look what happens when you move to the suburbs: brunch!
Ah, the suburbs! I say, with arms wide open like Maria Von Trapp on top of a mountain doing an impression of Scott Stapp from Creed in their song With Arms Wide Open. It has been a true rollercoaster ride of being ignored by the neighbour's cat, taking slightly longer to walk to work, and picking fresh herbs from the garden to use as garnish. For real though, I've been cooking so much more than I have done in a long time, and it is good for that soul of mine. And also for inter-flatmate relations, since there's nothing like being plied with brunch. On some recent morning (I forget which, I've been working day shifts as well as night shifts at work and it completely messes with my sense of what day or time it is at any given day or time) I made this for Kate and I - a kind of improvisational thing vaguely based upon the Middle Eastern dish Shakshuka, using what I could find around me. Those things being tomatoes, a can of 'Moroccan-style' chickpeas, and some eggs.
Pulling it all together was some impossibly thick Zany Zeus Greek yoghurt (seriously, it has the texture of buttercream icing) mixed with sumac, dried thyme and sesame oil, with olive oil pooling on top along with torn mint leaves.
If Marmite on toast is the most adventurous you get for breakfast (and that's cool, because oh man marmite and butter and toast together are sublime) then this might sound a little dubious, but obviously it's going to taste amazing, so deal with it and expand your horizons. On the other hand, if you're used to actual proper Shakshuka, this is a not-bad variation on that theme, I guess. Either way, it's thoroughly delicious, with the softly baked eggs melting into the buttery tomatoes and spiced, grainy chickpeas. The tart yoghurt lifts up all these flavours and stops it being too, too rich, but also kind of adds to the luxuriant feel of it at the same time. If you're only inclined to get hold of one herb then mint is what I'd recommend - its icy fresh-sweetness is perfect. But spicy basil and adorable pea shoots also help, if you happen to have some to hand like I did.
a recipe by myself, but it's not overly original, serves two to three people
a pinch of ground cinnamon
a pinch of smoked paprika
about a tablespoon of brown sugar
one can of Moroccan style chickpeas, or just one can of regular chickpeas and about half a cup of tomato puree
one teaspoon ground cumin
basil, mint, fancy pea shoots if you've got them
half a cup or so thick plain Greek yoghurt
one teaspoon sumac
one teaspoon dried thyme
one teaspoon sesame oil
a pinch of salt
Set your oven to 200 C/400 F. Halve the tomatoes and arrange snugly in a roasting dish. Sprinkle over a little cinnamon, smoked paprika, and the brown sugar, and put like, a teaspoon/small square of butter on each tomato half. Finally, drizzle with a little olive oil and then roast for about 20 minutes, then tip in the chickpeas and the ground cumin and return to the oven for another ten minutes. Crack the eggs one at a time into a small cup or bowl and then carefully tip them into the roasting dish (or just crack them straight in but it's a little easier this way. Return to the oven and lower the heat to 180 C/350 F, and bake for another ten to fifteen minutes until the eggs are juuuust cooked. Remove from the oven and scatter with your herbs and then serve. Oh wait, the yoghurt: mix the yoghurt, sesame oil, thyme and sumac together. Sprinkle over some more sumac, drizzle over some olive oil - a couple of teaspoons - and sprinkle with some torn up mint.
(this is Kate's instagram. I kinda wanna vow that my next cookbook, when/when it happens, will *only* have instagram photos. Because look at this, seriously.) (Aside: ohhh how I want to write another cookbook.)
When I'm not cooking I'm being fed like a queen by Kate and Jason too, so it's all pretty blissful. (Examples: apple fritters, handmade pasta with roasted butternut, cheese and tomato mousetraps, fried asparagus) I mean I'm still me, y'know, where am I going with my life, why am I so broke (likely answer: dating. It makes you broke), how do you be a human without making it look as though you've read a book called How To Be A Human, will I ever get another cookbook, what's the deal with self-esteem, that kind of thing. But I'm reeeeally well fed. And making progress with the cat!
magnanimous kisses from princess Ariel
What else has been happening lately? I managed to pull together two costumes for two massively fun Halloween parties in a row this weekend, with only things found in my wardrobe (Baby Spice and Andrew WK, if you're wondering.)
(bonus cyberspace me at a recent galactic-themed party. Everything I wear I think of as a costume, but I really love literal costumes too.)
I also posted a new episode of my super-necessary web series Bedtime with HungryandFrozen. It's not that great, but I'm personally a bit endeared by it which means statistically at least one of you might enjoy watching it. And that's all I have for you today, on account of it's kind of hard to type when your arms are flung wide open and you're rapturously yet patronisingly shouting "the suburbs!" to no-one in particular.
title from: Modern Lovers, Roadrunner. I am straight up obsessed with this song and have been since the moment I heard it. I'm gonna listen to it about twelve times in a row right now. One, two, three, four, five, six!
Boom Clap, Charli XCX. Just so, so sweet.
I Could've Been Your Girl, She and Him. Zooey Deschanel's voice, I love it. This song, I love it.
Good Kisser, Usher. Sleek.
next time: I made this amazing Ottolenghi pistachio soup, but am not sure if the photos turned out that well...so...?