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Give Yourself a Culinary Hug

Shakshuka


If COVID-19 is getting you down and you need a culinary hug, then look no further than this. It is also great if you have a hangover!

This North African dish has many incarnations but basically it is a spicy tomato sauce with eggs poached in it. Served with a bread of your choice. Dipping the bread in is part of the hug!

Ingredients

1 can of organic tomatoes

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 thumb size piece of grated ginger.

1 tsp of turmeric

1 tsp black pepper

Salt to taste

1 tsp of dried parsley

2 organic eggs (or tofu or beans as a vegetarian/vegan alternative protein)

1 tablespoon of cold pressed olive oil

(Serves 1 or two)


· Using a ceramic or iron shallow pan, gently cook finely chopped onions to soften and sweeten them. (8 minutes approx.) then, add the spices and garlic.

· Mix well with the onions and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and simmer very gently.

· Once the dish is aromatic and gently bubbling, make wells for your eggs and add an egg to each well to poach (about 8 minutes).


I like to serve this with brown sourdough for breakfast straight from the pan. It is a great dish for sharing!


Nutrition

Tomatoes contain lycopene which is prostate protective. Adding red peppers to the recipe has extra prostate protective effect. The olive oil makes lycopene more bioavailable. I choose to buy organic tinned tomatoes; you can use fresh.

For more information on lycopene and other prostate protective nutrients see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7073095/

For more information on which foods to buy organically see: https://www.pan-uk.org/dirty-dozen-and-clean-fifteen/

Turmeric combined with black pepper and olive oil is highly anti-inflammatory. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous root related to ginger. Rhizomes spread just under the ground forming dense matts of roots. It has a long history of medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic use. Include Turmeric in your diet as often as possible, it becomes more bioavailable when combined with oil and black pepper. It has a strong taste so if you don’t want every meal to taste of it, add it to soups or starters.


Ginger contains gingerols another anti-inflammatory phytonutrient. Like its cousin turmeric it has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It contains many other active compounds so including it in your diet as a food rather than an isolated gingerol supplement is beneficial. Fresh or dried.

For more information on its medicinal benefits see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/


Onions and garlic are members of the allium family. Alliums have long been used for their medicinal properties. Cooking onions gently and slowly brings out their sweet flavour. When garlic is crushed or chopped, its cells are broken down this allows alliin and alliinase to mix forming the active anti-microbial compound Allicin. To reap the medicinal rewards of this action, it is vital that you chop your garlic and leave it for 10 minutes on the chopping board to develop before introducing it to heat. Allicin is effective as an anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti -fungal and anti- parasitic. Eating garlic prepared in this way as part of a healthy diet rich in phytonutrients will help support your bodies defence mechanisms against all manner of maladies.


Herbs are an easy way of adding more phytonutrients to your diet. Add what you have dried or fresh, oregano works well. Adding thyme aids digestion.


Eggs are a complete protein meaning that they contain the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein. They also contain gut healing vitamin A and a wealth of other essential nutrients. To my mind eggs really are a superfood. Always buy organic eggs, they are far more nutritious and the benefits more than out way the extra cost.

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I just made shakshuka for lunch and it was delicious!

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