• Michael

#0040: Sunny Side Always Up

Updated: Jun 2

January.


It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s dark. But, even in the midst of winter, the Secret Coast finds ways to lift my spirits.


The first, optimistic birdsong of the year.


The golden sunrise that you don't need to wake early for.


The vibrant green of the mossy ground, wearing raindrops like jewellery.


The snowdrops, pushing on up through the hard earth. The first signs of life in the slumbering garden.


There’s joy to be found in even the simplest moments. You just need to stop. To look. To get outside and take a deep breath.


Midwinter is behind us.


We’re halfway through.


If you’re still looking for reasons to be cheerful though, there are worse ways to start than by cooking up a good meal.


Colourful, healthy, and full of flavour, shakshouka makes a great breakfast, lunch or dinner, and never fails to put a smile on my face.


Best of all, it’s really quick and easy to prepare.


Start by roughly chopping a medium sized onion and a red pepper, and finely chopping two or three sprigs each of rosemary and thyme.


Sauté the onion for a couple of minutes, with a good sprinkle of salt and a generous grind of back pepper, in a shallow, heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat, then add the chopped red pepper. Once the onion has turned translucent and the pepper has started to soften, grate in three cloves of garlic, then add a good pinch of dried chilli flakes, a heaped teaspoon of crushed coriander seeds, half a teaspoon of crushed cumin seeds, and the chopped herbs, leaving a little of the thyme to one side.


Continue to sauté for another couple of minutes, then stir in a tin of chopped tomatoes, two heaped teaspoons of smoked paprika, half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, and two tablespoons of sun dried tomato puree, then turn the heat down a little, pop a lid on the pan, and leave it to bubble away for a few minutes.


Once everything has softened up a little, make three or four small wells in the sauce and crack an egg into each. Pop the lid back on, bring the heat back up to medium, and leave the eggs to cook for about five minutes, or until the whites are cooked through.


Then remove from the heat, sprinkle with a generous handful of roughly chopped coriander and the leftover thyme, and serve immediately.


A little ray of sunshine on a January day. What better way to brighten your mood, ready for another year of adventure on the Secret Coast?



#argyllsecretcoast #secretdiaryargyll #cowal #argyll #scotland #januaryblues #shakshouka #vegetarian

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