Cookbook. I know, how ridiculous that I am saying this. But in my defense, I have stroked the front cover and furtively leafed through display copies several times while lurking for far too long in bookshops, as well as ooh-ed and ah-ed over a few of the recipes published in newspaper food sections or adapted on other blogs. Just take a look at the recipes here, for instance. Drool drool! So how can you think that it’s at all premature of me to declare this book a favourite?
So this eggs in tomatoes, red peppers and bacon sauce is inspired by a recipe in this very book for shakshuka, which if you didn’t know is a popular breakfast dish in both North Africa (where it is believed to have originated) and in Yotam’s homeland, Israel. I certainly wouldn’t call my version shakshuka, especially with the addition of the bacon, and in fact if you preferred it to be like a more traditional shakshuka you could easily leave out the bacon and add some spicy heat instead! But what I found so inspiring and worthy of copying from his recipe was the suggestion to pan-roast the cumin first to bring out its flavour and then add more olive oil than you would think sensible to the pan and stir it around to let it infuse into the oil really well. Simple and yet genius!
As is usual for the recipes on this here little corner of the Internet, putting this together for a lazy weekend breakfast is easy-peasy. And yes, if you were wondering, I did mean to post this in time for this last weekend but had a little ‘mishap’ related to emailing myself the post from the computer that I wrote it on. As in, I forgot to. I nearly posted something else today as a result, but … nah! You can plan to make this next weekend instead. Never mind at all that it’s only Tuesday because, let’s face it, it’s always good to be well prepared for the weekend!
Anyway, back on track … after doing ‘the cumin thing’ as described above, you simply add the onions, bacon, peppers, herbs and paprika to the pan before adding a tin of tomatoes and a little brown sugar and letting everything simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Finally, you crack in four to six eggs depending on how many you’d like to feed, or how greedy you’d like to be, cover the pan and let the eggs cook for about ten minutes for runny eggs, slightly longer if you like them not-so-runny. Finito!
I’ll leave you with the recipe below, and with an important question. Anyone got any more favourite cookbook suggestions for me? All recommendations gratefully considered!
Eggs with tomatoes, red peppers & bacon
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1.5-3.5 ounces bacon or pancetta, chopped
- 1 onion
- 1/3 cup olive oil plus a little more for drizzling
- 2 red peppers or 1 red & 1 green or yellow
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley plus another for sprinking at the end
- 14 ounces can of tomatoes (1 can)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4-6 eggs
- In a large skillet/frying pan (choose one that has a lid), dry-roast the cumin for a couple of minutes to bring out the flavour.
- Add the oil and bacon and fry for a few more minutes.
- Add the onion and cook for yet another couple of minutes, then add the peppers, paprika, bay leaves, parsley & sugar and cook for a little longer to bring out the colour.
- Now add the tin of tomatoes, then half-fill the empty can with water, swirl it around and add the water to the pan as well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and let it all simmer for about 20 minutes. Add a little more water if it starts to get too dry (the consistency should match that of a pasta sauce).
- Add a little salt and pepper to taste, then crack 4 to 6 eggs into the pan. Put the pan lid on and cook until the eggs are set to your liking (about 10 to 12 minutes – I cooked mine for about 12 minutes and I would have liked them a little runnier!)
- Drizzle a little more olive oil over, sprinkle with the reserved fresh parsley and serve immediately, with pitta/flat bread (or any other kind of bread) if you like.
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Melissa @ Bits of Umami says
Oh my. This looks delicious! My grandma used to make something similar to this as a scramble, but cracking the edds straight on top and letting them kinda poach up there sounds amazing. YUMMY!!! 🙂
Thanks, Melissa! I just love this brunch … feels kind of a treat, but healthy, too! I really hope you give it a go some time!
[email protected] Eats says
aaggh!! OMG we are SO similar, Yotam is a GOD! Jerusalem is my favourite cookbook of all time at the moment, I have made so many things from it whether directly or inspired by it. This caught my eye because when I saw it I thought “that looks like shakshuka” which I LOVE!! And how funny that I just posted a huevos rancheros recipe! The addition of bacon is iso obvious and yet I never thought of it. You rock!
Hahaha … thanks, Nagi … you rock, too!! I love Jerusalem so much that I bought it at a food show in Australia and have just taken it back to the UK with me in my suitcase … even though it was far too heavy and took up too much space! The things we do for food!
That is a coincidence that you just posted a huevos rancheros recipe – which I loved, too! I think you and I are quickly creating a mutual appreciation society!
Matt @ Inspired food says
This has to be my favourite way to eat eggs! Looks so good! 🙂
Thanks, Matt. You’ve just reminded me that I need to make this again some time! 🙂
Wish I had this for breakfast today – it looks fantastic!
Haha … yes, me too, now that you mention it! (it’s breakfast time right now here) Glad you liked it, Pam!
Meggan @ Culinary Hill says
Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook is apparently the best thing since sliced bread, so after your recommendation too, I’m going ahead and adding it to my own Amazon wishlist. 🙂 I have loads and loads and loads of cookbooks, and I love to just page through them and daydream about food. SUCH a bad idea right before bed because I end up getting very hungry. But I love to look for inspiration and new ideas and pretty pictures. This recipe is pretty inspiring, too. I used to make an Eggs with Tomatoes dish in college all the time, and I haven’t had it in over a decade. Yours is far fancier, so I’ll have to make yours too. Beautiful photos, I’ll be sharing this on my CH Facebook page! 🙂
Thanks so much for the Facebook share, Sweet Megan! At the moment I am deciding which of my books to give away and which to ship back to the UK, and guess what kind of books mostly make up the ‘keeps’ pile?! I hope you do have a go at making this and enjoying it! Please do let me know what you think! 🙂
Before I got to the bottom of this recipe, I kept thinking about how much it reminded me of shatshuka, which I’ll probably make this week or next. As for cookbooks, I don’t have that many (maybe 7?), though I love browsing the bookstore for them. I do love Jaime Oliver (though I don’t think I have any, I always gift them), but my most used are Jeni’s Spledid Ice Creams and The Hummingbird Bakery cookbook (after I became obsessed with the cupcakes when I lived in London). Other than that, the internet has become my source for recipes!
I’ve heard of the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook (in fact I think there might be a blog named after it?), but haven’t tackled making cupcakes yet. I would love to, but one step at a time! Thanks so much for the recommendation though and glad you liked the shakshuka! 🙂
Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl says
This is a perfect garden harvest meal, I’m saving this in my list for pepper season! What a treat, thanks.
Aw, so happy to hear that, Pamela! I so wish I had some homegrown peppers to put in this, too! It tastes so fresh and healthy that it would be even better with homegrown stuff in!
Melanie @ Bon Appet'eat says
Hi Helen! Those ingredients are in my fridge right now and I need to use them before going in vacations! So thank you!
J ai vu que tu parlais francais alors n’hesite pas venir pratiquer avec moi 🙂
Coucou, Melanie! Tu habites au Quebec? J’y suis allee (il y a beaucoup d’ans maintenant) et je l’adorais, surtout le Quebec city. J’espere que tu aimes le ‘brunch’ aux oeufs … c’est vraiment delicieux (mais aussi tres simple – parfait pour le weekend!) 🙂
Thanks so much for passing by the blog. For sure I’ll come and take a look at yours, too! Bon weekend!
Melanie @ Bon Appet'eat says
Nin je suis du Sud de la France à côté de Marseille et j’habites à Toronto avec un cubain! What a mix 🙂
Please stop by anytime to read my food adventure and family!
I might try your recipe tomorrow between 2 suitcases 🙂
This dish is so yummy
I’am fond of Shakshuka!
Thank you so much, Chantal! Bon weekend! 🙂
Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg says
I’m a bit of a cookbook fanatic myself. I have an entire 2 shelves full of them and cooking magazines. And I want more, of course.
I’m liking your twist on shakshuka. I will def. try it.
On a cold Saturday morning it was always our breakfast go to when I was a kid.
Really, Norma? Wow, you had much better brekkies than I did when I was a child! Shakshuka is so delicious, isn’t it? I love it!
Chris @ Shared Appetite says
Oh my gosh it’s like 7am and I’m craving this dish big time right about now! It’s gorgeous! And I’m a big cookbook fan. I love reading through them, and I always have a mountain of them on my amazon wishlist!
Sorry for tormenting you, Chris, but I had to get you back … I often read your posts early in the morning and pretty much always want to jump through the screen and grab whatever you’ve made! 🙂
Zainab @ Blahnik Baker says
I’m a cookbook hoarder and I can’t even tell you how addicted I am to buying new ones lol!! This is such a wonderful and comforting meal 🙂
Phew! I’m glad I’m not the only one! 🙂
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
I’ve loved everything that I’ve made from that book. It’s brilliant isn’t it? 😀
Yes, it’s fabulous …. errr, I think!! LOL!
I´ve heard about this Jerusalem book before and I can imagine how delightful it is. I´m going to give a look at it at the bookshop. I have never tried such a flavour combination before and it looks perfect for a sundy breakfast 🙂
Hello, Karla, and thanks so much for dropping by! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you do buy any of Ottolenghi’s books … I’m planning on getting all of them! 🙂
sue/the view from great island says
I love baked eggs more than life itself, and when my husband isn’t around, I eat them for dinner. Love your photos!
Thank you for the compliment on my photos, Sue. Coming from you, that is a compliment indeed! I ate this for brunch, but I would definitely eat them for dinner, too!