I make no qualms IRL about my disdain for cereal. There was a point in my life where pressured by television commercials and “healthy” breakfasts drives at school, I desperately wanted to be like every other kid and like cereal. I tried the multipacks, the healthy, and the downright unhealthy, but even Coco Pops couldn’t excite me. I’ve always felt that with cereal, you have a 20 second window where the meal was palatable. Usually that 20 seconds falls between the moment you pour the milk to when the milk seeps completely into the cereal and thus rendering it into wallpaper paste. For some cereals like Wheet-bix…there is actually no window. (I know that’s unAustralian, but guess what? I also hate Vegimite and Cricket)
You know all those Special K style ads where they put fruit on the cereal? As a small child I was also forever disappointed that my pack of cereal never contained fresh blueberries or strawberries, but then luckily I remembered how awful cereal actually tastes with fruit.
I mean seriously, what is the point of drowning over-processed wheat in milk when there are so many other awesome breakfast foods around? I even extend the awesomeness to other cereal-like foods for example; good quality granola, muesli, oats etc. But Boxed cereal? Ugh.
So anyway, now that I have that rant out of my system, how ’bout the following awesome breakfast/brunch recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi (and served up by my awesome friend Hannah)? Yeah, yeah, many of you are tutting under your breath thinking, gee-whiz I wish I had time to make that during the weekday when I’m half asleep after late night sessions of GTA V, and not rushing the kids off to school or doing five hundred other things that life throws at me. But here’s the tip, make the sauce on a Sunday and then refrigerate. On a weekday morning, put a few dollops in a saucepan, break in 2 eggs and as Jamie Oliver would say… Happy Days! Seriously it takes like 10min and it’ll beat cereal for good.
(Tunisian in origin, this dish is basically eggs poached in a spiced tomato sauce…it’s also just fun to say…shakashaka,shukashaka,shakshushka…)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
100ml light olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large onions, peeled and sliced
2 red & 2 yellow peppers, cored and cut into 2cm strips
4 teaspoon sugar
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme, picked and chopped
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
6 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
up to 1 cup of water
In a large saucepan, dry-roast the cumin on high heat for two minutes. Add the oil and sauté the onions for two minutes. Add the peppers, sugar, bay leaves, thyme, parsley and half of the coriander, and cook on high heat to get a nice colour. Add the tomatoes, saffron, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes, adding enough water to keep it the consistency of a pasta sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Place four saucepans on medium heat and divide the mixture between them. Break two eggs into each pan, pouring into gaps in the mixture. Sprinkle with salt, cover and cook very gently for 10-12 minutes, until the egg just sets. Sprinkle with rest of the coriander and serve with chunky white bread.