When I was about eight, and my sister was twelve, she became a vegetarian. And because I wanted to be just like my older sister, I followed suit. She stopped after a couple years, but to make sure my family didn’t think I was just copying her I ended up staying vegetarian for nine years. I copied a lot of what my sister was doing. She was a trend setter.

I now eat meat, and I love it I do, but I’m pretty sure I could be vegetarian 75% of the time. I love veggie dishes. I’m all about them really, but I live with a man who expects meat with every meal.

This is a totally novel idea to me, and if we’re being honest, it’s a pretty novel idea for mankind.

So I’m always making vegetarian dishes and hoping he doesn’t notice. This pretty much never works, but I try friends. For purposes of money and health, I try.

But then something amazing happened. I made this breakfast and Jordan said it was the best breakfast he had ever had. And this breakfast was essentially a thick tomato sauce, filled with peppers and spiked with cumin and coriander, that you make little hole in and cracked eggs into. It’s rich without being heavy and it’s balances the salty, spicy, tart, sweet thing perfectly. On top of that it’s super healthy, takes half an hour to make from start to finish, and it also only takes one frying pan to make, and as someone without a dishwasher, let me tell you, that is wildly important.



(Not surprisingly this recipe is adapted from Jerusalem, the amazing book by Sami Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi. This book is amazing, truly, I can’t recommend it enough.)

2 Red Sweet Peppers, thinly sliced

1 can Plum Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes (look for brands that don’t add citric acid)

1 Onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

1 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Ground Pepper flakes, or in a pinch some Siracha will do

4 Eggs (the best free-range ones you can find!)

Salt and Pepper

3 tbsp Olive Oil

Toast to serve with.

In a large frying pan (cast iron if you have it) warm the olive oil over medium-low heat.

Add in the peppers and onions and cook until the peppers are very soft and the onions are just starting to brown around the edges, about 7-10 minutes

Add in the garlic, stir for about a minute, then add in the spices.

Stir them in until they are fragrant but not burning at all.

Add in the tomatoes and mix.

Bring heat up to medium-high and let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce has thickened.

Bring heat down to medium, and make 4 divets in the sauce.

Crack the eggs into the holes, and cover with a lid for 3 minutes.

While this is happening you can warm up some naan or toast.

When the yolks are still soft but the whites are firm remove the shakshuka from the heat and serve immediately, with thick toast to sop up all the sauces.

Hot Pepper Strands

This is the part of the year where I turn into a crazy person and start thinking about Christmas. Not, you know, where I’m going to put my Christmas tree or what kind of lights I’m going to buy. I’m not that nuts.

But this is the time of year when I start canning and preserving so that stocking stuffers are cheaper and half of it’s done by the time Christmas rolls around. And you get to give the gift of fresh produce in December.

When my sister called the other day and I told her I was drying peppers for stockings for Jordans family she simply said 

"Oh, your one of those people now" 

That scares me a bit. 

So this isn’t a recipe so much as a technique. Traditionally when making pepper strands you tie them with string, but I have found this to be very laborious and not very effective (read: after an hour of tying them last year I picked up the whole strand and every single pepper fell off in a splash of red). So I learnt that cheaters have tools- needles and thread.

With this method this couldn’t really be easier. You simply thread a needle, tie one side up and thread the peppers through. The only thing that can get finicky is that the peppers have a tendancy to not go all the way down, so make sure as you thread them they push down all the way or you’ll have a long and sparse looking pepper strand. But that’s it!

Pepper Strands



1lb peppers, I used ring of fire peppers, but birds eye chilis would also be a good substitute

thread the needle with at least 1/2 meter of thread

tie a knot at one end

Thread the peppers through the stem, one at a time being careful to push them all the way through so they are stacked tight.

When your finished tie a loop at the top with the extra thread and hang to dry.

They will last at least a year.

Pickled Peppers

One of the biggest fights the Man of the House and I ever got in was over hot sauce. I made this beautiful crab and fava bean risotto. I pulled the crab, and made stock with the shells, I painstakingly double peeled the fava beans. It was a beautiful subtle risotto that just tasted like spring, and it was lovely.

Until my man put tabasco on it. All hell broke loose. I may have over reacted.

But I will still call it a maybe.

But here’s the thing of it, I never grew up with spicy food. I never grew up with hot sauce and, while I like a little bit of heat, and I do, I also know that your body doesn’t read spice as a taste it reads it as pain. So I’m hesitant to believe that it makes a dish taste better. Especially when it is laden with vinegar. But, I can also appreciate that I am a bit of a purist, and maybe obsessively sometimes. Maybe not everybody needs to think exactly like me and taste everything exactly like me all the time.


The Man of the House still makes fun of me for my freak out. And that was years ago. So this year, amid my pickling-or-canning-everything-in-sight-frenzy that I’ve been on I thought I would prove a point and pickle peppers.

Spicy! Vinegar! Good girlfriend points! Yes!

I have to say, I’m not sure these taste good yet, it takes a couple months to tell, this is a tentative recipe, but man, I could just hang these on my walls they are beautiful, truly. All these amazing reds and yellows, on looks alone I might be converted to spicy food. So we’ll see if it goes that far, in the meantime I’m just happy to look at these fiery jars while their sealed.

Pickled Peppers

1L Vinegar

6cups Water

1 tbsp Peppercorns

2 tsp Fennel Seeds

2 tsp Coriander Seeds

1 Clove per Jar

2 lbs Good quality fresh peppers

4 1liter jars

Preheat your oven to 375F

Wash your jars very well and put them on a baking tray.

Wash all the peppers very carefully- I had an earwig come out of one of mine!

Slice the peppers however you’d like or keep them whole- just make sure you wear gloves while you do this, or be careful not to touch your face for a few hours afterwards, man oh man will your fingers burn your eyes.

Put the peppers into the jars- not quite all the way up to the top

Meanwhile, bring all the other ingredients up to a boil.

Carefully, using a canning funnel if you have one, pour the liquid over the jars, being cautious not to get any on the rims of the jars.

Put the lids on the jars, and then gently put the screw tops on, not screwing them to tightly. Put them into the oven for 5 minutes, and then take them out and let them cool. They should all pop shut in about 5-10 minutes.

Let the pickles work their magic for at least 6 weeks before opening them up.

These should keep for at least 6 months.